The Hospital Archives of Saint John of God

First volume

Following an agreement stipulated between the Hospitaller Order of the Fatebenefratelli and the City of Florence, the work of cataloguing and inventorying the over 4000 units which make up the archive of the ex-hospital group of San Giovanni di Dio began in 1986.

In 1983 the ex-hospital's plant and equipment, including the massive and ancient archives passed on to the City of Florence. The preservation of important memoirs, taken from the headquarters of Borgo Ognissanti, the farm of Ruballa and the city's Local Health Board made this work necessary.

The task was assigned to Lucia Sandri, scholar of the city's hospital institutions. The result was the publication of the inventory of the ancient manuscripts of the convent-hospital (1604-1890) and of the registers of the hospital's health care work (1890-1968).

The compilation of the two volumes has not only shed light on the preciousness of the archive but on the presence of extra funds, originally of the institution but connected to it via hereditary, patrimonial or administrative ties. These include the writings belonging to the family memoirs of the duchess Laura Salviati, one of the principal benefactors of the order, and those of the Ferroni, Tempesti and Chelli families and many others who made donations in the long course of the hospital's activity.

Particularly notable in quantity and articulation are the entire areas of writings related to the administration of the two farms. The last two great additions to the hospital's patrimony are these huge pieces of real estate: the farm of Ruballa near the city of Bagno a Ripoli of Florence and the farm of Santa Gonda near the city of San Miniato of Pisa.

Also gathered under the Hospitaller Order in time are the written records of two other minor hospitals under the Order: the hospital of S. Antonino of Livorno and the hospital of Santissima Trinità of Filetto.

In another way, another interesting fact is the particular typology of the records coming to us, characterised, almost from the beginning which corresponds to the first volume of the inventory, by a singular confluence of religious type writings, typical of a convent, and medical belonging to the activity of health care.

The order of Fatebenefratelli, the lay-people who still live according to the rules of Saint Augustine, effectively remained in charge of the hospital until 1868-1869 when an Administrative Commission replaced it. This commission lasted until about 1920, the year in which the government of the hospital passed on to an Administrative Council.

(Last updated: Tuesday 26 September 1995)
Copyright © 1995 by Associazione San Giovanni di Dio