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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

Garibaldi in His Time: An Exhibit from the Anthony P. Campanella Collection

Thomas Cooper Library (Mezzanine Gallery)
Apr 3, 2008 - Jun 30, 2008
Giuseppe Garibaldi devoted his life to the cause of Italian unity. His greatest triumph was the 1860 overthrow of the Kingdom of Naples, the event which precipitated Italian unification. In May of that year, Garibaldi landed in Sicily with a volunteer force of 1070 men (“The Thousand”). Within two weeks, his force had taken the city of Palermo, forcing the capitulation of an army of 20,000 regulars. In August, Garibaldi crossed to the Italian mainland, routing the Neapolitan army in a series of victories and capturing Naples itself within the month. Garibaldi’s march became one of the great legends of the nineteenth century, both because of the genius with which he overcame vast military odds, and, equally importantly, because of the potent political symbolism of the event in an age in which ethnic and cultural groups increasingly responded to the call of nationalism in a Europe still dominated by the dynastic power blocs of an earlier age. There can be no doubt that the march, whose progress was eagerly followed in a United States ideologically opposed to European dynastic “tyranny,” was viewed in America as a powerful vindication of the right of the individual to political self-determination. It also encouraged Southern leaders in their move toward secession at precisely the time when accounts of Garibaldi’s exploits appeared in the American press. The Campanella Collection contains more than 3,000 titles relating to this subject, and is the largest, in range and depth, of any library in North America. In addition to the core research library, which contains the principal published works of the Risorgimento period and numerous contemporary memoirs, the Collection contains many items from Garibaldi’s personal library and from the library of his son Ricciotti (1847-1924), 410 original letters to and from Garibaldi, 350 nineteenth-century newspapers, portraits and broadsides, and a major collection of medals honoring and relating to Garibaldi, and other varied items of memorabilia. A version of this exhibition was originally mounted to inaugurate the library’s acquisition of the collection in 1997. It has been supplemented with additional items acquired for the collection since that time. The core text is by Roger Mortimer with additional text and editing by Patrick Scott and Jeffrey Makala.