The Oresko Collection, comprising almost 2,000 books belonging to the late Dr Robert Oresko (d. February 2010), is an extraordinarily valuable addition to the Library's literature on early modern European history. It features a vast number of texts not previously held, some of which are not even available elsewhere in the UK.
The contents reflect Dr Oresko's long-standing research interests, namely dynastic and diplomatic matters at European courts throughout the Ancien Regime. For many years a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Historical Research in London and an Associate Member of the Faculty of History at Oxford, Dr Oresko was also a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society. To seventeenth-century historians, he is indelibly associated with exhaustive research on the Duchy of Savoy. The Collection therefore contains many monographs, some published as far back as the eighteenth century, on the history and culture of Savoy and Piedmont, which (along with the county of Nice) formed a small but vitally important composite state in the European geopolitical constellation in the early modern period. Dr Oresko was also a pioneer of the study of princely courts and a co-founder of the Society for Court Studies, believing that the dynamics of dynastic marriages and cultural exchanges were crucial to our understanding of political culture in the period. He was fascinated, too, by artistic patronage, and there are scores of books in this Collection which in combination form a thorough guide to early modern French, Italian, Spanish and German painting and sculpture. There are, in addition, many primary resources, including several Recueils des instructions to French diplomats on the Italian peninsula, and letters between private individuals as well as government ministers in Paris, Turin and London, to name but three capitals.
The Oresko Collection came to St Andrews through Dr Guy Rowlands (School of History), a long-standing friend. The University is extremely grateful to Dr David Parrott (New College, Oxford) and most particularly to Mr Roger Clark for generously donating this portion of Dr Oresko's larger book collection to St Andrews.
The books are not held together in a separate section, but are dispersed at appropriate classmarks throughout the Library shelves. Cataloguing is currently underway, and material added to stock so far is available in the Library catalogue.