Two albums containing an eclectic mix of materials gathered by Mauro Tosti di Valminuta, one of Benito Mussolini’s trusted diplomats, were added to Hoover holdings. The collection covers Tosti’s assignments from 1919 until 1933 in Europe and South America. The albums offer interesting vignettes from the daily life of a career Italian foreign service officer.
Count Mauro Tosti di Valminuta, scion of an old Neapolitan noble family, began his diplomatic career before World War I as secretary in the Italian embassy in Washington. Later he was posted successively to Romania, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina , Ecuador and Panama. In 1930, he presented his credentials as minister to Estonia. He saved just about anything in the public domain about his assignments: photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, invitations, menus, concert programs, speeches he delivered, etc. The bulk of the material covers Tosti’s life in Buenos Aires and Quito, and the Italian communities in Quito, Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Panama in the 1920s. There are also some thirty pages on Estonia and the Count’s visits to Finland and Leningrad in the early 1930s.
The collection is a trove of information for research on the diplomatic history of pre-World War II Italy and the lifestyle of its foreign service elite.
Maciej Siekierski PhD
Maciej Siekierski is curator of the European Collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
siekierski [at] stanford.edu