The National Braidense Library was founded in 1770, after the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria destined to common use the library of count Pertusati and, three years later, the State acquired the Palazzo del Collegio Gesuitico di Brera, following the dissolution of the Society of Jesus. The library opened to the public in 1786 and was enriched thanks to the acquisition of important and valuable collections of books. The Braidense, which was awarded the title “National” in 1880, slowly turned into a great library with an extensive collection. Among the collections that were acquired in the twentieth century the Novati Library, the liturgical library of the Dukes of Parma, the chess collections, the Castiglioni collections and the photo collection of Sommariva are worth mentioning.
Emilio Sommariva (1883-1956) was one of the leading figures in the history of photography in Italy. The collection was acquired by the National Braidense Library in 1979 and holds the entire archive of the photographic studio and related paper documents dating from 1904 to 1973. There are 2,814 original prints of different subjects, formats and techniques and approximately 50,000 negatives mostly on glass.
The selection of files available online, relating to the years 1904-1928, includes 24 photographs.