Our History: 1918-1928

The history of the Center for American Studies through documents and archival materials

By Centro Studi Americani

Ritratto di Harry Nelson Gay da Scritti sul risorgimento raccolti e ordinati da Tomaso Sillani, con una premessa del compilatore e una prefazione di Emilio Bodrero (1937) by Gay, Harry NelsonCentro Studi Americani

H. Nelson Gay was among the active members of the Anglo-American community in Rome in the first three decades of the twentieth century, as well as a passionate scholar of the history of the Risorgimento and of the relations between Italy and the United States.

Scritti sul risorgimento raccolti e ordinati da Tomaso Sillani, con una premessa del compilatore e una prefazione di Emilio Bodrero (1937) by Gay, Harry NelsonCentro Studi Americani

The body of books he collected during his studies was largely donated to the Harvard University library in 1930 (H. Nelson Gay Risorgimento Collection) and partly acquired by the Italian State for the Institute for the History of the Risorgimento (1935).

Dedica autografa di Harry Nelson Gay da Scritti sul Risorgimento, Gay, Harry Nelson, 1937, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Prefazione di Emilio Bodrero da Scritti sul Risorgimento: pag. [vii], Gay, Harry Nelson, 1937, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Ex libris Harry Nelson Gay, 1889, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Lettera autografa di Harry Nelson Gay (1919-06-10) by Gay, Harry NelsonCentro Studi Americani

In June, the Library for American Studies in Italy association was founded in Rome at Palazzo Orsini, Nelson Gay's residence, with the aim of establishing a library on the United States for the Italian public; the founding members and first financiers were, in addition to H. Nelson Gay, the American ambassador at the time, Thomas Nelson Page, Colonel Robert Perkins, Commissioner for Italy of the American Red Cross, and his deputy, James Byrne.

Verso della lettera autografa di Harry Nelson Gay (1919-06-10) by Gay, Harry NelsonCentro Studi Americani

Regarding this initiative, on July 25, 1918 Nelson Gay wrote to one of his American correspondents, the historian William Roscoe Thayer: "The enclosed circular will inform you of a new, and I believe a very important institution which has just been born". The letter is kept at the New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division ("H. Nelson Gay letters to William Roscoe Thayer 1907-1923"). The letter, taken from our archives and dated October 6, 1919, contains some important statements by Nelson Gay about the Library.

Copertina. Opuscolo dell'Unione Italo-Americana (1918) by Unione Italo-AmericanaCentro Studi Americani

In the same year (1918), in Rome (Via del Parlamento, 28), the Unione Italo-Americana (Italian-American Union) was founded, presided over by Senator Prof. Francesco Ruffini.

Copertina. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana (1922) by Associazione Italo-AmericanaCentro Studi Americani

Senator Francesco Ruffini, president of the Italian-American Union, and Eng. Dante Ferraris, president of the Roman Italian-American Committee, entered into a lease agreement with the Banco di Sicilia to rent the first floor of Palazzo Salviati, in Corso Umberto I in Rome, to establish the headquarters of the American House, which is still being set up.

Risguardo. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana (1922) by Associazione Italo-AmericanaCentro Studi Americani

The association thus formed will end up having the name Associazione Italo-Americana (AIA) and the two founders will avail themselves of the collaboration of the lawyer Giovanni Selvaggi and the delegated commissioner Omero Ranelletti. The activity of the Association is aimed aimed at organizing courses, events and conferences to promote relations between Italy and the United States.

Pag. 3. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana (1922) by Associazione Italo-AmericanaCentro Studi Americani

AIA establishes the summer course in Italian language and culture for American citizens, directed by Prof. Carlo Formichi, in collaboration with the University of Rome, the Italy America Society and the Institute of International Education in New York.

Pag. 4. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana, Associazione Italo-Americana, 1922, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Pag. 6. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana, Associazione Italo-Americana, 1922, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Pag. 8. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana, Associazione Italo-Americana, 1922, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Pag. 10. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana, Associazione Italo-Americana, 1922, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Pag. 11. Opuscolo informativo sui corsi estivi dell'Associazione Italo-Americana, Associazione Italo-Americana, 1922, From the collection of: Centro Studi Americani
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Ex libris Library for American Studies in Italy by Library for American Studies in ItalyCentro Studi Americani

Part of AIA's headquarters is rented to the Library for American Studies in Italy; the two associations collaborate, but are independent from the financial and administrative points of view.

Ex libris War Service Library by War Service LibraryCentro Studi Americani

The library collection begins to grow, thanks in part to donations from the War Service Library, many of its Ex Libris are still kept in the library.The War Service Library was established by the American Library Association in 1917 to provide library services to American soldiers during World War I. Between 1917 and 1920, the ALA raised $5 million from public donations, built 36 field libraries, distributed 7 to 10 million books and magazines, and provided book collections in over 500 locations, including military hospitals.

The War Service of Libraries also provided Braille books to soldiers who had become blind in battle. War Service Library librarians wore uniforms, similar to those worn by other volunteer groups such as the American Red Cross. Millions of public libraries in the United States also participated in this initiative, serving as book collection points and places to organize and promote the War Service campaign. The war service efforts of libraries eventually led to the creation of many modern library services, including the creation of library departments in the Army, Navy, Veterans Association, and Merchant Marine.

Palazzo Salviati, in Roma, sede dell'Associazione Italo-Americana. Articolo estratto da "Il progresso Italo-Americano". (1929-12-08)Centro Studi Americani

In September, after two years of preparation, the Library is officially opened to the public, in Palazzo Salviati.Also at Palazzo Salviati, on December 29, the inauguration ceremony of the AIA takes place, before the new American Ambassador to Italy, Robert Underwood Johnson, and the Italian Ambassador to the United States, Senator Vittorio Rolando Ricci.

Targa commemorativa in memora del tenente William Halsall Cheney (1897-1918) (1918)Centro Studi Americani

Lieutenant William Halsall Cheney (1897-1918) served in Italy during World War I with the American Air Service. He died in a plane crash at Foggia, during an exercise, on January 20 1918. In his memory, the young pilot's mother, Mrs. William H. Schofield, donated a plaque and the furniture of the room that was named after him to the Library for American Studies in Italy.

[Pag.1]. Programma del Corso libero di commercio italo-americano (1939) by Associazione Italo-AmericanaCentro Studi Americani

Another fundamental activity of the Association was the Free Course on Italian-American Trade, directed by MP Giacomo Acerbo, in agreement with the Institute of Economic and Commercial Sciences and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Labor (Royal Decree of June 23, 1923). The course gave official value to the relevant diploma which made it possible to partecipate in competitions in public administrations.

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