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Thursday
Sep262013

PETE PETE DAGO CHEAT

By Mari Tomasi, August 5, 1940 - “The way I look at it you got to have money to live, and if you can get it without breaking your back, so much the better. Changing sheets and polishing mirrors isn't the best job in the world, but it's not the worst, either. I got this room, a little salary, and they throw in the meals, too…” (more)

Monday
Sep232013

THE TWO MYSTERIOUS TRUNKS

August 16, 1913, New York - Luigi Rosati, who has a fruit store in Coney Island, arrived on Thursday by Cunarder Carpathia from a visit to his old home in Italy with two trunks and two grips. He was greeted on the pier by his brother-in-law Nicola Romanelli, also of Coney Island. Custom Inspector Albert C. (more)

Thursday
Sep192013

BAMBINOS OF LITTLE ITALY

New York, July 29, 1906 - About the first thing that happens to the Italian baby after his arrival in this vale of woe is his introduction into the fascia, in which he spends the first year or two of hislife. The fascia is a strip of cotton, somewhat on the order of Turkish toweling, three or four yard in length and as many inches in width. It is sometimes white, but more often pink, or blue, or lemon, with raised white figures and cunningly interwoven in the goods will be pet names for the baby, "Bambino Diletto,” “Bambino di Mamma," and so on. (more)

Tuesday
Sep102013

MAKING ILLEGAL CITIZENS

New York, May 1, 1903 - Three Italians were arraigned before United States Commissioner Shields in the federal building today, whom the Secret Service agent say are leader in a plot to forge thousands of naturalization papers, including the United States Seal, the signature of Commissioner Alexander (more)

Monday
Sep092013

PADRONES AND PREJUDICE

The Courier, May 25, 1901 - On historical grounds, every Italian should feel as much at home on American soil as the Anglo Saxon. Columbus was a Genoese; John Cabot, the discoverer of the continent of North America, was born in Venice; Verazzano, who sailed into New York harbor nearly a hundred years before the coming of Henry Hudson, was a Florentine. About a hundred thousand Italians per annum are now arriving in the port of New York. "It has long been known that on account of a specially dependent temperament, on account of polyglot dialects, (more)

Friday
Sep062013

MRS GABRIELLI’S PRIDE

By Mari Tomasi, in Barre, on September 30, 1940 - The customer took change from her purse and laid it beside the dollar bill on the counter. A half-dollar, a quarter, two dimes and three pennies. She counted the money again, pointing to the bill and to each coin with a stout, work-worn finger whose nail was broken and jagged, but clean. The young man behind the counter was (more)

Tuesday
Sep032013

GIOVANNA LEOTRI

August 23, 1940 - After four in the afternoon the Italian north end of Barre's Main Street became a confusion of traffic noises. Pedestrians lined the walks, many of them granite workers in chalked clothing, loud-voiced, glad to soak up the air. A sun, unusually hot for early May, beat upon the din. The florist's window was a haven of still beauty and coolness. A young woman in a flowered smock bent over a vase of tea roses. Her (more)

Saturday
Aug312013

MARIANNA COSTA

Marianna Costa, of Haledon, New Jersey, a retired textile union official, grew up in a neighborhood close to several weaving plants, and began working in a dye house in 1932. She recalls the long hours her mother put in at her job at National Dye and Printing, in East Paterson, and her father put in as a construction worker: “My mother left for work at 6:30 and she didn't come back until six at night. It was a long day between transportation and a ten-hour work day. She was away almost twelve (more)

Friday
Aug232013

PALINGETTI, PICCOLO GIGANTE

Vermont, ca 1939 - Joe Palingetti is an unusually large man, big in bone structure and heavy in hard, firm flesh. A twinkle hovered in his brown eyes as he said, “In the old country and when I was small boy they used to call me 'piccolo gigante' - that's small giant in our Emilian dialect." Joe was clean shaven, well clad from (more)

Monday
Aug192013

THE GREAT LENTINI

Frank (Francesco) Lentini was born on May 18, 1889, in Rosolini, with three legs, two sets of genitals and one rudimentary foot growing from the knee of his third leg. So, in total, he had three legs, four feet, sixteen toes, and two sets of functioning male genitals, which included all that existed of a conjoined twin jutting from the right side of his body. “I am here to tell you that there are lots of people in the world who are a great deal worse off than I am, who have far less to live for, and who have but a fraction of the pleasure that I get out of life. “I was born in Rosolini in the province of Siracusa, Sicily, in the year 1889. (more)

