Italian American Folk Cultural Studies
The Italian cultural forms that survived the Atlantic crossing and thrived in America were storytelling, food, gardening, stonecarving, and various forms of religious and belief observances such as pilgrimages to "unofficial" Saints, festivals, the evi
l eye, and the fattura (putting a curse on an enemy). Folklorists have studied these either as insultated entities or as extensions of the old cultural traditions that existed in the village. In this photograph taken from Carla Bianco's T
he Two Rosetos (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974, p. 55) Carmen Malpiedo, a common immigrant brought up in small village in Apulia, tells stories to his grandson that the teller remembered hearing in more formal settings and by traveli
ng narrators in his native village years ago. In this case as well as in many concerning Italians and other ethnics, there is a narrative tradition that exists and is unknown to the rest of the populace (and scholars as well) because it takes place in the
privacy of the home. These cultural expressions that exist behind closed doors are those that interest the folk cultural specialist.
Ainsworth, Catherine Harris. Italian-American Folktales. Buffalo: The Clyde Press, 1977.
Bianco, Carla. The Two Rosetos.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974.
Cicala, John Allan, & Vinceene Prestininzi, compilers. Italian and Italian American Folklore Collections. Detroit: Wayne State University Folklore Archive, 1980.
Cronin, Constance. The Sting of Change: Sicilians in Sicily and Australia. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970.
Cronin, Vincent. The Golden Honeycomb. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1954.
Curtis, Karen A. "Food and Ethnicity: The Italian American Case." Master's thesis, Temple University, 1977.
Di Leonardo, Micaela. The Varieties of Ethnic Experience: Kinship, Class, and Gender among California Italian-Americans. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984.
Gambino, Richard. Blood of My Blood: The Dilemma of the Italian-Americans.. Garden City: Doubleday and Doubleday, 1974.
Grammatico, Maria, and Mary Taylor Simeti. Bitter Almonds: Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian Girlhood. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994.
Harrison, Barbara Grizzuti. Italian Days. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1989.
Hobbie, Margaret, comp. Italian American Material Culture: A Directory of Collections, Sites, and Festivals in the United States and Canada. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
Malpezzi, Frances M., and William M. Clements. Italian-American Folklore. Little Rock: August House Publishers, Inc.:1992.
Mathias, Elizabeth. Italian Folktales in America: The Verbal Art of an Immigrant Woman. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985.
Noyes, Dorothy. Uses of Tradition: Arts of Italian Americans in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Folklore Project, 1989.
Orsi, Robert Anthony. The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.
Root, Waverly. The Food of Italy. New York: Vintage Books, 1971.
Simeti, Mary Taylor. Pomp and Sustenance: Twenty-Five Centuries of Sicilian Food. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.
Williams, Phyllis H. South Italian Folkways in Europe and America: A Handbook for Social Workers, Visiting Nurses, School Teachers, and Physicians. New York: Russell & Russell, 1938.
Italian American Folk Speech
Alessio, Giovanni. "Americanismi in Calabria." Linqua nostra 4 (1942): 41.
Di Pietro, Robert. "Language as a Marker of Italian Ethnicity." Studi emigrazione 42 (1976): 202-217.
Girardon, Mario. "La Lingua dell'Yesse in U.S.A." Nuova antologia446 (1949): 68-80.
Gisolfi, Anthony. "Italo-American: What is Borrowed from American English and What It Is Contributing to the American Language." Commonwealth 30 (1939): 311-313.
Livingston, Arthur. "La Merica Sanemagogna." Romantic Review 9 (1920):206-225.
Menarini, Alberto. Ai margini della lingua. Firenze: Sansoni, 1947.
---."L'Italo Americano degli Stati Uniti." Lingua nostra. 1 (1939):152-160.
Menchen. H. L. The American Language. 4th ed. New York: Knopf, 1936.
Parlangeli, Oronzo. "Anglo-Americani Salentini." Lingua nostra 9 (1948): 83-86.
Pellegrini, Giuliano. "Americanismi in Lucchesia." Lingua nostra 6 (1944-45): 78-80.
Prezzolini, Giuseppe. "La Lingua della Giobba." Lingua nostra 1 (1939): 122.
Simoncini, Forrest. "The San Francesco Italian Dialect: A Study." Orbis(Louvain)8 (1959): 342-354.
Turano, Anthony. "The Speech of LIttle Italy." American Mercury 26 (1932): 356-359.
