14 Settembre 1838 - 17 Maggio 1918
Giuseppe Bignami was born in Bologna on the 4th of September 1838 from Camillo and Anna Lolli. He did not finish his high-school studies due to his parents' death in 1855. In Turin in 1859 he met some important figures following the liberal trend and he came in contact with Cavour. During the same year he took part in the battles of Montebello and San Martino and in 1866 he was part of Brescia's "garibaldini" volunteers who fought in Condino, Bezzecca, Tiarno and Storo.
Once back to Bologna, he was made president of the 'Organisation of education, learning and mutual rescue among Italian teachers', created in aim of revising the books of local primary schools. He also took part in the "Company of Workers". Being born in a humble family, he was committed to the development of education and so he founded the first night classes and public libraries. From 1887 to 1908 he was president of the anonymous cooperative of workers (founded in 1868): along with Lucio Rossi, Turrini and Ferdinando Berti, he wanted to introduce prizes and subsidies in convenience stores for poor people to achieve both a practical and a moral development. In 1874 he participated in the 9th medical congress that took place in the Archiginnasio in Bologna under the presidency of Carlo Pepoli. Raffaele Belluzzi, Medardo Burzi, Francesco Magni, Augusto Alegebert, Enrico Panzacchi and Aristide Ravà participated too. In 1879 he was appointed to the presidency, this time for the 'Charity Committee' organised by the Count Francesco Cavazza. In 1903, since he was not at his ease with the new political direction, he asked for a recess. Until his death, occurred on the 17th of May 1918, he continued his social activities in the scholar colonies of Bologna (created by the mayor Alberto Dallolio) and in the institute 'Clemente Primodì'.
He rests in the burial plot number XII of the 'Sala del Cinerario' in the Certosa cemetery of Bologna. The inscription records the following words: "HERE RESTS THE OFFICIAL KNIGHT GIUSEPPE BIGNAMI / WHOSE LIFE WAS A WHOLE GENEROUS UNQUENCHABLE WILL OF GOOD / FOR FREEDOM THROUGH WEAPONS AND DICEY DEEDS / IN THE YEARS 1859 1866 AND 67 / TO THE BENEFIT OF THE CITY THROUGH HIS INITIATIVES / AND LEADER OF THE CITIZENS WHO AGREED WITH HIM / HAVING THE FIRE OF HIS GOOD REKINDLED EVEN MORE INTENSE AND GLAD / WHEN AS INSPECTOR OF THE SCHOOLS OF THE COUNCIL AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EDUCATION OFFICE / HE BETTER ARRANGED FOR THE EDUCATION AND FOR THE WELFARE / OF THE NEW GENERATIONS / AGED 79 YEARS ON THE 17th OF MAY 1918 HE DECEASED IN GENOA / HOST OF THE BELOVED SON / WHO HAVING FULFILLED SORELY THE WILL OF THE DEAREST FATHER / LEAD HIM HERE IN THE FAMILY SEPULCHRE
In the burial plot next to his rests: ELETTRA BORTOLOTTI / BORN ON THE 18th OF APRIL 1853 AND DIED ON THE 4th OF APRIL 1910 / KIND OF MIND AND OF HEART / SECOND BELOVED WIFE / OF THE KIGHT GIUSEPPE BIGNAMI / AND OF HIS SON LEOPOLDO / SWEET WISE MOTHER / BY BOTH OF THEM IS DESIRED AND CRIED / WITH LOVE AND GRATITUDE
Traduzione dall'italiano di Sophia Derweduwen, Teresa Ferraresi e Matteo Pierantoni; Liceo ginnasio Luigi Galvani Bologna, anno 2017-2018. Supervisione dei prof. Annamaria Marconi e Alfonsino Soffritti.