Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Guglielmo Ferrero papers, 1871-1944, 1981, bulk 1890-1942

Summary Information


This collection contains correspondence, lectures, articles, manuscripts and printed material related to the life and work of Italian journalist, historian and novelist Guglielmo Ferrero.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0417
Bib ID 4079700 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Ferrero, Guglielmo, 1871-1942
Title Guglielmo Ferrero papers, 1871-1944, 1981, bulk 1890-1942
Physical Description 63 linear feet (138 boxes: 127 document boxes 9 custom boxes 2 oversized boxes)
Language(s) Italian , French , Spanish; Castilian , English .

Boxes A, B, and C are located on-site. The following boxes are located offsite: 1-134. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection is arranged in seven series.


Scope and Content

These papers contain correspondence, lectures, articles and manuscripts, and printed material related to the life and work of Italian journalist, historian and novelist Guglielmo Ferrero. The collection includes original manuscripts of his published and unpublished works. Of special note are his notes for lectures at the University of Geneva, out of which grew his trilogy: The Gamble; The Reconstruction of Europe, and The Principles of Power. There is correspondence from such notables as Loria, Sforza, Orlando, Victor Margueritte, and Salvemini.

  • Series I: Correspondence

    This extensive series contains correspondence exchanged with Guglielmo Ferrero over the course of his entire life. Among the correspondents are: Graca Aranha, Gustave Le Bon, Mario Borsa, Benedetto Croce, Giustino Fortunato, Antonio De Viti de Marco, Eduardo Giretti, Cesare Lombroso, Achille Loria, Olindo Malagodi, Amedeo Mazzotti, Urbain Mengin, Arnoldo Mondadori, Ernesto Teodore Moneta, Tomaso Monicelli, Gaetano Mosca, Victor Margueritte, Maffeo Pantaleoni, Raymond Poincare, Joseph Pulitzer, Romand Roland, Gaetano Salvemini, Carlo Sforza, many scientific, historical and literary societies, political parties and a wide range of reviews and international magazines.

    The correspondence is organized at the item level. Some of the correspondence has been microfilmed due to its physical condition.

  • Series II: Publishers, 1908-1930

    Most of the material in this series comprises receipts and correspondence--both professional and personal—with publishers or editors in a variety of countries and languages. The bulk of the letters were written between the 1910 and late 1920s, when Ferrero's books were most well-known and were circulated in bookstores both in Western Europe and in the United States.

    Please note that letters from publishers can also be found in Series V: "Miscellanea".

  • Series III: Manuscripts, (See also: Series VII: Addendum), 1893-1940

  • Series IV: General Unprocessed Material, Circa, 1900s-1940s

  • Series V: "Miscellanea", 1890-1942

    This series is composed of material that had not been incorporated into other sections and series of the papers a whole. Contained here are correspondence--primarily autograph requests, invitations, and cards from unidentified individuals; drafts and notes by Ferrero on his book Between the Two Worlds; printed materials such as articles, speeches (about Ferrero) and non-fascist papers; and personal documents including a notebook and an address book, and receipts and material from rental agencies and wine dealers.

  • Series VI: Trip to Latin America, 1907-1908

    Correspondence received by Ferrero family when travelling through Argentina and Brazil in 1907 comprises the bulk of this series. Correspondents include intellectuals and public figures of the time, such as members of the Academia Brasileira de Letras (Academy of Letters of Brazil) and statesmen who were engaged to introduce Ferrero to the Literary and Historical institutions in Brazil. There are two letters from Brazilian writer, Machado de Assis, arranging for a series of Ferrero lectures in Brazil.

    It should be noted that Ferrero's speech, La Culture Latine a L'Epoque Actuelle, given in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1907 can be found in Series VII: Addendum, Published Articles and Essays.

    Also here are clippings regarding the Ferrero's trip and the repercussions of the trip in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, and a small amount of ephemera such as menus, announcements of talks and invitations received.

  • Series VII: Addendum, 1870-1944, 1981

    This eclectic series contains a range of writings in a variety of genres and formats, and personal material.

    Found here are several hand-written and bound drafts of Ferrero's novel La Terza Roma, dating from 1920 to 1925 and a manuscript of Reconstruction (1941) one of Ferrero's last works.

    The bulk of the lessons and lectures in this series are in French and were given at the University of Geneva while Ferrero was exiled in Switzerland. The lessons consist on topics of European history with emphasis on 18th and 19th century issues, such as the French Revolution, the Versailles Treaty and the First World War.

