Articles by: Dominic Candeloro

  • Op-Eds

    Reflections on "A Dream... per non dimenticare"

    Now, only now for every suffered wrong
    do I discover who I am at last
    the multitudinous Italian throng.
    I am the present for I am the past
    of those who for their future came to stay,
    humble and innocent and yet outcast.
    I am the dream of their eternal day
    the dream they dreamed in mines bereft of light —
    I am their darkness and their only ray,
    their silence and their voice: I speak and write
    because they dreamed that I would write and speak
    about their unrecorded death and night.
    0 glory! I'm the bread they came to seek,
    the vine they planted to outvanquish doom,
    their most majestic and enduring peak.
    For this my life their death made ample room.
                              From Joseph Tusiani"s "Song of the Bicentennial"

    Italian AMERICAN history and culture is at risk of being lost. Direct memory of the grand saga of Italian migration to the United States, the Little Italies that they built, the family-based culture that they kept, their broken English, their political radicalism, their brand of religion, and their dreams are almost forgotten on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Emigration/Immigration have been basic themes in recent Italian history and in American history. Indeed, the movement of peoples is an important factor in all history. “The Dream... per non dimenticare” is an eclectic collection of photographic material from 20 important collections of Italian Americana in the USA and Italy. We accept the poet’s mission to speak and write about the humble immigrants and their dreams.

    From this exhibit we get glimpses and echoes of the Italian American past. The material is rich, but it is not complete, indicating both how far we have come in reconstructing Italian American history and how much further we need to go to complete the story. The American Italian Historical Association and its members along with the Fondazione Agnelli and various study centers in Italy have made heroic efforts and produced many books and articles. Professor Frank Cavaioli has contributed images of, Giovanni Schiavo and Leonard Covello, the pioneering scholars of Italian American. There remains much work to be done in collecting additional historical materials, especially from the post World War II migration. Advanced technology will allow additional tools for collection and interpretation of data.

    This exhibit also begs the question: Is this slice of history worth saving? In this third millennium, with all of our preoccupation with problems like terrorism, global warming, the explosion of information on the Internet and our fascination with sports and dozens of other interests that compete for our attention, do we have the energy and will to preserve and disseminate small page in world history? Are we (Italians, Americans, and Italo Americans) sufficiently interested in this material because of what it tells us about ourselves and our respective countries? Or, as we move toward a global culture, will we satisfy ourselves with the superficial stereotype of the poor hardworking immigrants whose Italian American children and American grandchildren moved up in the world and whose Italian names and memories dissolved into the American “Melting Pot”? Italian American organizations that protest against mafia stereotyping, promote religious festivals, and celebrate Columbus Day will always be there. Italian business, cultural, and governmental entities which can benefit from an Italian American identity, no matter how superficial, will also be present. The question is whether future generations on both sides of the Atlantic will have access to the rich authentic details of Italian American political, cultural, and social life? “The Dream... per non dimenticare” is our modest effort to preserve the vestiges of a culture to which we owe so much.

    Since the initiative for this exhibit began with the traveling version of the “Italians in Chicago” exhibit, images from that city are most numerous in “The Dream..per non dimenticare.” In these photos, collected from individuals and families over a two year period, we see the proud workers, even at humble jobs, small businessmen posing proudly in front of their stores, families and societies enjoying picnics and weddings, and mutual benefit societies celebrating religious festivals. A dozen Italian Catholic churches and church schools under the tutelage of the Scalabrini Fathers tended to the religious and social needs of the various “Little Italies” of Chicago. Despite all the challenges of emigration, Italians showed a remarkable capacity for hard work and self sufficiency.

    The “Con Le Nostri Mani” segment of the exhibit comes to us from Laura Ruberto and her colleagues in the San Francisco Bay Area. The images remind us that the immigrants brought with them the resourcefulness and practical skills especially of Italian women. The immigrants tended gardens, canned tomatoes and other vegetables, and made their own wine and sausage. The barbers, tailors, bakers, and even some doctors and lawyers helped to make institutionally complete Italian neighborhoods in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Perhaps the most exciting single day in the history of Italians in Chicago was July 15, 1933 when Italo Balbo arrived with his squadron of seaplanes at the Century of Progress World’s Fair. Thousands of Italians flocked to see Balbo and thousands more read the newspaper notices. After suffering from the negative images of being poor, illiterate immigrants as well as the Capone-gangster stereotype, with Balbo, Chicago Italians at last had something wonderful of which to be proud. The material on display from both sides of the Atlantic, well-illustrates the joy and pride that Italo Balbo ‘s flight engendered in the Italian American people. These happy feelings and the pride that Italians took in the progress of the Fascist Regime turned to ashes in 1941 when Italy became an enemy in World War II.

    Nicholas Ciotola, Curator of the Italian American Collection of the Western Pennsylvania Historical Association, has provided images depicting the Italian community in Pittsburgh at work, at play, and making wine. These photos trigger a nostalgia for a time past when a sense of community was strong, even if the members of the community were not well off.

    The most colorful element of the exhibition is contributed by Paul Porcelli of Newark, New Jersey. A scholar fascinated with Italian American religious street festivals, Porcelli is working on a book, “When the Saints come Marching Out.” He has per sonally attended and photographed over 240 of the 300 Italian saint processions in the US. While the number of festivals has declined from 3000 in the 1920s, the strong survival of 300 into the Twenty First Century is still clear testament to the strength of Italian religiosity and ethnicity. These festivals also remind us that the lives of immigrants and their descendants consisted of much more than the deprivation and alienation that are the hallmark of the migration process.

    Bobby Tanzilo, a member of the Monferrini Society, has provided images typical of the photos of the period: Stiff, format portraits that suggest the stubborn determination of the immigrants to succeed.

    Professor Salvatore LaGumina shares with us his images of Italians on Long Island, New York. Here in “Marconiville” (Copiague) or Deer Park immigrants could retreat from city life where they could own a home, a plot of land for a garden, and abundant fishing.  Professor Jerome Krase of Brooklyn College has contributed a photo essay on Italian American use of urban spaces. His focus is on the continuity and change in the oldest and newest Italian enclaves in New York City. His “New York City’s Little Italies: Yesterday, Today-and Tomorrow?” was featured in a recent exhibit curated by the late Professor Philip Cannistraro. The article can be found in the “The Italians of New York” catalogue which is available for those who want to know more about New York Italians.

    New Orleans Italians are descended from a large Sicilian migration from such towns as Cefalù, Contessa Entellina, Sambuca, and Quisquina in the early 1880s. Many became successful in the produce and shipping businesses.. Perhaps too successful. In 1891 a crowd of several thousand lynched 11 Sicilians who had been accused, but acquitted of the murder of the New Orleans police chief. This was the largest single mob action in American history. Though many more African Americans have been lynched principally in the South, no other such event had more victims. Nor was this lynching an isolated case; prejudice against Italian immigrants resulted in several dozen mob murders. Nevertheless, Sicilian Americans in New Orleans have persevered to the point that their political and financial influence in New Orleans and Louisiana is quite formidable. Images contributed by the late Joseph Maselli’s American Italian Renaissance Museum in New Orleans depict the landing of immigrant ships directly from Palermo to New Orleans. An 1890s Labor Bureau poster boasts that Italian immigrants were “mostly strong, healthy, and able bodied industrious men. As Laborers they have no superior.” Other images include “Nipotini Italiani” in a parade, the Monteleone Hotel, the construction of a monument to the immigrants on the New Orleans wharf, and Victor Schiro who served as mayor of New Orleans from 1961 to 1970.

