Fry Collection of Italian History and Culture


The Fry Collection of Italian History and Culture has been assembled and donated by William F. “Jack” Fry, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It includes manuscripts and correspondence, broadsides, printed ephemera, periodicals, newspapers, and books from the early Renaissance through the 20th century. His collecting has emphasized what he calls micro-history, favoring documentation of everyday life. The largest category consists of materials from the period of Italian Fascism, illustrating, for example, Fascist propaganda, educational policies and practices, youth and women's activities, racial policies, Italian colonialism, and anti-Fascist opposition, including partisan activities in Italy during World War II. The next largest category, rich in correspondence, printed ephemera, and many official avvisi and manifesti, documents aspects of the Veneto from the 15th century through the 19th, with particular attention to the French and Austrian occupation of the Veneto in the 19th century. Other materials fall into categories assigned by the donor in lengthy notes: Italian religious practice and the Fascist regime, 20th-century Italian Communism, political culture in postwar Italy, documentation of Italian marshland reclamation, theater and music in Italy, the period immediately preceding the Fascist period, the Italian postal and telegraph service, and other rare books and manuscripts mainly from Italy (15th-20th century).


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



General Library System


  • Kenneth Frazier

Collection Size

395 linear feet

Date Range

1310 - 1987

Geographic Scope

Italy, with special emphasis on northeastern Italy, including the Veneto.