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SUB-FONDS Identifier: BER -2

Committee to Rescue Italian Art Palazzo Pitti office records


Papers from the Palazzo Pitti office of the American Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA), founded to restore cultural heritage damaged by the 1966 Florentine flood, include correspondence, reports, invoices, and photographs related to the organization’s activities.


  • Creation: 1966-1873

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions on use

Copying: Papers may be copied in accordance with the Biblioteca Berenson's usual policies. Copyright: The Biblioteca Berenson does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collections. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the archivist. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the archivist are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.


7.7 linear feet (189 folders)

The collection consists of records from the CRIA office in Palazzo Pitti. This includes correspondence and papers documenting CRIA's activities and collaboration with other committees in the rescue of Florentine and Venetian works of art damaged by the 1966 flood and high tides.


The Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA) was an American committee created in the wake of the 1966 flood of the Arno River and high tides in Venice. CRIA worked in partnership with Italian institutions to rescue and restore all types of cultural heritage that had been damaged. Leadership included Jacqueline Kennedy, the Honorary President of the organization, and Professor Millard Meiss of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, who chaired the Executive Committee. CRIA’s members included art and architecture historians such as Bates Lowry, Fred Licht, Frederick Hartt, Sidney J. Freedberg, James Ackerman and Rudolf Wittkower, as well as historians and linguists such as Paul Oscar Kristeller, Felix Gilbert and I Tatti's own director, Myron P. Gilmore. All were intellectuals with close ties to Florence and to Italy who had long studied its culture through original sources and documents.There were three general headquarters of CRIA in its six years of activity: an office in New York at 717 5th Street, where Bates Lowry supervised work and spent the bulk of his time fundraising (from both large donors and smaller appeals in universities and schools) and two offices in Florence at Palazzo Pitti and Villa I Tatti. The Committee successfully campaigned to raise its target goal of 2.5 million dollars. These funds were then used to restore countless works of art, including monuments, paintings, manuscripts and library materials as selected by the CRIA Advisory Committee.

The CRIA office in Palazzo Pitti was opened in the first days of 1967 after the American fundraising campaign had begun. To facilitate the distribution of funds and accommodate American restoration experts newly arrived in Florence, CRIA decided to establish an office in the city center. The Committee chose a ground-floor space in the Palazzo Pitti that opened onto Ammannati’s courtyard and hired Judith Munat as secretary. The records produced by this office are mainly financial and consist largely of invoices. Records related to the first months of CRIA’s activity are presented in their original chronological order. After this early period records are arranged according to the different restoration projects for which the Committee raised funds.


The collection includes three series: Palazzo Pitti Office, Florence, and Venice, which are subdivided into several subseries. Series 1 (Palazzo Pitti Office) has five subseries: Correspondence, Documentation, Personnel, Administrative Expenses, and Secondary Activities. Series 2 (Florence) includes six subseries related to CRIA's activities and projects in Florence: General Documentation, Invoices, Galleries, Archives and Libraries, Monuments, and Museums. Series 3 (Venice) is subdivided into six subseries: General Correspondence, Documentation, Monuments, Galleries, Conservation Laboratory, and Libraries and Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Item-level finding aid available. Contact Archivist.

Acquisition Information

The papers were left to Villa I Tatti by I Tatti's director Myron P. Gilmore in 1975.

Online Access

All of the objects in this collection have been scanned and are accessible throught the CRIA online exhibition

Related Materials

Additional CRIA papers are organized in the subfond related to the I Tatti Office held by Biblioteca Berenson, I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. Finding aid available here.

Processing Information

The papers were processed in winter 2005 by Gabriele Cappelli and Ilaria Della Monica. Revised and updated by Ilaria Della Monica, 2011.

Committee to Rescue Italian Art Palazzo Pitti office records, 1966-1973: A Finding Aid
Biblioteca Berenson
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Biblioteca Berenson, I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies Repository

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