Before the widespread adoption of the carbon paper and mechanical typewriter, copies of day-to-day business correspondence were normally transferred by pressure in pre-bound copialettere (copybooks), stamped on the last page and registered with the Tribunale di Commercio (Court of Commerce) for their potential utility in case of legal dispute. Casa Ricordi continued this practice well into the 1960s. Apart from a few interruptions between 1944 and 1953, the collection of no less than 1209 copybooks in the Archivio Storico Ricordi is substantially complete from 1888 to 1962. The staff facilitated their consultation with a series of chronological indices listing the various addressees in alphabetical order, followed by the volume and page number in which each letter appears. We make available here the 73 surviving indices, included 15 indices pertaining to the period 1831-1887, for which the copybooks for all but one semester of 1831 are now lost.
Starting in 1888, the indices list the addressees’ names, followed by volume and page number in which each letter appears. The example at the right-hand side means that there are letters sent to Verdi copied at vol. 1 p. 168, vol. 2 p. 420, vol. 3 p. 452, and so on. To consult the copybooks please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, listing the requested semester or year [ex.: 1896-1897 or 1956] and volumes [ex: nos. 3,5,12,22, etc.]. For 1831, the archive holds only one copybook, pertaining to the period July-December. For the years 1836, 1849, 1865, 1867, 1868, 1873-74, 1874-75, 1875-76, 1878-79, 1879-80, 1880-81, 1884-85, 1885-86, only the indices survive, while the copybooks are lost. We make them nevertheless available, to allow the users at least to know the list of addressees of any given year.