In the latest episode of Empire State Engagements Dr. Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada talks about her ethnographic study of Italian-American men’s Catholic devotion, Lifeblood of the Parish; Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (NYU Press, 2020). She discussed her experiences over six years of work engaging the parish community; reading tattoos as devotional texts; playfulness and devotion in masculine spaces; the rich history of Italian-American Catholicism in Williamsburg; and the endurance of this parish, tradition, and community – despite decades of challenges ranging from reactionary clergymen to Robert Moses to gentrifying hipsters. [Read more…] about Parish Lifeblood: Italian-Americans In Williamsburg (Podcast)
Defrocked priest and poet Lorenzo Da Ponte wrote the words for Mozart’s three celebrated operas Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, and Così fan tutte. As the librettist’s ultimate challenge is creating character whilst thinking music, few could match Lorenzo’s achievement. [Read more…] about A Rascal in Venice, Hero in Vienna, Opera Buff in Manhattan
Switzerland may not a member of the European Union, but it is part of the Schengen border-free travel zone. Checkpoints between countries are put up only during emergencies. The recent influx of refugees led to a decision for the border to be sealed, making Lake Como a migrant frontline. Those with the means to do so have turned to locals to help them cross the Alps on their journey towards Germany or Britain. [Read more…] about MicroHistory and Migration: From Moltrasio to London, New York and Montreal
The book Bean Pickers, American Immigrant Portraits by Karen Foresti Hempson (Jacobs Press, Inc., 2019) focuses on eight true-life portrayals of Italian immigrants and their families, all beginning their American lives as summer bean pickers in Upstate New York.
The book features over one hundred authentic photos and documents, illustrating personal stories from the early twentieth century immigration wave, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. Each character finds his/her way out of poverty through such avenues as bootlegging, playing baseball, joining the military. [Read more…] about Bean Pickers: Upstate Italian-American Immigrants
In popular culture, “Victorian” is considered an architectural style, but historians are quick to point out that there were actually several very distinctive and different styles that make up Victorian.
Architecture can be divided and subdivided and so on, creating dozens of names for various styles. Even more confusing is that some styles get multiple names. [Read more…] about Italianate Architecture: From Italy to America
Say caricature, think politics – ever since the age of James Gillray and the British mockery of Napoleon, caricaturists have made a career out of political commentary. To this day, their work appears on the editorial pages of newspapers or magazines.
Traditionally, we appoint politicians and turn them into caricatures and to elect a caricature and raise them to the status of a politician is a more recent phenomenon. But the genre flourished away from politics. From Italian origins, it developed as a game, a form of entertainment, and a genteel salutation. [Read more…] about Caricature: The Italian-American Connection
Author Karen Foresti Hempson is set to discuss her new book Bean Pickers: American Immigrant Portraits, which shares eight true-life portrayals that focus on the Italian-Americans who begin their American lives as summer bean pickers, on Wednesday, June 5th at 5:30 pm, at the Oneida County History Center, 1608 Genesee Street, Utica. [Read more…] about Bean Pickers: Italian Immigrant Portraits in Utica
This week on “The Historians” podcast, Christopher Kelly talks about the Romans, Garibaldi, Mussolini and more in discussing his latest book with Stuart Laycock, Italy Invades: How the Italians Conquered the World (Network, 2016.) Listen to the podcast here. [Read more…] about Historians Podcast: How Italians Conquered The World
Those of us in the local history museum business sometimes struggle to connect with the large segment of the general population that doesn’t see the relevance of history. They are busy with their everyday lives; schedules of work, family and leisure time. Trying to get their attention and then bring them to a history based event can be challenging.
A few years ago at a Fenton History Center Board of Trustee meeting (Fenton History Center is in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, NY) we were brainstorming about how to collect and disseminate more local Italian genealogy and the stories that go with the families involved. One of the Fenton History Center Trustees suggested we hold a pizza judging event. We tabled the idea until last year when we started the “Slice of History Pizza Challenge”. [Read more…] about Fenton History Center’s Pizza and Genealogy Project
Immigration has always been an important part of New York history. If one considers the story of the state from the Ice Age to Global Warming, then we and/or our ancestors all arrived here from somewhere else. Even if we were born an American and reside here now we may not have been born in New York. And if we were born in New York, we may not now live in the community where we were born or grew up. People move around a lot. How often do you hear the story of someone who has only been a resident of the community for 10, 20, 30 years and is still considered a newcomer?
Telling the story of immigration in New York provides an opportunity for us to connect with the world. What country doesn’t have residents in this state? So here is an opportunity for New York to tell the story about what it means to be a New Yorker by examining the lives of people who became New Yorkers. [Read more…] about Heritage Tourism and Immigration in New York State