Crestadoro, Andrea (DNB00)

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CRESTADORO, ANDREA (1808–1879), bibliographer, was born in 1808 at Genoa and educated at the public school of that place. An industrious student as a boy, he proceeded to the university of Turin, where he graduated Ph.D., and soon after was appointed professor of natural philosophy. Here he published a ‘Saggio d' instituzioni sulla facoltà della parola’ and a small treatise on savings banks in advocacy of their extension to Italy. He also translated a portion of Bancroft's 'History of America.' Throughout his life he was fond of mechanical experiments, and in 1849 he came to England in order to push his inventions. In 1852, when resident in Salford, he patented 'certain improvements in impulsoria.' He took out other patents in 1852, 1862, 1868, and 1873. None of these came into practical use. One of them relates to aerial locomotion, and a model of his metallic balloon was shown at the Crystal Palace in June 1868, and a description of it was printed. The failure of his early patents led him to undertake bibliographical work, and he was engaged by Messrs. Sampson Low & Co. on the compilation of the 'British Catalogue' and the 'Index to Current Literature' (1859–1861). This led him often to the British Museum, and he undertook the solution of a difficult problem, 'The Art of making Catalogues,' an ingenious treatise in which in effect, though perhaps unconsciously, the methods so long applied to the calendaring of manuscripts are suggested for application to collections of printed books. During a residence at Paris he published in 1861, 'Du Pouvoir temporel et de la Souveraineté pontificale,' which, under a title suggested by the affairs of Italy, is a treatise on the methods of government, and is said to have suggested to Cavour and Menabrea the possibility of a modus vivendi between the Quirinal and the Vatican.

Crestadoro was engaged by the corporation of Manchester to compile a catalogue of the Reference Library, and in 1864 he was appointed chief librarian of the Manchester Free Libraries. The 'Index-Catalogues' which he originated have been generally adopted as models by the municipal libraries of the kingdom. He was present at the International Congress of Librarians in 1877, and joined in their discussions, and at the Social Science Congress in 1878, when he read a paper 'On the best and fairest mode of Raising the Public Revenue,' of which editions appeared in English and French. The king of Italy in 1878 sent him the order of the Corona d'Italia. He died at Manchester 7 April 1879, after a brief illness, and was buried at Ardwick cemetery. He left a widow, but no children. A work on the management of joint-stock companies was left in manuscript, and has never been published. Crestadoro exerted a marked and beneficial influence upon the progress of the free library movement, and his claims to distinction as a bibliographer are due not so much to his knowledge of books as to his faculty of organisation. In private life he was a pleasant and genial companion. A portrait of him appeared in 'Momus,' 20 March 1879.

[Private information; Manchester Guardian.]

W. E. A. A.