    World War II changed everything. Young people lost their pride in their Italian identity and shunned the use of the Italian language. In the segments of “The Dream...per non dimenticare” contributed by Lawrence DiStasi dedicated to “Una Storia Segreta” we learn of the internment and maltreatment of hundreds of Italians as “enemy aliens,” especially on the West Coast. The full English language version of “Una Storia Segreta” is available on the web and in book form. In the material supplied by Peter Belmonte from his book on Italian Americans in World War II we see the faces of the young Italian AMERICANS who served in the American armed forces during the War. Estimates are that almost 1,000,000 of the 15,000,000 American soldiers were Italian Americans - the largest single ethnic group in the army. Medal of Honor winner, John Basilone is the symbol of the sacrifices of Italian Americans in World War II. These young men were Americanized by their experience and they earned post war benefits that often helped them to move up into the middle class and out of “Little Italy” to more attractive residences. On the other hand, conditions in “war torn” Italy triggered another wave of emigration to the United States that revitalized Italianità among many immigrant communities in the US for the next 50 years.

    Anthony Riccio has conducted an extensive number of oral history interviews for The Italian American Experience in New Haven: Images and Oral Histories. Depictions of women in sports, fishing, and contra mal occhio practices highlight this section of the display.

    As a reminder that Italian immigrants penetrated the American landscape far beyond New York and the East Coast, we include in our exhibition photos collected by Nicholas Ciotola of Italians in Albuquerque, New Mexico where the miners even formed and Italian brass band.

    Milwaukee, though known as a German-American city, grants from Puglia, Campania, Calabria, Abruzzo, and Sicily settled there at the turn of the century. Their descendants are the proud sponsors of the biggest Festa Italiana in the US, drawing over 100,000 attendees annually. The photos compiled by journalist Martin Hintz represent achievement/acceptance in sports as well as business and religious activities.

    The images from Colorado supplied by Alisa Zahller of the Colorado Historical Society are from a major exhibit and book on the immigrants who went to Colorado to work as miners. Some 20% of the population of Colorado was of Italian ancestry in 1920.  Their descendants in Denver find themselves in conflict with the Native Americans of that city over the validity of Columbus Day.

    Ernesto Milani has amassed a collection of documents related to migrants from Northern Italy in places like Mississippi, from he salvaged sack used by Nello Gasparini to pick cotton in the 1920s. Milani’s other contributions include envelopes and letter sent by the immigrants to their families. In his quest to document Italian American history, Milani asserts that it is easier to find archeological remains of the ancient Romans than it is to find letters and documents relating to the Italian American diaspora in the early Twentieth Century.

    From the late Professor Rudolph Vecoli and Joel Wurl the Immigrant History Research Center at the University of Minnesota we have several striking images, including railroad workers, the establishment of a Columbus monument, and Italian American women doing folk dances.

    Filmmaker Michael DiLauro of Pennsylvania has contributed some pictures of California Italians and a delight photo of a group from Vineland, NJ perched on a 1920s automobile. Vineland was one of the few places in the US where Italian immigrants engaged in agriculture—“truck farming” of staple fruit and vegetables for local urban markets.

    The “Milestones” posters in the exhibit represent the highlights of a chronology created by Salvatore LaGumina and John Marino for the National Italian American Foundation. “Milestones” focus on the important achievements, often little known, of Italians in the United States from 1492 to the present. This element provides a welcome complement to the photo display which is essentially social history of “ordinary” Italian immigrants and their families.

    We invite viewers of all ages to look deeply into the photos and to see themselves and their grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins making their way in the American culture and the American economy. Imagine their fears, their strength, and ingenuity as they applied the ways of their parents and their villages to this new world. Consider what Italy would be like if this emigration had not taken place, the impact of remittances on Italian families and the Italian economy. Think of the core value of hos pitality which Italian Americans have maintained. Their story enlightens our understanding of the movement of peoples throughout history. Think of the revelation experienced by the Joseph Tusiani that his mission was to perpetual the story of the immigrants. Their story is our story... per non dimenticare.

  • Life & People

    Chicago Area: Casa Italia Library to be Relaunched June 5

    In the past few years, aided by a grant from the Anthony Fornelli Family we began to revive the Library. The volunteer efforts of Jeannette Rosati Vehedi (Italian Studies MA), Judy Kemp (Anthropology PhD),  Vincenzo DiVito, Dan Niemiec, (Leader of PIP 27 of  Italian American genealogists), Peggy Fox (Librarian at Fenton High School), Fred Gardaphe' and  Dominic Candeloro, Library Curator have brought a renaissance to the library and we have made ambitious plans.


    Italian AMERICAN History is at Risk of being lost!

    Italian American history and culture is at risk of being lost. Immigration to Chicago began in the 1880s  and virtually ended in the 1980s.  The passage of time, the dispersal of Italian neighborhoods, the demise of Italian Catholic Churches, intermarriage, and the loss of the language incurred by the stresses of World War II have squelched the transmissions of basics of the Italian American Experience to the younger generations.  If major initiatives are not launched soon,  the story will be lost.

    We aim to build the most comprehensive archive of Chicago Italian Americana… and if I can quote myself, "Our aim is to seek out, identify and physically and digitally preserve every scrap of evidence that pertains to the lives and times of Italian Americans in Chicago!” Our goal at the Casa Italia Roselli Library is to build the most comprehensive archive of Chicago Italian Americana (5000 published volumes and 10,000 archival items) and the Midwest’s most comprehensive collection of scholarly and popular materials in English and Italian on the history and culture of Italian immigrants to the United States. 

    The library supports the cultural, spiritual, educational, and social mission of Casa Italia. Our Library provides source material for the ongoing public programs of Casa Italia and acts as a resource center for teachers and other educational institutions wishing to present materials relating to Italy, Italian culture and Italian American history.

    The library collects materials in a variety of formats in both English and Italian.. In addition to books, the collection includes the 59 years of the Fra Noi newspaper both hardcopy and on  microfilm, journals, newsletters, church histories, proceedings, magazines, DVDs, music, road maps and travel guides, large format art books, as well as volumes donated by Italian governmental entities. The library’s catalog is online at . Texts on genealogy, free Wi-Fi and a subscription to are available for research genealogists.

    Our major archival focus is Italians in the Chicago area. Audio tapes and transcripts of 110 oral histories done as part of the Italians in Chicago Project and 60 videotapes and transcript done for the documentary “And They came to Chicago,”  and file drawers filled with research material accumulated over 30 years by historians. Through our library and the Italian American Veterans Museum and Library (our sister institution at Casa Italia), we have a combined total of 10,000 historic photos to offer the public. We are creating  a searchable digital collection of original and unique materials that can be used by scholars and genealogists to piece together the Italian American past.Part of our mission is to make available the masterpieces of Italian cinema.

    With the addition of the resources listed below, we may soon be able to deliver easy access to our unpublished holdings both onsite and online  of oral histories, parish and neighborhood material, information on towns of origins, 10,000 item photo collection, 30 year old videos of scholarly presentations, and  50 years of our monthly community newspaper (now on microfilm).


        * Library catalog online

        * 59 years of the files of Fra Noi both hard copy and microfilm

        * Neighborhood and Parish Sources

        * 200 interviews on audio and video tape and searchable transcriptions

        * 10,000 images of Italians in Chicago and IA Veterans Museum holdings

        * Towns of  Origin sources/photos

        * Professional journals including VIA and  Voices in Italian Americana

        * Free WI-FI and digital camera use

        * Research travel subsidies

        * Expert reference consultation

    You can help us reach ourgoal by becoming a Friend of the Roselli Casa Italia Library.   Donate/share your photos, documents, books, and memorabilia with the Casa Italia Library and support us.


