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Léon Walras, founding father of neo-classical economics: resurfaced trove of archives

This set of 42 important documents, including complete autograph manuscripts, corrected proofs, abundantly annotated offprints and enriched printed works, was sent by Aline Walras and then Gaston Leduc to William Jaffé, who added his autograph notes to some of them and used them to produce the first translation of the Elements of Pure Economics.
Léon Walras, the inventor of the general equilibrium theory, has in fact disrupted the classical conception by imposing mathematical equations to explain and influence the economy. Alongside Jevons and Menger, he founded the marginalist theory that was to become a pillar of twentieth-century economics, as Milton Friedman noted in his essay on Léon Walras when Jaffé translated Elements of Pure Economics: "it belongs on [any student's] 'five foot shelf'. […] A person is not likely to be a good economist who does not have a firm command of Walrasian economics" (Milton Friedman).
Despite the importance of Léon Walras's thought, original documents, whether autographed or printed, by the founder of the Ecole de Lausanne are extremely rare, whether in private hands, at public sales or in institutions.

Despite the abundance of Léon Walras' manuscript production and his numerous contributions to several economic journals, original documents, whether autographed or printed, from the archives of one of the most important economists of the late 19th-century are exceedingly scarce, whether in private hands, on the market or in institutions.
A founder of economic science along with Stanley Jevons and Carl Menger, he is considered the father of liberalism, while his social and humanist commitment is generally omitted. The general equilibrium theory developed by Walras has in fact disrupted the classic conception of economics which, since Smith, Riccardo and Marx, based value on the labor necessary for production and on the opposition of social classes.
Walras' original works, unlike those of his colleagues, are among the rarest bibliophilic items. We have been able to list less than ten original works sold at auction in the last 20 years (on the oldest sale reference in 2002, Christie's already indicated: “Only one other copy of this work is recorded at auction by ABPC since 1975”) and the same amount on the current market (only five different titles). The only reference including autograph material was an exceptional set of the first three editions of the Elements of Pure Economics, corrected by Léon Walras with a mention by Aline Walras: “Notes de mon père”, sold by Alde in 2010.
This extreme rarity has contributed to a lack of recognition of Walras' name, while the co-founders of marginal theory are often presented as his predecessors. However, as the historian of economics Mark Blaug writes:
“Jevons' Theory of Political Economy (1871) was not well received when it appeared, but it was read. Menger's Principles of Economics (1871) was both read and well received, at least in his own country. But Walras's two-part Elements of Pure Economics (1844-77) was monstrously neglected everywhere despite his indefatigable efforts to get the book noticed. That was in part because Walras set himself a task that went beyond Jevons and Menger, his co-discoverers of marginal utility theory, namely, to write down and solve the first multi-equational model of general equilibrium in all markets. In addition, Walras went far beyond Jevons in employing a mathematical mode of exposition, and this was enough to scare off most of his contemporary readers. But whereas Jevons and Menger are now regarded as historical landmarks, rarely read purely for their own sake, posthumous appreciation of Walras's monumental achievement has grown so markedly since the 1930s that he may now be the most widely-read nineteenth-century economist after Ricardo and Marx, particularly since the translation of the Elements into English in 1954.”  [1]
Indeed, it was only thanks to this first translation by William Jaffé, almost 80 years after the first edition, that Léon Walras’ theories were internationally spread and became a pillar of 20th-century economics, as Milton Friedman noted in his essay on Léon Walras upon the English publication of Elements of Pure Economics 
“Though I regard as somewhat extravagant Schumpeter's judgment that, "so far as pure theory is concerned, Walras is . . . the greatest of all economists,"2 there can be no doubt that the Elements is a great work which marked an important step forward in the development of economics as a science, and which still plays an important role in economic thinking. It is well worth having a translation even at this late date in order to make it more readily accessible both to the profession at large and particularly to students learning to become economists: it belongs on their "five foot shelf." |...] A person is not likely to be a good economist who does not have a firm command of Walrasian economics; equally, he is not likely to be a good economist if he knows nothing else.”  [2]
The late fame of Léon Walras was thanks to the work of an American, while his legacy (nearly 400 titles in the bibliography of his Œuvres Économiques Complètes) as father of the scientific basis of economic liberalism was patchy in Europe and often in danger of being forgotten.
From his first writings in 1860, Léon Walras encountered general hostility from the French intellectual community. While political economy had just conquered higher education and industrialization created a great social imbalance, Walras opposed the dominant ideology of a society naturally divided into social castes which led to an economy based on a political balance of power. By replacing power with mathematics, this pure theoretician, accused of "wanting to put freedom into an equation", attempted to enlighten and influence economic relations through an objective science. This conception implies a possible loss of influence of elites through the establishment of egalitarian and universal rules, as well as a supposed delegitimization of class struggles through the mathematical modeling of wealth distribution. Walras himself was aware of the social stakes of his scientific revolution. His work is rooted in a political awareness and a desire for reform:
“For Léon Walras, the economy is divided into three blocks: pure economics where the economist, based on the essential concepts that he draws from reality, establishes mathematically formalized laws; applied economics, which draws from the previous precepts to be implemented for the management of economic policy, which Walras calls ‘la gestion des choses’; and social economics, which brings together measures to prevent poverty and injustice, such as the creation of a minimum wage. History has especially remembered the first part of his approach, the formulation of his theoretical thought which he published in 1874 under the title Elements of Pure Economics. He continued to clarify his doctrine in the four editions of this work that followed until 1900.Jean-Marc Daniel, in Le monde, January 16, 2001
His fervent Humanist, although non-partisan convictions (he began his career with a work refuting Proudhon's theses) earned him the wrath of most of his contemporaries. It was of the reasons for the rejection of his theories and his exclusion:
The father of the scientific basis of economic liberalism considered himself to be a ‘scientific socialist’! And his contemporaries were not mistaken: regarded by the liberals as a socialist (Joseph Garnier trashed him in a beautiful way in the Journal des Économistes after his speech at the Lausanne Tax Congress, calling him precisely a ‘socialist’, an extremely serious accusation at the time), an object of distrust for the socialists themselves (readers of the Revue Socialiste protested against the publication of its article on the tax problem which directly opposed opinions expressed by the Revue), Walras was perpetually at odds with the ideas of his time, whatever they were.” [3]
Rejected by French institutions, Léon Walras was forced to go into exile in Switzerland where the University of Lausanne offered him the first chair of Political Economy, created in 1870 thanks to the interest shown in him by Louis Ruchonnet, future president of the Swiss Confederation:
Science must resolutely approach the problem of the future and speak with the complete freedom that is the privilege of science. This study...where will it be done? Will it be in these big cities? I don't think so, and I would like to ask if our little homeland might not be a good place for social science.” Louis Ruchonnet, speech given on Walras' installation as professor." [3]
This Swiss recognition alone and his rare French disciples only offered Walras a very limited distribution of his work, published in very small edition, and of his theories - which he published in confidential economic journals. The most important institutions are put off by his abstruse equations and his “socialist” ideas. Acutely aware of being ahead of his time, Léon Walras was quick to seek posthumous recognition: “He was always secretly aware that he had done, more than anyone else, a great work. Just because it was misunderstood didn't mean it wasn't a great work in his eyes. This is why the problem that haunts the end of his life is the preservation of all his papers, so that they go down in history”.
He became the first curator of his own work (and that of his father), organizing the archiving of his writings, the sorting of his documentation and the production of several auto-bibliographies and autobiographies.
To be sure of the preservation of his collection, Walras negotiated with the University of Lausanne. These negotiations did not succeed immediately, which was one of the reasons why he decided to run for the Nobel Prize: the prize money would allow him to afford a small house whose roof could safely shelter his correspondence and his works, without forgetting those of his father.
The conservation and distribution of the ideas of the Walrases – father and son – then occupied the life of his daughter, entirely devoted to the work of her father and grandfather. She collected the considerable collection of documents, letters, notes, manuscripts, and printed material of her father, then tried in vain to have his scientific correspondence published. She also provided the material for the first biographical essay, and published the last edition of Elements of Pure Economics.
The animosity of his contemporaries combined with the care that Walras took in gathering his work and ensuring its availability for future generations, contributed to a very limited diffusion of his written legacy.
It is currently almost exhaustively kept in 3 Swiss and French institutions and a Canadian university. The history and inventory of Walrasian archive collections thus occupy an entire volume of the Œuvres Économiques Complètes which allowed us to reconstruct the origin of our set, presumed to be the unique archives in the private hands of the “greatest of all economists”. [4]
Walrasian archives were very early distributed successively in Switzerland and then in France in three institutions:

