Former prime minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici donates newspaper collection

Oldest documents in his possession consist of a 1793 manuscript copy of the will drawn up by the King of France

Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici
Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici

The University of Malta Library has been the recipient of Emeritus Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici’s book and newspaper collection.

This donation, which was facilitated by Prof Arnold Cassola and encouraged by Dr Mifsud Bonnici’s siblings, includes Dr Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici’s private collection of books and newspapers.

A few other documents are also part of the collection: the oldest documents in his possession consist of a 1793 manuscript copy of the will drawn up by the King of France, Louis and another old manuscript text pertaining to the 2 July 1817 Conto del Reliquiario della Santa Colonna di San Paolo.

Various copies of L-iStudent and Is-Sebħ, The Bulletin, Il-Kokka and the pamphlets issued by the Għaqda Zgħazagħ Soċjalisti are a staple part of his collection as are many other publications relating to industrial law and workers’ participation.

Manwel Dimech’s keen interest in languages and literature is testified by the 1907 Il Chelliem tal erbat ilsna (French, English, Italian and Maltese), as well as Il Chelliem Inglis, which contains a rare image of Manwel Dimech’s tomb in Sidi Bishr Xatbi, Egypt. Both books form part of the collection.

A signed typewritten collection of poems by Oliver Friggieri, Ġorġ Pisani’s classical work Il Waltz tad-Dellijiet, a 1986 ode to the prowess and bounty of Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, written by Gozitan Labour candidate Kelinu Vella Haber, and embossed on simil-parchment paper form part of the small Melitensia group of books.

To these one must add antiquarian publications of Maltese interest such as the volume entitled L’Assemblea Nazionale di Malta (26 February 1919-27 May 1921) and the Ordinance nr. VII of 1868, which was published in book form after the end of the legislature.

Another important item which is very relevant to Maltese political history is an undated book in Maltese, unfortunately without its original cover, which is basically a detailed account of the life of Lord Gerald Stickland. The author of this book was the former Minister of Works, Edwin P. Vassallo.

Two other books of interest include a neat handwritten dedication to Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, by the author, Giuseppe Borg Pantalleresco. The two dediche are written in Italian and are to be found respectively in the 1957 book entitled Palpiti, Dmugħ u Tbissim, and the 1953 book entitled, Għex, mhux bil-Ħobs biss.

Apart from the many books on law and industrial relations, which were all related to his legal formation, specialisation and subsequent legal career, there are a number of publications pertaining to pharmacy and medicine, which were part of his sister Cettina’s textbooks at University.

This prestigious collections, which will be housed at the University of Malta Library, will shortly be processed and made accessible for consultation.