About the Images

The following citations are for the images shown above, left to right, illustrating books and other works included in the exhibit “Italian Life Under Fascism” in the Department of Special Collections in 1998.

  1. R. Università degli Studi “Benito Mussolini.” Rivista 1:3. Bari: Officio Stampa e Propaganda della R. Università, 1934.
    • The official journal, in the first year of its publication, of the University of Bari; the university was named after the dictator. Much attention is devoted to the fight against malaria.
  2. Giovinezza in Marcia. Three children’s school notebooks, 1935.
    • Children were required to use these notebooks with colored Fascist cartoons and quotations from Mussolini on the front and back. Two are for instruction in French; the third seems concerned with penmanship or simple composition.
  3. Il Manifesto Scolastico Settimanale. La Grande “Litoranea Libica” dalla Tunisia all’Egitto. Milan, 28 February 1937.
    • One in a series of large posters illustrating aspects of Fascist activities and distributed to public schools for placement in classrooms. Printed in color with a map of the Mediterranean coast stretching from Tunisia to Egypt, it depicts the achievements of Italian colonization. Curiously, the figures at the bottom advertise various creams, cleansers, and waxes intended for household use. Their manufacturer evidently had defrayed the expenses of the poster’s publication.
  4. Ministero dell’Educazione Nazionale. Gioventù Italiana del Littorio. 1939.
    • This fifth-grade report card or pagella from the province of Ferrara is richly adorned with Fascist symbolism. Also exhibited are several other examples of the genre for the years 1934-1941.
  5. P.N.F. Gioventù Italiana del Littorio. Il Libro della Quinta Classe. Letture. Rome: La Libreria dello Stato, 1939.
    • An anthology of readings for the fifth grade. It is interesting to note that nearly every story glorifies the Fascist regime and its activities.
  6. R. Provveditorato agli Studi. Annuario della Scuola Fascista di Potenza. Potenza: Stab. Tip. “Fulgur,” 1939.
    • The yearbook for the schools in the province of Potenza, discussing instruction in a wide variety of practical skills, all under the control of the Fascist government. Statistics on student enrollment, courses taught, etc., are included for each school. The book, illustrated with many photographs, provides a detailed description of the Fascist educational system in action in one locality (a town in southern Italy) in one given year.
  7. Diario della Scuola Fascista. Treviso: Longo & Zoppelli, 1939-1940.
    • Assignment book required of every school child in the Veneto. It begins with a full-page photograph of Mussolini, and includes quotations from his speeches and such highlights of Fascist history as the March on Rome and the Concordat between Church and State. They are followed by lists of the books to be used, the hours for each class, hours for teacher consultations, etc. Then begins the “diario” proper, with space for each day and each subject. At the top of each page there is a quotation from Mussolini. This diary not only offers a day-to-day description of the detailed activities of students, but also the method of presenting Fascist doctrine to them.
  8. Il Bo. Padua, 16 June 1940.
    • Six days after Italy’s invasion of France, the student newspaper of the University of Padua applauds the nation’s entry into war.

Additional Exhibit Items

The following items were part of the original exhibit in the Department of Special Collections but are not pictured above.

  • N. Padellaro. Scuola Fascista. Rome: Libreria del Littorio, n.d. but ca. 1930.
    • A book published by the official Fascist press that discusses the educational system for the lower grades in the public schools. It is very critical of earlier educational systems, and prescribes both content and general methods of teaching, as part of Mussolini’s pedagogical “reforms.”
  • Giuseppe Bottai. La Carta della Scuola. Milan: A. Mondadori, 1939.
    • This pedagogical “charter” drawn up by Mussolini’s minister of education, Giuseppe Bottai, is a radical reforming document that proposes to substitute for the existing bourgeois system one more responsive to the needs of students not heading for the university. The system would include nursery schools, trade and artisan schools, special training for girls, and the introduction of practical crafts, among other considerations. In 1943 Bottai broke with Mussolini and, under the name of André Bataille, ended the war fighting the Germans as a corporal in the French Foreign Legion.
  • Angelo Zammarchi and Cesare Angelini. Il Libro della III Elementare. Rome: La Libreria dello Stato, 1939.
    • This standard third-grade textbook for the subjects of religion, history, geography, and arithmetic opens with the morning prayer to be repeated by all students — not surprisingly, since the authors use the titles “monsignore” and “reverendo.” Italian war victories and Fascist doctrine figure prominently in the text, and nearly every page includes a propaganda photograph or illustration. The book offers insight into the extent to which the regime permeated educational institutions.