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Finding aid for the Filippo Tommaso Marinetti correspondence and papers, 1886-1974, bulk 1900-1944
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Material
  • Separated Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti correspondence and papers
    Date (inclusive): 1886-1974 (bulk 1900-1944)
    Number: 850702
    Creator/Collector: Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso, 1876-1944
    Physical Description: 8.5 linear feet (16 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Writer and founder and leader of the Italian Futurist movement. Correspondence, writings, photographs, and printed matter from Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's papers, documenting the history of the futurist movement from its beginning in the journal Poesia, through World War I, and less comprehensively, through World War II and its aftermath.
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    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, born in Alexandria in 1876, attended secondary school and university in France, where he began his literary career. After gaining some success as a poet, he founded and edited the journal Poesia (1905), a forum in which the theories of futurism rather quickly evolved. With "Fondazione e Manifesto del Futurismo," published in Le Figaro (1909), Marinetti launched what was arguably the first 20th century avant-garde movement, anticipating many of the issues of Dada and Surrealism. Like other avant-garde movements, futurism took the momentous developments in science and industry as signaling a new historical era, demanding correspondingly innovative art forms and language. Like other avant-garde movements, futurism found a solution in collage, which Marinetti called "parole in libertà" when applied to literary forms. Between 1909 and 1920, the period known as futurism's heroic phase, Marinetti energetically promoted his own work, and that of fellow futurists, through numerous manifestos, speeches, essays, meetings, performances and publications. Following WWI, in which he served, Marinetti became an active member of the fascist party; on April 15, 1919, he and Ferruccio Vecchi led the "battle" of piazza Mercanti against socialists, communists, and anarchists, which was Italian fascism's first decisive victory. In 1929 he was elected to the Academy of Italy. Throughout the 1920s and 30s and until his death in 1944, Marinetti sought to reconcile the theories of futurism with the ideology of state fascism and to serve as impresario for both.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Filippo Tommaso Marinetti correspondence and papers, 1886-1974 (bulk 1900-1944), Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 850702.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection assembled from various small collections acquired from 1984 to 1989.

    Processing History

    Brent Sverdlov processed the papers and described them in a lengthy catalog record ca. 1990. Annette Leddy rearranged them somewhat and created a finding aid in 2004.

    Related Material

    Papers of F.T. Marinetti and Benedetta Capa Marinetti, 1902-1965 (bulk 1920-1936) Accession no. 920092. Marinetti student notebooks and other papers, 1891-1936, Accession no. 890122.

    Separated Material

    Two parole in libertà were moved into other collections.
    "Carso=Topaia," Accession no. 870379. "Carte Synchronique," Accession no. 850702.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Marinetti correspondence and papers was assembled from various small collections acquired between 1984 and 1989, originally drawn from the Marinetti family archive and the papers of Luigi Scrivo, Marinetti's personal secretary from around 1930.
    The largest portion of the collection consists of correspondence and submissions directed to Marinetti (Series I and II), first as editor of Poesia and later as the leader of the futurist movement and the publisher of the book press Edizioni futuriste di "Poesia". These letters, together with those from Marinetti (Series III) to an often unnamed correspondent ("Mon ami"), demonstrate how Marinetti stimulated debate about his movement in part by sending queries to a broad range of international literary figures regarding free verse or the futurist manifestos. He also critiques the writing submitted to him according to futurist criteria, warmly praising pieces that meet his idiosyncratic standards. His correspondents, in turn, praise or critique Marinetti's writing; of particular interest are conflicted responses to the first futurist manifesto in 1909. Letters from fellow futurists, such as Carlo Carrà, Umberto Boccioni, Francesco Cangiullo, and Fortunato Depero reveal wranglings internal to the movement, as well as the zeal with which they pursued their shared aims. After the First World War, letters are concerned with politics, and during the fascist years, many regard requests for government funding for individual futurist artists. Finally, following Marinetti's death, letters directed to Benedetta or Scrivo pertain to preservation of the futurist legacy, despite the stain of fascism, through retrospective exhibitions, anthologies, and conferences.
    Writings by Marinetti (Series IV) include a few manuscripts from futurism's first phase, such as a handwritten theatrical synthesis "Donna + Amici = Frente" and three handwritten parole, but most of the writings date from after 1930. These include many prefaces to the books of fellow futurists, lectures and essays on aeropainting, and clippings from Autori e Scrittori. Circulars from Agenzia Letteraria Artistica (Series VII) contain manifestos and declarations in a newsletter format. Biographies (Series V), either drawn from newspaper articles, reference books, or manuscripts, present official and personal accounts of Marinetti's life; photographs (Series VI) offer a complementary visual summary. Letters to Alberto Cappa (Series VIII), Benedetta's brother, consist largely of letters from Benedetta about her mother or brother's health, with some details about her travels with Marinetti.

    Arrangement note

    The papers are arranged in eight series: Series I. Letters and submissions to Marinetti and others, 1900-1974; Series II. Unsigned or undated letters and submissions, ca. 1910 - ca. 1970; Series III. Letters from Marinetti, ca. 1905-1944; Series IV. Writings by Marinetti, 1896-1949; Series V. Biographies, 1927-1968; Series VI. Photographs, 1886-1972; Series VII. Agenzia Letteraria Artistica (A.L.A.): Circulars, 1934-1939; Series VIII. Letters to Alberto Cappa, 1923-1931.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    D'Annunzio, Gabriele, 1863-1938
    Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso, 1876-1944

    Subjects - Topics

    Architecture, Modern
    Experimental theater
    Italian poetry--20th century
    Literature, Experimental

    Subjects - Places

    Italy--Politics and government

    Subjects - Titles

    Autori e Scrittori Lacerba Poesia

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original


    Acquaviva, Giovanni
    Bertozzi, Renzo.
    Bois, Jules, 1871-1943
    Bragalia, Anton Giulio, 1890-1960
    Buzzi, Paolo, d. 1956
    Cangiullo, Francesco, 1888-1977
    Cappa, Alberto
    Carrieri, Raffaele, 1905-
    Carrà, Carlo, 1881-1966
    D'Albisola, Tullio, 1889-
    Darío, Rubén, 1867-1916
    Depero, Fortunato, 1892-1960
    Di Bosso, Renato, 1905-1982
    Diaghilev, Serge, 1872-1929
    Dottori, Gerardo, 1884-1977
    Eckhoud, Georges
    Edizioni futuriste di Poesia
    Farfa, 1879-1964
    Goretti, Maria Sara
    Govoni, Corrado, 1884-1965
    Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-1979
    Larionov, Mikhail Fedorovich, 1881-1964
    Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1862-1949
    Marchi, Virgilio, 1895-1960
    Marinetti Cappa, Benedetta, 1897-1977
    Masefield, John, 1878-1967
    Masnata, Pino
    Mauclair, Camille, 1872-1945
    Merrill, Stuart, 1863-1915
    Mockel, Albert, 1866-1945
    Negri , Ada, 1870-1945
    Orazi, Vittorio
    Pelacani, A.M.
    Prampolini, Enrico, 1894-1956
    Prezzolini, Luigi, 1885-1947
    Romains, Jules, 1885-1972
    Russolo, Luigi
    Saint-Pol-Roux, 1861-1940
    Scrivo, Luigi
    Scurto, Ignazio, 1912-1954
    Soffici, Ardengo, 1879-1964
    Tato, 1896-1974
    Verga, Giovanni, 1840-1922
    Winston, Harry Lewis
    Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939