KU opens exhibit featuring records of 16th-century Italian nobility | News, Sports, Jobs

photo by: Courtesy: University of Kansas

The University of Kansas has opened a new exhibit that features rare financial documents from an Italian noble family that provide insight into the lives of the European upper class in the 16th through 18th centuries.

“Keeping the Books: The Rubinstein Collection of the Orsetti Family Business Archive” is one display at the Spencer Research Library on the KU campus now through Jan. 13. The library will host a reception to highlight the exhibit at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 1.

The Orsetti family was an influential noble family in Tuscany. The collection includes a host of financial ledgers, maps, accounting documents and other family records. The curator of the exhibit said many of the documents are bound in an artistic way and are worthy of exhibit, in addition to the information that the documents provide about the life of European nobility.

“The books are very beautiful and a part of history, so I hope this exhibition is of interest to the general public,” Whitney Baker, exhibition curator and head of conservation services at Spencer Research Library, said in a press release.

KU has had the collection — which is thought to be one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. — since 1974, but Baker said she doesn’t believe it has ever been displayed before. She said she plans to have students and researchers from several disciplines, including accounting and Italian, visit the exhibit.

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