. Archives cantonales vaudoises, Lausanne, which received the first donation by Aline, daughter of Léon Walras, comprising “all of the manuscripts, documents, correspondence and personal library of [her] father, to be made available to the Faculty of Law of Lausanne in return for a moral commitment to publish the works and the correspondence […] under the auspices of the international committee [constituted by Aline Walras and Albert Aupetit] ”. [5]

However, in the absence of any publication, Walras' daughter obtained the restitution of several documents, part of which she entrusted to the care of Étienne Antonelli, professor at the Faculty of Lyon and Walras's second French disciple after A. Aupetit.

. Faculté de Droit, Lyon, whose Walras collection was assembled in 1924 "partly from elements [initially] deposited in Lausanne (manuscripts of Auguste Walras, letters from Auguste to his son, papers from the Caisse d'Escompte and some copies of the works of Leon Walras, etc.) and partly from the Auguste Walras archives received from his cousin Yves Delaporte” (D. A. Walker, corr. W. Jaffé-A. Walras).

Once again, no publications were produced following this new donation, and Antonelli's political ambitions took precedence over his intellectual commitment. However, he did not abandon his project and when his health forced him to leave Lyon and his political functions in 1935, he took some of the Léon Walras archives with him to entrust them to the Faculty of Law in Montpellier.

. Bibliothèque de Droit, Sciences Economiques et Gestion, Montpellier which holds the Etienne Antonelli Fund specifies, however, that: “The writings of Auguste and Léon Walras, as well as the analyzes of their thought, do not constitute the essential part of the Antonelli fund”.

Before being properly inventoried and preserved, and then used to edit the first edition, almost 100 years after his death, of the Œuvres Économiques Complètes de Léon Walras between 1985 and 2005, these three archival collections were poorly preserved. They almost disappeared on several occasions, illustrating the slow and arduous recognition of Léon Walras' work.
So, when the American economist William Jaffé was granted authorization to consult the Swiss archives, he discovered a cupboard with all the writings of the Master of Lausanne “in complete disorder and covered with a thick layer of dust”. He even told Aline that even the professor of Economics at the University of Lausanne “had no idea these documents existed [and] even thanked him for bringing them to his attention! How careless!” The first “very summary and partial” inventory of the archives (ŒC v.14 p. 126) was made in 1969, and it was not until 1897 that “the exhumation of the books of Léon Walras was undertaken” (ŒEC 134).
The Lyon collection, moved during the 1939-45 war, was first deemed lost, then gradually found. A first inventory in 1969 only lists a “fairly small volume, (which) is very comfortable in a single cardboard box” (B. LW novelist). It was not until 1983 that researchers found other Walrasian documents in the flooded cellars of the university library, "kept in shoeboxes" and in an "alarming […] state". [8]
Precise inventories of the various funds were not carried out until the end of the 20th century, almost 100 years after their acquisition.
However, despite the very large volume of archives (80 boxes in Lausanne, 40 boxes for Lyon and 82 bundles in Montpellier), the study of these inventories, detailed in volume XIV of the OEC, reveals the profusion of his archives produced in his teaching capacity and additional documents kept by Walras as well as his immense correspondence and his father's numerous archives. The economist's other original works and manuscripts are thus easily quantifiable:


By far the most important, they contain almost all handwritten works by Léon Walras. However, these represent only a small part of the collection which consists mainly of administrative documents relating to his position as professor, his economics courses, printed matter collected and preserved for his research, administrative documents, and archives of the newspaper Le Travail... But first and foremost, the Lausanne library is rich in the monumental correspondence sent (2,718 drafts, copies and originals) and received (2674 letters) by Léon Walras. It was used for the publication by Jaffé of "Correspondence of Leon Walras and related papers". Léon Walras' extensive library was partly scattered among various Swiss libraries and partly preserved in the collection.
All of Léon Walras' other handwritten works and corrected proofs are detailed in the second inventory of 1989 (with some details from Georges-Henri Bousquet's personal review:

Manuscrits des œuvres et articles de Léon Walras (épreuves annotées, brouillons, notes):
. Économie politique et la justice
. Associations populaires coopératives
. Mélanges d'économie politique et sociale
. Éléments d'économie politique pure (1' éd. 1877)
. Éléments d'économie politique pure (2° éd. 1889)
. Éléments d'économie politique pure (3° éd. 1896)
. Études d'économie sociale (1896)
. Études d'économie politique appliquée (1898)
. Théorie mathématique de la richesse sociale (1883 et 1886)
. Cours d'économie politique appliquée
. Cours d'économie sociale
. Cours élémentaire pour l'École industrielle
. Œuvres diverses
. Pièces biographiques (autographes et copies)

Much more modest, it mainly preserves the archives of Léon Walras' father, Auguste Walras, and a large part of the family correspondence. According to the 1983 inventory, the original documents of Léon Walras (mainly annotated printed matter), excluding correspondence, are detailed as follows (ALW OEC vol. XIV):

Œuvres manuscrites. Œuvres annotées. Plans d'œuvres de Léon Walras :
. Économie politique et justice
. Associations populaires coopératives
. Mélanges d'économie politique et sociale
. Éléments d'économie pure
. Études d'économie sociale
. Études d'économie politique appliquée
. Littérature (œuvres)
. Œuvres diverses
. Traduction du livre de H. H. Gossen (1854) par Léon Walras

Unfortunately, this review does not distinguish between manuscripts and printed works. However, on the bibliographic inventory carried out in the Œuvres Économiques Complètes, we were unable to identify any manuscript other than Gossen's translation.
Les Œuvres imprimées non annotées de Léon Walras preserved in Lyon are not detailed in the inventory.
Antonelli's documents include several manuscripts and works by Auguste Walras. The few original archives of Léon Walras are:
Various manuscripts by Léon Walras:
  • Lecture notes, essays, biographical and obituary notices of his father, autobiographical and bibliographical notices. (12 bundles)
  • Two sets of manuscripts and printed works of unpublished works (part being in Lausanne): 6
    •  Les Associations populaires cooperatives
    •  Mélanges d'économie politique et sociale
  • Several works written by Léon Walras. (unspecified)
  • Two brochures published by Léon Walras (unspecified)
Auguste WALRAS, De la Nature de la richesse, et de l'origine de la valeur (Paris : A. Johanneau, 1831). Copy annotated by Jean-Baptiste Say and later by Léon Walras.
Léon WALRAS, De l'Impôt dans le canton de Vaud (Lausanne : L. Vincent, 1861). Copy annotated by Léon Walras for re-publication within his Economic Works.
Papers and personal items (diary, photographs, etc.)

The relative dispersion of the Walras archives could have stopped at this unequal distribution between the three universities, from which there emerges a virtual absence of manuscripts of Walras' works outside the University of Lausanne.
However, these three essential funds do not bring together the entirety of Léon Walras' archives. Another set of original archives was to be built up across the Atlantic.
In the absence of commitments of the various Swiss and French universities, Aline Walras, entirely devoted to the preservation and dissemination of her father's work, befriended a new disciple of her father, the American economist William Jaffé. He, who in 1930 undertook a colossal work of inventorying the correspondence of the Master of Lausanne, would become the first and main promoter of his thought internationally.
Although Walras had a few European disciples during his lifetime, he remains little known in his time and even less internationally. “The works of Léon Walras were unknown to most English-speaking economists. He was generally thought to be a minor economist, and was loosely and erroneously associated with Austrian economists. The fact that Walras was awarded honorary membership of the American Economic Association in 1892 to “in recognition of the distinguished services he has given to the cause of political economy” did not have much influence in the English-speaking world. In France, meanwhile, the academic Establishment rejected his method and doctrine.” [9]
In her correspondence with Jaffé, Aline repeatedly highlights this incomprehension:
If Mr. Antonelli could lend you copies of my father's notes, notes that he threw at random on scraps of paper, you would penetrate deeply into the ulcerated soul of the great scholar who was so well aware of the animosity felt against him, out of jealousy, by the Academicians, the Members of the Institute, in a word, all the official economists”. (Letter dated July, 17,1931, in D. Walker, corr. A. Walras and W. Jaffé)
William Jaffé, more than any other disciple of Walras, brought him international recognition. His many articles on Walras' work, to which he devoted his life, had a decisive influence on the reception and understanding of one of the most complex and ambitious theoretical revolutions in Economic science.
In the course of her lengthy work with Aline Walras to reconstitute her father's correspondence and thus complete the translation of the Elements into English, Walras' daughter personally offered him numerous autograph documents and works annotated in her father's hand, like this copy of Walras' latest work presented in our set:
I enclose with my shipment a copy of  ‘Economique et Mécanique’ which I offer to you with great pleasure. The mathematical corrections are by my father's hand. This is his last work; and it has given him a lot of trouble. You could tell that his poor brain was very tired.” (Letter dated July, 1, 1932).
At the request of Aline Walras (see letters 34 and 36), the rector of the Faculty also sent him a number of works, which are now included in our collection.
Les associations populaires
Francis Sauveur
The geometrical Theory of the Determination of prices
Equations de la Circulation
Two other works are mentioned in letters 34 and 36 but are not included in our set:
Théorie critique de l’Impôt
Jubilé de Walras.
On Aline’s death, Gaston Leduc, heir of the Walras, gave him, other archives kept by her (the rest of the inheritance was transferred, upon the death of Gaston Leduc, to the archives of Lausanne). In his Correspondence of Léon Walras and related papers, W. Jaffé describes these latest archives in private hands as follows: “Private collection in my possession in Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A. (a gift of Professor Gaston Leduc of the Faculté de Droit in Paris, who inherited the collection from Aline Walras), containing:
. autographs of business letters;
. copies of sundry economic letters in Aline Walras's hand;
. family wills, marriage contracts, and certificates;
. miscellaneous publications,
. newspapers carrying Léon Walras's articles, etc.;
. family photograph albums;
. some personal effects, including Léon Walras's skull-cap.” [10]
When William Jaffé died in 1980, his widow Olive Caroline Jaffé offered Donald A. Walker, who was continuing her husband's research, part of these private archives. Among these, the exchanges between Aline Walras and William Jaffé “as well as a few other important letters” will allow this professor of economics emeritus at Indiana University to publish this correspondence which is crucial for understanding the circulation of archives.

In 1983, the rest of the William Jaffé archives joined the collection of the University of York, Canada which in its inventory, announces: “In addition, the fonds hold a good deal of material from Leon Walras, including correspondence with members of his family, an unpublished autobiography, family photographs, essays and other writings, and financial records, 1860-1910.”
However, the details of the inventory carried out and published on the University website indiscriminately mix the original documents with the copies made by Aline or by Jaffé himself from the funds of Lausanne and Lyon. It therefore does not allow a review of the autograph archives. Donald Walker did, however, provide a more precise inventory, which can be found in the Œuvres Économiques Complètes by Léon Walras. As a result, there are virtually no original documents by Léon Walras in this collection, with the exception of :

. Correspondence and financial accounts of Léon Walras
. 240 Photographs of Léon Walras and his family
. 25 postcards
. 5 original letters

The exceptional and undoubtedly ultimate archives in private hands that we are presenting today come from Donald Walker's private collection, preserved by the researcher then miraculously saved from destruction by a well-informed amateur who acquired them in Louisiana in 2023.
This new rescue in extremis of the archives of the great economic thinker, even whose printed works are of remarkable rarity, closes the last chapter in a history of preservation inaugurated by Léon Walras himself, continued by his daughter Aline Walras, then by his French disciple Etienne Antonelli, and finally taken over by the first expert of his work, the American William Jaffé, and his successor, Donald Walker.

Towards a global economy

The set of documents presented here therefore has the particularity of coming from both Léon Walras' personal archives and those of his main adviser, William Jaffé.
Thus, most printed documents are corrected and annotated and signed by one or/and the other.
However, the real coherence of this collection lies above all in the international dissemination of Léon Walras' ideas, particularly across the Atlantic.
Indeed, the documents preserved by Jaffé then Walker seem linked to this highly innovative desire to internationalize economic science, favored both by the mathematization established by Walras and by his early attempt to disseminate his ideas internationally.
In France, the rigidity of the separation between literary and scientific training, which was incompatible with the mathematization advocated by Walras, and the lack of ambition of the political and scientific elites, led to the “collapse of French economic theory. The best French theorist is to be found in Lausanne, quite isolated, despite one of his most brilliant disciples: Pareto. The Anglo-Saxons, following Marshall, established themselves on the international scene and made English the official language of economic science.” (Dumez)
A convincing example of this underlying contempt of the community of French economists for their exiled compatriot is this note from the editor-in-chief of the Journal des économistes from April 1885 which accompanies Walras' article on Hermann-Henri Gossen: “by publishing this article by one of our former and learned collaborators, we must make our reservations […] on the usefulness, in our opinion higly exaggerated, that he attributes to the application of the mathematical method to a observational science such as ours”.

UN ECONOMISTE INCONNU : HERMANN-HENRI GOSSEN (handwritten corrections by Leon Walras)

On his copy, preserved in our collection, Léon Walras angrily crossed out the impious note in black ink, initialing his gesture in the margin. He also added in pencil two more specific comments, one of which refers to page 81 enriched with a long handwritten note covering all of the margins.
Desperate to overcome the intellectual hieraticism of his native country, Léon Walras sought to create an economic language that was not limited by linguistic boundaries, as Hervé Dumez writes in L'Economiste, la science et le pouvoir: le cas Walras:
"Walras was in contact, which was new for the time, with all the economists of the period who left a name in the history of economic theory : in Germany, Auspitz and Lieben; in Sweden, Wicksell; in England, Jevons, Edgeworth, Marshall; in the United States, Fisher, Clark, Moore; in Italy, Pantaleoni, Barone; etc. This progressive constitution of an international environment of economists undoubtedly owes a lot to the process of mathematization: Sakharov recently remarked that the equations are correct on all continents.”
owever, before Walras' generation (
and the movement continued thereafter), there was an English school of economics opposed to a German school. This is just one of many striking exemples. Walras was well aware of this characteristic of mathematics: “I have absolutely no concern for non-mathematicians. My only aim is to bring about a certain degree of agreement between mathematicians on fundamental points. […] As early as 1890 there was an international debate between mathematical economists. This debate would grow over the years, and Walras was one of the driving forces behind it.” [12]
This essential contribution of Walras to the establishment of a truly international community of researchers in economics was not limited to a new language. He also tried to disseminate his writings to selected economists using a list system:
Taking advantage of the largely international character of Lausanne, he obtained for each country, England, Germany, Italy, Holland, etc., a list of the main economists and he usually send them separate reprints of his articles and communications (the Société vaudoise des Sciences naturelles, by printing several hundred copies of its communications, did him an important service, even if its prestige is not that of the Institut de France). It was largely through these lists that links were forged between mathematical economists: one of the names on the very first English list was Jevons.
This is how he distributed the 100 copies of his Elements of Pure Economics acquired from the publisher by the Canton of Vaud to pay the printing costs, thanks to Louis Ruchonnet.
As Jan Van Daal and Donald Walker note [13], “many of Léon's articles appeared in magazines or newspapers with small circulations and little recognition, being therefore difficult to find”. The offprints of Walras' articles are thus the best and almost the only ambassadors of Walras' developing thought and his real means of scholarly communication with his peers (the Internet was born from this same desire for sharing between scientists). Our collection, which is made up of numerous offprints annotated by the author, therefore bears witness to this specific approach.
The mastery of the English language, which was becoming the official scientific language at the expense of French, was also an issue for Walras himself, as reflected in the documents kept by Jaffé and Walker:


Thus the two sets of proofs of Note on the solution of the Anglo-Indian monetary problem enriched with numerous mathematical corrections, deletions, additions and notes by Walras show the importance given to these translations."Be so kind as to sent a second proof. LW" "Be so kind as to send a second proof. LW", he asked his American publisher, despite the distance and the time involved. But it is above all a seemingly anecdotal correction that provides the most convincing indication of Walras' particular attention to the reception of his thought across the Atlantic. He thus crossed out "University of Lausanne" and requested for it to be replaced with "Academy of Lausanne" in order undoubtedly to ensure the legitimacy of his signature among his colleagues.
On the second proof, also included in our set, Léon Walras, among the new corrections made,  changed the place of his surname, crossing it out at the end and rewriting it at the top of the article.


Likewise, The Geometrical theory of the Determination of Prices, a separate issue of the American Academy of political and social science in Philadelphia, is heavily annotated and enriched with this beautiful autograph explanation by W. Jaffé: "The corrections in ink are those made by Léon Walras himself in a copy of this article sent to Alfred Marshall. The corrections are in W's hand". Alfred Marshall, whose theories were to predominate until the 1929 crisis, was Walras' main ideological opponent. William Jaffé was well aware of the importance of Walras's attention to his exchange with Marshal, and he copied the corrections on his own copy.

MANUSCRIT AUTOGRAPHE ORIGINAL EN ANGLAIS DE LA MAIN DE WALRAS de The Geometrical theory of the Determination of Prices

Moreover, the English version of this fundamental article, published a few months after the French original, was written by Léon Walras himself as proven by the original autograph manuscript in English by Walras, presented in our collection and carefully kept by Jaffé who inserted several calculation sheets of his own into his printed copy.


Another work in this collection illustrates both the internationalization of Walras' thought and the abandonment of the primacy of his original language. It is Un nuovo ramo della matematica dell'applicazione delle matematiche all'economia politica published in Padua in 1876 directly in Italian and never translated into French during the author's lifetime.


Jaffé and Walker have also preserved a precious offprint, the unique collaboration between two of the founders of mathematical economics which is also the very first bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs à l’application des mathématiques a l’économie politique, by Stanley Jevons, with the collaboration and an introduction by Léon Walras. (The only other publication bringing together the two economists is a short correspondence, published in 1874 in the JDE and published in volume in 1877 in Théorie mathématique de la richesse sociale, also present in our set).
As early as 1893, Swedish economist Knut Wicksell noted the importance of this publication in Uber Wert, Kapital und Rente nach den neueren nationalökonomischen Theorien :
“There are also various very rich, although incomplete, bibliographies of the works of economists who have used of mathematics. The earliest dates from 1878 and has quite a history.   It was compiled by Jevons and Walras themselves after they realized that the results, they had arrived at on their own had coincided. “It is quite natural,” says Walras, “that Mr. Jevons and I, awakened by this singular coincidence, took care to inquire about the various attempts which had preceded ours, and that we were thus led to take stock of the Bibliography of works relating to the application of mathematics to political economy. “For this purpose,” says Jevons, “I drew up a chronological list of all the mathematical-economic works that I knew, then numbering about 70: this list was, thanks to the kindness of the editor, Mr. Giffen, printed in the June 1878 issue of the Journal of the London Statistical Society, and addressed to leading economists, for additions and corrections. My friend, M. L. Walras, rector of the Academy of Lausanne, after having made considerable additions himself, sent it to the Journal des Économistes in December 1878.” [14]
This uncovered offprint is therefore more than a simple census, it is a claim to legitimacy. Through the search for predecessors, these two economic revolutionaries assert that their thinking is part of historical continuity and is justified by the illustrious peers who preceded them. Thus, Walras is proud to add to the list the first mathematical occurrence in economic thinking, dating back to 1781, i.e. almost to the origin of economic thought.


