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Cesare Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture collection

Identifier: TCA-YYYY-007

Scope and Contents

The Cesare Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture collection comprises six series of records pertaining to the administration of the Barbieri Endowment and its activities and events, including files pertaining to the Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) Rome Campus program. The collection includes files from three Trinity College faculty and staff members (Michael Campo, Borden Painter, and Robbins Winslow) responsible for the administration and oversight of the activities and operations of both the Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture and the Rome Campus program. Dates range from 1957 to 2003, with one item dating to 2020. Because Campo, Painter, and Winslow were working together (each in his own defined role) to administer and operate the Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture and the Rome Campus program, the materials within each series tend to overlap.

It is evident that the Rome Campus Program files in the first series were generated by Robbins Winslow in his capacity as director of the Office of Educational Services at Trinity College and as coordinator of the Rome study-away program. Documents inside the file folders previously were stored in 3-ring binders and arranged according to the academic calendar (e.g. fall and spring semesters). Materials include program documentation that was sent to students, parents, and other Rome Campus constituents, such as correspondence and memos, forms, lists, travel planning information, and view books. Dates range from the 1977 fall term to the 1994 spring term. Because of problems regarding Italian tax laws, the program was called different names at different times: the Barbieri Center Rome Campus (BC/RC), as well as the Trinity College Rome Campus (TC/RC). Measures taken in 1989 solidified the name to Trinity College Rome Campus.

The Michael Campo files in series two include several folders of materials from the earliest years of the Cesare Barbieri Center of Italian Studies which document the events and activities of the Center. Of interest are scrapbook pages which chronicle some of the arts and cultural events sponsored by the Barbieri Center and held on the Trinity College campus in Hartford, specifically a symposium on contemporary Italian music in 1959. Fliers and event programs demonstrate an array of offerings sponsored by the Barbieri Center over the years. Files also include Campo's report of a trip to Rome in 1969 to scope out the possibility of Trinity establishing a program there; correspondence related to the donation of Italian war documents belonging to Benito Mussolini; and Rome Campus program files including correspondence and memos, and view books. (Note: Files found here both complement and overlap with files in the Michael Campo papers (see Related Materials note)).

The Borden Painter files in series three primarily include materials that pertain to events sponsored by the Cesare Barbieri Center of Italian Studies when Painter was serving as Director of Italian Programs at Trinity and later as Chairman of the Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture. The series also includes program files related to the Rome Campus in the late 1990s and in 1974 when Painter served as faculty for the summer program. Of interest in the 1974 summer program file are Painter's handwritten notes about his time there, as well as a notebook of handwritten notes by students describing their days' work at an archaeological dig site. The bulk of these files, however, pertain to a special issue of the Cesare Barbieri Courier published in 1980, and a subsequent two-day conference sponsored by the Cesare Barbieri Center of Italian Studies in 1982 and held at Trinity College. Painter served as the compiler and editor for the special issue, "Mussolini and Italian Fascism," which also was the title of the 1982 conference. Part of the conference involved Trinity repatriating a collection of documents related to Mussolini, Hitler, and World War II to representatives of the Italian government.

The Robbins Winslow files in series four comprise a small amount of materials related to the administration of the Rome Campus program (much of it overlapping with the binder materials in Series 1) and include correspondence and memos, student rosters, program evaluations and statistics, as well as Winslow's handwritten meeting notes. Of interest are the files related to Trinity's membership in the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). One file contains a pocket-folder which belonged to Trinity College student Alicia Mioli, with photocopies of documents related to the Rome Campus (presumably part of her 1994 research for her thesis "Transitions: A History of Trinity College Rome Campus," see Bibliography).

