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"Cryptographe ou cachet-scellé de Victor Chevalier" cryptography kit

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0952

Content Description

A portable cryptography kit for writing private letters titled "Cryptographe ou cachet-scellé de Victor Chevalier" or "Cryptograph or seal-stamp of Victor Chevalier," manufactured in Paris in 1844. The set consists of a wooden lacquered box with tools, four decorated cardboard boxes lined with embossed gold and silver paper with numerous metal pieces and a mechanical device to apply these pieces to envelopes. Also inclucded are a piece of sealing wax and a seal, a vial with blue powdery color and self-adhesive narrow strips of decorative paper. Four model envelopes with manuscript notes show various ways to use the kit to keep the contents confidential. A lithographed instruction leaf with four hand-colored illustrations is pasted inside the hinged top lid of the box.


  • Creation: 1844

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed onsite and is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

The selling of instructional "DIY' kits was in response to increased literacy throughout the nineteenth century and the need to inform the public on how the postal system works. This particular kit may have been marketed to women, as the illustrations on the box show an action sequence of a woman writing and mailing an encrypted letter. There is currently no information available on the manufacturer of the kit.


0.2 Cubic Feet (1 flat box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Antiquariat Banzhaf in February 2021.

Processing Information

Processed by Kristen Diehl in June 2023.

Guide to the "Cryptographe ou cachet-scellé de Victor Chevalier" cryptography kit
Kristen Diehl
2023 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA