Agenda PLM

Besides the remarkable artist's books that Louis Koopman collected, he also added two richly illustrated diaries to his collection. These were two nearly identical PLM calendars for the year 1931 that had been published on the occasion of the International Colonial Exhibition in Paris. The exhibition was opened on 6 May and lasted until 15 November 1931. During that short period, the event attracted 33 million visitors, many of whom however were people returning to the exhibition for a second time.

The French colonial empire was still growing in the 1930s. Its colonial possessions at the time included Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Madagascar, Guadeloupe, Guyana, and Indochina. The Paris exhibition mainly served to demonstrate to the world and the common man that colonial France was on a mission of civilisation. The indigenous population from the colonies was exhibited as in a zoo, which nobody at the time found shocking.

Agenda PLM

Although Louis Koopman provided one calendar with his ex-libris, he never put it to any practical use. The book is filled with texts and colourful illustrations made by various writers and illustrators such as Roger Broders, Étienne Bouchaud, Mattéo Brondy, and Jean-Raoul Chaurand-Naurac. They are mostly texts and images from the popular genre that sketch out a romanticised image of the French colonies and the Frenchman's role within them.
'PLM' stands for the railroad track that ran between Paris, Lyon, and the Mediterranean. This precursor of today's Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF) first started publishing themed diaries/appointment books in 1913. In those years, the railroad company experienced competition from car and aeroplane travel; the calendars therefore served as promotional material for railroad travel.

Bibliographical description

Description: Agenda PLM, 1931 : textes / Lyautey … [et al.] ; illustrations / Jules Janein … [et al.] – Paris: Barreau, 1930. – 304 p. : ill. ; 30 cm
Printer: Barreau (Paris)
This copy: De Koopman Collection holds two identical copies
Note: Copy A 194 contains 2 sets of 12 postcards
Copy A 195 contains 12 postcards
Bibliography: Bénézit 2-619 ; 2-838 ; 3-533
Shelf-mark: Koopm A 194
Koopm A 195


  • Le livre d'or de l'exposition coloniale internationale de Paris, 1931. Paris, Champion, 1931
  • Le livre noir du colonialisme, XVIe-XXIe siècle: de l'extermination à la repentance. Marc Ferro (Red.). Paris, Robert Laffont, 2003
  • Histoire de France VI. Jean Favier (Red). Paris, Fayard, 1992

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Illustration by Roger BrodersLe tour du Mont Blanc par avion
Illustration by Roger Broders Le tour du Mont Blanc par avion

Illustration by Roger Broders Le tour du Mont Blanc par avion