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Archives of the Société européenne de culture at the Historical Archives of the European Union

Posted on 31 March 2016

The historical archives of the Société européenne de culture (SEC) has been transferred to the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence, after a long period of approach and contacts between the Bureau of SEC and the Direction of the Archives in Florence, aiming at guaranteeing the best possible preservation of this precious patrimony of post-war European history. A deposit contract was signed on 12 December 2015. 

The Société européenne de culture was founded on May the 28th 1950 at the Ducal Palace’s staterooms in Venice. Theodor Adorno, Benedetto Croce, Albert Camus, Marc Chagall, Jean-Paul Sartre, Arnold Toynbee, just to mention some of Europe’s best-known intellectuals amongst many others, adhered to it. Over the years SEC also included renowned individuals, intellectuals and artists from Eastern Europe, such as George Lukács and Ilya Ehrenburg, and from all over the world. The aim of the Society was to end the division of Europe and the Cold War peacefully through the means of dialogue of «men of culture», a neologism stressing the novelty of the approach of the world crisis, and in general to foster the long-term political role of culture, while protecting its independence.

The Archives transferred from the former headquarters of SEC in Venice to Florence consists of more than 120 moving boxes containing files and binders. The archives was transferred along with an inventory prepared by SEC in 2005, under the direction of the late Secretary General, Michelle Campagnolo-Bouvier, and two complete collections of the famous journal of the SEC “Comprendre”. The documents cover the whole period of the Society from its foundation in 1950 until 2010.

The Archives contain the complete set of governance documents, such as the reports of the General Assemblies from 1950 to 2010. Also, it contains documentation and correspondence on the activities of the founder of SEC, Umberto Campagnolo, and on all SEC’s meetings and initiatives, ranging from the East-West Dialogue to the more recent events, such as the Kazan – Moscow conference in 2006 and the SEC’s Summer Schools from 2008 to 2010.

The Archives are currently being treated, inventoried and prepared for opening to the public. Please contact [email protected] for further information. 

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