The records are essentially contained between the year of its foundation (1563) and the year when the administration was transferred to a Government-appointed Council (1853), with the exception of some important papers dating back to the fourteenth century (documents of private individuals) and certain files dating from after the middle of the nineteenth century (documents of the Opere Piemanagement and the more recent part of the series of legacies and “censi”).
Form of documents and extent
Volumes, registers and files, collected in 283 conservation units; 33 linear metres. There are about one hundred parchments. The fonds has been entirely microfilmed.
Printed analytical inventory (G. LOCOROTONDO, Archivio Storico dell’Isituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino, Torino, Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino, 1963); historical lists by subject of the minutes of meetings and of the legacies.
Constant attention to the conservation and arrangement of the papers can be dated back to 1612, when it was decided to draw up an inventory, while the regulations prescribed the rules for a good functioning of the archives, which were housed in the Monte di Pietà and entrusted to an archivist, who was frequently a lawyer by profession. We have a topographical inventory that dates back to 1696 and we have news of arrangements carried out in 1742 and 1778-79, the latter by the secretary of the Royal Archives Marino.After the Restoration, in the decade 1836-1845 various reorganisation plans were carried out, the work often being entrusted to public archivists, under the supervision of Compagnia archivists.
In 1881 the historian and archivist Nicomede Bianchi listed in the guide Le carte degli archivi piemontesi politici, amministrativi, giudiziari, ecclesiastici… (Torino, Bocca), under the headingOpera Pia di San Paolo di Torino the documents of a general historical nature. In 1952 the workArchivi storici delle aziende di credito, promoted by the Italian Banking Association (ABI) published, along with a historical profile, a proper summary inventory guide of the complete archives of the ancient Compagnia, organised in series. On the occasion of the fourth centenary the archives were arranged by Giuseppe Locorotondo in collaboration with the Research Office of the Secretariat, under Zefferino Franco. The inventory, which was published in 1963 together with Mario Abrate’s historical compendium, follows an analytical approach and is still a valid tool for consultation.
The four main fonds, Compagnia di San Paolo, Monte di Pietà, Ufficio Pio and the other Opere Pie (Albergo di Virtù, Rifugio dei Cattolizzati, Casa del Soccorso, Esercizi Spirituali, Casa del Deposito, Casa delle Forzate), include memoranda of association, charters, regulations, minutes and resolutions, the correspondence of each Opera.
The division, the result of the complex structure of the Compagnia and of the stratification in arrangements is neither rigid nor linear. The series of legacies and “censi”, for example, are not classified according to the Opera, while on the other hand the minutes and resolutions which originally formed a single series, were later (probably in 1889, with the reorganisation brought in by Secretary General Balsamo Crivelli) collected according to the Opera, sometimes not very naturally, and arranged in volumes.
Minutes and resolutions of the meetings of the brotherhood together form an almost complete series from 1579 to 1853. The historical topic-based analytical lists of the same period facilitate research and compensate the losses of some original deeds.
Minutes and resolutions along with legacies arranged in alphabetical order are an important source not only for the history of the Compagnia, but also of the social, juridical, economic and religious history of Piedmont. The three hundred or so legacy collections contain wills, sales and lease contracts, donations, acts of litigation, correspondence and “censi”. In the last case the Compagnia disbursed a sum of money to an individual or a municipality, in return for the income earned on a property.
From 1701 the account books are available, consisting of the treasurers’ statements, financial statements, balance sheets and budgets, a useful source not only for examining investment policy, but consulted also for detailed searches regarding houses, works of art, inheritances, culture and daily life.
There are over one hundred parchment deeds, often complete with a seal: papal bulls, ducal patents, imperial diplomas, notary deeds.
An integral part of the archives are also the deeds of the Administrative Commission for hospices and hospitals and of the General Office for Charitable Works (Ufficio generale di beneficenza), which took over from the Compagnia during the French period, the minutes, correspondence and ledgers of the Monte di Pietà in particular.
The last section is rich and valuable, it includes the oldest document in the archives, a parchment dating back to 1362. The section contains the papers of families and individuals (around one hundred and fifty names), communities and fiefs (around thirty), monasteries and abbeys, of members of the house of Savoy, including Victor Amadeus, prince of Carignan (1690-1741), documents referring to the administration and diplomacy of the Savoys, as well as papal briefs. Very probably most of these fonds came into the possession of the Compagnia di San Paolo together with estate inherited through legacies and sometimes together with purchased property. Of special interest is the De Marini fonds which opens with the papers of Claudio De Marini (1574-1629), Louis XIII’s ambassador to the court of Savoy and concludes with that of Cosimo Francesco (died 1739), agent of the King of Sardinia to the Republic of Venice.