Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Cesnola, Luigi Palma di

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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography
Cesnola, Luigi Palma di
Edition of 1891. See also Luigi Palma di Cesnola on Wikipedia, and our Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography disclaimer. The 1900 edition omits all mention of the controversy surrounding his art collection, and differs in other details, among other things mentioning a Medal of Honor he received for bravery at the Battle of Aldie.

CESNOLA, Luigi Palma di (ches-no'-la), archæologist, b. near Turin, Italy, 29 July, 1832. He was educated at the Royal military academy, and served in the Sardinian army during the war in 1849, and also was engaged in the Crimean war. In 1860 he came to the United States and volunteered in the military service, becoming colonel of the 4th New York cavalry. He was in the battle of Aldie, in June, 1862, where he was wounded and captured. Afterward he was appointed U.S. consul at Cyprus, where he made extensive archæological examinations and acquired a large collection of antiquities, which in 1873 became the property of the Metropolitan museum of art. During the latter part of 1873 he again visited Cyprus, and added much to the collections already gathered, and on his return to New York in 1877 was made director of the museum. About 1879 many adverse judgments by eminent art critics, reflecting on the integrity of his collections, appeared in the New York art journals and in the daily press. These charges were referred to a committee of five well-known gentlemen, who, after careful examination, declared them groundless. The matter was afterward brought into the courts, and a libel suit against Col. Cesnola was instituted by Gaston L. Feuardent, which, after a prolonged trial, resulted in a disagreement of the jury. This case attracted great attention on account of the extreme partisanship shown by the newspapers during the trial. He married a daughter of Capt. Samuel C. Reid, who repelled with great loss to the enemy the British attack on his ship, the “General Armstrong,” in the harbor of Fayal, in September, 1814. Columbia college conferred on Col. Cesnola the degree of LL. D. in 1880. he is the author of “Researches and Discoveries in Cyprus” (New York, 1878).