Prefect of Vatican Archives; b. Gaida, near Reggio-Emilia, Italy, June 10, 1870; d. Rome, March 10, 1955. Ordained in Rome in 1893 after his studies there, he taught dogma and Church history in his home diocese. From 1911 he was scriptor of the vatican library, from 1918 primo custode of the vatican archives, and in 1920 vice prefect. He served as prefect from 1925 until his death. Under his direction, extensive and important accessions were added to the archives, and their contents were analyzed in a series of inventories. The stacks were considerably expanded and the furnishings were modernized for the accommodation of numerous visitors and scholars. Mercati's activity as a writer began with his translation into Italian of German standard works, such as H. Grisar, Rom beim Ausgang der antiken Welt; G. Schnüer, Entstehung des Kirchenstaates; O. Bardenhewer, Patrologie v. 1–3; J. Wilpert, Malereien der römischen Katakomben; H. Denifle, Luther und Luthertum; and L. Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste v. 1–3. Mercati wrote many long treatises, miscellaneous essays, and shorter articles usually occasioned by the discovery of hitherto unknown documents. His kindness and generosity to users of the archives were notable. He is buried in S. Giorgio in Velabro, beside his brother, Giovanni mercati.
Bibliography: Works. Listed in Miscellanea archivistica A.M. (Studi e Testi 165; 1952) ix–xxvii, supplemented in nos. 178–186 of Studi storici in memoria di Mons. A.M. (Fontes Ambrosiani 30; Milan 1956), and further treated in a. mercati, ed., I costituti di Niccolò Franco (1568–70) dinanzi l'inquisizione di Roma, esistenti nell'archivio segreto Vaticano (Studi e Testi 178; 1955); Raccolta di concordati su materie ecclesiastiche tra la Santa Sede e le autorità civili (Rome 1919; repr. with suppl. in 2 v. 1954). His shorter works are collected as Saggi di storia e letteratura (Rome 1951– ), v.1 only pub. to date. Literature. k. a. fink, Das Vatikanische Archiv (2d ed. Rome 1951); Historisches Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft 75 (1956) 524–526. f. bock, Archivalische Zeitschrift 53 (1957) 138–152. m. maccarrone, Rivista di storia della Chiesa in Italia 9 (1955) 435–436. l. santifaller, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 7:304.
[k. a. fink]