    Name________________________________Address ___________________________________  <>

    City ______________________________ ST___  Zip_________ 




     Volunteer to be a friend of the Library

     ____Volunteer Time   ____Contributor of memorabilia

    ____ Contributor of Books for the Library or Book Sales


    ____Library Researcher    ____Help publicize the Casa Italia Library

    Please respond to Roselli Library, 3800 Division St., Stone Park, IL 60165 708-345-5933.  [email protected]


     * * *


    This project is my baby.  The revival and rededication of the Casa Italia Library is one of the most important developments in preserving the history of Iralians in Chicago in many years.  The Library was recently accepted as a member of the Metropolitan Library System in Chicago and is elegible for grant funding from the Illinois Statge Library System.  Through the contributions of numerous contemporary authors and the financial backing of Anthony J. Fornelli we have been able to acquire thousands of books and we are now ready for the Grand Reopening and Rededication of the Florence Roselli Library--- 

    We will celbrate with Authors’ Night--- Featuring best-selling author Adriana Trigiani in an exclusive 2-way Skype Video phone call.     Those who live in the Chicagao are should join us for a wine and cheese reception as we re-introduce the Midwest’s most comprehensive Italian American Library---with expanded archives and Italian American holdings of  the Casa Italia Library.  Others will have to waitr for YourTube coverage.


     We’ll also hear brief readings by  local Italian American writers including Tony Romano, Robert Lombardo, JoAnne Ruvoli, Peter Pero, Kathy Catrambone, Bill Dal Cerro, Annette Dixon, Vince Romano, Calogero Lombardo,  Roxanne Pilat  and Dominic Candeloro.  Attendees will be able to   browse the updated Casa Italia Library and join our “Friends of the Library” group.  Others can browse the catalog by going to Library Thing at .


    The Florence Roselli Library at Casa Italia

    The Library at Casa Italia has existed in one form or another since the Scalabrini Fathers opened it as their seminary library in 1935. In the mid 1970s Librarian Florence Roselli built up the library collection to serve post World War II immigrants and to collect academic and popular materials on Italian American Culture.  After her death, the Library went into a dormant period.

  • Life & People

    Maruggi's "Remembrances" Anthology reviewed by Rob Marchesani

    The Wisdom of Our Mothers, Grandmothers and Godmothers Can Be Found in Our Remembrances….

    Edward Maruggi's collection Remembrances: Sixty Tales of Growing Up with Italian Mothers, Grandmothers and Godmothers is as much a walk through the reader's own history as it is through the history of those in the stories that are told.  The photographs add a certain nostalgia that would take any reader back to grandma's house for a Sunday meal or to the memory of one's Godmother who held her own place in our lives.  


    As our own mothers figure most prominently in most of our lives, it is a logical arrangement for the book to begin with a section on Mothers, then Grandmothers and finally Godmothers. (Mother-in-laws and great grandmothers also find their place in these tales!) Such an order represents the natural progression of relationships as they would naturally flow from our birth. Our mothers provide our first home in the belly of their own bodies from whence we are born into the larger world where our stories unfold. 


    Maruggi's own wish, which he ends his introduction with, is that the reader finds her or his own memorable tales of these important female figures in our lives to in turn share with our own family and friends. In this sense, Remembrances becomes a vehicle to return us to our own forgotten or disgarded experiences with our maternal ancestors. 


    To set the stage for the first section on Mothers, Remembrances begins with a rich Foreward by Fred Gardaphe who shares his own experience of the importance of his mother in his own life as it shifted in the course of therapy: "A few years ago I began to explore this uncharted land of the mother when I entered therapy; I was told that to understand myself I had to understand my origins and that meant getting the stories of my parents, especially my mother." 


    The section on Mothers begins with Viola Medori Labozzetta's tale "An Immigrant Experience" and quickly moves into "My Dinners At My Mother's House" by Maria Mazziotti Gillan.  


    Of the many gems to be found in Remembrances, one of the most touching is a lesson in compassion and racism. In "My Mother - The Florentine War Bride" Diane Melville recounts this about her mother: "My first lesson came when I was in first grade. I came home from school one day and told her about a sad black girl who was in my class. Nobody talks to her, Mommy. So she said, Well, tomorrow you start talking to her and she won't be sad anymore. No lecture about racial prejudice and why it was wrong. Just simple logic that made sense thereafter."  Her mother's compassion did not stop there. It continued one day on the street to help "a drunk" who had fallen, "a person who needed help," her mother clarified. 


    In "I Love You Mom: Do Me A Favor...Don't Tell Nobody," Chickie Farella tells the all too familiar tale of Italians mothers and their sons as her brother's, and mother's, witness.  


    In "The Wearing of the Black," Josephine Galgano Gore shares her mothers proverbs, such as "Leaving home changes one's destiny," and "Even a roach is beautiful to his mother." 


    Throughout Remembrances, Maruggi makes the best use of poetry along with prose to tell the tales. There's Louisa Calio’s Mamma Mia Rose (to the tune of Abba):

    So too did you discipline my temper

    offering me a guidance I did not want.

    Patiently you watched me learn and suffer

    as I grew up and left you.  


    Gil Fagiani's American Now, Decay, Holdout, and The Saint: 


    Her brother-in-law 

    nicknamed her the saint 

    when she took him in and paid 

    his cab from Ellis island.... 

    Maria Mazziotti Gillan's I Dream of My Grandmother and Great Grandmother: 


    I see those women in my mother 

    as she worked, grinning and happy, 

    in her garden that spilled its bounty into her arms. 

    She gave away baskets of peppers, 

    lettuce, eggplant, gave away bowls of pasta, 

    meatballs, zeppoli, loaves of homemade bread. 

    "It was a miracle," she said. 

    "The more I gave away, the more I had to give." 

    Maria Fama's For the Birds

    My grandmother almost starved inn Sicily 

    during the Second World War 

    without any bread 

    she lived on some olives  some fruit 

    whatever she managed to grow and save...


    Maria Mazziotti Gillan's Magic Circle

    ...The stories, 

    saved our lives, passing the meaning on from one 

    generation to the next, a silver thread, a silver 

    thread that strengthens us, all those women, 

    caught in our hearts, teaching us how to laugh, 

    how to make our arms into cradles 

    to hold each other and sing.


    Al Tacconelli's All Saints Eve

    Last night the month of holy angels 

    became the month of dead remembered -- 

    souls gone yet present...


    Louisa Calio's Aunt Ann My True Comare (1910-2004)  (for Ann Marchesani Buck Abruzzo)

    When I think of you I think: a simple well lived life, 

    a model for our planet of strife. 

    Abundant, generous but never extravagant or wasteful. 

    Lover of children, animals and Nature.


    Whether poetry or prose, each tale in this collection is told with an offering of words for the reader to describe our own ancestors. There's Grandma the Healer about Maria Antonia Corona Molino by Ed Maruggi, The Do-It-Yourselfer by Barbara DiNucci Hendrickson, Grandma's Sunday Dinner by Nancy Caronia, and In the Footsteps of Giants by Matthew Maruggi among others. 


    Tho book ends with A Mother and a Godmother (first in Italian, then in English) by Adriano Menegoi in which he finishes the tales with these words: "Decades later we still have these two wonderful characters fresh in our memory and we think about how much they have given to us; two strong links of a chain that ties the two of us to our origins in the long history of generations."   


    For some, chains hold back, for others, they pull forward. In therapy, as in books like Remembrances, we are often pulled back to our roots but not without being pulled forward into our own future. And in books, as in therapy, we often find ourselves within its tales. Remembrances is filled with sixty tales, too many to cite from all in a review. You'll just have to buy the book and read the rest yourself!

    "Remembrances" is published by Winston Publishing and is available by emailing [email protected] or by calling 585-392-6737. 


