Guide to the Research Collections



The library has good but not notable collections relating to the history of Greece (5,000

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volumes), Italy (15,000 volumes), Portugal (2,000 volumes), and Spain (7,000 volumes). Although in the past the library did not attempt to collect as extensively for these countries as for Great Britain and France, present Farmington Plan responsibilities in history require the same level of collection for all European countries. In addition to standard works and travel literature, the holdings include many of the collections of printed sources needed for research. These and related groups of materials mentioned below provide an adequate working collection. Among areas of particular strength are Spanish history during the American colonial and Revolutionary periods and during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939, and Italian provincial and local history publications.

Allied classes of material supplement the general collections. The collection of public documents is strong for Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Resources for the study of the classical periods of Greek and Roman history are enriched by extensive holdings relating to archaeology. The publications of academies and learned societies contribute materials important for both national and local historical study, along with some archaeological and biographical material.

In the field of foreign relations the publications of Italy, Spain, and Portugal are numerous, but those of Greece are not strongly represented. The most important diplomatic series are present--the Italian "Libri verdi" ( Documenti diplomatici ) from 1861 to date; the Spanish "Libros rojos" ( Documentos diplomáticos ) from 1865 to 1911 (incomplete); and the Portuguese "Livros brancos" ( Negócios estrangeiros ) from 1867 to date. Printed treaties of Italy, Spain, and Portugal also form an important group. Other diplomatic series and numerous single publications, together with the collections of reprinted documents, enrich the holdings in the field of international affairs.


Approximately 5,000 volumes document the history of Greece; standard works and editions of the ancient and modern historians are present. The various series of the Akad[emacr ]mia Ath[emacr ]n[omacr ]n are held. Periodical publications include Byzantinische Zeitschrift (1892-), Byzantion (1924-), the Epet[emacr ]ris (1924-) of the Hetaireia Byzantin[omacr ]n Spoud[omacr ]n, Journal of Hellenic Studies (1880-), Neos Hell[emacr ]nomn[emacr ]m[omacr ]n (1904-27), and many others.

Standard historians of classical Greece in the collections range from George Grote to John Bury. Among works more notable for literary or sociological than historical concerns are Oliver Goldsmith's The History of Greece and J.J. Barthélemy's Voyage du jeune Anacharsis en Grèce. The ancient historians are represented in a wide range of editions: for example, Curtius Rufus' life of Alexander is available in a variety of texts and translations dating from the seventeenth century, and Pausanias from Atticae Descriptio (Venice. 1500?) through the J.G. Frazer translation of 1898 to later editions.

Other works classified as general history supplement these resources. The principal allied literature is that of archaeology; the collection is particularly rich in older archaeological works and the publications of classical societies and institutions (such as the Archaeologisches Institut des Deutschen Reiches). The Art and Architecture Division collects materials on the arts of all ancient cultures. Works on Greek epigraphy include such items as the Monumenta Asia Minoris Antiqua of the American Society of Archaeological Research in Asia. Other works on Greek and Roman Egypt, and on Greek papyri, are in the Oriental Division.

Perhaps the outstanding item among the printed materials of the Byzantine period is the Byzantine Historiae Scriptores Varii (1645-1702), a 1961 purchase which brought to the library this rare printing of the works of the Byzantine historians. It joins other collections of period writings, supplemented by important accounts and studies. The library subscribes to the current collection being published under the title Corpus bruxellense historiae byzantinae.

The collection of materials on the history of modern Greece includes publications of contemporary political bodies such as the Ethnikon Apeleutherotikon Metop[omacr ]n, and the writing of such political figures as Metaxas, Venizelos, and Grivas. In addition are files of scholarly journals, among them the Deltion of the Historike kai Ethnologik[emacr ] Heraireia t[emacr ]s Hellados and the Bulletin of the Hetairia Diethn[omacr ]n Melet[omacr ]n. The extensive holdings of the publications of regional learned societies deal with a variety of historical topics and are well represented by Balkan Studies, Kypriakai spoudai, Kr[emacr ]tika chronica, Hetairia kr[emacr ]tik[omacr ]n historik[omacr ]n melet[omacr ]n, and many others. Standard works in various European languages are present: there is a large number of travel books, including many of the elaborate plate books of the nineteenth century. Approximately 200 entries in the Public Catalog relate to the nineteenth-century War of Independence. An interesting group consists of contemporaneous pamphlets published in the United States, among them Daniel Webster's speech (1824) on the Greek Revolution. Greek underground movements during World War II are well documented.

The holdings of Greek public documents relating to international affairs are weak; the section relating to internal affairs, although incomplete, contains some important series. The Ephemeres tes kuvernescos (Daily Journal) of the Cabinet is complete from 1899. Serial publications in Greek and French of the Statistikon Graphieion, the majority of which commenced in the late 1930s, cover many commercial, financial, and social aspects of the country, providing adequate materials for the study of economics and certain related fields.

A group of books and indexed magazine articles on Crete and Mount Athos supply reference materials for these areas. Related holdings for the study of Mount Athos are to be found in the art and religion resources.


Although the library's collection of 15,000 volumes is not outstanding, it is important for its substantial numbers of provincial and local historical publications, and for important material in related classes, including a large collection of public documents.

In addition to a great number of general works of history and travel are many editions of the great historians from Tacitus to Gibbon and other later writers. The library's practice is to secure any edition of a standard work containing material not included in those already in its collections. Among the general works are such collections of sources as Muratori's Rerum italicarum

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 scriptores. Some of the folio histories and collections are notable for their illustrations. Of great interest and rarity is the Spencer Collection's Italian manuscript of the third decade of Livy's De secundo bello punico, dated circa 1475, and from the library of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary.26

Serial publications form another important group, providing materials for the study of both ancient and modern Italy. Included are files of such periodicals as the Archivo storico italiano (1842-), society publications as the Risorgimento italiano (1908-33), and academy publications, among them the Bullettino (1886-1953) of the Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo.

Closely allied materials include those works classed with general history which are devoted to the classical world, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. The collection of archaeological literature is rich in both older systematic works and the publications of learned societies and institutions.

Good collections of material are available for the study of later periods and the Italian states and provinces which preceded the Union in 1860. The period of the Risorgimento is represented by sizable holdings which include a number of broadsides. Interesting material related to the States of the Church includes a group of pamphlets and another of broadsides, leggi, and regolamenti. These are supplemented by those sections of the resources dealing with the Roman Catholic Church.

The literature relating to modern Italy forms an adequate reference collection, consisting of standard works in various languages, a representative selection of secondary materials, and a large number of books on travel, which includes a number of important nineteenth-century plate books. There is a good collection of material on Fascist Italy; works on the political aspects are to be found in the general collections and those dealing with economic factors in the Economic and Public Affairs Division. Italian underground and resistance movements of World War II are included in the library's generally strong holdings of this nature. Postwar political movements are well covered in the writings by and about such figures as Antonio Gramsci, Palmiro Togliatti (including a run of the periodical Rinascita edited by him between 1946 and 1962), and Pietro Nenni.

Approximately 6,000 volumes are devoted to the cities, provinces, colonies, and islands of Italy. This includes much of the material relating to the states and provinces which preceded the Union, and is important for the provincial literature which it contains. Here are found such publications as the Atti e memorie of almost all the provinces of Italy, the Archivo storico lombardo, and the Archivio storico per le province napoletane, most important for their biographical and local historical content. Local history of continental countries is not administered by the Local History and Genealogy Division, but is found with the general collections; works on genealogy and heraldry of Italian families and prominent individuals are, however, held in the Local History and Genealogy Division. These materials are supplemented by the public documents collections of the Economic and Public Affairs Division.

Public Documents

The important collection of public documents relating to Italian political affairs includes the Atti of the Italian Parliament (complete from 1848 to 1941), continued by the publications of the Camera dei Deputati. The Gazzetta is complete from its foundation in 1861 to the present.

Public documents of Italian provinces and former kingdoms are also held in strength. Among other files are the Annali civili (1833-60) of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Gazzetta piemontese of Sardinia from 1845 to 1860, and the Gazzetta di Venezia from 1848 to 1920. Gazettes are received from the regions of Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige, and the Republic of San Marino. Most of the provinces are represented by the files of the Atti of the Consigli Provinciali.27 Most of the series begin in the 1860s and are substantially complete through the first decade of this century. Files are continued by the Consigli Provinciali dell' Economia of many of the regions.

The important law holdings include the national Raccolta ufficiale delle leggi e dei decreti from its beginning in 1861 to 1951. There are also the laws of the Papal States, Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and Venice, with such reprints as the Cisalpine Republic's Raccolta de' bandi, notificazioni, editti. Statutes for the Republic of Italy are also well represented.

The holdings of municipal documents are particularly strong for the earlier periods, with volumes of municipal ordinances from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, and long files of Atti of the various Consigli Communali. For various Italian cities are the files of the Bollettino municipale mensile, which contain statistical information pertinent to municipal affairs, as well as illustrated sections with articles on art, archaeology, local history, and biography. The collection on municipal finance is also good; there are files of the Bilancio and the Conto consuntivo of the important cities.

The Economic and Public Affairs Division acquires all Italian government documents that come to its attention through the standard bibliographies.


Papers in the Manuscripts and Archives Division include Florentine records dating from 1575 to 1665 concerning the disposition of private property, and copies of orders of the Medici, Grand Dukes of Tuscany, concerning vessels and naval affairs from 1619 to 1735. A vellum manuscript dated 1647 sets forth privileges granted by the Duke of Venice to Jewish merchants. Among modern materials are travel diaries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and a typed manuscript, corrected drafts, and other material related to Gilbert Seldes's study of Mussolini, Sawdust Caesar (1935).