The Audiovisual series includes seven folders of photographs in varying formats taken at the Rome Campus and around Rome and other parts of Italy in the 1970s. It appears as though the photographs were gathered and used by Trinity College student Alicia Mioli while conducting her thesis research in 1994. In addition, the series incldes 15 audio cassette tapes of interviews conducted in 1994 and 1995 by thesis student Alicia Mioli with Michael Campo (10 cassettes), Borden Painter (4 cassettes), and Robbins Winslow (1 cassette). The Artifacts and Ephemera series includes a single item, a cloth tote bag from the 50th anniversary of the Rome Campus program in 2020.


  • Creation: 1957-2003, 2020


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

This collection contains restricted material. Except for the Photographs in series 5 (contained in Box 4, folders 17-23) and Artifacts and Ephemera in series 6, individual files must be vetted before distribution to researchers. At least two weeks' notice of particular files is required.

This collection contains audiovisual materials, which require at least two weeks’ advance notice prior to use. Items that cannot be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library or are too fragile for researchers to handle, may require that a digital copy be made prior to use.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided to researchers, in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

Italian-born engineer, inventor, and philanthropist Cesare Barbieri created a financial endowment in his name on December 31, 1947, in order to benefit outreach projects pertaining to Italian education and culture both in the United States and in Italy. Trinity College received its first funds ($10,000) from the Cesare Barbieri Endowment in 1956 and again in 1957. These funds were used to strengthen the teaching of Italian at Trinity in many ways, specifically through the purchase of books and journals, and the establishment of a lecture series. Additionally, these funds were used to bring two students from Italy to study at Trinity for one year. In 1958, Trinity received a final, significantly larger donation of $100,000 which was used to establish the Cesare Barbieri Center of Italian Studies (later renamed the Cesare Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture), the object of which was to stimulate interest in Italian language and culture at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as to encourage scholarly research, student and faculty exchange programs, and to foster public interest in Italian studies. The Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture is a central component of Trinity College's Rome Campus program (established in 1970), as well as its Elderhostel program (established in 1981).

In 1969, Trinity College graduate and professor of modern languages Michael Campo traveled to Rome with the idea of establishing Trinity's first study-away program there. He envisioned an academically challenging program that would broaden the horizons of its students through experiential learning in a world-class city. In the summer of 1970 Trinity sent 112 students from colleges and universities around the United States to Rome to study language, literature, fine arts, studio arts, archaeology, anthropology, music, religion, and sociology. Students lived on the centrally located Aventine Hill in a convent as guests of the order of Camaldolese Nuns who resided there. As a result of the program's popularity, full-semester programs were initiated in the fall of 1971 and spring of 1973. In addition to those from Trinity College, faculty also came from colleges and universities around the country.

The program was not without problems, as was to be expected when a few people were responsible for managing every aspect of its administration. Because Michael Campo was living in the United States and teaching at Trinity in Hartford, he could not always be present in Italy to administer the program there. The nuns, though living on-site, were not always willing or reliable enough to handle issues of security. This lack of management necessitated an on-site resident director in Italy, which in 1979 was assigned to two people, an Administrative Director to oversee the day-to-day operations of the program, and a Director of External Affairs to help maintain the program's public image and to handle financial transactions in Italy and the United States. By 1985, however, the two positions were combined into one position, which was filled by Livio Pestilli (who already was Administrative Director). A native Italian and art history teacher, Pestilli managed the program effectively, helping Trinity to overcome legal obstacles and take the program to the next level. (As of 2015, Pestilli was still serving as Resident Director and teaching classes.)

The local situation and political turmoil within Italy sometimes affected how the campus operated. When summer program numbers dwindled, the nuns felt obligated (for financial reasons) to allow more outside groups to reside there, which in turn, disrupted the Trinity students' ability to live and study as they needed. As a result, summer programs in the mid-1980s were relocated to a nearby hotel. Over time, other issues arose regarding Italian labor and tax laws, as occurred when the Italian government fined foreign institutions for not having followed these laws properly. A threatened law suit from a disgruntled Italian employee in 1975 ultimately resulted in Trinity changing the name of its program to the Barbieri Center Rome Campus and functioning as a commercial entity. Because of complicated rules regarding the payment of Italian taxes, in the late 1980s Trinity again was compelled to change its name and status from the Barbieri Center Rome Campus (a commercial entity), back to Trinity College Rome Campus (a non-profit). The program began operating as a non-profit under a new agreement with the Italian government on January 1, 1990. Additionally, in other years both the summer and semester programs had to be cancelled due to the threat of political violence and terrorist activity, including the Gulf War in 1991.

