Committee to Rescue Italian Art Papers, 1966-1973
Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance
Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: BER 2
Repository: Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance
Creator: Committee to Rescue Italian Art.
Title: Committee to Rescue Italian Art, Papers: Palazzo Pitti Office.
Quantity: 7.7 linear feet (189 folders)
Abstract: Papers from the Palazzo Pitti office of the American Committee to Rescue Italian Art
(CRIA), founded to restore cultural heritage damaged by the 1966 Florentine flood,
include correspondence, reports, invoices, and photographs related to the organization's
The papers were processed in winter 2005 by Gabriele Cappelli and Ilaria Della Monica.
Revised and updated by Ilaria Della Monica, 2011.
Copying: Papers may be copied in accordance with the Biblioteca Berenson's usual procedures.
Copyright: The Biblioteca Berenson does not hold copyright on all the materials in
the collections. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should
be directed to the archivist. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the
archivist are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations
that hold copyright.
Committee to Rescue Italian Art, Papers: Palazzo Pitti Office. Biblioteca Berenson,
Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.
There are additional CRIA papers organized in the subfond relative to the Villa I
Tatti Office held by Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center
for Italian Renaissance Studies. Finding aid available here.
The Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA) was an American committee created in the
wake of the 1966 flood of the Arno River and high tides in Venice. CRIA worked in
partnership with Italian institutions to rescue and restore all types of cultural
heritage that had been damaged. Leadership included Jacqueline Kennedy, the Honorary
President of the organization, and Professor Millard Meiss of the Institute of Advanced
Study at Princeton, whom chaired the Executive Committee. CRIA's members included
art and architecture historians such as Bates Lowry, Fred Licht, Frederick Hartt,
Sidney J. Freedberg, James Ackerman and Rudolf Wittkower, as well as historians and
linguists such as Paul Oscar Kristeller, Felix Gilbert and I Tatti's own director,
Myron P. Gilmore. All were intellectuals with close ties to Florence and to Italy
who had long studied its culture through original sources and documents.There were
three general headquarters of CRIA in its six years of activity: an office in New
York at 717 5th Street, where Bates Lowry supervised work and spent the bulk of his
time fundraising (from both large donors and smaller appeals in universities and schools)
and two offices in Florence at Palazzo Pitti and Villa I Tatti. The Committee successfully
campaigned to raise its target goal of 2.5 million dollars. These funds were then
used to restore countless works of art, including monuments, paintings, manuscripts
and library materials as selected by the CRIA Advisory Committee.
The CRIA office in Palazzo Pitti was opened in the first days of 1967 after the American
fundraising campaign had begun. To facilitate the distribution of funds and accommodate
American restoration experts newly arrived in Florence, CRIA decided to establish
an office in the city center. The Committee chose a ground-floor space in the Palazzo
Pitti that opened onto Ammannati's courtyard and hired Judith Munat as secretary.
The records produced by this office are mainly financial and consist largely of invoices.
Records related to the first months of CRIA's activity is presented in its original
chronological order. After this early period records are arranged according to the
different restoration projects for which the Committee raised funds.
The collection includes three series: Palazzo Pitti Office, Florence, and Venice,
which are subdivided into several subseries. Series 1 (Palazzo Pitti Office) has five
subseries: Correspondence, Documentation, Personnel, Administrative Expenses, and
Secondary Activities. Series 2 (Florence) includes six subseries related to CRIA's
activities and projects in Florence: General Documentation, Invoices, Galleries, Archives
and Libraries, Monuments, and Museums. Series 3 (Venice) is subdivided into six subseries:
General Correspondence, Documentation, Monuments, Galleries, Conservation Laboratory,
and Libraries and Archives.
The collection consists of records from the CRIA office in Palazzo Pitti. This includes
correspondence and papers documenting CRIA's activities and collaboration with other
committees in the rescue of Florentine and Venetian works of art damaged by the 1966
flood and high tides.
The papers were left to Villa I Tatti by I Tatti's director Myron P. Gilmore in 1975.
- Series: Administration
Scope and Content: This series documents the administrative activities of the office at Palazzo Pitti.
It is divided into five subseries: Correspondence, Documentation, Personnel, Administrative
Expenses, and Secondary Activities.
Scope and Content: The first subseries is arranged in the order originally established by Judith Munat,
secretary of the CRIA office in Palazzo Pitti. It contains external correspondence
with Fine Arts Superintendents in Florence and Venice, scholars, and scientists, as
well as firms and societies that supported CRIA activities. The second subseries includes
correspondence regarding "visitors," mainly American journalists and major donors
coming to Florence to visit restorations that CRIA supported. There are also letters
concerning internal affairs to and from CRIA members and offices, along with a group
of cables to and from the two CRIA headquarters: Palazzo Pitti and Villa I Tatti.
