Texts edited by Carla Ceresa and Valeria Mosca
In 2000, the Rosselli Foundation acquired the family Archive and Library of the Rosselli family, which had been stored until then in L'Apparita, Nello Rosselli’s home in Bagno a Ripoli outside Firenze.
The Archive documents the life and activities of the Rosselli family from the mid-19th century up to the second half of the 20th, and is divided into two sections: the family Archive and the Risorgimento Papers.
The Family Archive is the larger of the two, containing more than 20,000 papers, including the collected letters of Amelia, Carlo and Nello Rosselli; manuscripts, notes, sketches, typewritten papers and publications related to Amelia’s literary and theatrical activities, and Nello’s studies of the Risorgimento; material related to the trials and internment, funerals and commemorations of the Rosselli brothers and, after their assassination, Amelia’s exile and that of the families of Carlo and Nello in Switzerland, Britain and the United States (Larchmont, NY); more than a thousand photographs, publications and periodicals.
The site currently gives access to the documentation up to 1930, and particularly the correspondence of Joe, Amelia, Carlo and Nello Rosselli (cf. The Papers).
Knowledge of this archive will supplement studies of the periods and events from the Risorgimento, through the First World War, the birth of Fascism and of the anti-Fascist movement, the condition of the Jewish community in exile and the Second World War, to the post-war period.
The papers reveal the very close network of relationships between the families and individuals who were active on the national and international political and cultural scene, in contexts that extended from the political, social and economic worlds, to the theatre, literature, the university world and culture generally.
Many leading figures of the 19th and 20th centuries emerge from the Archive; the Jewish families who were among the economic, cultural and scientific leaders of the day, such as the Pincherle, D'Ancona, Romanelli, Lombroso, Orvieto, Ferrero, Sinigaglia, Ojetti and Levi families; the most important publishing houses, from Roux and Viarengo, to Il Marzocco, La Nuova Italia, Le Monnier, Sansoni and Bemporad; exponents of the cultural and literary world, from Marco Praga to Alberto Moravia and Melina Rosselli; the world of the theatre, from Ferruccio Benini and Alfredo De Sanctis to Emma Gramatica and Eleonora Duse; the academic and research world, including Gioacchino Volpe, Benedetto Croce, Giulio Einaudi, Federico Chabod and Walter Maturi; and the main players in contemporary history, including Gaetano Salvemini, Ferruccio Parri, Bruno and Tullia Zevi, Emilio and Joyce Lussu, Aldo Garosci, Alberto Tarchiani, Max Ascoli and Angelica Balabanoff.
The Risorgimento papers section contains 775 documents dating from 1805 to the early 20th century, and is divided into two separate collections. One, the Nathan-Rosselli Collection, came from the paternal side of the family, which cultivated the memory of Mazzini; the other, known as the Pincherle Bequest, was from the maternal side, which had played a part in the Venice uprisings of 1848. The papers are accompanied by Nello Rosselli’s study notes.
The former consist primarily of the archive of Janet Nathan Rosselli, Mazzini’s favourite among Sarah Nathan’s children. In it we find both propaganda material related to Mazzini and the Risorgimento, and a number of family documents, Janet’s personal diaries and her correspondence: in particular the letters of Maurizio Quadrio, the tutor of the young Nathans in London and a family friend, the letters of her Sarah and brother Joe during his time in prison in Milan, and during his later travels between London and Lugano with Mazzini. These letters make a significant contribution to studies of Mazzini, because they combine information about him – often of a personal nature, but not always – with details of his travels and his visits to London, Lugano and Pisa, his state of health and finally his death.
The second collection is made up of small, separate groups of documents, and a collection of autographs by 19th and early 20th century celebrities, many of figures from the scientific, literary and political worlds, among which the illustrious names of statesmen and intellectuals stand out: Cavour, Mazzini, Garibaldi, Gioberti, Giolitti, Ricasoli, Pellico, Pisacane, Sella, Zola, D'Annunzio and Serao.
The spheres of activity of the individuals whom the papers refer to explain the presence of many of the senders in the archive, and also highlight possible areas for research: Sansone d'Ancona and Alessandro Romanelli led the correspondents who were active in the political and economic-financial fields, including Luigi Luzzatti, Gaspare Finali, Agostino Magliani, Quintino Sella, Marco Minghetti and Pietro Rota; while Alessandro d'Ancona corresponded with figures from the world of culture and literary magazines, and publishers like Aleardo Aleardi, De Sanctis, Vieusseux, Paravia, Nigra and Vannucci; Jacopo Capon led a more heterogeneous group of writers, because of his long years working as a journalist in Italy and France (where he was known as Jacques Caponì), and his many prominent acquaintances, such as Edmondo De Amicis, Costantino Nigra, Emile Zola, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Matilde Serao and Felice Cavallotti, among others.
From the start, the Foundation has launched a number of programmes to scientifically analyse and promote this legacy.
The objective of the project is to recreate the Archive in its entirety, bringing this vast source of information back to life, as it can provide new elements to understand the history of Italian political culture, particularly the Risorgimento and the liberal socialist movements.
The first step has been the creation, within the Rosselli Foundation site, of pages dedicated to the Archive, where scholars can access material discussed in work in progress as it is made available.
The inventory – 8500 fact files are now available – is also backed up by pages of historical background material: Chronology , The Family, Photographs.
The book Le carte risorgimentali dell’Archivio Rosselli. Inventario was published in 2006; a study day The long shadow of the Risorgimento. Élite and population from the Unification of Italy to the European Union; was organised in 2007. The Foundation also organised the convention “Freedom beyond the borders. From the Rossellis to Giustizia e Libertà” (October 25, 2007) in the context of “When freedom is elsewhere” a cycle of events focussing on the issues of exile and opposition to totalitarian regimes, created by the Past-Present Committee set up by the Rosselli Foundation, Gramsci Foundation, Piero Gobetti Studies Centre and Gaetano Salvemini Institute.
The documentary Il caso Rosselli. Un delitto di regime was presented during the convention,; it was directed by Stella Savino, produced by Doclab and broadcast on Rai 3 and History Channel.