Conference Brings Scholars to Campus to Discuss Poggio Bracciolini's Legacy

April 21, 2016

A symposium on Florentine Humanist Poggio Bracciolini brought more than 60 guests to campus on April 8 and 9, including Bryn Mawr College President Emeritus and Italian Renaissance Scholar Nancy Vickers.

In addition to faculty from nearly every major local university, speakers came from New York University, Johns Hopkins University, and as far away as Europe.


“The conference was excellent with many distinguished scholars presenting new contributions on Bracciolini, this extraordinary figure, and a wonderful way to show our strong intellectual tradition in the humanities here at Bryn Mawr College,” says symposium organizer and Associate Professor of Italian Roberta Ricci.

Ricci, who has two articles published on Bracciolini’s literary work and his innovative script, plans to publish the proceedings of the symposium.

She was joined in organizing the conference by Professor of History of Art David Cast and Director of Special Collections Eric Pumroy.

“Many thanks to David and Eric who have helped me in thinking, rethinking, organizing, reorganizing the event and a special thank you to Oliva Cordona, whose professional and efficient help was crucial during the whole process,” says Ricci.

Attendees and participants praised the event, including Vickers, who expressed her enthusiasm towards “such an extraordinary conference.”

Provost Mary Osirim added, “The symposium on Bracciolini was fabulous and certainly illustrated the many hours of work that the organizers engaged in to make this all happen. It was also wonderful to learn more about the BMC connection in this work -- the incredible contributions of Phyllis Goodhart Gordon.”

The conference was held in honor of Goodhart, who was a member of the class of 1935.

From her time as an undergrad, to her publishing nearly 40 years later of “Two Renaissance Book Hunters: The Letters of Poggius Bracciolini to Nicolaus de Niccolis,” Gordon was enthralled with the work of Bracciolini.

She had planned to publish more of Bracciolini’s letters but passed away before she could complete her ambitious project.

“Her work is not lost,” says Ricci. “She has left us her Poggio notes and papers with the relevant microfilms and library in the hope that someone else might take up the task. Completing the publication of Poggio’s correspondence will be no easy project (for something like 450 letters remain); but whoever undertakes it will be immeasurably assisted by the resources of the Gordon collection and above all by the meticulous work of Phyllis herself.”