- I.1.1-1.2. General letters,
- I.1.3. Visitors,
- I.1.4-1.6. Committee letters,
- I.1.7. Cables,
Scope and Content: The subseries consists of two types of records: internal records and external reports.
The first 10 folders contain organizational charts of the Committee and of its American
headquarters, reports, newsletters, press releases, and lists of works of arts chosen
to be restored with CRIA funds. Included in the various reports are a detailed survey
by the American conservator Elizabeth Jones regarding Venetian churches damaged by
the high tides.There are also records which document the relationship between CRIA
and the Banca Commerciale Italiana, the bank in which the committee's funds were deposited.
The second group of records consists primarily of published documentation about the
Florentine and Venetian situations.
- I.2.1. Organizational charts
- I.2.2. Banca Commerciale Italiana,
- I.2.3. CRIA Newsletters,
- I.2.4. CRIA Releases,
- I.2.5. CRIA Allocations,
Date: April - June 1967
- I.2.6. Venice: Report on condition of churches,
Date: July-August 1967
- I.2.7. CRIA Reports,
- I.2.8. CRIA Memos,
- I.2.9. Clippings,
- I.2.10. Printed matter and Publications,
- I.2.11. Price lists,
- I.2.12. Related documentation,
Scope and Content: The subseries consists of office records about personnel working for the Committee
in Florence and Venice. Personnel included specialists in conservation, CRIA fellows
(fellowship funds were granted by important foundations, such as Ford and Kress),
as well as volunteers. The material appears as it was originally arranged according
to the various categories of CRIA's personnel.
- I.3.1. Fellows,
- I.3.2. Ford Fellows,
- I.3.3. Kress Fellows,
- I.3.4. Specialists,
- I.3.5. Students,
- I.3.6. Volunteers,
- Series: Florence Projects
Scope and Content: Records document CRIA's activities to assist with the rescue effort in Florence. There
are six subseries: the first two, Documentation and Invoices, include general documentation
and financial documents related to the first two years of office activity (1966-1967).
The other four subseries contain records of restoration activities categorized by
object: Galleries for paintings and works of art, Archives and Libraries for books
and manuscripts, Monuments for buildings, and Museums. Further subdivisions in each
of these subseries follow the original order and bear the original titles given to
the different projects sponsored by CRIA.
Scope and Content: The subseries contains papers on the restoration of damaged Florentine artistic patrimony
arranged in broad categories as filed in the Pitti archive, such as churches, monuments,
books, and documents. It also includes general reports and drafts.
Scope and Content: The subseries consists of documentation of damaged works of art belonging to the Soprintendenza
alle Gallerie and their restoration. The order of the records reflects that of the
original arrangement by the secretary of the CRIA office. The five record groups are:
Palazzo Davanzati (the Florentine museum in which CRIA established a restoration laboratory);
Frescoes; Panels and Canvases; Wood; and the Marches (Italian region). Material is
then generally arranged in the following record groups: Correspondence, Documentation,
- Palazzo Davanzati
- II.3.A.1. Correspondence,
- II.3.A.2. Documentation,
- II.3.A.3. Salaries: Todorow
- II.3.A.4. Salaries: Chemists
- II.3.A.5. Salaries: Photographers
- II.3.A.6. Salaries: Wood Restorers
- II.3.A.7-8. Invoices,
- II.3.B.1. Documentation,
- II.3.B.2. Documentation: photos SS. Annunziata
- II.3.B.3. Documentation: photos Santa Croce Museum
- II.3.B.4-5. Documentation: photos San Donnino
- II.3.B.6-7. Documentation: photos (unidentified)
- II.3.B.8-10. Invoices,
- Panels and Canvases
- II.3.C.1. Correspondence,
- II.3.C.2. Documentation,
- II.3.C.3-14. Invoices,
- II.3.D.1. Correspondence,
- II.3.D.2. Documentation,
- II.3.D.3-12. Invoices,
- II.3.D.13. Invoices, Church models,
- II.3.D.14. Invoices, Donatello's Cross,
- II.3.D.15. Invoices, Cathedral Sacristy,
- II.3.D.16. Invoices, Santa Maria Novella Sacristy,
- II.3.D.17. Marches invoices,
- II.3.D.18. Cappella di San Luca,
- Archives and Libraries
Scope and Content: The subseries comprises documentation of the rescue of books and manuscripts damaged
by the flood. It is subdivided into two groups, Archives and Libraries. Within these
groups papers are presented in their original arrangement by institution. The bulk
of the documentation relates to the Archivio di Stato (ASF) or the Biblioteca Nazionale
Centrale (BNCF) and its new paper restoration laboratory.
