Call to Action

In the first few days after the flood, when the vast extent of the damage to cultural heritage started to become clear, the group of scholars who formed CRIA sprang quickly into action.  Amidst the turmoil and with a deep sense of urgency, they organized both a vast fund-raising campaign and the shipment to Italy of emergency conservation materials along with a team of specialists to assess the situation and begin long-range planning for the recovery. The selection of cables below illustrates the urgent communications flowing from the U.S. to I Tatti and to individuals in Florence.  The videos dramatized the desperate need to support the recovery efforts and helped to spread the call for funds far and wide.  

The following is a selection of the CRIA Newsletter sent one month after the flood, on December 5, 1966, to all Area Committees and Supplementary Information Centers across the country by the Coordinator, Richard G. Carrott, illustrating some of the early challenges faced by the burgeoning new rescue organization.

"I am sure that for many of you my descriptive title of “Coordinator” leaves much to be desired. But let me assure you that conditions have been chaotic, or at least difficult. On the Sunday following the disaster CRIA was formed by three of our colleagues who felt that their concern should become their commitment. Now we have become a national organization with some fifty area committees throughout the country plus several additional information centres. In less than one month we have moved from a corner of the Art Department Office at Brown University to expanded quarters generously loaned to us by the Institute of Fine Arts. These have also proved to be too small. That it has been impossible to operate effectively would be an understatement. Mrs. Rorimer, Bates Lowry, Ruth Butler Merolli, and Iris Hofmeister Cheney have all been working ten to twelve hours a day. But even with the willing and generous support of other volunteers we are stil snowed under with work. I am sure you can envisage what has to be done in such an operation which has had to start from scratch and is of a nature not felicitously grasped by the academic mind."

 CRIA Newsletter, Dec. 5, 1966 (CRIA PITTI 02.03.00038)