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Giorgio Diaz de Santillana papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0282

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the professional activities of Giorgio Diaz de Santillana from 1905 to 1974. Materials include correspondence, speeches, photographs, slides, notebooks, reports, calendars, reprints, manuscripts, and notes.


  • 1905 - 1974


Conditions Governing Access

This collection must be reviewed to identify any restricted material before access can be granted. Please submit your requests at least ten business days before your desired visit to allow time for this review. An archivist will respond within five business days to let you know whether your requested material is open. For complete information on this policy, see our Statement on Accessing Institute Records.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Biographical Note

Giorgio Diaz de Santillana was born in Rome, Italy in 1902 and died in the United States in 1974. He was Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, in the Department of Humanities, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He earned his doctorate in physics at the University of Rome in 1925, and after additional graduate work in philosophy in Paris, and then two years at the University of Milan, he was called back to the University of Rome by Federigo Enriques to help establish a School for the History of Science.

In 1935, Professor de Santillana presented a series of lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris under the sponsorship of Professor Abel Rey, and also conducted colloquia that same year in Brussels. In 1936 he moved to the United States, lecturing at various colleges. From 1937 to 1938 he was an instructor at the New School for Social Research in New York City, and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He joined the faculty of MIT in 1941, retiring in 1967. As a tribute at the time of his retirement a special colloquium "Unpopular Views and Unfair Criticisms on the History of Science" was held at MIT. The colloquium was moderated by Victor Weisskopf, with participants Jerome Wiesner, Noam Chomsky, I. Bernard Cohen, Robert Cohen, Everett Mendelsohn, Philip Morrison, and Cyril Stanley Smith.


60 Cubic Feet (60 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Source of Acquisition

Materials were transferred to the Department of Distinctive Collections (formerly the Institute Archives and Special Collections) by the Department of Humanities and by the de Santillana family.

Selected Bibliography

  • Storia del pensiero scientifico. I. Il mondo antico (with Federigo Enriques). Milano: Treves-Treccani-Tumminelli, 1932. French and Spanish translations.
  • La Cina e i problemi dell'Asia centrale. Messina: G. Principato, 1938.
  • The Development of Rationalism and Empiricism (with Edgar Zilsel). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1941.
  • Galileo's Dialogue on the Great World Systems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953
  • The Crime of Galileo. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955. French, Italian, German, Swedish, and Japanese translations.
  • The Age of Adventure. The Renaissance Philosophers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1956.
  • Aristotle and Science. A Critical Controversy (with H. Reiche). Boston: G.K. Hall, 1959.
  • The Origins of Scientific Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press and New American Library, 1961. Italian translation.
  • Reflectons on Men and Ideas. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1968. Contains most of de Santillana's major articles.
  • Hamlet's Mill. An Essay on the Frame of Time (with Hertha von Dechend). Boston: Gambit, 1969.

Processing Information note

There are three accessions to this collection: 1977-137 (boxes 1-5) from building 14 storage, Department of Humanities; 1982-032, boxes 6-56 (from de Santillana home); 1983-004, boxes 57-60, delivered to Archives by de Santillana family. Boxes 55 and 56 were originally one box, some material appeared to have preservation issues and material physically separated into two boxes. Archives staff designated this as collection MC-0282 in March 2013.

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Transfer list to the papers of Giorgio Diaz de Santillana
Ready For Review
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English, non-English folder titles have been retained.

Revision Statements

  • 2021 September 23: Digital archivist, Joe Carrano, added folder level listing for Box 56.
  • 2021 November 19: Edited by Lana Mason for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US