Our window onto 19th and early 20th century Italy opens wider

I wrote in January of a very generous donation of items that had belonged to Denis Mack Smith and had been passed on to us by the Bodleian. A couple of weeks ago we took delivery of a further nine boxes of material, the third instalment of what is proving to be a truly fascinating addition to our collections. The boxes keep arriving, and it is a real joy to browse through the items and to make them available to readers as swiftly as I can (these donated items can be found in Library search using the search terms Denis Mack Smith and former owner).

As the third batch of boxes sit on the shelf ready to be unpacked, I am reminded that I have not yet commented on the second instalment of the donation. These were for the most part added to the catalogue in July and include items on a range of topics within the period. Several examine specific themes and relationships between nations in 19th century Italy (Pio IX e la politica austriaca in Italia dal 1815 al 1948 nella relazione del diplomatico Riccardo Weiss di Starkenfels; Trieste e l’Istria nell’età napoleonica; Inglesi e italiani nel Risorgimento).


Municipalizziamo il pane (2015.9.5079)

Moving forwards into the 20th century we have analyses of social and economic conditions, for example on the very topical subject of emigration (La polemica sull’emigrazione nell’Italia unita, fino all prima guerra mondiale, by Fernando Manzotti)  and a slim volume, published in 1904, on bread production in Florence (Municipalizziamo il pane : contributo allo studio della municipalizzazione del pane a Firenze, by Dott. Carlo Pucci).

The rise of fascism is explored through studies of Italian intellectuals in the period and Italian intellectual life (L’Accademia d’Italia : intellettuali e potere durante il fascismo; L’Enciclopedia Treccani by Giovanni Lazzari; I verbi del fascismo by Sandro Giusti and Oreste Gregorio).

And of course there is material relating to Mussolini (for example Giorgio Belutti’s fiercely patriotic 1941 booklet: Noi crediamo nel Duce) as well as a curious little illustrated propaganda pamphlet, Chi è Hitler, published in 1938, presumably to mark the meeting between the two dictators in Rome on 3 May that year.


Covers of “Noi crediamo nel Duce” (2015.7.1630) and “Chi è Hitler” (2015.8.4118)

So, I have a treat in store as I look forward to unpacking this latest consignment. With grateful thanks, again, to Denis Mack Smith and to the Bodleian, for thinking of us.

Bettina Rex

One thought on “Our window onto 19th and early 20th century Italy opens wider

  1. I am really glad that these Mack Smith collections have found a welcoming home at the UL and are made available to researchers more widely and outside the Bodleian also. I enjoyed reading your blog post. Well done!

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