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Paola Agosti photographs

Call Number: GEN MSS 1759

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 667 black-and-white and color photographic prints by Italian photographer Paola Agosti documenting social change, political movements, and daily life in Italy, South America, Cuba, and the United States.

Agosti’s photographs of Italy depict the feminist movement and women’s rights organizations Movimento di Liberazione della Donna and Unione Donne Italiane in the 1970s and 1980s, the gay rights collective Fronte Unitario Omosessuale Rivoluzionario Italiano in 1976, women factory workers in Northern Italy in 1983, and the decline of traditional peasant society in rural Piedmont during the 1970s and 1980s. The collection also includes photographs of Piedmontese immigrants in Argentina in the late 1980s and 1990s, and images documenting social movements in Chile after the 1970 election, such as protests by the Mapuche people. There is a small selection of images taken in Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. Other photographs show women in Cuba in 1995, cityscapes across the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, Black residents of Roxbury, Boston, and political demonstrations at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Notable subjects in the collection include Italian gay rights activist Mario Mieli, Italian writer Nuto Revelli, Cuban politicians Fidel Castro and Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado, Chilean President Salvador Allende, and American poet Allen Ginsberg.

All photographs were assigned a catalog code number from Y1 to Y667, which are labeled on the verso of prints and listed in the collection inventories. Photographs are signed by Agosti and inscribed with manuscript captions in Italian. While the original images were taken from 1968 to 1995, the collection contains both vintage prints and artists’ proofs printed by Agosti from 2016 to 2020. Materials are dated 1970 to 2020.


  • 1970–2020


Language of Materials

In Italian and English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Paola Agosti Photographs is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from S. T. di Matteo di Castro on the Edith and Richard French Fund, 2016.

Purchased from S. T. di Matteo di Castro on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2018.

Purchased from S. T. di Matteo di Castro on the Edith and Richard French Fund, 2020.


Organized into eight series: I. Feminist Movement in Italy, 1974-2016. II. Gay Rights Movement in Italy, 1976-2017. III. Women in Factories, 1983-2017. IV. Piedmont, 1977-2017. V. South America, 1970-2020. VI. Cuba, 1995-2020. VII. United States, 1972-2020. VIII. Collection Inventories, undated.


1.3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Paola Agosti (1947-)

Paola Agosti is an Italian photographer. Born in Turin, Italy in 1947, she briefly attended the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts before moving to Rome in 1968, where she began working as a freelance photographer in 1969. Throughout her career, she has documented social movements in Italy and abroad, particularly the Italian feminist movement of the 1970s. Her other projects depict farmers in rural Piedmont and trace emigration from the region to Argentina. Her work also includes portraits of worldwide political leaders and cultural figures. Agosti has published over twenty books of photography, beginning with Riprendiamoci la vita: Immagini del movimento delle donne in 1976. Her work has been exhibited throughout Italy, Europe, and the Americas, including at the Venice Biennial International Art Exhibition.

Biographical note above is adapted from: Agosti, Paola. “Vita.” Translated by Kevin Repp. Accessed 23 August 2021.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This finding aid contains original creator-supplied titles. Devised titles are enclosed in brackets, and all other folder titles are original. Original folder titles may include racist, outdated, or harmful descriptive language. Original folder titles have been maintained to preserve the original context of how the creator labeled the files.

Guide to the Paola Agosti Photographs
by Nora Soto
September 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.