||In 1968 the Ransom Center purchased 620 volumes of manuscripts and printed matter
collected by the Ranuzzi family of Bologna, Italy, that reflect some 400 years
Bolognese political, religious, and cultural life. While the collection dates
group of medical manuscripts gathered by Antonio Ranuzzi, a physician and scholar,
it was Count Vincenzo Antonio Ranuzzi (1658-1726) who was largely responsible
the formation of the Ranuzzi Library.
||Through the influence of his grandfather, the Marquis Ferdinando Cospi, who spent
major part of his life at the court of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, Count Ranuzzi
received in 1671 as a Page to Prince Ferdinand de Medici. During the following
years Count Ranuzzi was educated in the sciences and humanities, enjoyed the company
of learned and famous men, and began to collect manuscripts, mainly literary in
nature or written to celebrate events occurring at the time. At the close of the
seventeenth century, events in Europe influenced Count Ranuzzi to turn his attention
to historical papers. Manuscripts on fortifications and firearms, on the Turkish
wars, the capture of Buda in 1687, and the capture of Cyprus and Morea were added
during the 1690s.
||In 1689 Count Ranuzzi's uncle, Cardinal Angelo Ranuzzi, Archbishop of Fano, Nuncio
the court of Louis XIV, and papal Legate to Poland, died en route to Rome to attend
the conclave where he was expected to be elected Pope. The large library that
Cardinal Ranuzzi accumulated was left to his nephew. It included papers concerning
the history of the Church and letters that he had written from France and Poland,
which he described the political situations in those countries and their relations
with the Italian states.
||From 1706 until his death in 1726, Count Ranuzzi's major goal was to increase his
holdings of books and manuscripts and to catalog both the library and the family
archives. In addition to the manuscripts left by members of his family, Count
Ranuzzi acquired others from his friend Francesco Antonio Ghiselli, Canon of San
Petronio and a renowned historian of Bologna. Most of the Ghiselli manuscripts
concern the history of Bologna and its relations with several European countries
their histories. These manuscripts also contain a large number of French works
translated into Italian, especially plays of the seventeenth-century authors Racine,
Corneille, and Moliere.
||With the French occupation in 1797, the Ranuzzi family fortunes and power suffered
setback. This decline, followed by the sale of the Ranuzzi palace in 1822, resulted
in the dispersal of the Ranuzzi library that culminated in 1847 with the sale
some 800 volumes to the English booksellers John Payne and Henry Foss. In London
Ranuzzi manuscripts were offered to Sir Thomas Phillipps, but before he could
on the acquisition, the British Museum bought 117 volumes. A further 72 volumes
in the State Archives in Bologna. The remaining portion of the collection was
purchased by Phillipps, from which it passed to the booksellers William H. Robinson,
Inc., and in turn was offered for sale en bloc at
Sotheby's in London on 25 June 1968 by the Robinson trust.
||The 620 volumes in the Ransom Center include manuscripts; printed materials; scribal
copies of books; more than 100 engravings, etchings, woodcuts, and watercolor
sketches; and papal bulls, totaling 5,354 manuscripts with an average of 200 leaves
each. Major subjects include history, literature, the sciences, church and
government affairs, law, geography, and numismatics. The volumes are arranged
their original Phillipps number, which span Ph 12467 to Ph 21964. Some volumes
not represent single manuscripts, but rather consist of a number of miscellaneous
manuscripts bound together. Three appendices further detail the contents of three
groups of these miscellaneous volumes: Ph 12705 - 12738; Ph 12739 - 12748; and
12807 - 12890.
||An exhibition of a selection of the Ranuzzi manuscripts was presented in the Peter
Flawn Academic Center from March through September 1980 and at the M.D. Anderson
Library, the University of Houston, in October 1981. The exhibition and catalogue
were prepared by Maria Xenia Zevelechi Wells, Curator of the Italian Collections
the Ransom Center.
||For further information, see:
- Wells, Maria Xenia Zevelechi.
- The Ranuzzi Manuscripts. Austin: Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, 1980. Printed catalog [pdf document].
- "A Flourish of Pyres." FMR (International English Edition) 73 (April, 1995): 114-125.
Abbreviations Used in the List
- FL--Form Letter
- PC--Post Card
- cc--Carbon Copy
- nd--No date
- inc d--Incomplete date
||The symbols above are used in combinations: ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms
means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.
||Square brackets are used to indicate that the information is supplied from some
source other than the manuscript itself.