Tropea, Giovanni. "Americanismi in Sicilia." Lingua nostra 18 (1957): 82-85.
Vaughan, Herbert. "Italian and Its Dialects Spoken in the United States." American Speech 8 (1926): 431-435.
Agonito, Rosemary. "Il Paisano: Immigrant Italian Folktales in Central New York, " New York Folklore Quarterly, 23, no. 1 (1967), 52-64.
Benigni, V. "Patron Saints," Catholic Encyclopedia, 11 (1911), 563.
Bianco, Carla. "Il folklore degli emigrati italiani in America," Lares, 30, No.3-4 (1964), 148-152.
---. Roseto, Pennsylvania, 19 giugno 1966. Milano : Edizioni del Gallo, 1967.
Barrese, Pauline. "Southern Italian Folklore in New York City," New York Folklore Quarterly, 21, NO.3 (1965): 184-193.
Bernardy, Amy A. "La `Donna Lombarda' nel Canada," Atti del III Congresso di Arti e Tradizioni Popolari (Rome, 1963), 524-534.
Cautela, Giuseppe. "Italian Funeral." American Mercury 15 (October 1928): 200-206.
Chairetakis, Anna L. "Tears of Blood: The Calabrian Villanella and Immigrant Epiphanies." In Studies in Italian American Folklore, edited by Luisa Del Giudice, 11-51. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1993.
Cicala, John Allan. "Health, Respect, and the Family: Detroit's Immigrant Italian Food Culture." In 1988 Festival of Michigan Folklife : Michigan State University Museum, edited by Ruth Fitzgerald and Yvonne Lockwood, 44-48. East Lans
ing: Michigan State University Museum, 1988.
---. "Researching a Sicilian Ceremonial Dish." The Digest 9 (1989): 10-11.
Dorson, Richard M. "Dialect Stories of the Upper Peninsula: A New Form of American Folklore," Journal of American Folklore41 (1948): 113-150.
Del Giudice, Luisa. "The `Archvilla': An Italian Canadian Architectural Archetype." In Studies in Italian American Folklore, edited by Luisa Del Giudice, 53-105. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1993.
Francello, Elvira. "An Italian Version of the `Maid Freed from the Gallows,'" New York Folklore Quarterly , 2, no. 1 (1946): 139.
Fratto, Toni F. "Cooking in Red and White." Pennsylvania Folklife 19 (1970): 2-15.
Garfalo, Alexander. "The Oven of the Seven Montelli," New York Folklore Quarterly, 2, no. 4 (1946): 272-275.
Grieco, Rose. "They Who Mourn: Italian-American Wakes," Commonweal, 57 (1953): 628-630.
---. "Wine and Fig Trees." Commonweal, 60 (June 4, 1954): 221-223.
Hoffman, Dan G. "Stregas, Ghosts, and Werewolves," New York Folklore Quarterly, 3, no. 4 (1944): 325-328.
Magliocco, Sabina. "Playing with Food: The Negotiation of Identity in the Ethnic Display Event by Italian Americans in Clinton, Indiana." In Studies in Italian American Folklore,edited by Luisa Del Giudice, 107-126. Logan: Utah State
University Press, 1993.
Mathias, Elizabeth. "The Italian-American Funeral: Persistence Through Change." Western Folklore 33 (1974): 35-50.
Noyes, Dorothy. "From the Paese to the Patria: An Italian American Pilgrimage to Rome in 1929."In Studies in Italian American Folklore, edited by Luisa Del Giudice, 127-152. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1993.
Rauche, Anthony R. "Festa Italiana in Harford, Connecticut: The Pastries, the Pizza, and the People Who 'Parla Italiano.'" In "We Gather Together": Food and Festival in American Life, edited by Theodore C. Humphrey and Lin T. Humphrey
, 205-217. American Material Culture and Folklife, ed. Simon J. Bronner, Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1988.
"Religion of Lucky Pieces, Witches and the Evil Eye." World Outlook 3 (October 1917): 24-25.
Schellenbaum, Paola. "Stereotypes as Cultural Constructs: A Kaleidoscopic Picture of Italian Americans in Northern California." In Studies in Italian American Folklore, edited by Luisa Del Giudice, 153-202. Logan: Utah State Universit
y Press, 1993.
