ISSN : 2266-6060

Deprived of archive

Montpellier, July 2022.

They retired, then moved to the South of France. It was a whole life of things to be arranged, sorted into carefully labeled boxes, transported and re-installed in a new apartment. In the process of administering his archives, he says he didn’t keep much of his professional life; except for three typescripts. He “couldn’t part with” the formalization of income tax rules that occupied him during the year 1988 and that he proudly unwraps on the living room table during the interview. Three thick volumes that record the representation of the tax rules that still support, 34 years later, the calculation of the personal income tax base, that is, the graphic order by which the calculation is bound by the law. Despite the apparent clarity of the formalizations that he not only designed, but also manipulated over many years, he nervously turns the pages, before realizing that he has not kept the glossary or the appendices that were included in a fourth volume. He therefore feels that he cannot comment precisely on the typescripts. The chain of writing having been broken, the reading no longer successfully activates a process of anamnesis. The content of the typescripts will therefore remain mysterious.
As the study of Claudine Dardy’s paper identities has illustrated, observing the conservation and handling of the volumes does, however, make possible to grasp something of his relationship to the Tax Administration he served for nearly 40 years. The private archiving of his professional documents provides information on the feeling of belonging to this group, to which he contributed in a decisive way by accomplishing this formalization of tax calculation, and which in return makes the IT office remember him as an “inventor” and can lead me to him. It also tells of his feeling of not having received recognition commensurate with his professional commitment: he kept these documents for fear that they would be thrown away. And, indeed, he did well, for here the private archive will take the place of and, finally, recreate a public archive. So that we are no more deprived of archives.

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