    Rob Marchesani, MSSc, LP 


    New York City

  • Art & Culture

    Trigiani is Swang

    When asked how she came to write her first novel, Adriana Trigiani responded, “It was a total surprise because I was writing TV…I wanted to have a baby and when you write comedy for television you work seven days a week. So a friend of mine said ‘You should write a book. Then you could have a baby.’ And, I swear, that’s what happened. I didn’t know it would be good or that you would like it. And now suddenly I’m swang.”

     Big Stone Gap was published in 2001 and her daughter Lucia was born in 2002. Eight books later Adriana Trigiani is on the verge of becoming Queen of the Big Time as THE major player in presenting an authentic image of Italian Americans in the mass media. Her latest novel, Very Valentine, premiered 19th on the New York Times Bestsellers list in February 2009. With over 3 million books in print, two promising movies in the works, plans for two more novels and a series of young adult fiction forthcoming, Trigiani stands as our single best hope of balancing the mafia stereotypes that dominate our culture.
    Wishful thinking? Maybe, but if the enthusiasm and adulation of the overflow crowd that greeted Trigiani recently at Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville is any indication, she could be the rock star we’ve all been waiting for.
    An Italian from Big Stone Gap, VIRGINIA? Yes, in the early 1900s many Italian immigrants were channeled to the coal mines of Virginia/West Virginia.  As Adriana explains, “My family is from northern Italy in the Italian Alps above Bergamo: a town called Schilpario, (mother's family both sides); and my father is half Barese (Foggia) and half Venetian (Godega di Sant Urbano) a farm town above Treviso.” A third generation Italian, she grew up in Big Stone Gap in the Appalachians in the southwest part of the state in the 1970s, attended St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, where she majored in Theater. Then it was off to New York where she organized an all-female improv comedy group---The Outcasts. With this background, it’s no surprise that her book signing events turn into riotous stand up comedy performances.
    In the late 1980s and early 1990s Trigiani worked as a writer/producer for Bill Cosby on both ‘The Cosby Show” and “A Different World,” (a sitcom about students at a traditionally Black College). When asked how she came to write material for Black teens, she replied, “I just had guts- and knew the college world...” The warm fuzzy humor and the fascination with the dynamics of family life of the Cosby style has carried over into her novels.
    Like all good writers, Adriana writes about what she knows. In the four  Big Stone Gap books she draws on her family life and events in the history of the town such as when Elizabeth Taylor almost choked to death in Big Stone Gap and the town’s outdoor summer pageant. In Queen of the Big Time Adriana wrote about her father’s hometown, Roseto, PA---made famous by a 1960s medical study that showed that heart disease was almost non-existent in Roseto due to the supportive (stress reducing) Italian village lifestyle and diet of the community. In 1998, before publishing the book, Trigiani wrote and produced a documentary film on Roseto. 
    Trigiani loves to write about people who make things. For her latest book, Very Valentine, she traveled to Capri to do research on the process of crafting hand made shoes. In Lucia, Lucia it was high style dressmaking. Blouse makers, interior designers, cooks, pharmacists, farmers---and the indepth detail of the process of their work and the integrity of the people who actually MAKE things are evident everywhere in her writing.   She is fascinated by what some writers have called the “philosophy of work done well.” 
    While some might dismiss Trigiani’s work as “Chick Lit,” it is so much more than entertainment.   While the relationship between the sexes runs through all of her writing,  her love stories are plausible. Her protagonists are mostly capable, ambitious, and vulnerable women. As they narrate their stories in the first person, the reader appreciates that finding true love is complicated and difficult. With notable exceptions, the male lead characters are often disappointing or devious. In her Naperville presentation Trigiani joked that while Italian American women make good wives, Italian American men (read “Mammone”) make poor husbands because their Italian mothers had spoiled them. She herself is married to Tim Stephenson, an Emmy-winning lighting designer for the David Letterman show.
    And while Trigiani hardly ever writes directly about the big events and issues in Italian American history such as the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, injustice in the workplace, prejudice, defamation and discrimination, or World War II internment, she does capture a very important truth about the Italian American Experience: The immigrants and their children were not just some helpless, uprooted, unskilled and illiterate masses who needed to be “Americanized.” Trigiani’s fiction accurately documents the crafts and skills and the “can do” attitude that the immigrants contributed to the American scene. She details especially the rich family traditions, the genius, and the skills of Italian American women---their cuisine, their household self-sufficiency, and their wisdom in family management.

    Place is important to Trigiani. Whether the story is set in Big Stone Gap (where she grew up) or Roseto (home of her father’s family), northern New Jersey or Greenwich Village (where she has lived for 20 years) or even in Italy, the reader is made to feel at home in the location. 
    Adriani Trigiani is accessible. She loves her readers and phones book club audiences several times a week. She organizes luncheons for her New York readers and posts dozens of pictures of her fans, St. Mary’s schoolmates, book club groups, and bookstore crowds from all over the nation on her website .  She kisses and hugs and talks at length to every person who lines up for book signing. She involves herself in their lives and in Naperville even publically offered an internship to the daughter of one of her readers. 
    Trigiani’s first person narratives are a breeze to read. Some people even prefer to listen to the audio version of the books. Lucia, Lucia, Queen of the Big Time and Big Stone Gap are done by renowned audio book narrator Cassandra Campbell and Rococo is voiced by Mario Catone, stand-up comedian and actor whose credits include “Sex in the City” and “Caroline’s on Broadway.”  You can find Trigiani’s books at any library,  any bookstore, or on
    Trigiani’s writing style incorporates so much detail that her stories should easily be transferable to the big screen. And that’s exactly what’s coming soon to a theater near you in the next 2 years. She starts production on location in Big Stone Gap. She wrote the screenplay, did the casting and will direct this film---which has the potential of making a dent in the mafia movie stereotype which Italian Americans have endured these many years. Speriamo!

    This article originally appeared in Chicago's Italian American Monthly   Fra Noi

  • Facts & Stories

    From the Field: Updates on Activities in Italian American Studies

    Listed below are snippets about the people, mostly academics, who are searching for roots and branches of Italian ethnics in the
     .  I have determined to revive my compilation of tidbits about  recent professional developments and activities in Italian American Studies as part of this blog  ("Roots and Branches" )  Please submit to me by the 15th of each month  a 200 word carefully edited paragraph about your recent publications, public appearances, media productions, awards, promotions, grant projects,

    etc.  Include email and other contact information in your paragraph.  You can also  include jpg images.  Please direct your snippets to me at
    [email protected].  I will compile the material for both the I-Italy blog and for distribution by the H-ItAm listserv.


    Bobby Tanzilo's third book, Voci Piemontesi: Emigranti piemontesi negli Stati Uniti attraverso le loro parole is published by Edizioni dell'Orso (
    Alessandria) in February with the support of the Regione Piemonte / Assessorato al Welfare, Lavoro, Immigrazione ed Emigrazione.   Contact him at  Monferrini in

    P.O. Box 2,
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

    <[email protected]>,


    Dominique Padurano   presented a lecture “Charles Atlas’ Italian Nose: Trials of Ethnic Masculinity at the Federal Trade Commission, 1936” at
    Hofstra University, October 2008.  He upcoming publication is  Dear Friend: Charles Atlas, American Masculinity, and the Bodybuilding Testimonial, 1894-1944,” Imitation, Influence, and Advertising in the American Marketplace, Palgrave-Macmillan (forthcoming). [email protected]


    Fr. Vincent A. LAPOMARDA’s  THE JESUITS AND THE THIRD REICH (Edwin Mellen Press, 2nd ed.,  2005) was translated into Italian by Dr. Antonino LoNardo of
    Palermo, Italy, and published this past July.  Below is the advertisement.

