Pasquale Di Giovanni personal documents

Biographical and Historical Notes

These documents relate to the military service and travels of Pasquale Di Giovanni, an Italian immigrant to the United States. He was born on April 22, 1862 in Bovino, Foggia, Italy, to Carlo Domenico Di Giovanni and Vincenza Russo. Di Giovanni served in the Reggimento Cavalleria Alessandria (Alessandria Cavalry Regiment) of the Regio Esercito (Royal Italian Army) from September 1883 to September 1887. He married Rebecca Di Giovanni around 1890 and the couple soon immigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, New York. The documents in this collection suggest that Di Giovanni traveled back to Italy several times after he became a citizen of the United States.

Pasquale Di Giovanni's papers were passed down to his son, Louis Di Giovanni, Sr. (1896-?) and grandson, Louis Di Giovanni, Jr. (1925-2008). The papers were donated to the University of Delaware Library by Mary Rebecca Hellems Di Giovanni, the wife of Louis Di Giovanni, Jr. Hellems and DiGiovanni, Jr., met at Davis Elkins College in West Virginia and married in 1951. The settled in Delaware in 1968.


1910 United States Federal Census (accessed via on November 10, 2017)

Information derived from the collection.

Scope and Contents

This small collection contains documents related to the military service and travels of Italian-American immigrant Pasquale Di Giovanni between 1883 and 1903.

Two of the documents relate to Di Giovanni's travels between Italy and the United States. An Italian passport dated May 12, 1893 states that Di Giovanni was traveling to New York to see a relative, Leoni Gaspare. The passport provides his age and date of birth and describes many of his physical features, including his height, hair and eye color, and distinguishing marks. A United States passport issued by the American ambassador in Italy in August 1903 notes that Di Giovanni was now a U.S. citizen traveling back to Italy for a visit. Like the Italian passport, this document describes Di Giovanni's physical features.

The other items in this collection document Di Giovanni's service in the Reggimento Cavalleria Alessandria (Alessandria Cavalry Regiment) of the Regio Esercito (Royal Italian Army) from September 1883 to September 1887. A certificate of honorable discharge dated September 26, 1887 again describes his physical features, gives his occupation as "pizzicagnolo" (cheesemonger), and notes that he had achieved the rank of corporal. Also included are Di Giovanni's Esercito Italiano Libretto Personale and Libretto del Tiro al Bersaglio, which include information on his service in the army. The Libretto Personale was an instructional manual issued to Italian soldiers that described their duties and military regulations. The book was also used to document information relevant to Di Giovanni's service record. The Libretto Personale notes Di Giovanni's measurements, his ability to read and write, and his treatment for scurvy. The book also provides a checklist of weapons and equipment issued to Di Giovanni, which included a musket, cavalry saber, cartridge box, bridle, and saddle. Finally, it includes his financial accounts, comprised of his pay and expenditures between 1883 and 1887. The Libretto del Tiro al Bersaglio was essentially a "shooting book," which was used to record Di Giovanni's shooting practice with his musket. The book includes the number of times he hit his mark and his distance from the target.

This collection also includes the metal tube that originally contained these documents.