Trieste, Italy: c. 1926-1931. Original mss and/or first printings. A unique aggregation of primary and secondary sources documenting Italian architecture, geography, and cultural life during the pre-World War II occupation, specifically in the area of Trieste, Italy. Condition varies by material type, manuscripts are in exceptional and legible condition with some discoloration to the paper and wear and tear; the addressed and annotated, but tattered envelopes served their purpose as protectors for the enclosures; however the majority of the silver gelatin prints are in exceptional condition with little oxidation or paper degradation. Images are clear, bright, and detailed with rich black and white tones. The two maps, although folded, are bright and unmarred, despite some discoloration on the original wrapper. Overall, collection is brilliant and distinctive, as an early 1930s insight into a characteristically, unparalleled Italian region with Hapsburg Dynasty roots.
Papers represent a small archive of material created by Arduino Berlam, prominent Italian architect, in the region of the city Trieste, nestled on the northeastern coastline of Italy, only a few kilometers from the border of Slovenia. Arduino Berlam was the son of Ruggero Berlam, also an established architect, both known for their collaborative architectural design on the Synagogue of Trieste. Arduino continued to design buildings throughout the 1930s, but also wrote and published several historical and travelogue essays about Trieste. The manuscripts represented in this collection are unpublished and explore more of the cultural and geographic aspects of the area, and uniquely written in English, rather than Italian, presuming to be pitched for a wider market of readership and interest in the area. Evidence of this is recorded in the letter written to James Pond of the Pond Bureau discussing the possibility of publishing the manuscripts (enclosed) into a book or article in a magazine. The Pond Bureau, famously started by James Burton Pond, represented lecturers and writers, mostly on a presentation circuit, and included clients as Henry Ward Beecher, Winston Churchill, and Mark Twain. James Pond, as a correspondent then, to whom Berlam wrote, was undoubtedly, James Burton Pond, Jr. who took over the business when his father (Sr.) died in the 1920s. The letter also indicates Berlam and Pond were in communication previous. The letter alludes to an enclosed handwritten manuscript titled: “A Few Words and Many Photo’s about Little Characteristic Churches in Friouli [Northern Italy]. 20 pp. which is included.
Also included in the collection: Handwritten in pen and ink “Mediaeval Castles in Friouli [Northern Italy]” (Doct. Arch. Arduino Berlam. Member of the National Directory of the Syndicate of Italian Architects.) 24 pp. This manuscript has annotations in red pencil that correspondence with a numbering system on the photographs [1-29].
“The Grotto of Postumia (formerly Adelsberg)” 4 pp. (1 folio leaf). The handwritten pages in pen and ink are also edited and annotated. Interestingly, this essay describes the many grottos (caves) in the area, formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at one time. Included are nine black and white photographs recording this particular grotto c. 1930s.
Lastly, “Picturesque Trieste, Italy” 24 pp. typescript, including the sections “The Huge Grotto of San Canziano” and “The Dwellers of the Subterranean Metropolis.” Heavily annotated, the typescript describes, in travelogue fashion, Trieste and peninsula of Istria written in language to attract curious American tourists, i.e. “day trip of interest.” The style of the essay suggests Berlam was writing charismatically, not only for an American audience, but for amateur travelers in mind. The photographs in the collection number over 100 and encompass images of architecture, landscape, customary dresses of local folk, and art. All of the photographic processes for the collection are gelatin silver, on varying degrees of paper quality and various size prints. The images of the grottos of San Canziano (now known as Škocjan Caves) are extremely scarce, estimating from the 1930s. Parts of the caves were not quite open to the public at that time. The 8x10” photographs from the San Canziano cave were taken by Professor Antonio Iviani (signed), naturalist and cave explorer, quite well-known and accomplished photographer of natural subterranean landscapes. Berlam probably collaborated with Iviani to acquire and use such photographs, as they are not prolific. Similarly, because this is a ‘research’ collection, Berlam utilized and gathered secondary image sources to supplement his articles, so many of the photographs are photographic prints processed by 1930s contemporary Italian photographers and the great photographic firms of the time, including Fratelli Alinari, Giacomo Greatti, Oscarre Sanvini, and Pietro Opiglia. There are 14 photographic postcards in the collection by Oscarre Sanvini, embossed with the O. Sanvini logo. Berlam was extremely efficient by documenting the photographs with an annotated description, photographer, and place attached to the photograph. In some cases, the description also includes a number, which corresponds to a grouping of photographs, as written on 3 of the 4 envelopes in the collection.
Also included: Luigi Vittorio Bertarelli, and Boegan (Eugenio). Carta della Distribuzione delle Grotte nella Venezia Giulia, [Milan] 1926. This set of maps illustrates a period of forty years of cartographic exploration producing a cross-section of two thousand caves in the Province of Udine [Friuli-Venezia Giulia] region. Annotated with a note from Berlam: “To accompany Arduino Berlam’s article “Picturesque Trieste.”
The collection is remarkably distinct, outlining and illustrating a small geographic area of Italy, quite unknown to the average American citizen, with a rich natural environment and idiosyncratic Medieval architectural history. This area of Italy was occupied by the Wehrmacht troops in World War II and heavily bombed by the Allies, subsequently. The region saw a turbulent cultural change over the last 50 years and many of these descriptions and photographs in the Berlam collection have evolved to reflect a different demographic of culture and community. Very Good. Loose typescript and handwritten in pen and ink manuscripts on questionable bond paper, black and white silver gelatin photographic prints, mailing envelopes, and two folded and oversize printed maps in the original wraps. Item #9076