Archival Collections
Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Paul Oskar Kristeller papers, 1910-1989. 

Creator: 
Kristeller, Paul Oskar, 1905-1999.
Phys. Desc: 
99 linear ft. ( 232 boxes; 53 microfilm storage boxes & 2 oversize folders)
Call Number: 
MS#0729
Location: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Online information

Biographical Note

Philosopher, authority on the intellectual history of the Renaissance, Frederick J. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, 1968-1973, and a member of the faculty at Columbia since 1939.

Scope and Contents

Professional, personal, and family correspondence, manuscripts, memorand, reports, minutes, documents, photographs, microfilms and printed materials. The extensive correspondence files written in German, Italian, English, and French, document his life as a student and teacher in German during the 1920s, his removal as a teacher by the Nazis in 1933, his new life in Italy during the 1930s until the Fascists barred him from teaching in 1938, and finally his emigration to the United States in 1939. There are long detailed letters between Kristeller and his parents, letters with his family, letters of inquiry to determine the fate of his relatives during World War II and after, letters to aid scholars and students escape from Nazi Europe. Kristeller's vast professional correspondence deals with all aspects of teaching, research, and especially scholarly publication in the fields of philosophy, medieval and renaissance intellectual history, classical Greek and latin texts and their manuscript sources. There are detailed letters of advice and criticism to his Columbia students writing theses under his direction, and scores of letters to American and European scholars who submitted manuscripts to him for his valued opinion. His scholarly projects files reveal his active role in fostering international cooperation among scholars of medieval and renaissance studies through his participation in the American Council of Learned Societies, the Mediaeval Academy of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the International Federation of Renaissance Societies, and the Committee to Rescue Italian Art. There are extensive files on his editorship of the CATALOGUS TRANSLATIONUM, a project to catalog all medieval and renaissance latin translations of and commentaries on latin and Greek classics, and his co-directorship of the NUOVA COLLANA DI TESTI UMANISTIC INEDITI O RARI. collections of unpublished humanistic texts. He was also on the editorial board of the JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF IDEAS and the book review editor of the JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY. Among his manuscripts is the original German holograph for his book THE PHILOSOPHY OF MARSILIO FICINO (1937). Also included is a file of printed ephemera consisting of pamphlets, periodicals, brochures, flyers, invitations, posters, and clippings concerning his addresses, lectures, professional papers, publications, and other scholarly activities. 1982 ADDITION: General correspondence with scholars, 1951-1983, chiefly 1979-1983, and correspondence, manuscripts, and notes for his ITER ITALICUM; A FINDING LIST OF UNCATALOGED HUMANISTIC MANUSCRIPTS OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALIAN AND OTHER LIBRARIES (London, Warburg Institute, 1963- ). This first installment includes detailed descriptive bibliographical entries for manuscripts, correspondence with scholars containing additional significant data on specific manuscripts, and drafts of his manuscript for this on-going publication. 1985 ADDITION: Additional correspondence and subject files for the CATALOGUS TRANSLATIONUM ET COMMENTARIORUM, 1944-1968, and correspondence files for THE JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF IDEAS, 1979-1985, additional manuscript and research notes for ITER ITALICUM... (Vols. 1-3). 1986 ADDITION: Manuscripts, notes, and related correspondence, much of which contains data used in his books, contributions to monographs, festschriften, articles, conference papers, addresses, lectures and other remarks; files on his participation in the NEH study: "To Reclaim a Legacy: a Report on the Humanities in Higher Education" issued by William Bennett and dealing with the broader issues of American cultural policy and its relation to politics; printed materials consisting of reviews, essays, and comments by others on Kristeller's scholarship and publications. 1987 ADDITION: Manuscripts for Vol. 4 of ITER ITALICUM... and correspondence, notes, and excerpts for the editing of Vols. 4 and 5 of the ITER. 1988 ADDITION: General correspondence, 1987, lectures and lecture notes for Columbia courses and non-Columbia conferences, meetings, seminars, etc., early manuscripts and writings, 1928-1935, and 83 notebooks for POMPONAZZI AND THE HISTORY OF ITALIAN UNIVERSITIES (unpublished). Correspondence with related research materials for Vol. 5 of ITER ITALICUM..., additional notes and notebooks, and printed materials by and about Kristeller. 1995 ADDITION: 310 microfilm reels (38 missing) of rare monographic materials acquired from a variety of American and foreign libraries.