Barbou, a family whose name is identified with printing, and whoso descendants regularly succeeded each other in that occupation. Dating from Jean Barbou, who printed at Lyons in 1539, they were prominent printers in the principal cities of Europe, until 1808. Hugues, the son of Jean, established himself at Limoges, where he printed, in 1580, a beautiful edition of Cicero's epistles to Atticus. In 1699, the widow of Claude, who carried on her husband's business at Paris, purchased of Fenelon's valet-de-chambre, who had stolen it from his master, the MS. of Telemachus, and printed it as far as the 208th page, when all the copies printed were seized by the government for political reasons and destroyed, the MS., however, being preserved, was afterward sold to a bookseller at the Hague.
Jean Joseph, lived in Paris in 1704, and was at the same time a printer and bookseller. He was succeeded in 1746, by Joseph Gerard. In 1743, the abbe Lenglet Dufresnoy commenced the publication of a new and elegant edition of the classics to fill the place of that of the Elzevirs, then becoming rare. This project was continued by Joseph Gerard Barbon, who was succeeded by his nephew Hugh; and 77 volumes of the classics were printed in this form. The business remained in the hands of this family until 1808, having existed nearly 8 centuries.