In the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the historic core of the Library was augmented by the addition of important gifts, bequests and acquisitions of special collections. 1857 had already seen the donation of the polyglot library of Cardinal Giuseppe Gaspare Mezzofanti
, bought by Pio IX for 2000 scudi, to the Library. In the first three decades of the 1900s in particular, the bibliographic heritage of the Library was enriched by legacies or the purchase by the Ministry for National Education of the private collections of scholars and professors associated with Bologna University. These included the library of Alfredo Trombetti
(1866 - 1929), professor of Semitic philology and linguistics, richly endowed with more than 2,000 works on linguistic matters and the ideal complement to the Mezzofanti collection; the library of Pietro Toldo
(1860 – 1926), 2,500 volumes of French and comparative literature; the collection of Vittorio Puntoni
(1859 – 1926), Professor of Greek Studies, national member of the Academy of the Lincei and senator with over 1,000 volumes and 2000 pamphlets on classical philology and ancient languages; the Cesare Taruffi
(1821 – 1902) collection of works on teratology and pathological anatomy; the library of Salvatore Fragapane
(1868 – 1910) dedicated to the philosophy of law and the social sciences; and the Tambroni
collections, to name only the most significant. In 1935 the archives of Pietro Ellero
(1833 – 1933), Professor of Law and Penal Procedure were incorporated into the library.
La Raccolta bibliografica della Guerra delle Nazioni
is of particular historical and documentary importance among the specialized modern collections: gathered and organized by Giuseppe Fumagalli, Librarian from 1913 to 1920, and subsequently enlarged with the addition of acquisitions, gifts and exchanges it now boasts four thousand books, six thousand booklets and many minor publications or “bibliographic curiosities”, such as posters, postcards, public notices and diaries, all relating to the First World War. It is held to be the most conspicuous collection of its kind in any Italian library and one of the most important in Europe.
The collection known as the Biblioteca Militare
, owned by the Bologna Military Command is made up of 7000 books and booklets.
Among the collections received by the Library in the post-war period, as contributions to the reconstruction of Libraries after war-time damage, the Libreria americana
, its thousand-plus modern scientific treatises being the gift of Bologna U.S.I.S, and the donation of the 1,417 works of the American Book Center
for War Devastated Libraries, are worthy of note.
Lastly, in chronological terms at least, comes the Romeo Ballardini
collection which, owing its name to the 90’s architect who designed the new storage and reference facilities, contains 600 volumes on architecture, town-planning and the History of Art.