This obsession with historical legitimation can be seen on our copy of the Théorie mathématique du Bimétallisme in 1881, copiously annotated in pencil and corrected by Léon Walras and enriched with this long autograph note at the foot of page 8:
“The oldest of all the attempts to apply mathematics to political economy that has been found so far is a work by an Italian economist named Giovanni Ceva, published in Mantua in 1711 and entitled De re numinaria quoad fieri potuit geometrice tractata ad illustrissimos et excellentissimos dominos Praesidene, Quaestroresque hujus arciducalis Caesarei Magistratus Mantuae. This work was reported and analyzed by M. F. Nicolini in the issue of Giornale degli Economisti of October 1878; and from this analysis, it seems that Ceva quite clearly saw the formula for the value of money as an inversely decreasing function of quantity.”

NOTE SUR LA REFUTATION DE LA THEORIE ANGLAISE DU FERMAGE DE M. WICKSTEED (Note on Wicksteed’ refutation of the English theory of rent)

The proof dated by the printer of June 21, 95, extensively corrected of the Note on Wicksteed’ refutation of the English theory of rent, is also a very important milestone in the marginalist theory and in “the quarrel which opposed Walras to Wicksteed on the authorship of the theorem” as noted by Baldin, Legris and Ludovic Ragni, (“La Productivité marginale et concurrence dans les travaux d’Enrico Barone”, Revue européenne des sciences sociales). The three researchers emphasize the importance of the rewritings and modifications made by Walras, particularly in our copy:
“Walras' Note also contains the date of 1895, for the second part, where Barone's contributions to the theory and the theorem of marginal productivities that Walras applies to his own theory of production and distribution are taken into account. These developments lead him to propose the first formulation of the théorème des productivités marginals (theor of marginal productivities) which was included in the third edition of the Elements (1988 [1896]) in the form of an appendix which will be postponed to the 36th lesson for the fourth edition (1988 [1900]) and amended in 1901 for the fifth edition (1988 [1926]). [15]


The copy of Léon Walras' final work, an offprint of his final speech to the Société Vaudoise, Economique et Mécanique, is one of the precious books sent to him by Aline Walras during their intense correspondence. It features the name of William Jaffé in her handwriting on the cover.
But it is above all the autograph mathematical corrections in ink by Léon Walras, enriched with those in pencil by William Jaffé that make this copy so unique. It will not be republished with these essential modifications.
Our copy also includes the letter from H. Poincarré authorizing Walras to add his letter reviewing his criticism of the fourth edition of Eléments d'Economie Pure.
Jaffé's many annotations also provide great insight into the complex reception of Walras' thought. It was this difficulty that led to the considerable work of reconstructing his master's archives and correspondence, in order to translate his works:
I thought of translating the Eléments d'Economie Politique Pure into English. The undertaking proved more difficult than I had anticipated; and, as I wrestled with the obscurer passages in the Eléments, I longed for something like the Memorials of Alfred Marshall, edited by A. C. Pigou, in which several published letters and republished papers of Marshall threw added light on his Principles of Economics. Thus I came to search for Léon Walras's letters and literary remains.”  [16]
As a result, Jaffé began to correspond with Aline Walras to obtain copies of her father's letters, and discovered in Lausanne "a collection in complete disarray", literally forgotten by the curators.

ELEMENTS D’ECONOMIE POLITIQUE PURE 1926 (enrichies de corrections manuscrites voulue par Walras)

Our set also includes the final object of this immense intellectual adventure: William Jaffé's copy, initialed at the top, of the 1926 edition of Eléments d'économie politique, from which he prepared the American edition. Reputed to be the definitive edition including all the changes Walras wanted (the next one would not be published until 1976), our copy is however annotated by Jaffé in red with this precious autograph mention on the first cover: “Specially marked copy with correction indicated by L.W. for ed. def. – not carried into this edition.”
Published in 1954, Jaffé's translation, based on this copy, takes into account the corrections “indicated by Walras” and transcribed in red ink. Although no one mentioned this particularity, it became the first definitive edition of Walras's masterwork, 22 years before the 6th French edition.
Apart from a contemporary Japanese translation published at the same time as Jaffé's, the other translations of the work of the founder of the École of Lausanne did not appear until 1966 in Chinese, 1974 in Italian and 1987 in Spanish. The American edition was published 5 times (1954, 1969, 1977, 1984 and 2003) highlighting the importance given to Walras across the Atlantic.
Almost all the offprints, reviews, and books in our set therefore include numerous annotations, underlinings or selections of chapters in pencil by William Jaffé. These annotations use a variety of graphic codes (dotted lines, double underlining, details in the margins, bibliographic references, etc.) which shed light on the interests and questions of the scholiast faced with the many enigmas of Walrasian thought.


Among the precious and unique manuscripts contained in our set are the five autograph leaves and the bon à tirer from the 23rd lesson of section V of the Elements for the 1900 edition. However, none of these corrections and notes seem to have been taken into account in the final version of the Elements, for in our 1926 edition the text of this lesson is that of the bon à tirer without Walras' modifications. We are of course not competent to judge the specifics of this manuscript of mathematical equations and abundantly corrected text, but it is not difficult to know why William Jaffé carefully kept it. Here is what he wrote in 1953 in Économie Appliquée, April-September 1953 (« La théorie de la capitalisation chez Walras dans le cadre de sa théorie de l'équilibre général. »  [“The theory of capitalization in Walras within the framework of his theory of general equilibrium.”]):
Probably the most difficult part of Elements of Pure Economics is Section V of the definitive edition, which is entitled “Théorie de la capitalisation et du crédit.” The proof of its difficulty, even for its most erudite readers, lies in the paucity of published commentaries on this section and in the abundance of unpublished correspondence which deals with this part of the Walrasian system. That it constituted a real stumbling block for Walras himself, I also see proof in the numerous revisions he made of his theory of capitalization during the successive editions of the Elements which appeared during his lifetime. These revisions not only concerned the substance but even affected the position of the theory within the general equilibrium system. In fact, if we want to gain a better understanding of the theory, we must follow it through the changes it has undergone in its successive versions and consider it from the point of view of the place it occupies in the entire system.”
The "bon à tirer"f from this lesson (p. 241 to 256) is hand-dated April 6, 1900 and signed by Léon Walras, like page 3 of the manuscript. Surprisingly, Walras titled it by hand: “Equations du taux du revenu net ” (a manuscript with this title attached to our set is described below). It also contains several corrections and autograph additions which, too, will still not be reflected in the definitive edition of the Elements of 1926!