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The 2,000 volumes relating to the history of Portugal do not cover all periods with equal adequacy. Most of the larger standard historical works, related studies, and books of travel are in the holdings. Of particular supplementary importance is the set of reprints of the publications of the Academia das Ciências de Lisboa.

A distinctive feature of the collection is the presence of periodicals such as O archeólogo português (1895-1920) and Revista portugueza colonial e marítima (1897-1910), and recent publications such as Studia (1958-) and the Luso-Brazilian Review (1964-). Publications dealing with early maritime and colonial matters include the Boletim (1925-) of the Agência Geral do Ultramar, among others. The publications of the Portuguese government agencies for their overseas possessions are well represented.

Public documents include an extensive group of diplomatic papers with separate imprints, the Diário do governo from 1822, and many separately published decrees. Laws begin with compilations which extend back to 1446. In subject fields, statistics are held in strength.

In 1940 the library held an exhibition commemorating the eight-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Portugal and the three-hundredth anniversary of the restoration of her independence. The catalog of this exhibition lists a number of the Portuguese rarities in the collections with emphasis on the Age of Discovery.28


Although the literature relating to the history of Spain, numbering some 7,000 volumes, does not cover all periods with equal adequacy, it is an interesting and important collection. Beginning in 1936 the library placed special emphasis on acquiring books and fugitive materials on the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939; this fine collection is described below. Collections of printed sources include such works as the Colección de documentos inéditos para Espa&nmacr;a; systematic histories are held in strength. Special periods are represented by such publications as the Memoria of the Junta Superior de Excavaciones y Antigüedades. There is an excellent collection of travel books, and large groups of biographies of monarchs.

An outstanding feature of the collection is the generally complete sets of periodicals devoted to history and social life, and the publications of societies and academies, such as those of the Real Academia de Historia.

The material dealing with Spanish history is relatively more important than some other, larger groups because of its relationship to such strongly represented subjects as early American history and the history of the Philippine Islands. Such collections as the Colección de documentos inéditos relativos al descubrimiento, conquista y organización de las antiguas posesiones espa&nmacr;olas de América y Oceania are closely related to early rarities in the field, a special interest of James Lenox, who collected many important works relating to the Age of Discovery. The holdings of Spanish materials are particularly strong through the American Revolutionary period. Information on Spanish exploration and settlement may be found in the American History Division under such headings as "The Spanish in Cuba" and in the general collections through headings such as "The Spanish in Australia." Materials on the history of Moorish Spain are in the Oriental Division.

Spanish Civil War

There are approximately 1,400 entries in the Public Catalog under the heading "Spain--Civil War, 1936-1939," a figure which does not fully represent the resources. The library began to collect materials in 1936, but the most important part of the collection arrived in 1951. In this year the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade began a continuing gift to be called the David McKelvy White collection in honor of a fallen comrade. When this collection was first acquired, much of it was given collective cataloging treatment (the separate materials were not individually cataloged but grouped together under headings such as "A Collection of Pamphlets about the Spanish Civil War"). Items in fragile condition were microfilmed: on film are collections of newspaper clippings, war posters, press releases, and speeches, along with incomplete files of 153 Spanish newspapers and periodicals of the period. In the latter group are files of Solidaridad obrera (Barcelona, 1933, 1936-38, 1947-49) and La vanguardia (Barcelona, 1936-39). Materials maintained in their original form include collected volumes of news bulletins, press releases on Spain dating from 1937 to 1947, press releases, radio addresses, memoranda, and other materials on Spain under Franco from 1928 to 1947; and a collection of pamphlets in 26 bound volumes. There are, in addition, book materials of all kinds.

Public Documents

The strong collection of public documents is important for the study of Spanish history. Materials relating to foreign affairs include the "Libros rojos" ( Documentos diplomáticos ) from 1865 to 1911 (incomplete), printed treaties, diplomatic series, and numerous single publications. For the study of internal affairs the collection contains an incomplete but substantial file of the Gaceta de Madrid (Boletín Oficial del Estado) from 1808, and the Diario of the Cortes from 1811, as well as the publications of all constitutional assemblies and a strong representation of administrative documents. The collection of published laws begins in 1814. There are many separate official publications for every reign from Philip II to the present government. In subject literature covered by public documents geology and statistics are more than adequate.


Among the materials in the Manuscripts and Archives Division that came from the David McKelvy White collection are radio scripts from "Radio Madrid" from January 1937 to October 1938. There are also typescripts of works by Leland Stowe, and of Edwin Rolfe's The Lincoln Battalion. The papers of Frank P. Walsh contain material on Spanish affairs from 1937 to 1939. Ten boxes of correspondence relating to the Spanish Civil War were the gift of the American

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Friends of Spanish Democracy. In the Berg Collection of English and American Literature are materials concerning Julian Bell and George Orwell and their connection with the Spanish Civil War.

Additional materials relating to Spain appear in the Ford, Bancroft, Hardwicke, and Rich collections; for detailed information on those collections, see chapter 14 of this Guide.