    Found here are notes made by Ferrero on the first edition of Das Capital in French, published in 1871 and one of Ferrero's first written works, East and West, dated 1892.

    Published articles and essays in this series date primarily from 1890 to 1940 and include copies of La Culture Latine a L'Epoque Actuelle, a lecture that Ferrero delivered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1907, and articles and manifestos written by Ferrero against the Fascist regime and Benito Mussolini. Also here are articles are on Ferrero by Helmut Goetz in 1981.

    Clippings of articles written by Ferrero or regarding Ferrero, are arranged chronologically. Also included are a number of Italian and French newspapers (L'Unita, L'Illustration, La Depeche) and newspapers from Argentina (Italia Libre) and Serbia (Jutarnji List) to which Ferrero contributed articles.

    The correspondence includes letters received from Italian journalist Giovanni Amendola, one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party Bruno Rizzi, Croatian politician and journalist Franco Supilo, and Croatian politician Ante Trumbić. Correspondence that belonged to Ferrero's wife Gina Lombroso Ferrero and three folders of notes and drafts written by Guglielmo Ferrero's son Leo Ferrero are also here. Finally, personal documents, such as Ferrero's 1871 school report, a diary with his personal notes and information and a scrapbook with a collection of clippings and pictures dating from 1942 to 1944, correspondence and family material round out this series.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

Boxes A, B, and C are located on-site. The following boxes are located offsite: 1-134. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Guglielmo Ferrero papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Alternate Form Available

Willa Cather letters are on: microfilm.

Benedetto Croce letters are on: microfilm.

Eduardo Giretti letters are on: microfilm.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Raditsa, Nina Ferrero. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1961. Accession number--M-1961.

Gift of Mrs Nina Ferrero Raditsa, 1961-1967, 1979& 1986.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Processed JLW 05/--/1986.

This collection was processed by Daniella Diniz da Silva (Columbia University, GSAS 2013) and the Guglielmo Ferrero Research Group of the Italian National Council of Research. Finding aid written by Daniella Diniz da Silva in June 2010.

Revision Description

2009-06-26 xml document instance created by ceh

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Articles Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drafts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Galley proofs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Interviews Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lecture notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lectures Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notes (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Proofs (printed matter) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Cather, Willa, 1873-1947 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Croce, Benedetto, 1866-1952 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Giretti, Eduardo Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Historians Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Italian literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Italy -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Loria, Achille, 1857-1943 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Margueritte, V (Victor), 1866-1942 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Novelists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Salvemini, Gaetano, 1873-1957 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sforza, Carlo, conte, 1872-1952 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social scientists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


Italian journalist, historian and novelist Guglielmo Ferrero (1871-1942) wrote for several European and Latin American newspapers and published more than ten books on ancient and modern European history. His interests included history, criminology, politics, religion, and literature.

On his early works, Ferrero worked with Cesare Lombroso on topics such as Criminalist and Sociological Theory. Lombroso—who was his father-in-law—published with Ferrero his first essay Criminal Woman, the Prostitute and the Normal Woman. In the turn to the twentieth century, however, after a number of trips throughout Europe, Ferrero became interested in the study of the constitution of the European history and started to write extensively on topics of social, cultural and political formation of the continent.

In 1907, Guglielmo Ferrero, accompanied by his wife Gina Lombroso, left Europe for almost a year and gave more than twenty lectures in Argentina and Brazil. In the following year, Ferrero was invited by American president Theodore Roosevelt to speak in the White House.

As an outspoken critic of Fascism in the middle of the 1920s, Ferrero increasingly received threats from the Italian government. In 1925, Ferrero was placed under house arrest for refusing to leave Italy. After intense negotiations and the support of King Albert of Belgium, Ferrero and his family were exiled to Switzerland in 1929, and he accepted a professorship at the University of Genève. His lessons and lectures at this time focused mostly on the topics of formation of the European order from end of the Nineteenth Century to the end of the World War I. In the beginning of the 1930s Ferrero, who already wrote regularly for many French newspapers, began to write for several newspapers in Latin America. By the end of the decade Ferrero published a series of books that follow the topics of his lessons from University of Genève. L'Aventure, Bonaparte en Italie, Reconstruction: Telleyrand a Vienne and Pouvoir focus on the French Revolution and the ascension of Napoleon, but reflect his concerns of absolute power and lack of balance in the structure of the modern State.

Ferrero died in 1942, in Switzerland.