Ministero dei Beni delle Attivitą Culturali e del Turismo Direzione Generale Biblioteche e Istituti Culturali

Book endowment

EndowmentThe history of the progressive enrichment of the Library is complex and interesting. From the beginning it was intent of the librarians providing the best tools to support the study and research at the university, according to the ideas of the age of Enlightenment that led to its foundation. A concrete example of this policy was the arrival in Pavia of about three thousand duplicate volumes belonged to the library of the swiss doctor and bibliophile Albrecht von Haller purchased at the time of the foundation, by the Austrian government along with the volumes belonged to count Carlo Pertusati.

It was also clear that a rigorous scientific update was only possible through periodicals and acts of academies therefore subscriptions were secured to the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, the Journal des Sçavants, the Proceedings of the Royal Prussian Societas Regia Scientiarum (founded in 1700), the Academy of St. Petersburg (1724), the American Philosophical Society (1743). The completeness of these collections makes the Library precious and renown to the scholars of history of science for whom it represents a source of fundamental importance.

An increase of classic works was assured by the assignment, in 1784, of more than five thousand volumes coming from the library of Count Karl Firmian, former governor of Lombardy. Other important works in the humanities, although not in large numbers, arrived through the transfer, over and over, of volumes from the suppressed convents in the Napoleonic and Joseph period. However, until the late XIX century, the new accessions were functional to the scientific specialization of the Library: there are still to be remembered the purchases of botanical libraries of Giuseppe Moretti (1855) and, in part, the one of Santo Garovaglio (1884) along with medical books funded by the substantial income of assets left by the physician Joseph Frank, intended for that purpose.

The most important autonomous collection, purchased in 1893, is the Library of Alfonso Corradi, physician, professor and rector of the University, a unique scholar and bibliophile; it consists of a section of the history of medicine (about four thousand volumes and seven booklets) and a historical-literary (about six thousand volumes and as many brochures), rich editions by the Accademia della Crusca of letters, local history. This section in humanities was meant to fill the gap in the bibliographic heritage of the Institute when it started to extend its availability to a wider circle of scholars. Since the beginning of the XX century, the primary source of increase were everyday purchases. For nearly twenty years, then, considering the impossibility of keeping up with the current budget, besides the bibliographic production in the various disciplines, and on the basis of a different assessment of the tasks of a state public library, a privilege was given to large bibliographies and general and specialized reference works.

To be reported, the acquisitions of manuscripts. In 1840 Pier Vittorio Aldini, professor of Archaeology and Numismatics at the University, sold to the Library his collection of over three hundred codices forming the nucleus of the collection that bears his name, and consisting of medieval manuscripts and humanities along with some modern ones, various for arguments and origins, many of them of considerable importance. We must mention at least: the Enchiridion of St. Augustine, from XI century; the Opuscula moralia of Albertano from Brescia, of the XIII century, one of the oldest and most important codex of the author; Music French Miscellaneous from XV century, which documents a transitional stage in the technique of notation; an herbarium from the XIV century, rich in full-page illustrations, studied and published; a Divina Commedia of the XIV century, belonging to the ''antica vulgata". Some codices contain valuable miniatures. In 1861 manuscripts that once belonged to the pavese historian Giuseppe Robolini were acquired; collection that includes codices and loose papers result of the studies, in many cases unpublished, of scholars of Pavia from the XVI to the XVIII century (Bernardo Sacco, Girolamo Bossi, Siro Severino Capsoni, Siro Comi): it is the most important part of the Ticinesi Collection, which in 1874 was enriched with a whole new section with the manuscripts, on various subjects, by the doctor Giovanni Capsoni.Worth to be mention the rich collection of autographs that includes letters (or short writings) by Alessandro Volta, Pietro Metastasio, Ugo Foscolo, Vincenzo Monti, Camillo Cavour, Giuseppe Garibaldi, etc. Finally, it remains to mention the large collection of incunabula, among which we highlight the works of Lattanzio printed in Rome in 1468 by Sweynheym Pannartz and the Hypnerotomachia Polyphili printed by Aldo Manunzio in 1499. Ultimately, the beginnings of typography in Pavia are well represented.