The Anthony P. Campanella Collection, recently presented to the University of South Carolina by Dr. Campanella, is a resource of major significance on Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), Italian liberator and hero-figure of nineteenth-century liberal nationalism, and on the Risorgimento, the 1860 reunification of Italy. Apart from the wars and territorial redistributions of the Napoleonic period, Italian reunification was the most influential, far-reaching political event in nineteenth-century Europe: the intellectual and political consequences of the event extended far beyond the boundaries of Italy.
The Campanella Collection, created as the library of the International Institute of Garibaldian Studies, is a major, internationally recognized academic research resource. It is a sharply focused assemblage of more than 2,500 titles relating to a subject area of major historical importance and is unequaled, in scope or detail, in the library of any other North American academic institution. In addition to the core research library, which contains the principal published works of the Risorgimento period and numerous contemporary memoirs, the Campanella Collection contains many items from Garibaldi’s personal library and from the library of his son Ricciotti (1847-1924), 410 original letters to and from Garibaldi, 350 nineteenth-century newspapers, a major collection of medals honoring and relating to Garibaldi, and varied items of memorabilia.
Giuseppe Garibaldi devoted his life to the cause of Italian unity. His greatest triumph was the 1860 overthrow of the Kingdom of Naples, the event which precipitated Italian unification. In May of that year, Garibaldi landed in Sicily with a volunteer force of 1070 men (the “Thousand”). Within two weeks this force had taken the city of Palermo, forcing the capitulation of an army of 20,000 regulars. In August Garibaldi crossed to the Italian mainland, routing the Neapolitan army in a series of victories and capturing Naples itself within the month. Garibaldi’s March became one of the great legends of the nineteenth century, both because of the genius with which Garibaldi overcame vast military odds, and, equally importantly, because of the potent political symbolism of the event in an age in which ethnic and cultural groups increasingly responded to nationalism’s call in a Europe still dominated by the dynastic power blocs of an earlier age.
There can be no doubt that the March, whose progress was eagerly followed in a United States ideologically opposed to European dynastic “tyranny,” was viewed in this country as a powerful vindication of the right of the individual to political self-determination. It also encouraged Southern leaders in their move towards secession at precisely the time when accounts of Garibaldi’s exploits appeared in the American press. Nor is it coincidental that in 1876 Wade Hampton’s followers, in their resistance to the continued presence of Federal troops in South Carolina, appropriated the name of Garibaldi’s followers–Red Shirts–for themselves.
Anthony P. Campanella was born in 1912 at Ciminna, near Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in New York, attending New York University where he took bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology. He later took doctorates at the Universities of Frankfurt-am-Main (Dr. Rer. Pol., 1948) and Lausanne (1950). It was here that he met his future wife, Erica, daughter of the distinguished medical historian Henry Sigerist. Mrs. Campanella was librarian with the World Health Organization.
Dr. Campanella is the author and editor of numerous publications relating to Garibaldi. His magnum opus, the 1971 two-volume biography of Garibaldi, is a cornerstone of Garibaldian studies.
The generous gift of the Campanella Collection to the University of South Carolina, raises the University to the status of an international research center for the study of Garibaldi and of Italian re-unification.