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Italian press photographs of the "Years of Lead" protests

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0743

Scope and Contents

Rewritten from the dealer description:

These 74 black-and-white photographs, sleeved in two photograph albums, document workers' strikes, riots, student demonstrations, and protest marches in Italy, principally Rome, Milan, Turin, and Naples. The photographs also depict mass general actions at the Pirelli, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Montedison factories, violent clashes with police, destruction of public and private property, the environmental activists "Kronos 1991", and Autonomia disruptions of trade union rallies.

The original copyright stamps on the reverse side of the images identify the photojournalists who captured the photographs in the first place, including but not limited to Giancarlo de Bellis, Dino Fracchia, Enrico Martino, and Vezio Sabatini. Information on the reverse sides are either printed or handwritten captions establishing date, location, subject, and publication history. The photographs range in size from approximately 7 x 5" to 13 1/4 x 9 1/4", with most of them approximately measuring 12 x 8". The images are printed on assorted papers with various finishes, weights, and margins. A few photographs are international examples, of protests in Corsica (led by Edmond Simeoni of Autonomia), Miami, and Besançon (Affaire Lip). The collection spans 1969 to 1982.


  • Creation: 1969 - 1982

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

The Years of Lead was a period of socio-political turmoil in Italy that lasted from the late 1960s into the early 1980s, marked by a wave of terrorism. Among the possible origins of the name are a reference to the vast number of bullets fired, or the 1981 film Marianne and Juliane by Margarethe von Trotta, of which the Italian title is "Anni di piombo." The left-wing autonomist movement lasted from 1968 until the end of the 1970s. The "years of lead" began with the shooting death of the policeman Antonio Annarumma in 1969 and the Piazza Fontana bombing.



0.14 Cubic Feet (1 custom box (14.5 x 11.5 x 1.5))

Language of Materials



The present collection is a visual account of the tumultuous period known in Italy as the "anni di piombo" (Years of Lead), from the 1960s to 1980s. These black-and-white press photographs document workers' strikes, riots, student demonstrations, and protest marches in Italy, principally Rome, Milan, Turin, and Naples. The collection spans 1969 to 1982.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from F.A. Bernett Books in December 2015, with funding from the Helen Mildred Logan Memorial Endowment; the National Endowment for the Humanities; and the Gene Ann Snyder Endowment Fund.

Related Materials

MS.0678: "May 1968" protests collection, 1968 May; MS.0721: Associated Press photographs of Great Strike Wave

Processing Information

This collection was processed in March 2016 by Annie Tang.

Italian press photographs of the "Years of Lead" protests
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA