New Library acquisition: the Scinto Collection of Italian Renaissance Drama

Author: Tracy Bergstrom

Frontespizio del Ruffiano di Ludovico Dolce (1587)

The Department of Rare Books & Special Collections has recently acquired an extraordinary collection of 16th and early 17th century printings of Italian comedy and drama. Assembled over many years by neurologist and bibliophile Dr. Leonard F. M. Scinto, the collection contains 135 volumes including works by Lodovico Ariosto, Niccolò Machiavelli, Alessandro Piccolomini, Torquato Tasso, and Giovan Giorgio Trissino. Most imprints within the collection are either first printed editions of a play or the most authoritative printing of the text. The rarity of many of these copies cannot be overstated, and as such most are also not available digitally.

Within the Scinto Collection, the items affiliated with Lodovico Dolce illustrate the complementary nature of this acquisition to our existing literature holdings. Lodovico Dolce (1508-68) was an author and prolific editor; his editorial efforts included important mid-16th century editions of the works of Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Bembo. Our existing holdings within Rare Books & Special Collections document Dolce’s editorial activities in conjunction with the development of vernacular literature as well as include volumes that Dolce compiled of new Petrarchan poetry by various authors. To these existing holdings, the Scinto Collection adds several plays authored or adapted by Dolce as a dramatist including the copy of Il Ruffiano seen here.

Individual volumes from the collection are currently being cataloged and will be available within Rare Books & Special Collections in the near future.

Image credit: Il Ruffiano, title page. Venice: Per gli heredi di Bortolamio Rubin, 1587.