     Prezzo di vendita € 38,50 Libro STORIA 508 pagineCopertina Sovracoperta - Formato 15x23 - bianco e nero. Il libro descrive le persecuzioni naziste subite dalla Compagnia di Gesù durante il Terzo Reich e il destino infausto di molti gesuiti in Germania, Austria, Cecoslovacchia, Polonia, Stati Baltici, Russia, Romania, Ungheria, Yugoslavia, Italia, Paesi Bassi e Francia. Il volume
    prof. Lapomarda evidenzia, anche, gli sforzi profusi dai gesuiti in difesa dei diritti umani, in particolare di quelli degli Ebrei e fornisce una minuziosa testimonianza sul comportamento di un preminente ordine della Chiesa Cattolica durante il nazismo. Con una semplice richiesta (e con prova dell’acquisto) a
    [email protected] verrà inviato – via mail o su CD (con spese di spedizione a carico
    richiedente) il volume in formato elettronico (file pdf). [email protected]


    Joanna Clapps Herman has recently co-edited Wild Dreams: The Best of

    published by Fordham University Press. She is the winner for 2008 of the Chase Award for Literary Excellence, Keynote Speaker and Honeree of The Annual Litchfield Review Writers Conference, Fall 2008. She was interviewed on Here on Earth, on Wisconsin Public Radio on Dec.1, 2008. This show can be heard at She was the

    facilitator at the
    Tenement Museum discussion on Oct. 23, 2008.  She will be a featured reader at Smalls, January 31, 2009. Reading at the Casa Italiana, NYU, March 13, 2009. A reader at
    Tenement Museum May 7, 2009. Her essay"My Homer," will be included in Dr. Luisa Del Giudice's collection, Speaking Memory, Palgrave Publishers, to be published October 2009. Her poem, "My Italian Father Gives Birth," is forthcoming in Feile-Festa.  [email protected].

    Phylis Martinelli  <[email protected]>  is preparing a new course on Ethnic Identity, which was the subject of her dissertation on Italian American transplants in the 1980s to
    Arizona.  The new course will examine post modern ideas on ethnicity, explore the myriad ways it influences our lives, and have a real time research component for students to query how their peers see their own ethnicity (or lack thereof.)"

    Judith Pistacchio Bessette, a long-time member of the American Italian Historical Association, has recently completed a DVD with the Dracut (MA) Access TV Cable Station. The DVD is composed of original photographs and paper documents related to the history of the historic textile mill
    village of
    in the Town of North Providence, Rhode Island.   

    The history of the village is illustrated through visuals from the period of 1809 when the first textile mill in the village was founded (Lyman Cotton Manufacturing Company), to the 1960s when the second textile mill in the village closed (Lymansville Wool Manufacturing Company).  

    The DVD focuses on the textile industry in the village and the Italian and Italian Americans who worked in the textile mills located along the
    Woonasquatucket River. Other areas include immigration; education; religious institutions and politics. Many of the immigrants emigrated from small mountaintop villages in the northeast corner of
    including Ciorlano, Valle Agricola, Fonte Greca and Pratella.  
    [email protected]

     Blossom_Kirschenbaum [email protected] ----The Journal of  Italian Translation’s  latest issue (3:2, Fall 2008) carried, bilingually, her translation of “Una Rosa Rossa”/ “A Red Rose,” a story by Stefano Benni, from his most recent collection La grammatica di Dio.  (she had previously published Benni’s "Sigismondo e Vittorina," from Bar Sport Duemila, in
    66, 1999.)  Benni’s satirical fiction has been translated into over thirty national and regional languages, even though his work abounds in verbal pyrotechnics, neologisms, topical jokes, puns, and slang--for he is a poet, blending fantasy, pop culture, literary borrowings, and tomorrow’s headlines.  Two of his novels are now available in English through Europa Editions and have drawn favorable reviews: Margherita Dolcevita (political satire in the guise of teen fantasy) and Saltatempo (Timeskipper in English).  Thanks to the kindness of Professor Oldcorn, I now have a copy of Benni’s latest work, out in November 2008, Miss Galassia.  Also I bask in the glow of acceptance by  Professor Luigi Bonaffini of
    Brooklyn College/ CUNY, editor of the Journal of Italian Translation,  whose own awards include the 2005 National Translation Prize, and whose trilingual anthologies help preserve and widen audiences for dialect literature.



    Marisa Labozzetta m[email protected] has recently published in two online journals, American Fiction and Perigee.  The story, “A Pretty Face” is presently online at  In October, 2008, she read from her latest collection of short stories, At the Copa, at the John D. Calandra Institute. A review can be found in the November 2 issue of Oggi.  A reading from a collection of connected short stories in progress was given at the American Italian Historical Association Conference at Southern Connecticut State University,
    New Haven, Connecticut. To learn more visit 



  • Art & Culture

    Helen Barolini's "Umbertina" Wins Major Italian Literary Prize

    Helen Barolini has received word from the Prize committee that the Italian edition of her novel Umbertina has been declared the winner.  This edition of the Premio Acerbi is dedicated to
    the literature of Italian Americans and aims to acquaint both Italy and the U.S.with the narrative
    writings of each country. The prize is an international one and each year a different country's writers have been nominated for the award.
    Umbertina was written with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts,
    was first published by Seaview Books in 1979, and is still in print with The Feminist Press. Very relevant in the novel is the inter-cultural connection between the U.S. and Italy as experienced through fourgenerations of a family.
    Barolini will flown to Italy to receive the award on November 8, 2008. The Prize is named to honor Giuseppe Acerbi, the 18th C. resident of Castel Goffredo, a town near Mantua. He was a noted explorer and writer.  His pluralistic view of cultures  was in the avant-garde among those ofhis time for his international vision. Thus the international focus of the Prize honors him as well as the Prize winners.
    More information about the author is available at:
    Info about the prize in Italian is available at

  • Op-Eds

    Tante Belle Cose--A Reflection on Rudy Vecoli's Contribution to Italian American Studies

    “Tante Belle Cose” (many good things—wishes).  That’s the way Rudy Vecoli signed his personal letters and emails.  As a pioneering professor of Italian American history, that’s what Rudolph Vecoli gave to Italian Americans and the world of scholarship.  Vecoli died in Minnesota on June 17 at the age of 81.

    Rudy was born in Wallingford, CT.  His immigrant Tuscan parents taught him Italian at home.  After serving in the Navy (training at Great Lakes) he received a BA from the University of Connecticut, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951 and then went on to the University of Wisconsin for his PH. D.

    It was in Madison, WI that he determined to write his dissertation on Chicago’s Italians Prior to World War I.  In his research phase he spent several years in and around Chicago doing interviews with immigrants and observing the community.  At that time the reigning interpretation of the immigrant experience was that of Harvard Professor Oscar Handlin.  In his book, “The Uprooted,” Handlin stressed the brutal cultural experience of immigration that over two or three generation destroyed the cultural identity of immigrants, marginalizing them socially and creating a relentless melting pot. 

    As Vecoli came to know Chicago Italians better and better, he was impressed by a new point of view.  Of course there had been cultural changes, but not nearly as many as Handlin saw.  The social and religious values and family practices and even language of Italians in Chicago had helped them to form communities and to gain success in America without melting completely.  The big story here was not that the culture immigrants had lost their culture, but that they had RETAINED so much of their identity and culture..

    Because Vecoli’s research was so meticulous and and well-documented, he was among the first academics in the US to interpret the general immigrant experience as going beyond the melting pot to a situation that we are all familiar with today---a view of American society where (for better or worse) ethnic identity counts in politics, the market place, and in the arts.

