Istituto di studi storici postali “Aldo Cecchi”

Postal history takes as its subject the exploration of a distinctive mode of organized communications, with a focus on its material dimension.
This approach to the history of communications is new and promising. It connects several different modes of inquiry that are often considered in isolation. These include social history; cultural history; diplomatic history; the history of management, entrepreneurship, and commerce; the history of journalism; historical geography; epistolography; paleography; and philately.
Since 1982 the Istituto di Studi Storici Postali “Aldo Cecchi” in Prato (Tuscany, Italy) has been an international center for research in postal history.
The Institute is committed to the preservation, increase, and sharing of knowledge on postal-historical topics through publications, workshops, courses, exhibitions, and other related projects that promote our core goals.
We are especially interested in encouraging the sustained involvement of universities in postal history research, and in proposing new lines of research to postal history collectors.

Postal History between Multidisciplinary and Diachronic Glances

3rd International Congress organized by the Institute,
Prato, Italy, June 20-22, 2024

“This is the third edition of the conference that we are organising, knowing that, in recent years, there are no other similar proposals throughout Europe” announces Bruno Crevato-Selvaggi, director of the Istituto di studi storici postali “Aldo Cecchi”. “University professors, scholars and experts from America, Asia and Europe will meet in Prato to update participants on their respective studies, but also to get to know each other better and, if possible, to lay the foundations on which we can build something together”. The programme is almost defined: around thirty short lectures hosted at the State Archives, the “Alessandro Lazzerini” Library, and the seat of the City Council. Depending on the case, the speeches will be in Italian, French or English. The entrance is free. The topics will range from the Roman “cursus publicus” to communications between colonial Chile and the Spanish Crown, from mail orders to Cold War postcards, from the merchants of the Serenissima to the use of the camel for urgent mail in the ancient Caliphates, from couriers in imperial China to letters sent clandestinely from Romania, from the study on addresses to the Italian asylum system...

Program Abstracts

Istituto di studi storici postali “Aldo Cecchi”

The Institute is an association of volunteers ( founded in 1982 and based in Prato, in the historical Palazzo Datini, in Via Ser Lapo Mazzei 37.
It proposes various activities in the postal and communications sector, including: archival and bibliographical research, organisation of conferences and meetings with scholars and academics, the annual “Colloqui di storia postale”, specialisation courses, the publication of the “Quaderni di storia postale” and the six-monthly journal “Archivio per la storia postale - Comunicazioni e società”. One of its tasks is the preservation of the archive coming from the Higher Military Post Office, which houses 400,000 original documents relating to the 20th century and which has already provided material for publications published by the historical office of the Army General Staff.
In addition, the Institute deals with a postal history archive with several fonds, the management of a library-archive with more than 16,000 volumes and pamphlets, plus a newspaper library with 1,200 titles; both can be consulted by appointment from Monday to Friday, with catalogues also online. Not to be forgotten are the 1,800 collections on the website.
For its functioning, the Institute relies on the support of its members; for residents outside Italy is €50.00, to be paid by bank transfer to the Institute’s account IBAN IT09A0306921531100000004941 at Intesa Sanpaolo Bank in Prato; members, about a hundred, receive the Issp journal free of charge.

Since 1982 the Istituto di Studi Storici Postali “Aldo Cecchi” in Prato
has been an international center for research in postal history.

The Institute is located in the medieval Palazzo Datini, which houses the letters of Francesco Datini (1335-1410),
the celebrated early modern Italian business leader who is known as the “merchant of Prato.”

Latest publications

“Archivio per la storia postale” N.15bis
The journal is now published twice a year. Founded in 1999, it is a multidisciplinary journal, where you can find papers of scholars from different backgrounds, original essays, regular columns, book reviews, and the Proceedings of the Institute.

Quaderno N.37 - Proceedings of the 2nd International ”Postal history: multidisciplinary and diachronic perspectives”, Prato, June 23-25, 2022
“Quaderni di storia postale” is a series of monographic essays, was started in 1983 and it’s still being published. The essays focus on a wide, strictly scientifical array of themes.