REVISITARE LA RIVISTA
Earlier this week, Professor and Chair of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Ulrich Keller paid us a visit. Professor Keller is currently working on a research project focusing on European photojournalism in the interwar period and had been told by a colleague that he ought to check out the collection of periodicals at the Wolfsonian Library.
In 1995, Claudio Fogu had come to the Wolfsonian as a research fellow working on a topic entitled: The Historic in the Making: Fascism and the Representation of History. On that ocassion, he had discovered that we possessed a fairly impressive collection of rare Italian periodicals. Now teaching in Santa Barbara’s History Department some fifteen years later, Professor Fogu was evidently still singing our praises.
After contacting the library and confirming over the phone that we did indeed possess a nearly comprehensive run of the rare Italian magazine, La rivista illustrata del popolo d’Italia, Professor Keller scheduled a research appointment. Armed with Claudio’s recommendation and a digital camera, Professor Keller flew across the continent in order to spend three days perusing the collection.
It is not at all unusual for us to be contacted by graduate students, professors, and other researchers directed our way by former fellows. But it is undeniably gratifying to know that old friends continue to talk up our strengths long after one might assume the memory of their visit has faded into the darker recesses of the mind, and that in the digital age “word of mouth” still has the power to direct scholars our way in this our fifteenth year as a public institution. We can only hope that following his own visit, Professor Keller might also be inspired to spread the word about our holdings to his students and colleagues, perhaps inspiring in turn another round of research visits.