Antoine Alexandre Barbier (1765-1825), French librarian and bibliographer, was born on the 11th of January 1765 at Coulommiers (Seine-et-Marne). He took priest's orders, from which, however, he was finally released by the pope in 1801. In 1794 he became a member of the temporary commission of the arts, and was charged with the duty of distributing among the various libraries of Paris the books that had been confiscated during the Revolution. In the execution of this task he discovered the letters of Huet, bishop of Avranches, and the MSS. of the works of Fénelon. He became librarian successively to the Directory, to the Conseil d'état, and in 1807 to Napoleon, from whom he carried out a number of commissions. He produced a standard work in his Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes et pseudonymes (4 vols., 1806-1809; 3rd edition 1872-1879). Only the first part of his Examen critique des dictionnaires historiques (1820) was published. He had a share in the foundation of the libraries of the Louvre, of Fontainebleau, of Compiègne and Saint-Cloud; under Louis XVIII. he became administrator of the king's private libraries, but in 1822 he was deprived of all his offices.
Barbier died in Paris on the 5th of December 1825.
See also a notice by his son, Louis Barbier, and a list of his works prefixed to the 3rd edition of the Dict. des ouvrages anonymes et pseudonymes.