In 1989, Michael Campo resigned from his position as director of the Rome Campus program to more fully focus his attention on the expansion of Trinity's Elderhostel program, which had begun operating in the summer of 1983 and had become increasingly popular over time. With Campo's resignation, Trinity changed the scope and title of the Rome Campus program director and hired a new Director of Italian Programs, Borden W. Painter, a Trinity College graduate, professor of history, and former Dean of Faculty. Painter also had served as faculty at the 1971 Rome summer program and as its director in 1974 and was passionate about Italy. He brought with him the idea of creating an Italian Studies interdisciplinary minor, which helped to further integrate the Rome Campus program as part of Trinity College's curriculum. Together with Michael Campo and Borden Painter, another Trinity College graduate, Robbins Winslow, helped to administer the Rome Campus program through his position as Director for Educational Services (which administered all study-away programs) and as program coordinator for the Rome Campus through the mid-1990s.

Over the years the Trinity College Rome Campus program has evolved to meet the changing needs of its constituents while also striving to maintain its strong origins. The program continues to offer a broad liberal arts curriculum alongside opportunities for fieldwork, internships, and excursions throughout Italy not only to Trinity College, Hartford students, but to students from around the United States. The Rome Campus remains the flagship program of Trinity's study-away offerings, having celebrated 50 years in 2020.


4 Cubic Feet (4 records center cartons with letter size folders and one legal size folder of documents; 14 audio cassette tapes; 1 cloth tote bag) ; 1 box (16.25 in. x 13 in. x 10.5 in.) equals 1 cubic foot ("cubic foot" defined in SAA Dictionary)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into six series. File folders within each series are listed alphabetically.

Series 1. Rome Campus Program files

Series 2. Michael Campo files

Series 3. Borden Painter files

Series 4. Robbins Winslow files

Series 5. Audiovisual

Series 6. Artifacts and Ephemera

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Peter J. Knapp, Reference Librarian and College Archivist of Trinity College, collected many of these files during his tenure at Trinity from 1965 to 2014.

Related Materials

See Cesare Barbieri Endowment records.

See Michael R. Campo papers.

See Transitions: A History of Trinity College Rome Campus by Alicia Mioli.

See issues of the Cesare Barbieri Courier, 1958-1968, as well as the 1980 special issue, Mussolini and Italian Facism.

Processing Information

This collection has been fairly thorough processed, to the folder level. Items were rehoused in acid-free folders and rusty fasteners were removed. Newspapers and newsclippings were isolated with acid-free paper. Many photographs were found somewhat curled. They were placed inside sleeves in groups within file folders to help mitigate further damage.

This collection contains materials gathered from two different accessions. The Rome Campus Program files in Series 1 are from the acession "Retro-0034" which already was processed (but with no finding aid having been created). Materials in Series 2 through Series 6 are from "Retro-0024," part of which was processed as the Cesare Barbieri Endowment records (see WLM-XXXX-001). These materials, however, were still unprocessed; they were separated from the Cesare Barbieri Endowment records because it was evident that while related, they did not belong together.

Folder titles were retained when possible, though no apparent original order existed for Series 2 through Series 6. Loose materials were gathered and grouped by perceived author (Campo, Painter, or Winslow), placed into acid-free folders and assigned a folder title. Photographs were housed in manila envelopes with notations regarding place names; for the most part, these original groupings of photographs have been retained.

Guide to the Cesare Barbieri Endowment for Italian Culture collection
Amy M. FitzGerald
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Trinity College Archives Repository

Watkinson Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford CT 06106 USA