Full Name Gino Carlo Speranza
Born 23 April 1872 in Bridgeport, Connecticut
Died 12 July 1927 in New York (Manhattan), New York
Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York
Proposed by Samuel Parsons and Lawrence F. Abbott
Elected 7 February 1920 at age forty-seven
Those of us who have met and talked with Italians or with Americans of Italian origin, are aware that no middle ground is apt to be discoverable in their ideas between an all but fanatical approval of the Mussolini régime and sweeping denunciation of the whole experiment. Yet the very existence of these extremes of opinion—not, as in the case of Russia, regulated by individual interest—shows that there must be somewhere a middle ground of judgment. It was pleasingly manifested in the Club-house conversation of Gino Speranza. American son of an Italian father, Speranza was a lawyer, but his interest in the law was sociological and humanitarian rather than litigious. This may have been because his father had been an American university professor, and because the son inherited from him a lively interest in modern history and economics. Speranza was an expert in the legal problems arising from immigration and international commerce, he was counselor-at-law for many years to the Italian General Consulate in New York, and during the World War he served as attaché of the American Embassy at Rome. But he always combined with his hereditary Italian culture a sturdy Americanism that lent to his views on international questions a peculiar interest.
A man of strong attachment to Italy, thoroughly familiar with that country’s classical, mediæval and modern history, he could still understand and judge dispassionately the remarkable turn taken by Italy’s post-war political history. Temperamentally a liberal, he could discuss objectively and with penetrating judgment the influence of the Fascist movement on contemporary social and political civilization. He would have wished a different solution to the Italian problem, but he was willing to recognize what the Mussolini government had actually accomplished, and to await the working-out of the experiment. Regarding that experiment he was always hopeful, even if he could look on it only as an interlude, certain to be replaced in due course by institutions not founded on force or on denial of political privilege, and therefore suited to stand the test of time.
Alexander Dana Noyes
1928 Century Association Yearbook