ON THE SOLUTION OF THE ANGLO-INDIAN MONETARY PROBLEM, (plusieurs versions plus traduction anglaise autographe et corrections)
L. Walras [was] one of the first to recommend the use of a price index to guide monetary policy. Its multiple standard provides the information that determines interventions intended to eliminate variations in the value of money. This multiple standard is nothing more than a price index used for specific purposes. The usefulness of such an index, which was far from universally accepted at the time when L. Walras demonstrated its usefulness, is now recognized.” [18]
In the manuscript note On the Solution of the Anglo-Indian Monetary Problem, Walras - unconcerned about the imperialist competition which will soon lead Europe to its downfall - "proposes the establishment of his system to solve the monetary problems of the main economic powers” by offering a solution of economic balance to the British Empire. “He hopes to organize better monetary relations between the United Kingdom and India. His plan is intended to stabilize the pound and the rupee simultaneously, thereby ending the permanent devaluation of the Indian currency against the pound sterling” (JG Stab)
“The question of money interests me [...] because it lends itself to one of the first and most decisive applications of my system of pure political economy” wrote Walras in 1893. [20]
However, our manuscript, far from being a simple autograph copy of this fundamental communication for Walras who thus hoped to see his theories applied on an international scale, contains several versions and numerous corrections.
Thus the initial manuscript does not include the last paragraph and is signed and dated “July 3, 1887” just after: “cette frappe donnerait un bénéfice assez élevé pour couvrir la perte à éprouver d’autre part ". Walras then added two extra sheets, a heavily crossed out draft of the added chapter, then a clean version of this new ending, signed and dated “July, 1887” (with no mention of the day).
These manuscripts are also enriched with three autograph pages of calculations (on two leaves) entitled “verifications” and a typewritten copy with a note by Walras.
Even more surprising, on another autograph sheet, Léon Walras himself produced the English translation of this last additional chapter.
Attached to this unique set is the double sheet of the offprint, Extrait de la Revue d'Economie Politique, November-December 1887.

Another essential manuscript, Équation de la circulation [the Equation of monetary circulation] includes 8 leaves, undoubtedly written in 1899, a counterpart to the 19 ff manuscript kept in Lausanne and entitled Sur les équations de la circulation. The same year, Walras published an eponymous article from our manuscript in the Bulletin de la Société vaudoise. What he developed here was an innovative concept of the circulation of money through which he created, according to Schumpeter, “the modern theory of money”. Absent from the first editions, this concept was to form section VI of the Elements of Pure Economics from the 1900 edition. For Schumpeter, the theory of money, i.e. of "circulating capital", was the final founding piece of his general theory of equilibrium, along with the theory of the market for consumer goods and that of production and the market for producing services.
Attached are two offprints, probably published only for the author and his relatives. They are both annotated in pencil by William Jaffé who adds corrections and notes passages omitted from the 1900 edition of Elements.

The last manuscript in this set is entitled Équations du taux du revenu net (Equations of the net revenue rate), extensively corrected, which contains four pages on three and a half leaves. Written in 1900, a year after the previous one, it is a continuation of it and completes his great work, Elements of Pure Economics, just before his last publication during his lifetime. The importance of this last manuscript is underlined by Léon Walras himself in his autobiography:
“In 1900, I published the 4th edition of Elements of Pure Economics, which contained a theory of the determination of the rate of interest rationally deduced, for the first time, from equations of exchange and maximum satisfaction and which appeared in December under the title of: "Note sur l'équation du taux du revenu net" [Note on the Equations of the net revenue rate], in the Bulletin de l'Institut des actuaires français, […] and a theory of the value of money deduced, also rationally, for the first time, of equations of exchange and maximum satisfaction and which had been communicated in 1899 under the title of "Équations de la circulation" to the Société vaudoise des sciences naturelles, which elected me an emeritus member on that occasion. This 4th edition of Elements of Pure Economics, with the two volumes of Studies in social economics and Studies in Applied Economics, can, I believe, give a sufficient idea of my economic and social doctrine.”
Our manuscript, initially written on three leaves, is enriched with an additional half-sheet of text to be inserted in the first paragraph. This composition and the numerous erasures, deletions and additions clearly indicate a first draft work in full development, the pentiments of which are undoubtedly as instructive on the formation of Walrasian thought as its definitive content.

Social and pacifist commitment
In the early days of industrial globalization, with the emergence of class consciousness on an international scale, the rise of the United States of America and the territorial expansion of Western countries, the mastery of economic equilibrium becomes a key issue.
Far from contributing to the imperialist escalation, Walras' economic theories -which are generally reduced to the foundations of the capitalist and liberal economy which will flourish in the West, at the expense of the underprivileged classes and the countries of the global South - are, for the committed economist, a pledge of justice and international peace.
Among the documents kept by Jaffé are some of his first offprints and proofs resulting from this “desire of Léon Walras to achieve a synthesis between socialism and liberalism» as Claude HÉBERT explains (“Léon Walras et Les Associations Populaires Coopératives.” Revue d’ économique Politique 98, no. 2):
From 1864 to 1870, Léon Walras took part in the cooperative movement. (…) As a practitioner, he and Léon Say founded the Caisse d'escompte des associations populaires and the newspaper Le Travail.” [21]
However, C. Hébert clarifies what was at stake for Walras in these early writings, which he describes as “a true profession of faith”.
The humanist economist indeed saw in these movements an alternative to his tax reform for “resolving the problem of wealth distribution”:
With the theoretical approach that he was to develop in three public lessons at the beginning of 1865, Walras distinguished himself from his contemporaries by seeing associations as a means for the working classes gain to access to the ownership of capital through savings. Credit and production associations make it possible to break the vicious circle—the worker only has personal guarantees to offer while the capitalist demands real guarantees—by interposing a company which provides a collective guarantee. Léon Walras is naturally attracted to the category of credit associations which he considers to be the most complete and accessible form to an economist. He helped to spread the movement by founding, with Léon Say, a popular credit association in 1865 and a newspaper in 1866 to promote his ideas.” [22]
De l'organisation financière et de la constitution légale des associations populaires [On the financial organization and legal constitution of co-operative societies] presents in our whole is one of these lessons. Also attached is a very rare, corrected proof of his newspaper Le Travail, explicitly subtitled: organe international des intérêts de la classe laborieuse [international organ of the interests of the working class], or the offprint of his Projet de loi sur les sociétés à responsabilité proportionnelle which will be published in the No. 7 of the newspaper.

