University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Rudolph Altrocchi Papers 1920-1965

© 2009 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Altrocchi, Rudolph. Papers




0.1 linear feet (1 folder)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Rudolph Altrocchi was a professor of Italian and a writer. The Rudolph Altrocchi papers consist of one folder of material predominantly from Altrocchi’s time at the University of Chicago, but it includes work from several years afterwards. The collection contains correspondence with University President Harry Pratt Judson and reprints of articles by Altrocchi.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Altrocchi, Rudolph. [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Rudolph Altrocchi was born on October 31, 1882 in Florence, Italy. He attended Joseph Domenge’s French School in Florence, a Swiss school, and the Prosser School of Kansas City, Missouri. He received his A.B. in 1908, his A.M. in 1909, and his Ph.D in 1914 from Harvard University.

Altrocchi taught romance languages at Columbia University from 1910-1911. He went on to University of Pennsylvania, where he taught the same subject from 1911-1912. From 1912-1915 he was an instructor in French and Italian at Harvard. Altrocchi came to the University of Chicago as an assistant professor of Italian in 1916, and became an associate professor in 1922. In 1927 he accepted the chair of Italian at Brown University, but in 1928 he became the chairman of the Italian languages and literature department at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as chair until 1946, and remained as a professor of Italian until 1952.

Altrocchi was the Propaganda Director in Italy for the Board of War Information under President Wilson from 1918-1919. He was a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry, and served as a liasions officer in Lyon, France. In 1921 he was awarded the title and medal of Cavaliere dell’ Ordine della Corona d’Italia by the King of Italy. In 1934 he was awarded the title and medal of Officier de l’Academie de France by the French government.

Altrocchi was the founder and co-editor (1924-1928) of Italica, the quarterly bulletin of the American Association of Teachers of Italian. Volume XXVII(2) of June 1950 was a tribute volume dedicated to Altrocchi, He was also president of the Harvard Club of San Francisco from 1932-1938, vice president of the Associated Harvard Clubs from 1934-1941 and president of the same organization from 1942-1947, and served as president of the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast. He was a member of the Literary Club of Chicago.

Altrocchi wrote Sleuthing in the Stacks (1944), Deceptive Cognates (1935). He was co-editor of Italian Short Stories (1912), Giacosa’s Tristi Amori (1921) and Sracco’s Il Piccolo Santo (1929). He translated Girolamo Sommi-Picenardi’s Snow and Steel (1926) and was a contributor to The Nation, North American Review, The Drama, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, and to many other scholarly magazines and publications.

In 1920 Altrocchi married Julia Cooley, the daughter of Harlan Ward Cooley of Chicago. She was a poet and novelist, and produced such works as The Poems of a Child, The Dance of Youth, Snow Covered Wagons, and Wolves Against the Moon. The couple had two sons, John Cooley and Paul Hemenway,

Rudolph Altrocchi died on May 13, 1953 in Berkeley, California.

Scope Note

The Rudolph Altrocchi Papers consists of one folder of material from Altrocchi’s time at the University of Chicago, but it includes work from 1915-1930. It consists of three letters from University of Chicago President Harry Pratt Judson from 1921-1924, and two reprints of Altrocchi's work, An Old Italian Version of the Legend of Saint Alexius (1915) and Gabriele D’Annunzio, The Poet (1930).

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Correspondence and reprints

  • Harry Pratt Judson to Rudolph Altrocchi, November 30, 1924
  • Harry Pratt Judson to Rudolph Altrocchi, October 7, 1921
  • Harry Pratt Judson to Rudolph Altrocchi, November 26. 1924
  • "An Old Italian Version of the Legend of Saint Alexius," reprint, 1915
  • "Gabriele D’Annunzio, the Poet," reprint, 1930