Conservation and promotion of the archives
The Fondazione 1563 of the Compagnia di San Paolo is responsible for the conservation of the archives of the Compagnia, containing documents from the 16th to the 20th centuries, a record of the Compagnia’s centuries-old history. The documents in the Historical Archives come from the Compagnia itself as well as the associated ‘Monte di Pietà’, the ‘Opere Pie’ (or charitable foundations of the Compagnia) and the ‘Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino’. The archive of the Compagnia di San Paolo is an exceptionally rich resource for the history of Piedmont and Italy; it collaborates with numerous other Italian archives and is open not only to scholars and researchers but also to the general public. Almost two miles of shelving house this vast collection of documents, which the Foundation intends to promote in various ways: through research based on the original documents belonging to the Compagnia di San Paolo in the archive, seminars, conferences and publications in the various series published by the Foundation also in collaboration with leading Italian publishing houses.
The archive of the Compagnia di San Paolo forms the nucleus of the various archival collections which the Foundation conserves and promotes but it is not the only such collection. The Foundation has acquired important private archives and libraries, such as the professional archive of the engineers Giuseppe and Bartolomeo Gallo (Fondo Gallo), of great significance for the history of ecclesiastical architecture in Piedmont in the 19th and 20th centuries, or the Fondo Jolanda and Angelo Dragone on modern and contemporary art (Fondo Dragone), an archive containing the books and papers of the art critic and scholar from Turin. The research carried out using these archives is publicised with a series of encounters, known as the ‘Conversations’ of the Historical Archives of the Compagnia di San Paolo, seminars and conferences. Research carried out in the archives generally is published in the series ‘Quaderni dell’Archivio Storico della Compagnia di San Paolo’, published by Olschki.
Access to the Historical Archives: the D.A.C. project
Of particular significance for the promotion of the Compagnia di San Paolo’s archives (1562-1852) is their complete online digital publication, the first step in the project known as D.A.C.-Digital Archives and Collections of the Fondazione 1563, which has as one of its aims giving access on the web to its entire archival patrimony. The publication of all the various inventaries and catalogues of the Historical Archives as part of a single platform has rationalised the management of the resource and made it possible to carry out uniform searches across the entire archive. The first part of the Historical Archives to be digitised and published online was the historic archive of the Compagnia, followed by the Fondo Gallo, an important resource for research into Piedmontese architecture. The documents and plans in the Fondo Gallo reflect a century of professional activity: 5,000 drawings have so far been digitised and made accessible online (also through the web-portal Archivi degli Architetti del SAN-Sistema Archivistico Nazionale).
Thus the Compagnia’s digitised archives offer access to the entire history of the association, unlike other digital archives in Italy. The historic Archive alone includes the description of 4,500 fascicules and volumes linked to over 200,000 images – Papal bulls, wills and testaments, dowries, family trees, accounts… – which can be consulted online. In addition, access to the digital resources placed online by the Foundation includes the contents of four library catalogues, containing 10,000 books:
- the reference collection of the reading room
- the collection of early printed books
- the library of the ‘Credito Agrario’
- the law library
In addition to the Compagnia di San Paolo’s Archive and the Fondo Gallo, the following collections are also online:
- Members (‘confratelli’) of the Company 1562-1852
- Benefactors of the Company, 16th to 20th centuries
- Administrators of the Istituto di San Paolo, 1853-1991
- ‘Sorelle dell’Umiltà’, 1592-1901
- ‘Figlie della Compagnia’, 1589-1882
- Notarial documents relating to the history of the Company, 1610-1798
- ‘Compagnia di Sant’Anna dei Luganesi’ in Turin, 1624-1800
- EGELI – Ente di Gestione e Liquidazione Immobiliare (the body responsible for property acquisition, management and sale), 1940-1950
The Archive and its inventories online
The documentation of the Historical Archives of the ‘Compagnia di San Paolo’ – ranging from the archives of the Compagnia to the inventories of the various archival collections of the banks of the ‘Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino’ – can be accessed and consulted easily in the Virtual Reading Room. Innovative and versatile tools of research allow researchers and scholars and all those interested, in Italy and abroad, to access the digital archive and navigate the archival holdings which the Foundation has made available online. The descriptions are accompanied by digital images; to visualise the images a simple login is required. The archives accessible online comprise a total of 60,000 items. Users will find online the inventories of the ‘Istituto di San Paolo di Torino e aggregati’, as well as of the organisation EGELI (‘Ente di Gestione e Liquidazione Immobiliare’); and those of the ‘Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino’, subdivided between the ‘Segreteria Generale’, ‘Banche corrispondenti’ and the bank’s published art monographs and photographic collection.
II – Istituto di San Paolo di Torino e aggregati (1853-1950): 19,165 items. The following categories of material are available online: statutes, minutes, photographs of both the principal and branch buildings occupied by the bank in the period from 1949 to 1960, and monographs and short introductions to the history of the San Paolo bank. The archive also includes documents relating to budgets, acquisitions and partnerships with other banks, to staff and property; the associated archives of the Banca Grasso, the ‘Confederazione fascista degli industriali’, San Gaetano, ‘Depositi e Sconti’.
III – Istituto di San Paolo di Torino, Gestioni Egeli (1939-1997): 6,309 items. The Egeli (‘Ente di Gestione e Liquidazione Immobiliare’, the body responsible for property acquisition, management and sale) archive contains documentation relating to the assets confiscated and sequestered from Jews and enemy aliens following the 1938 Italian racial laws.
IV – Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino, Segreteria Generale (1868-1991): 16,110 items. Digitised versions of statutes and minutes are available online. The archive is divided into two subsections: a main nucleus comprising the documentation produced by the ‘Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino’ – representing the archival holdings of its banks – and an associated archive of the documentation relating to the organisation and running of the ‘Banca Popolare dell’Agricoltura’ in Canicatti before the bank was acquired by the Institute.
V – Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino, Banche corrispondenti (‘Correspondent banks’) (1959-1991): 2,704 items. The archive consists of two sections: ‘Foreign banks’ and ‘Relations with Italian banks’, with documents relating to credits and payments, the organisation of visits and business missions, analysis and documentation of political and economic situations.
VI – Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino, Monografie artistiche, Fondo fotografico (1951-1994). The series of art monographs published by the ‘Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino’, initiated in 1951 by the then President Anton Dante Coda, has been important for art-historical studies and the conservation of the Italian artistic heritage. 57 volumes were published from 1951 to 2006. 5,443 photographic images – slides, negatives and prints – are available online.