The present research guide focuses on a selection of Italian American periodicals published between the end of the nineteenth century and the twenty-first century that represent only a fraction of the Italian American collections at the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress Italian American collections in their entirety amount to more than 230,000 items in various formats, consisting of books, periodicals, prints, photographs, maps, sound recordings, motion pictures, and manuscripts. This guide provides only a first description of the gamut of Italian American periodicals at the Library of Congress, comprising newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, trade journals, bulletins, almanacs, and newsletters that draw attention to compelling aspects of the history and culture of Italian American communities.
The Italian American periodicals in this guide do not constitute the overall number of periodicals present in the holdings of the Library of Congress. One of the challenges in describing the exact number of titles, years, and issues of the periodicals in the Library's holdings is that the they are dispersed across collections. The Italian American periodicals are held not only in the general collections to which we are making most references here, but also in the collections of various readings rooms: the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room, the Science Reference Services, the Law Library Reading Room, the Microform and Electronic Resources Center, the American Folklife Center, and the Performing Arts Reading Room (for more information on the reading rooms, see the section "Using the Library of Congress" at the end of this guide). This guide will provide information about the periodicals included in the general collections, the Newspaper and Current Periodicals Reading Room collections, and the Microform and Electronic Resources Center collections. New information about the Library's Italian American periodical holdings will be added as research progresses.
Italian American periodicals had a significant influence in shaping Italian American communities across the United States. Starting in the late nineteenth century, Italian American periodicals were published in various American states where Italian immigrants had established their most conspicuous communities. These were mostly situated in the Northeast and Midwest and more predominant in large cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit, with some exceptions on the West Coast such as the city of San Francisco. Having the social and cultural interests of the earliest Italian immigrants in mind, these periodicals were first published exclusively in Italian. The periodicals were important to Italian Americans to forge shared political and cultural views during periods of mass immigration to the United States and the process of assimilation to American society. The first two categories of periodicals featured in this guide correspond to the political and cultural publications founded for the purposes of helping new immigrants understand and adapt to their new life, but also to develop the bonds that helped them support each other and form their tightly knit communities.
As Italian immigrants became more integrated into American society, the periodicals were predominantly published in English, after an intermediary period in which many periodicals were published in both languages simultaneously. A relevant segment of these periodicals address the roles that the Italian-language press had in fashioning the complex political experiences and labor activities of Italian American immigrants. For those periodicals that were founded during the earlier part of the twentieth century, a sizeable number were overtly antifascist publishing scathing commentaries in defiance of the Italian Fascist government (1922–1943), as well as denouncing the regime's diplomats and foreign agents working to promote fascist ideology in the United States. Other politically leaning periodicals founded in the early twentieth century reflect the strong tradition of various libertarian and leftist Italian political movements born between about 1880 and 1945 first with the anarchists followed by syndicalists and later the partigiani (fighters of the Italian Resistance in World War II) who were paramount in driving fascism out of Italy.
As time proceeded through the twentieth century, a number of local newspapers, academic journals, popular magazines, bulletins, newsletters and other periodicals informed Italian American communities about their shared cultural values, helping them define their cultural identity. Also, at this time (mid-twentieth century), the American publishing market took a sincere interest in Italian art and literature, as American universities and professional organizations began publishing scholarly journals dedicated to Italian studies. In the later part of the twentieth century, a majority of English only and fewer bilingual periodicals tended to highlight the importance of specific aspects of the Italian American experience focusing on common social concerns affecting Italian Americans nationwide, while still showing their strong ties to their heritage and native Italian culture.
Although not present in as large numbers in this guide as the political and cultural categories, Italian American periodicals of the end of the twentieth century started honing in on articles about genealogy and related resources. They were published exclusively in English serving the descendants of the first generation of Italian immigrants who felt compelled to preserve their heritage through their family histories. Thus, genealogy periodicals form a fourth category with fewer entries compared to the other categories in this guide, but new information about this type of periodicals will be added as it is discovered.
The diversity of subjects and opinions expressed by many Italian American editors, journalists, and writers in these various periodicals provide manifold research interests for scholars, students, and other potential users engaged in Italian American studies, as well as readers eager to gain a deeper understanding of the Italian American experience.
The Italian American periodicals in this guide are ordered in four subject categories. Broadly defined, the categories are: Political Periodicals; Cultural Periodicals; Trade and Labor Periodicals; and, Genealogy. Within each of these subject categories, the periodicals are ordered according to the states in which they were published. Finally, for each state the periodicals are organized in three broad chronological periods: the period of Italian mass immigration between the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century (1860-1920); a second period before, during, and after World War II (1921-1950); and the last period from the post-World War II era to the twenty-first century (1951-2010).
As a work in progress, the guide does not provide complete information of the Italian American periodicals in the Library of Congress holdings. More information will be added as research of the holdings proceeds. Each individual entry contains information about the names of people, their publishing roles, dates and places of publication, organizational affiliations, and reference sources. Additionally, users of the guide can find a selection of bibliographic and digital sources in the specific sections dedicated to "Further Readings" and " Databases & External Websites." Links to full-text articles included in subscription databases found in the Library of Congress E-Resources Online Catalog are available onsite (see the section " Databases & External Websites " in this guide).
Note: The titles of the periodicals have been all capitalized according to the American heading style for titles. Normally, Italian titles follow sentence style, as recommended by the Chicago Manual of Style. Considering that these periodicals were published in the United States, American heading style conventions were adopted throughout for uniformity.