Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
17th-Century Italian Letters Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of 97 letters and documents of various Italian church and political figures of the 17th century, primarily in Florence, Pisa, and Rome, chiefly in Italian but also including some in Latin, dating from 1598 to 1699.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 97 letters and documents, chiefly in Italian but also including some in Latin, dating from 1598 to 1699. Included is correspondence of various Church and political figures of the 17th century, primarily in Florence, Pisa, and Rome, as well as some in Bologna, Correggio, Parma, and Siena. Many letters contain information pertaining to military and diplomatic history, focusing on the Farnese dukes of Parma, the Spanish occupation of Milan, and the political ambitions of the Holy See.

Letters within the collection provide sources and background for a number of influential individuals from the period: Diego d'Avalos, Marchese of Vasto [Perugia]; Francesco Boncompagni, grandson to Pope Gregory XIII, whom he mentions in his letter to Angelo Cesi (1530-1606); Tommaso Caccini, Dominican friar who was instigating the castigation of Galileo at the time of his letter sent to his brother Matteo (April 1612); Baldassare Cenci, Archbishop of Fermo, who wrote a letter to Cardinal [Fabrizio] Spada, papal secretary of the state, about the scandalous divine cults in the ecclesiastical domains; correspondence with Francesco Gaetani or Caetani (possibly Francesco Caetani, duke of Sermoneta, 1594-1683), dating from 1610 to 1639; and Quintillio Petrucci, probably a papal correspondent in Parma, who wrote 2 letters to Antonio Roffi in Florence containing news about members of the Visconti and Gonzaga families, among others. Also includes 2 documents from the Monache di San Giuseppe di Pisa for Lucretia della Seta and Suor Costanza Medici (1645 and 1647). Also included are one unidentified letter in German and one pen-and-ink drawing of a proposed coin or medal (43 mm. in diameter), with a motto on the obverse reading "Syrus Austriacus Corrigi Com[es]"), designed for D. Giovanni Siro of Correggio (1590-1645).


Arranged chronologically.

Collection History


Purchased from H.P. Kraus in 2002 (AM2002-153).

Custodial History

Formerly in the Library of Sir Thomas Phillipps, though it was not assigned a Phillipps number. Earlier provenance unknown. Due to the amount of correspondence with Francesco G/Caetani, Antonio Roffi, and Antonio Roffia, it is possible that parts of this collection originated with their family papers.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

17th-Century Italian Letters Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1