At a time when heightened international tensions were about to drive Europe into a corner, Walras saw his economic revolution as a solution capable of preventing conflicts and establishing lasting peace through interdependence between peoples. Thus in 1907, barely seven years before the outbreak of the First World War, Walras put his work at the service of the peace effort, in the pure physiocratic tradition:
“It is impossible for two peoples to draw partly their subsistence from each other if they are at war; and, reciprocally, it is all the more difficult for them to go to war as they draw more of their subsistence from each other. In a word, free trade not only presupposes and requires peace, but it maintains and ensures it”. (La paix  par la justice sociale et le libre échange, taken separately from Questions pratiques de législation ouvrière et d’économie sociale, n°6, 7-8 et 9-10, June to October, 1907).
This incipit is the transparent modern rewriting of what Montesquieu already proposed in The Spirit of Laws:
Peace is the natural effect of trade. Two nations who traffic with each other become reciprocally dependent; for if one has an interest in buying, the other has an interest in selling: and thus their union is founded on their mutual necessities ".
But on this eve of cataclysm, it is also an early call for this great work for maintening Peace that European governments will only carry out after two world wars: The European Union and its common market. Walras not only called for this union, he also set out in mathematical detail the economic conditions necessary for its realization.
In addition to the three rare issues of Questions Pratiques, the original publication of Walras' text, our set includes the precious copy of the offprint of this manifesto for peace through economic science that Léon Walras wrote to apply for the Nobel Prize, for three consecutive years.
Created four years earlier, the young Swedish committee had yet to award any Nobel prizes in economics or mathematics. The first prize dedicated to this discipline was not awarded until 1969. However, it was an economist who received one of the first two Nobel Prizes in History, for his work on behalf of Peace.
Published three years before Walras' death, this short pamphlet is both a synthesis of his thought and the humanist purpose of his work and the final and vain attempt to recognize and preserve the integrity of his work:
I have been experiencing, since I have been busy putting my books and papers in order, a great difficulty coming from the fact that I do not have the means to house them during my lifetime, and even less after me, as would be necessary for them to be at the disposal of my future school. A man in my situation would really need to own his little house so that he could leave it to his children first, then to the city or his University. Under the influence of this concern and the news that Norway was separating from Sweden in part to be a free trader at ease, the idea came to me of taking the following sort of lottery ticket. It is a Committee of the Norwegian Parliament which awards the one of the five Nobel Prizes given for “the work of peace”. I wrote a note explaining how my work led, through the abolition of all taxes, to absolute free trade and universal peace in a future to be pursued, as an ideal, by humanity.” [23]
This manifesto is one of the rare positions taken that is both pacifist and pragmatic in which Walras calls on states to rebalance the market and economic forces and not to achieve utopian fraternity between peoples.
Walras, who, according to W. Jaffé, squandered his wealth and  income in the publication of his offprints and their distribution to economists around the world, has undoubtedly, with this last synthesis and popularization of his thought, played his last chance by publishing it in a larger number of copies, both in Paris and Lyon, and by attempting to distribute it in bookshops, at the low price of 1 franc, as indicated on the cover.
Today, apart from a few copies in institutions, there are no copies for sale of this tragic apogee of all Walrasian struggles: mathematical economics, social justice, the recognition of his peers and the preservation of his work.


The most important document in our set for understanding the complex personality of the founder of the School of Lausanne does not directly concern his economic theories, but is one of only two copies (the other being kept at the University of Lausanne) abundantly annotated and corrected, from his unique literary work on the cover of which, Léon Walras inscribed then signed in pencil: “Warning and corrections for a second edition”.
“Work, think. Search tirelessly. Look for the life-giving principle and formula for an ideal society. And when you have found it, nothing can delay its application. Because, from now on, without upheavals, without revolutions, without shedding a tear or a drop of blood, society will, under your Inspiration, be able to slowly transform itself; and, docile as the ship at the helm, to take and follow the direction of progress, which all together, without exception, and in fraternal agreement, you will strive to give. From this day forward, you are all citizens, all voters, all legislators, all equal.”
This perfect synthesis of his scientific commitment was not written by Walras at the end of his career, but as a preamble to his early work: Francis Sauveur, published a few months before the revelation of his vocation as an economist, “one evening in the summer of 1858 […] during a walk in the Gave de Pau valley”, during which Léon promised his father Auguste that he would "leave literature behind" and "devote himself entirely» to the task of “creating Social Science”.
After this fortunate decision, Francis Sauveur, a quasi-autobiographical novel published at author’s expense and then “withdrawn from the market”, according to Walras himself, was long disowned by the economist who in a letter to Edouard confided that he had “communicated it only to very few people.” He even refrained from mentioning it in his autobibliography written in 1906. However, as early as 1887, as evidenced by his letter to Rod found and published by G.H. Bousquet in “Léon Walras, romancier: Une Lettre Inédite.”  Revue d'histoire Économique et Sociale, vol. 45, no. 2, 1967, the economist remains haunted by “this little case of conscience and art”. He makes several different corrections on the margins of two copies. If his letter to Rod is anything to go by, it is not a new version but a return to the original spirit of his novel, before the literary advice of Maxime Du Camp.
This primitive version, while in keeping with a Christian conception of decorum and the polite mores of bourgeois morality, also testifies to a more ambitious and personal will. “This subject is treated in an idealistic way, in the sense that all the characters are likeable.” he confides to his fellow writer. “The mother, in particular, whom a realist would probably have made a narrow-minded bourgeois, was conceived by me as a distinguished, even superior, person.”
This 'idealist' versus 'realist' stance taken by the 23-year-old writer is undoubtedly also a key to analyzing his economic work, which was already in the making when he wrote his first book.
To conceive a novelistic action without opponents and almost without climax, against the most elementary peripatetic rules, is a mark of the particular spirit of the man who was to attempt to revolutionize economic thought, by appealing to mathematical reasoning rather than to political ideology.
The call for contributions for the “Against Walras” conference, organized by the Centre d'Économie de la Sorbonne in 2015, presented Walras’ economic work as follows:
"The case is clear: Walras left an immense legacy. Nearly a century and a half after his first formulation, the general equilibrium theory remains "the 'base camp' of most research in economic theory". Walras's intellectual legacy is supposedly well known: it generally coincides with the history of general equilibrium and a litany of names ranging from Pareto to Arrow-Debreu, via Cassel, Zeuthen, von Neuman, Wald, Allais, Hicks and Samuelson. At the same time, we can observe with Hildenbrandt that, if the general equilibrium theory is a magnificent cathedral, of which Walras was the first architect, and which still retains all its beauty today, it shelters under its vaults more admiring tourists than fervent practitioners".
The allegory of the cathedral echoes the most virulent criticisms against Walras, who generally stigmatize the general equilibrium as a theory deprived of any empirical relevance, because it is incapable of resolving the question of the effective determination of prices. However, no one would think of criticize Walras for ignoring the complexity of the Global Market, since he is in fact the first to have taken into account the multiplicity of interactions.
One of the answers can undoubtedly be formulated in the light of this novel, which opens with the end of a romantic idyll to transform sentimental disillusionment into a new utopia, thanks to the intelligence of the characters and their moderation leading them to a new equilibrium: friendship.
“At the end, it was clearly understood that the friend and the mistress would live as brother and sister.”
50 years after its first publication, Léon Walras did not give up on this first impulse. At the twilight of his life, he modified his work “disfigured and made ugly by the changes that [he had] made to it”, to assume the position of an exhaustive humanist who intended to rebalance the world through the natural contribution of all.
His immense intellectual “cathedral” is in fact built on the same foundations and aimed at the same ideal. It does not deny the imperfection of the world but it trusts in the perfectibility of human beings.
In addition to the numerous corrections and additions in the body of the novel, and more explicitly the rewriting of the denouement, it is in the long autograph note added to his long preface that Walras reveals both the constancy of his youthful ideal and the terrible disillusionment of his maturity.
It was in fact in this prologue-manifesto, far more ambitious than his novel, that the short-lived novelist Walras set out the dynamics of the eternal economist:
“We have given you a glimpse of the vast horizons open to thought. Choose science or art. When you have chosen, follow your path; and become able to lend the assistance of your work to the society from which you expect the support and security of your life.” […] What then, all things considered, is this society that we must serve? And what revolting and iniquitous association is that which divides humanity into two classes: on one side the crowd of workers, despised proletarians, on the other the clan of idlers, happy owners of the soil where we were born? […] To serve this society! we would do so to betray and overthrow it, if we knew what other society to build in its place. But if humanity is on the move, where is it going? And how can we direct it?”
Walras did more than simply present his profession of faith. He attributed to it an origin, a political and social foundation on which to raise the edifice of his revolutionary thought:
“At that time, a revolution took place. A throne collapsed. A new form of government arose, then disappeared. [...] Others than I will make the republic of 1848 a panegyric or a satire. It is said that it lacked men and ideas. Did it lack men because it had no ideas, or ideas because it could not find men? I don't know. We were very young then; and of my generation I am one of the youngest. In our heads fermented many vain fears, many crazy hopes, the hopes and fears of children forgotten today like the twists and turns of a dream. The fact remains that however weak and powerless, and however justly engulfed the Republic of 1848 may have been, it is entitled from us to more than the vain respect we owe to the dead, since from it, and from it alone, we have inherited universal suffrage as a sacred legacy.”
Barely 10 years later, the very young Walras had understood the implications of one of the most fundamental social advances that would soon tip Europe into the modern era. But 10 years before Europe was to face the worst consequences of its modernity, the 70-year-old economist made a disenchanted change to his preface, which was to sum up his bitterness:
“My opinion on universal suffrage subsequently changed from the distinction that I managed to make between theory or social science and practice or politics. I still believe that universal suffrage is a scientific truth and has its place in the social ideal, provided it is rationally organized. But I also believe that its premature advent and its operation in a crude and brutal form is a political misfortune from which French democracy may not recover.”


