“Civil Code” Book from Italy
The oldest gift to a Secretary of State in the museum’s collection is this copy of Codice Civile del Regno D’Italia or, translated into English, Civil Code of the Kingdom of Italy. It was printed in 1901 by Fratella Bocca Editori, an Italian publishing house.
The pocket-sized publication has a short handwritten inscription on its first page: “To the Hon. John Hay with cordial regards & high esteem of D Noble Rowan”.
David Noble Rowan was a wealthy, politically-connected lawyer from New York. Though the details around his gift of this book to Secretary John Hay are unknown, Rowan traveled to Europe on more than one occasion and likely brought it back to give to Hay as a souvenir of Italy’s legal system. Secretary Hay was a lawyer by training and had spent time serving in diplomatic posts in Europe years prior to becoming Secretary of State.
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"Civil Code" Book from Italy. 1901. National Museum of American Diplomacy, https://diplomacy.state.gov/items/civil-code-book-from-italy
"Civil Code" Book from Italy, 1901, National Museum of American Diplomacy, Washington, DC, https://diplomacy.state.gov/items/civil-code-book-from-italy
("Civil Code" Book from Italy). 1901 [Object]. National Museum of American Diplomacy, Washington, D.C., United States. https://diplomacy.state.gov/items/civil-code-book-from-italy
Preserving our Oldest Gift to a Secretary of State