    His challenge to Handlin put him on a fast track to promotion and Vecoli ended up in the mid 1960s at the University of Minnesota a Director of the Immigrant History Research Center and for the next 38 years built up the collection to one of the premiere depositories for archival material on a wide range of ethnic groups.  He was a friend and mentor of countless scholars in the field. 


    I met Vecoli in 1966 when he was on the faculty briefly at the University of Illinois.  He hired me as his graduate research assistant. For the first time in my life I realized that the Italian community where I grew up in Chicago Heights was a legitimate part of history, worthy of study, just like the order of the presidents.  I was already well advanced in writing my dissertation on Louis F. Post (who stood up against A. Mitchell Palmer and J. Edgar Hoover in the Deportation Panic of 1920).  I went on to teach general US History with my research interest in turn-of-the-Century Chicago.  A decade after working for Vecoli, I was on the job market and had accepted  (in July) an offer to teach at Texas Tech University in Lubbock when miraculously a call came from the University of Illinois at Chicago History Department to interview for a visiting position in Italian American history funded by the Italian American Executives of Transportation.  The fact that I had worked for Vecoli convinced my interviewers to offer me the job.   Lubbock became the "road not taken" for me and all my family members and I launched into a multi-varied (not to say checkered) career in Italian American studies.  For the past 30 years I have taught formal classes, written books and articles, produced radio programs, exhibits, archives, lectured at hundreds of clubs, and helped  in the production of major and minor video documentaries.  I have rubbed elbows with Pietro DiDonato, Jerre Mangione, Giovanni Schiavo, Joseph Tusiani, John O. Pastore, Danilo Dolce, Italian President Napolitano, and even the Agnellis.   I have visited Italy 30 times and even managed to learn enough of the language to give elementary presentations in Italian.  I'm not bragging, I'm just listing the Belle Cose that have happened to me as a result of my contact with Rudy.



    During the period that I worked as his research assistant, Vecoli  became the founding president of the American Italian Historical Association and insisted that the group adhere to the highest standards of unbiased scholarship and avoid the appearance of fileopietism.  He required that we be scholars first and not just apologists or PR people for Italian Americans!

    The organization flourished and most of the professors who hold positions in Italian American history and literature got their start through the networking of the American Italian Historical Association.  AIHA initiated the Italians in Chicago Project which propelled me into the field some 30 years ago. That project influenced many other things including the production of Gia Amella’s “And They Came to Chicago” and the publication of many books. Fred Gardaphe’ , Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies at CUNY, was mentored by Vecoli.  One of the many reasons why Anthony Tamburri was chosen to become the  Dean of the John Calandra Italian American Institute is the leadership that he showed in the AIHA.  Vecoli also nourished the scholarship of dozens of Italian scholars and integrated them into the AIHA .  All of the networking of the thousands of people who have been members of AIHA during the past 43 years should be credited as Tante Belle Cose that Vecoli gave us.  He sure did have a “Wonderful Life” that touched the careers and personal lives of many teachers and writers who, in turn, have been and will continue to touch lives in ways that perpetuate the values and humanity of the Italian American Experience.  Rest in Peace Rudy Vecoli and thanks for Tante Belle Cose.

    Dominic Candeloro


  • Art & Culture

    Conference Puts Blogger in Seventh Heaven

    From May 8 to May 10 I was in Seventh Heaven.  My dream of bringing together all the writers who have focused their work on Italians in Chicago came true. 


    For three glorious days, Casa Italia was filled with informed discussion of Chicago’s Italian American history, literature, and culture. It was an intellectual summit meeting of the best and brightest thinkers and writers about Chicago’s Italian American heritage.


    Our Keynote Speaker was
    Melrose Park’s own Fred Gardaphe’, the highest ranking professor of Italian American studies in the world.  Fred described his long and difficult journey to gain academic respectability for his interest in Italian American literature. He based his research  on the stories of Italians whom he encountered in interviews at Villa Scalabrini, printed oral histories, the hundreds of books by Italian American authors that he read and reviewed, and on his personal experience.  In large part, Gardaphe’s position as Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies at Queens College is based on his mastering and championing the stories of Chicago Italians.


    The Conference was dedicated to Professor Rudolph Vecoli, the longtime director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.  Vecoli pioneering 1962 Dissertation "Chicago Italians Prior to World War I" is basic to any study of the topic.   In the mid 1960s Vecoli joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where he hired me as a research assistant, setting in motion my career in Italian American studies.


    Vecoli was to have  spoken at the conference, but health problems prevented him from attending.  As an alternative, I called on Gia Amella, the producer of  “And They Came To Chicago”  who provided a videotape of the full interview that Vecoli did for the show last year.  Vecoli.  Conference attendees were intrigued to hear Vecoli describe his study of Chicago Italians who didn’t “melt” as fast or go through as much “brutal uprooting” as previous historians had maintained.  This view of ethnic retention eventually spurred the acceptance and encouragement of ethnic diversity that has become commonplace since the 1960s.


    I am really excited about the work of several of the “newcomers” on the program.  Peggy Glowacki (UIC) taught us about the efforts of the Progressives and the social workers to “reform” Italian diet, to get them to eat more meat and potatoes and fewer fruits and vegetables.  Robert Lombardo (Loyola)  presented the story of the White Hand Society that emerged in the early 1900s to combat both the reality of black mail crime and the negative image it created of Italians. A teacher, novelist and actor,   Billy Lombardo (no relation) held listeners spellbound as he read from his  “The Magic of the Rose,” set in the
    neighborhood in the 1970s.  Calogero Lombardo (no relation), born in Alta Villa Milicia (
    ) and a Vietnam Veteran, shared his sardonic autobiographical  writings with an appreciative audience.  Novelist/teacher Tony Romano presented a multi-media show and reading from his “When the World Was Young.,” about the Peccatori family in the Grand and Western neighborhood in the 1950s.



    Gary Mormino, (U of South
    )  deftly described the lasting  impact of  World War II.   Judy Santacaterina (NIU) lovingly documented the adventures of her grandmother, Amabile Santacaterina, in the campaign to send relief provisions to the  people of
    at the end of the war.  And Vic Giustino dug into his files to share a wealth of information about the Chicago homefront.


    Some other highlights of the conference: Rose Ann Rabiola Miele remembering Egidio Clemente, the socialist editor of  “La Parola del Popolo,”  WBBM-TV’s Vince Gerasole screening a series of  video profiles of Chicago Italians, Don Fiore regaling the audience with the exploits of  Italo Balbo,  Michael Serritella giving us the “inside dope” on the arranged marriages of the pioneering Italians,  Mike Bacarella telling the tale of the New York Italian soldiers in the Garibaldi Guard who ended up settling in Chicago, Fr. Gino Dalpiaz giving a first hand account of  demolition of the Near West Side to make room for UIC,  Peter Pero previewing his new book on Chicago Italians at work,  Chickie Farella in a gripping performance piece,  Pam DeFiglio on Tina De Rosa, Kathy Catrambone and Vince Romano on Taylor Street, Annette Dixon on Italian American women,  Tony Ardizzone addressing the conference via video,  the irrepressible genealogist Dan Niemiec,  Gloria Nardini on Bella Figura,  Michael Polelle (Marshall Law School) replaying the “Sopranos” law suit, Bill Dal Cerro on image and mass media, and Richard Della Croce, OSIA Illinois President on anti-defamation, Jo Ann Serpico enumerating the energetic activities of the JCCIA, and the personal reminiscences of musician Paul Ciminello.