The crucial documents carefully preserved and passed on by Aline Walras to William Jaffé then to Donald Walker, not only constitute the ultimate set of Léon Walras archives in private hands, but also present true intellectual coherence. Despite their mathematical and conceptual importance, several of these autograph works seem to have remained unpublished. These includes the corrections of section V of the Elements, those of Francis Sauveur, and the corrections of proofs of which we were able to consult the final published version. However, our lack of knowledge on the subject did not allow us to assess the importance of the numerous notes on calculations and equations as well as the additions of paragraphs to the published texts. Nor have we been able to work on the extreme rarity of printed and offprint works, many of which cannot be found outside the Vaud archives.
The overview of the items highlighted in this presentation is neither exhaustive nor necessarily relevant and only an in-depth study by competent researchers could reveal the true importance of these unique documents, which, once inventoried, constitute one of the five most important sets of archives of the one whom Schumpeter considered the “greatest of all economists”.

Most important documents included in these archives (manuscripts, corrected proofs, offprints, periodicals, books) : 
  • Projet de loi sur les sociétés à responsabilité proportionnelle 1865
  • "Ruchonnet et le Socialisme scientifique" in La Revue socialiste, n°295 - Tome 50            1909
  • Equations de la circulation           1899
  • Equation du taux de revenu net : Section V Théorie de la Capitalisation et du crédit. 23eme leçon Du revenu brut et du revenu net.       1900
  • Académie de Lausanne - Séance académique du 20 octobre 1871 - Discours d'installation 1871
  • Sur la théorie mathématique de l'échange 187
  • Equations de la capitalisation - Mémoire lu à la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles        1876
  • Economique et mécanique 1909
  • Un initiateur en économie politique A.-A.Walras             1908
  • De la mise en valeur des biens communaux             1918
  • Le socialisme scientifique             1918
  • La paix par la justice sociale et le libre échange             1907
  • Un économiste inconnu : Hermann-Henri Gossen            1885
  • Des billets de banque en Suisse   1871
  • De l'organisation financière et de la constitution légale des associations populaires 1865
  • De l'assurance sur la vie  1879
  • De la culture et de l'enseignement des sciences morales et politiques       1879
  • Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs à l'application des mathématiques à l'économie politique             1878
  • Theorie des Geldes         1922
  • "Léon Walras à l'Université de Lausanne" in Revue économique et sociale n°4 - 6ème année - Octobre 1948    1948
  • The Geometrical theory of the Determination of Prices            1892
  • Note sur la réfutation de la théorie anglaise du fermage de M. Wicksteed   1896
  • Note sur la Solution du problème monétaire anglo-indien      1887
  • Théorie mathématique du Bimétallisme   1881
  • Note sur la réfutation de la théorie anglaise du fermage de M. Wicksteed          1896
  • Note on the solution of the Anglo-indian monetary problem             1887
  • "Sur les équations de la circulation"             1899
  • "Equation du taux de revenu net"   1900
  • Un nuovo ramo della matematica dell'applicazione delle matematiche all'economia politica 1876
  • La paix par la justice sociale et le libre échange - Tiré à part          1907
  • De l'échange de plusieurs marchandises entre elles      1891
  • De la fixité de valeur de l'étalon monétaire             1882
  • Théorie de la monnaie    1886
  • Francis Sauveur 1858
  • Note sur la Solution du problème monétaire anglo-indien 1887
  • Théorie mathématique de la richesse sociale - quatre mémoires lus à l'Académie des Sciences morales et politiques, à Paris        1887
  • Eléments d'Economie Politique Pure       1926
  • Epreuve Le Travail             1867
  • La Bourse, la spéculation et l'agiotage       1880
Notes : 
[1] Blaug Mark. Great Economists Before Keynes, Brighton, Wheatsheaf, 1986
[2] Friedman Milton. “Leon Walras and His Economic System” in The American Economic Review, Vol. 45, No. 5, 1955
[3] Dumez Hervé, L'économiste, la science et le pouvoir: le cas Walras. PUF, 1985.
[4] Potier Jean-Pierre et Walker Donald A, La correspondance entre Aline Walras et William Jaffé et autres documents. Economica, 2004

[5] Ibid.
[6] ibid
[8] Dockès, Pierre, et Claude Mouchot. « Lire Walras - Des fonds d'archives à l'édition et à la réinterprétation des Œuvres économiques complètes d'Auguste et Léon Walras », Cahiers d'économie Politique, vol. 57, no. 2, 2009, pp. 197-210.
[10] William Jaffé, Léon Walras, correspondence of Léon Walras and Related Papers. North-Holland Publishing Company, 1965.
[12] ibid
[14] Wicksell Knut, Über Wert, Kapital und Rente nach den neueren nationalökonomischen Theorien, Scientia Verlag, 1969
[16] William Jaffé, Léon Walras, correspondence of Léon Walras and Related Papers. North-Holland Publishing Company, 1965.
[17] Jaffé William. "La théorie de la capitalisation chez Walras dans le cadre de sa théorie de l'équilibre général" in Économie appliquée, tome 6, No. 2-3, Avril-Septembre 1953

[18] Jacoud Gilles. Stabilité monétaire et régulation étatique dans l'analyse de Léon Walras. In : Revue économique
[19] Ibid.
[20] Léon Walras, « Le problème monétaire anglo-indien », Gazette de Lausanne et Journal Suisse, 24 juillet 1893
[21] Hébert Claude. “Léon Walras et Les Associations Populaires Coopératives.” Revue d'économie Politique, vol. 98, no. 2, 1988
[22] Ibid.
[23] William Jaffé, Léon Walras, correspondence of Léon Walras and Related Papers. North-Holland Publishing Company, 1965, vol.II p. 276

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