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Collection Information


Cavagna opera librettos and ballet programs, part of the complete Cavagna collection


Rare Books and Manuscript Library


From personal library of Count Antonio Cavagna Sangiuliani di Gualdana

When acquired

1921; stored in Music Library prior to 2000.  The opera librettos and ballet programs were moved to the Rare Books and Manuscript Library in 2014.


Total of 568 items, largely dating from 1800-1850; the majority from La Scala in Milan. (Some librettos also from Padua, Rome, and Vienna).


Arranged (in part alphabetically) between numbers 19,786 and 20,354 within a numbered series of Cavagna Collection document boxes

Access/Finding Aids/Bibliography

Items can be accessed through the online catalog with a keyword search for “Cavagna Collection” or author search for “Cavagna Collection (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library).”

Please refer to the Rare Books and Manuscript Library for access.

Collections File folder (“Cavagna”) contains computer-produced shelf list of operas and ballets, providing information as to composer, librettist, title, place, date and pagination. Folder also includes term paper by graduate student Marcia Parks providing analysis of opera libretto topics within this collection.*

*The Collections File folder has been moved to the Rare Books and Manuscript Library.

Index terms

Cavagna Sangiuliani di Gualdana, Antonio; Milan. La Scala

Additional information


The Cavagna Library, 1116-1910.

26. Cavagna Sangiuliani di Gualdana, Antonio, conte, 1843-1913, collector
ca. 30,000 volumes; manuscripts in 450 volumes and 138 portfolios.
Cavagna was an Italian public official and a recognized authority on the local history of Lombardy and Piedmont. His library contained a great many books on genealogy, biography, and local history, including materials on municipal governments. The manuscripts especially reflect the study of local history; most relate to Italian cities and towns, institutions, societies and families.

All aspects of Italian history, from the Middle Ages to the first years of the twentieth century, are prominently represented in the Cavagna collection, as is literature on Italian art and architecture.
Other topics which are heavily represented are law, economics, biography, archaeology, chivalry, and records of Italian universities and academies.

Among the books in the collection, mostly written in Italian, are some incunabula, rare and early printed books, and first editions. Many of the historical documents are unique. In addition to books, pamphlets, and manuscripts, the Cavagna library includes several thousand maps, both ancient and modern.

There is a published catalog of part of the collection:
Manuscripts and printed documents of the Archivio Cavana Sangiuliani in the University of Illinois Library , compiled by Meta Maria Sexton, Urbana, 1950.
Purchase, 1921.