    The richness of the presentations exceeded my expectations.  And if you are kicking yourself because you were unable to attend, take heart.  I am editing the proceedings into a book---an anthology of contributions by each of the presenters.  I  aim  to make the book version of “Reconstructing Italians in Chicago: Thirty Authors in Search of Roots and Branches” the first source that anyone consults when they address the topic of Italians in
    . My vision of making the Italian community in Chicago the best documented in the US is in reach.   If you can’t wait for the book, video recordings of the presentations are on file in the Casa Italia Library.  And, of course, you can always invite our multi-talented presenters to address your club/group.  It’s one of the best ways that we have for preserving the Italian immigrant heritage.


    My dream came true, but it took a little help from my friends, to whom I’ll forever be grateful: Casa Italia, the National Italian American Foundation, the Illinois Humanities Council, Leonard Amari, the Romano Group/Morgan Stanley, Queens College CUNY,  Sicilian American Cultural Association, the Italian American Executives of Transportation, Freddy's Pizza, Societa`Maria Santissima Lauretana, OSIA-Grand Lodge of Illinois, Triton College, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans,  Loyola University Department of Criminal Justice, Vic Lezza Spumoni and Desserts, Tony’s Finer Foods, and Amaseno Lodge #3. 


  • Art & Culture

    Chicago Conference Dedicated to Professor Rudolph Vecoli

    Conference organizers in Chicago announced last week that "Reconstructing Italians in Chicago: 25 Authors in  Search of Roots and Branches" scheduled at Casa Italia May 8-10 will be dedicated to  Professor Rudolph Vecoli, Pioneering Scholar of Italians in Chicago and Director Emeritus of the immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.  Conferees will view videotape presentations by Vecoli recalling his decision to specialize in Italian American studies and to write his U of Wisconsin dissertation of Chicago Italians before World War I.   

    Longtime "Dean" of Italian American Studies, Rudolph Vecoli will be honored by conferees in Chicago.  Originally slated as the keynote speaker for "Reconstructing Italians in Chicago: 25 Authors in Search of Roots and Branches," Vecoli is too ill to attend the event.

     His major early contribution to the field was to challenge Oscar Handlin's  over-emphasis on emigration as an "Uprooting" experience  that  in short order created an "American Melting Pot."   It seems that the Italians who Vecoli studied in Chicago weren't THAT uprooted----that they had retained many elements of South Italian culture--and that the original pioneer Italian immigrants to Chicago tended to be merchants rather than paesants.

    Organizers are preparing to highlight the information and the sources that Vecoli used in his research.  Complete information on the conference is available at the conference website   

    Though the conference is mainly focused on Chicago Italians, it may also be of interest to scholars with a general interest in immigration.  It's not too late to register.  Low cost lodging is available at Casa Italia Which is located  5 miles south of O'Hare airport.

    The event is sponsored by the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia, the National Italian American Foundation, the Illinois Humanities Council, Leonard Amari, The Romano Group/Morgan Stanley,Queens College CUNY,  Sicilian American Cultural Association (SACA), the Italian American Executives of Transportation, Freddy's Pizza, Societa`Maria Santissima Lauretana, Order Sons of Italy in America-Grand Lodge of Illinois, Triton College, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans,  Loyola University Department of Criminal Justice, Vic Lezza Spumoni & Desserts, and Amaseno Lodge #3.
    THURSDAY, May 8
    9am--Breakfast---  Chandelier Room Foyer  $10--reservation required
     Conference Registration Book Fair----Chandelier Room Lobby
    10 am  Session 1--Foundations of Chicago Italian American History
                                 Fred L. Gardaphe, Queens College/Calandra IA Institute--Chair
                                        “How I Learned About Italians in Chicago”
                                 Gary Mormino, University of South Florida
                                         “Academic Foundations of Italian American Studies”
                                 Dominic Candeloro, Italian Cultural Center
                                        “Building on Solid Ground: An Appreciation of Rudolph Vecoli”           
                                 Rose Ann Rabiola Miele, Boulder City, NV Public Information
                                         “Egidio Clemente and La Parola del Popolo
    Noon---1:30 Lunch  $15 Registration Required
    2pm-4pm  Session 2  Life in the early Little Italies
                                 Peter Pero, CPS
    “ Work and Radicalism Among Chicago’s Italians”
                                 Michael Serritella
                                        “Tales of Founding Families”
                                 Robert Lombardo, Loyola University
                                         “White Hand v. Black Hand : Chicago's Little Sicily"                       
          Peggy Glowacki, UIC Special Collections
                                           “Pasta, Paesans, and Progressives: Chicago Italians and Food”
                                   Mike Bacarella, Author Actor
                                         “Garibaldi Guard Members in Chicago”          
                                  Jenny Floro Khalaf,
                                             “Reconstructing Italians Life through Funeral Practices and Cemeteries and More”
    4:15-5:30pm--Session 3--In the Neighborhoods-I--Fred Gardaphe. Chair                   
                                        Laura DeBartolo Heidekrueger,
    “ 67th and Hermitage---The Forgotten Neighborhood”
                                         Fr. Gino Dalpiaz ,  
                                                     “Church and Neighborhood on the Near West Side” 
                                        Rose Ann Rabiola Miele, Boulder City, NV Public Information
                                                        “Bridgeport---Change, What Change?
                                        Chickie Farella, Melrose Park
                                                       “The Comfort of Community and the Challenge of Growth”
     5:30-6 pm           Reception  Library and Italians in Chicago exhibit
    6pm Dinner---- Banquet Center    $25 Reservation Required
    7- 8:30  pm Session 3.1  In the Neighborhoods-II--Fred Gardaphe Chair
                     Kathy Catrambone,
                                         “You Can Leave Taylor Street , but it Never Leaves You”
                    Billy Lombardo, Author The Logic of the Rose
                                        “Bridgeport; Another Take”
                    Tony Romano, Author,   Grand and Western
                     Vince Romano, Taylor Street Archives
                                         “Taylor Street Archives: Beyond Family Values...Beyond the Work Ethic”
                     Peter Venturelli, 24th and Oakley
    8:30-10 pm Session 4 Recent Images—
         Vince Gerasole, CBS TV Chicago
                                        “The CBSs of Profiling Contemporary Italians on TV”
                                 Bill Dal Cerro
    “Italian Image and Mass Media: Lost and Found” with Video Clips form “And They Came To Chicago”
                                 Richard Della Croce, OSIA Illinois Grand Lodge Pres.
                                                    “From Education to Activism”
                                   Michael Pollele, John Marshall Law School
                                                    “Suing the Sopranos”               
     Friday May 9
    9am--Breakfast---  Chandelier Room Foyer           $10--reservation required
     Conference Registration Chandelier Room
    9:30----10:30   World War II  Session 5--
                             Gary Mormino, University of South Florida
                                        “World War II Changed Everything”
                            Vic Giustino, Chicago City Colleges
                                        “Italians in Chicago in World War II”
                            Judy Santacatarina, Northern Illinois University
                                         “Amabile Santacatarina and Italian Broadcasters in War and Peace”
                            Dominic Candeloro,
                                        “Who Wants to Identify with a War Torn Enemy?”
    Noon---1:30 Lunch   $15 Reservation Required
    2pm-4pm  Session 6  Balbo in Chicago
                                 Don Fiore, Italics
                                        “The Impact of an Italian Hero on 1930s Chicago”
                                 Robert Allegrini 
                                        “Balbo and Italian Immigrant Patriotism”   
     "Gli Atlantici" clips from newsreel film of the Balbo Flight, 1933
    Gloria Nardini –
                                        “My Father Translated for Balbo”
    4-6 pm Session 7 The Post World War II Migration 
                                Chair Thomas Secco, Triton College 
                             Calogero Lombardo
                             Paul Ciminello    
                             Gino Nuccio
                             Dino Porto
                             Pat Capriati
                             Luciana Boccia
     5:30-6 pm Reception  Casa Italia Lobby and Italian American Veterans’ Museum
    6pm Dinner---- Banquet Center
    7- 10 pm Session  8 Italian Americans Women in Chicago
                 Gloria Nardini, Chair
                  Chickie Farella, Performance Artist
                 Annette Dixon, Author
                  Ernesto Milani
                  Peggy Glowacki ?
    Saturday May 10
    9am--Breakfast---  Chandelier Room Foyer           $10--reservation required
     Conference Registration Chandelier Room
    Session 9---9 am- 10 am Keynote Address
    Fred Gardaphe’, Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies, Queens College  
                            “Leaving Little Italy”
    10 am--Noon  Session 10 Chicago Italians in literature
                             Tony Ardizzone, Indian University on tape
                             Michael Antonnucci, Keene State
                                        "'Let's Play Two'(Double Plays & Double Consciousness in Tony Ardizzone's _Heart of the Order_)"              Billy Lombardo
                                        “The Logic of the Rose”
                             Calogero Lombardo
                             Tony Romano
    “When the World Was Young”
                              Pamela DeFiglio,
    “Tina De Rosa: A personal Appreciation.”
    Noon---1:30 Lunch
    2pm-4pm  Session 11  New Sources
                                Peter Venturelli, Valparaiso University 
                                 Robert Lombardo, Loyola University
                                        “Digital Help in Reading Yesterday’s Newspapers” "The Use of Historical Data".
                                 Dan Niemiec, Genealogy columnist Fra Noi
                                          "The Future of Computer Genealogy: 2010 and Beyond"
    4:00 pm-6 pm-- Session 12  Into the Future---Italian American Organizations Since 1950  
                                 Dominic DiFrisco,  JoAnne Serpico, Pres. JCCIA, JoAnne Spata, JCCIA past presidents
                                 Richard Della Croce, Pres. OSIA
    6  pm \----Reception  Italians in Chicago Exhibit, Italian Cultural Center
    7- 9 pm Banquet---------Speaker    $25--reservation required 
     For full info about the May 8-10 Conference
    To Register for the conference, Print this form and mail it with your check to Casa italia, 3800 Division St., Stone Park, IL 60526.  Please help us with our planning by registering before May 5.  Call 708 345-5933 for additional info.

