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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2376

Leo Raditsa papers


Correspondence, compositions, diaries, and other materials of teacher, scholar, editor and writer Leo Ferrero Raditsa.


  • 1947-2001

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English, French, German, and Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


Copyright is held by Bosiljjka Raditsa.


37.5 linear feet (91 boxes)

Materials document the broad spectrum of Raditsa's life-long activities and interests, including his years spent as a student at Harvard College, his scholarly and political pursuits, as well as his activities as editor of several magazines and as the founder of two journals, including i.e. The Cambridge Review.

His papers include personal, professional, and family correspondence, including letters to his wife Larissa Bonfante Raditsa and son Sebastian, and other family members, drafts of publications, such as book reviews, poems and other writings, especially his book concerning William Reich, research and lecture notes while teaching at New York University and St. John's College in Anapolis, diaries and travel journals for the years 1947-2001, and personal and family miscellany.

Biographical / Historical

Leo Ferrero Raditsa (1936-2001) was a teacher, scholar, editor and writer, and a distinguished historian of Ancient History. He wrote criticism, essays, plays, history, novels, poems and was an accomplished painter.

A naturalized United States citizen, Leo was born in Switzerland on March 2, 1936 to Bogdan (Radica) Raditsa and Nina Lombroso Ferrero. His maternal grandfather was the prominent Italian journalist and historian Guglielmo Ferrero, and his grandmother was Gina Lombroso, the daughter of Cesare Lombroso, the renowned Italian criminologist. She was a well-known writer on women issues. Nina's brother, Leo Lombroso Ferrero, was a gifted poet and playwright. The Ferreros were outspoken antifascists who left Italy in 1929. They settled in Switzerland, where Guglielmo Ferrero was professor of Modern European History at the University of Geneva.

Bogdan Raditsa was a delegate to the League of Nations in Geneva, and in 1940 he was assigned a diplomatic post at the Yugoslav Embassy in Washington, D.C. He assisted Tito into power and worked in his administration until 1946, when he defected. He returned to the United States and lived in New York with his wife and two children, Leo and Bosiljka (Bosa). He taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and continued his career as a journalist. Nina Raditsa taught Italian and French at Fairleigh Dickinson, and for many years she was an officer on the board of The International League for Human Rights.

Leo Raditsa graduated from Philips Exeter Academy and received his AB in History and Literature from Harvard College in 1956. During his undergraduate years, Raditsa and four friends founded the i.e. The Cambridge Review (1953-1957), a literary journal that became well known in intellectual and academic circles. The Review published writers and artists, such as James Agee, Gregory Corso, Paul Goodman , Walker Evans and Jackson Pollack.

After graduation Raditsa returned to New York and was hired by The Readers' Subscription, a book club run by W.H. Auden, J. Barzun and L. Trilling, to work on its monthly publication The Griffin. During this period he persuaded Roger Strauss, Jr., of Farrar, Strauss and Giroux to republish the banned works of the psychologist Wilhelm Reich.

In 1960 he resumed his studies and entered the graduate school at Columbia University. He received his Master's degree in Medieval History in 1962. His thesis was "Reform, Revolution and Tyranny in Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century Florence." In 1969 he earned his doctorate in Ancient History with his dissertation, "A Historical Commentary to Sallust's Letter of Mithridates." During his years at Columbia, he received two University Scholar Fellowships and the President's Fellow at Columbia. In 1964 and 1965 he received Fullbright fellowships to the University of Munich and the Free University in Berlin.

His early teaching career included positions as an instructor and assistant professor in the Classics Department at New York University, where from 1965 to1972, he taught Greek and Latin as well as Ancient and Medieval history. In 1972 he accepted a teaching position at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, where he was part of their Great Books program. He received tenure in 1977 and taught there until his death.

In 1978 he was appointed editor of St. John's publication The College, which he re-founded and edited as The St. John's Review in 1981. In the years 1977-78 he was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Hoover Institute on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. During that year he wrote "The Division of the West, Rationality and the Perception of Depth" (unpublished). His life-long interest in Wilhelm Reich led to his book, Some Sense about Wilhelm Reich, published in 1975 and later translated into German. The Denton Congressional Hearings on South Africa attracted Raditsa's interest, and he wrote and published "Prisoners of a Dream: The South African Mirage, A Historical Essay on the Denton Hearings" in 1989. He was a frequent contributor to the publications Midstream, The New York Tribune, The Washington Times and the Italian political journal Ideazione. He exhibited his own paintings and collected contemporary art.

Leo was married for over twenty-five years to Larissa Bonfante, an archaeologist of Etruscan History and Professor in the Classics department at New York University. Their son, Sebastian Raditsa, was born in 1983. His stepdaughter is Alexandra Bonfante-Warren. He divided his time between the United States and Italy, where he lived in his family home, outside of Florence.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. Correspondence
  2. I-A. Professional correspondence--Incoming, Boxes 1-3
  3. I-B. Professional correspondence--Outgoing, Boxes 4-5
  4. I-C. Personal correspondence--Incoming, Boxes 6-7
  5. I-D. Personal (family) correspondence--Incoming and outgoing, Box 8 (retained by family; not present at repository)
  6. I-E. Personal/professional correspondence--Unidentified, Box 9
  7. II. Education
  8. II-A. Elementary/ secondary education, Boxes 10 / 10A
  9. II-B. College education, Harvard College, Box 10
  10. II-C. i.e. The Cambridge Review, Boxes 11-12
  11. II-D. Post-graduate education--MA/Ph.D dissertation, Boxes 13-22
  12. III. Teaching Career
  13. III-A. Early professional positions, Box 23
  14. III-B. Tutor, St. John's College, Boxes 24-27
  15. III-C. St. John's Review Magazine, Boxes 28-29
  16. IV. Publications: Books
  17. IV-A. Some sense about Reich, Boxes 30-32
  18. IV-B. Prisoners of a dream, Boxes 33-41
  19. V. Publications: Journal articles, reviews and newspaper articles
  20. V-A. Published articles, Boxes 42-45
  21. V-B. Manuscript articles, Boxes 46-56
  22. V-C. Book reviews and newspaper articles, Boxes 57-59
  23. VI. Fiction
  24. VI-A. Poems, Boxes 60-61
  25. VI-B. Short stories and plays, Boxes 62-65
  26. VII. Research files and publications
  27. VII-A. Subject files and clippings, Boxes 66-68
  28. VII-B. Published works of others, Boxes 69-75
  29. VIII. Personal materials
  30. VIII-A. Diaries, Boxes 76-84
  31. VIII-B. Travel journals, Boxes 85-86
  32. VIII-C. Family biographies, Box 87
  33. VIII-D. Family memorabilia, Box 88

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2004M-146. Gift of Bosilijka Raditsa and Sebastian Raditsa, 15 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10023; received: 2005 May 27.

Separated Materials

For printed works by Guglielmo Ferrero annotated by his grandson, Leo Raditsa, consult the Harvard online catalog, HOLLIS.

Processing Information

The collection was processed prior to receipt by the repository.

Raditsa, Leo. Leo Raditsa papers, 1947-2001: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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