Thursday
Aug152013

TONAZZI, GRANITE SHED OWNER IN VERMONT

Vermont, August 12, 1940 - About a dozen sheds are strung along the banks of the river in the lower stoneshed section. Opposite the last shed on a knoll across the cement road is a red brick house. There is a carved urn on the step landing. “I had it built when I bought that shed over there,” Mr. Tonazzi said with a wave of his hand towards the long sprawling building. “I was born in Baveno, Italy. That's in northern Italy, near Lake Maggiore. I studied sculpturing for eight (more)

Wednesday
Aug142013

FERRARI AND LAMBORGHINI’S SPITE

In 1958, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s tractor business was booming, so he traveled to Maranello (a town in the region of Emilia-Romagna, home of Ferrari S.p.A) to buy a Ferrari 250GT, a two-seat coupé with a body designed by renowned coachbuilder Pininfarina. The Ferrari was great but it had a couple of problems. It was too noisy (more)

Saturday
Aug102013

BREAKFAST IN NAPLES IN 1901

In an article in the Century Magazine on Breakfast in Naples, Mary Scott Uda writes: “In the short and simple annals of the poor in Naples there is no getting up and lighting the fire to cook the family breakfast. The wayfarer arriving on an early train or a reveler returning from some gay ball at dawn sees the first movement of the immense wheel of human appetite in the shape of a dismal looking creature muffled in a ragged overcoat, and shuffling sluggishly (more)

Tuesday
Aug062013

NEW YORK BALLET DANCERS IN 1870

The ballet seems at last to have found a home in New York, and to have become one of the permanent institutions of the great city,—witness the triumphs of The Black Crook, of Humpty Dumpty, and the spectacular plays of the Grand Opera House.  It must be confessed that it is well done here.  The Black Crook carries off the palm.  Its ballets are the best arranged and the (more)

Saturday
Aug032013

DINNER AT DELMONICO IN 1872

New York is said to contain between five and six thousand restaurants.  These are of every kind and description known to man, from Delmonico’s down to the Fulton Market stands.  A very large number of persons live altogether at these places.  They are those who cannot afford the expense of a hotel, and who will not endure a (more)

Thursday
Aug012013

LUCIA, 7, KNEW HER DUTY

New-York, July 28, 1909 - Twenty-four little girls had gathered at the Sunday school meeting room of a city mission recently to receive instruction from the Fresh Air workers for their two weeks' vacation in the country. There should have been twenty-five, but Lucia Galfonte was absent. The worker in charge called the roll, and one by one the children answered to their names. She came to that of the missing one. "Lucia." she called. "Has anybody seen Lucia Galfonte?" "Her mother says she can’t go," volunteered a chorus of voices. (more)

Wednesday
Jul312013

ROSINA CHIEFFO

New York, May 11, 1900 – Because she would not marry the man her uncle had selected, Rosina Chieffo, a pretty, fair-haired Italian, lies at the point of death today. There are ugly pistol wounds in her left shoulder and above the heart. Her uncle, Domenico Arena, who shot her twice for her refusal, is a fugitive from justice. The Chieffos live on the fourth floor of the tenement at 22 Broome Street. There is the father, Filippo, and another daughter, Vincenza. The mother is still in Rome. Rosina came to this country three weeks ago, and as she is a perfect blonde (more)

Sunday
Jul282013

CARMELA DECLARED A LAWFUL WIFE

Los Angeles, 1898 - The De Grazia divorce suit was full of surprises, and became far more juicy on the second day of its trial than it was on the first. Judge Allen decided on Friday, when denying defendant's motion for a non-suit that the plaintiff had made out a sufficient case to entitle her, unless the defendant's testimony should therefore be conclusively to the contrary, to have the standing in court of a common law wife. Louis De Grazia not only attempted (more)

Sunday
Jul212013

ANNA’S NIGHTMARE

Chicago, April 29, 1913 - Tony Marasco, 640 South Sangamon street, was killed with an axe this morning because he would not accept a 16-year-old girl's "no" as an answer to his proposal of marriage. Frank Alfona, 933 Hope street, is dying of a bullet wound in the Columbus Extension hospital, because he got out of doors while the 16-year-old girl's mother was aiming a (more)

Saturday
Jul132013

TOSCANINI IN A RAGE

The Washington Times, January 18, 1920 – Why a great orchestra leader is irresponsible? If the genius Toscanini smashes his baton on the head of a musician who is playing a little flat, well, that's his artistic license, so the Italian courts decided. The jealous concern with which a great composer nurses his own (more)