Following one hundred years ever since the death of Professor Augusto Zonghi (1842-1916), his collection of ancient papers from Fabriano, so much sought after by scholars over the world, was purchased on 22 March 2016 by Fondazione Fedrigoni Fabriano and conserved in Fabriano at the Historic Archives of Cartiere Miliani. Sent to the Universal International Exhibition in Paris in 1900 and defined as being “unique in the world” by the adjudicating Board, represents a valid reference for research and historic studies on paper and watermarks, in fact one of the most important in Europe. A cultural heritage of invaluable worth, a material testimony having civil worth.
The valuable collection, a milestone in the history of paper, includes 10 large envelopes and 198 files, 2.213 papers (1.697 are watermarked), dated and manufactured in Fabriano between 1267 and 1798.
The papers principally originate from the Municipal Historic Archives of Fabriano, from Brefotrofio Archives ownership, from the “Archivio Notarile Mandamentale” of Fabriano and from the Municipal Archive of Fano. The papers collected by Zonghi bear no writing but have been dated, which has provided an important instrument for the dating of documents, manuscripts and incunabula.
Part of the collection includes a handwritten inventory and album where Zonghi reproduced 1.887 tracings of watermark signs reproduced from original watermarked papers. The inventory also contains descriptions of watermarks which Zonghi had not been able to retrieve from the archive, but indicated where the document was to be found. For this very reason, many of the figures in the album “substitute” the original ones conserved in the archives concerned.