With the aim of making available to the public a private collection as a source of information, Giovan Battista Corradi , a man of learning and prelate who was born in 1600 in Monsampolo del Tronto, built in behalf of the public a library in the Hospital of St. Alessio, which had been founded by him in his native town.
According to the description written by Clemens X in 1676 in his “Breve” (brief), which was issued in order to support this institution and which is preserved at the moment at the Civic Library of Monsampolo del Tronto, there were eight rooms, provided with furnishings and a library which they called Thomistic where studious people of any rank and social condition, i.e. rich and poor, secular and ecclesiastical, and especially people from Ascoli could study. The latter used to get there any time for intellectual relief.
Enrico Liburdi betrays him in his book “ About the founder of the Thomistic Library in Monsampolo and his incunabula” as a bright and brilliant man, a 17th century scholar who spent his time writing texts of Latin history, classical and popular grammar and devotional books. Graduated in theology, he practiced medical sciences and worked for the sick. His scientific vocation and his compassionate nature led him to the opening of a hospital for the pilgrims heading towards the Holy House in Loreto and St. Michele al Gargano. The adjoining library holds medicine works and religious works, as they represented Corradi’s main interest.
He dedicated his library to St. Thomas d’Aquinas as the bibliographical repertoire of his library was mainly based on the thomistic andAristotelian philosophy. This cultural bias was elaborated and spread in Europe by the Jesuits in their “Ration Studiorum” and it was learnt by Corradi at the Roman Jesuit School, at first as a student then as a hardworking disciple.
The library consists of an ancient collection of about 1,300 volumes, among which 15th century incunabula and rare 16th and 17th century books which are mainly adorned with xylographic illustrations. These works are mainly about religion, medicine, astronomy, geography, history, literature, philosophy, music and rhetoric. There are some rare books of famous typographers which further enrich the value of the bibliographical works: from Paris Giovanni Petit, Nicola Bonaspes, Jadoco Bladio, Giovanni Prato and De Marnef; from Lyon Francesco Fradin, Stefano Guegnard, Giovanni Clein, Guglielmo Huyon, Giacomo Myt, Antonio de Ry, Giovanni Morghin, Dionisio Harsy, Benedetto Boumyn and Giovanni Crespino; from BasleBaldassare Lapi and Tommaso Piatti; from Cologne Eucherio Cerviconi, and, among Italians, Giunti, Grifi, Soncino, Manuzio, Arrivabene, Scoto, Gregori, Suardi, Rusconi, Bon, Bindoni, Stagnino and Sessa.
In the collection there are also prestigious editions of works by friar Girolamo Savonarola due to Corradi’s worshipping for the Dominican friar. Dominican friars strongly supported St. Thomas d’Aquinas thomist philosophy which was critized by the Scotists. The Thomist Library of Corradi makes it clear his adherence to the Dominican philosophical school. In his books Corradi wrote some notes in the front page of most of his books, he also often erased some parts of books whose content he disapproved of.
Since 1989 the whole collection has been catalogued and about 200 books among which incunabula and 16th century works have been restored. A new modern collection of about 3,000 books is being indexed and therefore as a whole the collection has been widened.