Boston Public Library Returns Manuscripts to Italy

The Boston Public Library plans to return several historical artifacts to Italy after discovering their origins.

The items include two manuscripts from the Middle Ages and a collection of works by Renaissance philosopher and scientist Bernardino Telesio. They were purchased legitimately from various rare books dealers and were kept under the stewardship of the Boston Public Library for several decades.

Mariegola della Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia manuscript. Courtesy of

The discovery of one item, the Mariegola della Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia manuscript, solves a mystery dating back to the 1940’s, after the item was taken off exhibition at the State Archives of Venice and subsequently disappeared. The Boston Public Library said it discovered the manuscript’s origins while it was being prepared for electronic cataloguing.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the library’s head of Special Collections, Beth Prindle, both expressed their contentment with the return of the items.

“Boston Public Library purchased these rare and important materials in good faith for the public to see and study and we took our stewardship of them seriously during the many years that they were in our care,” said Prindle. “We are fully committed to their safe return.”

-Maggie Utter

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