THE SIENESE LIBRARY FUND “PICHI-SERMOLLI”

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Paola Martelli *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Paola Martelli | prof.paola.martelli@gmail.com

Abstract

The private library of the botanist Rodolfo Pichi Sermolli (b. Florence, 1912 - d. there 2005) was acquired in 2008 by the Accademia dei Fisiocritici with the support of the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena, thus adding 900 volumes and 9000 miscellaneous items of scientific and cultural value to the library of the Accademia (specialized in scientific matters), which already vanted about 35,000 volumes published since XVI century, 160 current journals, 1000 defunct journals, and 21 private collections donated in the XX century. After getting his degree in Natural Sciences at the Università di Firenze, Rodolfo E.G. Pichi Sermolli had a brilliant career as scientist, explorer, and university professor at various italian universities including that of Siena and the Università di Perugia, from which he retired as Professor Emeritus. He became one of the leading world experts in pteridology (the study of ferns) and on the tropics, a topic to which he made memorable contributions including the book, Missione di Studio al Lago Tana (Investigations of Lake Tana) published by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in 1951. He was also the recipient of national and international awards and posts. Aside from his scientific papers published in international journals, he left a 25,000 - sample fern herbarium with its associ- ated library (bought by the Museo di Storia Naturale dell'Università di Firenze) and a personal library, which, with its ample collection of books, maps, atlases and assorted documents, is what now makes up the Fondo Pichi Sermolli in the Academia’s Library. Just to mention a few items it contains, there are books describing daring explorations and important discoveries in tropical lands by O. Beccari, G. Dainelli, R. Jeannel, A. Auberville, and R. Pichi Sermolli himself. Another important group are books regarding Linnaeus by V.B. Wittrock, B. Soulsby et al., D.F.L. Von Schelektendal, among many others. Special mention should be made of the in folio The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland, by Thomas Moore, published by Brad- bury and Evans, London, 1855, valuable not only for its scientific merit but especially for its vivid plates made by impressions of ferns obtained by technique of “Nature Printing” and then hand painted.

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