    Address_________________________________ State ___   Zip _______
    City___________________________ Email_____________________________
    Full Registration $100 Includes conference fee for 3 days and meals.
    One-Day Registration (without meals)  $20/day   ____  Thur   Fri    Sat.   (Circle)
    All Three Days of Conference Sessions without meals $40.
    High School Students $5/day.
    College Students $10/day.
    Meals Must Be Ordered by May 5 5pm
    Breakfast $10               Thur.        Fri.       Sat.
    Lunch $15,                   Thur.         Fri.       Sat.
    Dinner $25                    Thur.         Fri.       Sat. 
    Amount Enclosed $____________

  • Art & Culture

    Fred Gardaphe Named Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies

    New Distinguished Prof at CUNY is One of Us—Fred Gardaphe’


    Fra Noi is filled with stories about “Local Boy (or Girl) makes Good.” This is one of them; but it is more. When Fred Gardaphe` was named Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies by the City University of New York recently, it was one good step for a good man and one giant leap for the promotion and preservation of Italian Americana. If the name looks familiar, it’s because Fred Gardaphe’ has been writing for the Fra Noi since 1980 and has been the Associate Editor for the past two decades.


    As one of the highest ranking professors in the CUNY system, Gardaphe’s new charge is to teach, research, and write about Italian Americans at Queens College and facilitate the study of Italian American literature and culture on all the 23 campuses of CUNY through the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.


    At age 55 and as a tenured professor, he can look forward to decades of scholarly activities and public programming that will reach the 3.4 million Italian Americans in the New York metropolitan area. That’s because Fred is not just another academic, engulfed in a narrow specialty. He is a true Public Intellectual. His research and publication credentials are excellent, but Fred also has a flair for bringing his creativity to both the scholarly public and the Italian American public.


    His writings include “Italian American Ways” (a book of short items and recipes), “Italian Signs American Streets” (a critical study of the evolution of Italian American literature); “Moustache Pete is Dead? (taken from experience in interviewing residents at Villa Scalabrini); “Dagoes Read” (a collection of first 10 years of book reviews that had appeared in the Fra Noi); “Leaving Little Italy” (a series of essays about IA culture through the lens of multi-cultural America); “From Wiseguys to Wise Men” explores why everyone is so fascinated by the gangster and explores its connection to concepts of masculinity. He is currently working on a memoir—growing up in Chicago, and a study of the subjects of irony and humor in Italian American literature.  Surf the net and for more information about these important books.


    In addition to that, Gardaphe’ has partnered in the establishment of Bordighera Press which has published hundreds of titles by and about Italian Americans, served as President of the American Italian Historical Association and MELUS (the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States), and organized dozens of literary conferences and workshops that explored Italian Americana in the context of the US as a multi-ethnic nation. In the last ten years, in his appearances on the Italian American banquet circuit in New York Gardaphe’ raised friends and funds for such causes as the Alphonse D’Amato Chair of Italian American Studies at SUNY Stony Brook.


    Gardaphe’ credits many people along his career for his success. “Rudy Vecoli [Director Emeritus of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota] was my mentor. I was awarded a fellowship to go up there and do research even before I had a Ph.D. He saw the value of the work I was doing and gave me that early support that was no necessary.”


    Professor Gardaphe’s journey CUNY was not a direct one, but each experience enhanced the skills he was later to use in his rise to the Distinguished Professorship. Fred was born and raised in Melrose Park, the son of Fred and Anne Gardaphe’, the grandson of Michael and Paolina (Bianco) Rotolo of Grotte di Castellana, Puglia and Fred Gardaphe and Isabella (Fusaro) of Canada and Cosenza, Calabria. He lived the Italian American experience and came to understand the household Barese and Calabrian dialects. Fred attended Sacred Heart Grammar School and Fenwick High School (class of 1970) where he studied Latin and Greek. At Triton College he prepared for the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he majored in English and Communication Arts. After his graduation in 1976 Gardaphe’ taught high school English in Wisconsin and Iowa before returning to Chicago in 1979.


    “As soon as I went to Italy for the first time, I became a born again Italian. Then I would go back every summer between 1979 and 1982. In ’82 in September Susan and I got married in my grandparents’ village.” Since that first trip, Gardaphe’ has traveled to Italy more than 30 times.


    While teaching in a Chicago alternative high school, Gardaphe’ earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Chicago, but was discouraged there from pursuing the advanced study of Italian American literature. His advisers told him that the field of Italian American literature did not exist, and even if it did, there would be no future in it. A few years later, influenced by the success of his own creative writing on Italian American themes and his contact with Fra Noi founder Fr. Armando Pierini, and the Italians in Chicago Project, Gardaphe’ enrolled in the English Ph. D. program at the University of Illinois at Chicago ---where his professors supported his determination to do his dissertation on Italian American literature. While teaching full time at Columbia College, he completed his doctorate and soon after published his dissertation under the title “Italian Signs, American Streets,” the first comprehensive study of Italian American writing since Rose Basile Green’s, “The Italian-American Novel” in 1974.


    In 1998, Gardaphe’ left Columbia College to devote full time to his passion as Director of Italian American Studies in the Department of European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures SUNY-Stony Brook. For the next decade he and Professor Mary Jo Bona enrolled hundreds of Long Island students each semester in courses on Italian Americans and literature, film, women’s studies, inter-ethnic relation, and gangster images, creating a minor in Italian American studies. Professor Gardaphe’ may be reached on email at [email protected].