The more and more I work on cataloging these images, the more and more I wish I would have kept up with learning French. I took two years of French in high school, so I am able to understand bits and pieces of what the images are saying but not completely. The project doesn't exactly require me to be fluent in French but it would definitely help.
One of my favorite things about this project is seeing all the artwork of the La Caricature covers and researching the artists and engravers who created them. Below you can see that the artist named is "Draner", this merely an anagram of the artist's last name - Jules Jean Georges Renard. When I first start cataloging I thought the name was strange and did some research. I use the Getty's Union List of Artist Names to find artists' and their ref id numbers to include in the metadata.
Going back to being fluent in French, I was cataloging an image and the printed artist's name ranged from Vogel, A. Vogel and L. Vogel but the signature was the same on every cover. I did some research and didn't really find any clarity until I used France's Wikipedia. I came to the conclusion that it was Hermann Vogel. Thankfully, technology (Google Translate) exists and I was able to investigate further and have french pages translated. Vogel is also included in ULAN. There have been other mystery signatures that I have solved and there are some that I have no clue who they are. The most recent signature that I am having a hard time with is, "Rip".
For awhile now, I have been thinking about taking a French language course in Spring 2017. I am surprised that foreign language is not required in library school. If I am not able to take a language class, I will pursue it outside the classroom.