Archive for February, 2011

Library Acquires Bourbon Family Archive

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Parisani d'Ascoli coat of arms (1747)
Parisani d’Ascoli coat of arms (1747), from the Bourbon family archive.
The UCLA Library has acquired the Bourbon del Monte di San Faustino Family Archive, a comprehensive collection of documents created between the 14th and 19th centuries by, for and about this prominent Italian family. 
Among the collection’s contents are civil and ecclesiastical contracts, documents from lawsuits and court cases, wills and post-mortem inventories, genealogies, certificates of nobility, correspondence, and family chronicles.
“We are honored to have been given this distinguished family’s archive,” said UCLA University Librarian Gary E. Strong. “Together with the Orsini Family Papers, these remarkable materials provide UCLA’s students and faculty with rich primary resources offering insight into the culture, politics and society of the family’s traditional territory in Italy, as well as throughout Europe.”
The Bourbon del Monte di San Faustino family can trace its origin and lineage back some 1,200 years to the time of Charlemagne, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who granted the family its original patent of nobility. The territory over which its members ruled for centuries was known as Monte Santa Maria Tiberina; spanning parts of Tuscany and Umbria, it is located between the cities of Arezzo and Città di Castello.
The archive contains more than 21,000 manuscript leaves, more than 2,000 printed pages and 30 large illuminated parchment documents. Its unbroken provenance can be traced back to the 16th century. The archive is a gift from Montino Bourbon, the sixth Principe di San Faustino, Marchese di Monte Santa Maria, and his wife, Rita. Bourbon, who was born in Rome, currently lives in Santa Barbara, Calif. The collection will be housed in the Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections.
“The Bourbon del Monte family is among the earliest aristocratic families in Italy, thus an integral part of Italian social history and related to many noble families — the Sforza, the  Farnese, the Gonzaga, to name a few, and, of course, to the Orsini,” said Massimo Ciavolella, a UCLA professor of Italian. “This well-organized archive affords us a look at the workings of the family within in a small Umbrian setting and will inform scholars in the fields of economics, law, prosopography, paleography, geography, diplomatic history and, of course, literature and language.”