Stanford libraries help digitize papers of Europe’s first female professor

Jan. 10, 2012, 2:10 a.m.

The Stanford Libraries have partnered with the principal municipal library of Bologna, Italy, and the Istituto per i beni culturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna to grant public access to the papers of Europe’s first female professor, Laura Bassi, an 18th-century Italian scientist. The institutions will work together to scan Bassi’s archives, which include 6,000 pages documenting her life and work.


The documents, which are now in the archives of the Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio in Bologna, will become accessible online later this year.  Stanford will assist in creating an easily searchable website to grant public access to the documents, which will be translated and explained.


The second woman to receive a university degree in Europe, Bassi lived from 1711 to 1778 and was known for conducting experiments in her home with her husband, also a scientist. Bassi was the first woman to be offered an official teaching position in a European university.


“As an erstwhile student of Italian archival material, I am very pleased that Stanford is working with the Archiginnasio to bring the Bassi material to a wider audience,” said Stanford University librarian Michael A. Keller in a statement to The Stanford Report.


— Margaret Rawson

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