- II.4.1. Correspondence,
- II.4.2. Documentation,
- II.4.3-10. Archivio di Stato
- II.4.3. Correspondence,
- II.4.4. Documentation,
- II.4.5. Documentation: D'Addario,
- II.4.6-9. Invoices,
- II.4.10. Invoices: Central Archive, Rome
- II.4.11-12. Opera Santa Maria del Fiore Archive,
- II.4.13. Fine Arts Academy Library, Invoices,
- II.4.14. Music Conservatory Library, Invoices,
- II.4.15. Law Faculty Library
- Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale (BNCF),
- II.4.17-22. Correspondence,
- II.4.23. Correspondence: Book Study Committee,
- II.4.24. Correspondence: Microfilm,
- II.4.25-26. General Documentation,
- II.4.27. Documentation: Restoration Laboratory,
- II.4.28. Documentation: Restoration Laboratory Reports,
- II.4.29-30. Documentation: Personnel,
- II.4.31. Documentation: Clippings,
- II.4.32. Documentation: Printed material,
- II.4.33-38. Invoices,
- II.4.39. Invoices: Emergency Expenses,
- II.4.40. Invoices: Travels,
- Gabinetto Fotografico
- II.4.41-42. Invoices,
- Gabinetto Vieusseux
- II.4.43. Correspondence,
- II.4.44. Documentation,
- II.4.45-46. Invoices,
- Series: Venice Projects
Scope and Content: The third series documents CRIA activities to rescue Venetian heritage damaged by
that year's exceptionally high tides. The eight subseries reflect the administrative,
functional and financial history of those restoration efforts. This includes records
related to the two foundations which CRIA provided financial assistance: the Cini
Foundation and the Querini Stampalia, as well as records from the restoration laboratory
that CRIA set up in the deconsecrated church S. Gregorio.
- III.1.1-2. General Correspondence,
Scope and Content: The subseries consists of general correspondence related to CRIA activities in Venice.
This includes correspondence with the Superintendents of Fine Arts for galleries and
monuments and the directors of museums and archives, as well as letters to various
members of the Committee and other committees involved in the effort.
- III..2.1-4. Documentation,
Scope and Content: The subseries contains various records about CRIA activies in Venice. This includes
proposals and reports regarding the works of art, a detailed report by Elizabeth Jones
regarding the churches in the Castello quarter, and several other published reports.
- Conservation Laboratory
Scope and Content: The subseries comprises the records of the conservation laboratory established in
the deconsecrated church of S. Gregorioat the request of the Superintendent of the
Venetian Galleries, Francesco Valconover, and funded by CRIA and other private institutions.
The focus of the laboratory was the conservation of damaged paintings.
- III.5.1. Correspondence,
- III.5.2. Documentation,
- III.5.3. Invoices,
- Fondazione Cini
- III.6.2. Documentation,
- Fondazione Querini Stampalia
Art, Italian--Conservation and restoration--Italy--Florence
Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts--Conservation and restoration--Italy--Florence
Mural painting and decoration--Conservation and restoration--Italy--Florence
Painting, Italian--Conservation and restoration--Italy--Florence
Ackerman, James S.
Archivio di Stato di Firenze.
Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Firenze.
Chiostro del Brunelleschi (Florence, Italy).
Committee to Rescue Italian Art.
Cope, Maurice E, 1926-
Freedberg, S.J. (Sydney Joseph), 1914-1997
Fumiani , Giovanni Antonio , ca. 1645-1710
Gabinetto fotografico (Florence, Italy).
Gabinetto scientifico letterario di G.P. Vieusseux .
Gilbert, Felix, 1905-1991
Gilmore, Myron Piper, 1910-
Istituto e museo di storia della scienza (Italy).
Kristeller, Paul Oskar, 1905-1999
Liberi, Pietro, 1605-1687
Licht, Fred , 1928-
Loggia del Bigallo.
Lombardo, Tullio , ca.1455-1532
Lowry, Bates, 1923-
Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994
Orsanmichele (Church : Florence, Italy).
Piazzetta, Giovanni Battista, 1682-1754
Santa Croce (Church: Florence, Italy).
Schulz, Juergen, 1927-
Veronese, Paolo, 1528-1588