Review by Choice Review
This book will become the essential contemporary English-language source for understanding the arrangement and content of documents in the Archivio Segreto Vaticano (ASV; Vatican archives). Historians and archivists affiliated with the Vatican Archives Project (Univ. of Michigan) examined materials on site, including documents in various other archives within the Holy See, in the Trinity College Library (Dublin), as well as the Archives de France (Paris) and the Biblioth`eque Nationale (Paris). Materials are listed under the agencies that produced the documents or whose activity they reflect, such as the College of Cardinals, Roman Curia, or Papal states. Series titles (in Latin, Italian, or French) are subarranged alphabetically, and each entry has its own numerical designation. Because many users of this volume will be unfamiliar with agencies of the Roman Catholic Church, the 20-page introduction, which presents a brief history of each agency, will be essential reading. Each record contains the name of the series, a database identification (this material is available in the archives and manuscripts section of the Research Libraries Information Network database), the inclusive dates of material in the series, bulk (shelf space measured in linear meters), organization (how the material divides within the series), scope (some indication of contents, a very important section), references (brief citations to other standard guides to the ASV), finding aids (inventories and indexes for various series), notes (often about the origin of the collection), and location (where documents are physically located). Because L.E. Boyle's A Survey of the Vatican Archives and Its Medieval Holdings (1972) is now 25 years old, this is a truly important publishing event. Blouin notes in the introduction that "All records generated after January 22, 1922, are closed to research in the Vatican Archives and in other Vatican Repositories." Nearly all items in the 45-page bibliography are in languages other than English. Indexes of agency names, series titles, and chronology each refer to item numbers in the main text. Though the guide is clearly designed for scholars, the material in the scope section makes the volume useful for graduate and even undergraduate students doing research in general world history or church history. Highly recommended for any academic library. D. Bourquin; California State University, San Bernardino
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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