Sciorra, Joseph. "Multivocality and Vernacular Architecture: The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grotto in Rosebank, Staten Island."In Studies in Italian American Folklore, edited by Luisa Del Giudice, 203-243. Logan: Utah State University P
---. "Yard Shrines and Sidewalk Altars of New York's Italian-Americans." In Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture III, edited by Tom Carter and Bernard L. Herman, 185-198. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989.
Theophano, Janet S. "Feast, Fast, and Time." Pennsylvania Folklife 17 (1977): 25-32.
---. "`I Gave Him A Cake': An Interpretation of Two Italian-American Weddings." In Creative Ethnicity: Symbols and Strategies of Contemporary Ethnic Life, edited by Stephen Stern and John Allan Cicala, 43-54. Logan: Utah State Univers
ity Press, 1991.
---. "'It's Really Tomato Sauce but we Call it Gravy': A Study of Food and Women's Work among Italian-American Families." Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1982.
Theophano, Janet, and Karen Curtis. "Sisters, Mothers, and Daughters: Food Exchange and Reciprocity in an Italian-American Community." In Diet and Domestic Life in Society, edited by Anne Sharman, Janet Theophano, Karen Curtis, and El
len Messer, 147-171. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.
Films and Videos
Chairetakis, Anna Lomax. L'Italia Vive Anche in America. 30 min. film. New York: RAI-TV, 1975.
---.In the Footsteps of Columbus. 28 min. film. New York: NBC-TV,1976.
---.<>Musica popolare. 20 min. videotape. New York : Ethnic Folk Arts Center, 1987.
---.Carnevale Irpino a New York. 28 min. videotape. New York: Locus Productions, 1988.
Gulla, Katherine. My Town-Mio Paese. 26 min. color videotape. Berkeley: New Video Documentaries, no. 37735, 1988.
Harrington, Beth. Ave Maria: the Story of the Fisherman's Feast. 24 min. color videotape. Berkeley: New Video Documentaries, no37423, 1987.
Hunt, Marjorie, and Paul Wagner. The Stone Carvers. 28 min. film. Los Angeles: Direct Cinema Limited, 1984.
Zamacona, Frank, and Mal Sharpe. Hello Columbus! 27 min. videotape. Berkeley: University of California Extension Media Center, 1987.
Museums and Archives
Archives of Folklore Discussion List. An excellent archive of folklore on the listserv at TAMU.EDU. Accessible through the web
there are Italian-American materials scattered among the postings.
Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music. Italian-American oral and musical traditions collected by graduate students as part of the
ir dissertations and established scholars. Also possesses extensive sound recording collections.
Indiana University Folklore Archives, Folkore Institute, 504 North Fess, Bloomington, Indiana 47405. Look under the subject heading "Italian" for Italian-American oral narrative and material culture.
- The Michigan State
University Museum. Folklife archives including Italian-American materials collected by professional folklorists from
enclaves throughout the state and used for exhibits for the annual Festival of Michigan Folklife. A new addition is the archive whose
original collections were once the product of Richard Dorson's classes at that institution during his stay there in the fifties and are
housed at the Indiana University Folklore Archives (which is now in storage.) Ellen Stekert xeroxed these original student collections and put
them at the Wayne State University Folklore Archives where they remained until that archive was incorporated into the University's larger
archival institution. Before the move, the xeroxed version of the original Michigan State archive was returned to the Michigan State University
- Old Ties, New Attachments:
Italian-American Folklife of the West. Library of Congress exhibit of the folklife of the Italians living in the West.
- Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
. Much Italian American materials scattered throughout links on this site especially those concerned with the Festival of
American Folklife on the Mall.
- UCLA Folklore and Mythology
Archives. This ongoing archive contains some Italian
and Italian American oral and musical materials collected by graduate students in the Folklore and Mythology Program.
- University of California at Berkeley
Folklore Archive, Anthropology Department. The web page gives only the collection content (350,000 papers), location(Department of Anthropology, 110 Kroeber Hall, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720) and phone number (510-643-7934).
- Wayne State University Folklore Archives, The many and varied Italian Collections were the result of Emelyn Gardner,
Thelma James, Ellen Stekert, and other professional folklorists who had their Italian-American Detroit commuter students do folklore class
archive is now dead and has been placed in The Archive of Labor History and Urban Affairs at Wayne State. For more information call
- Western Kentucky University Folklore
Archives. Though much of this material is Southern regional there are some Italian traditions scattered throughout the collections.
Records and Tapes
- Bianco, Carla. Italian Folk Songs Collected in Italian-Speaking Communities in New York and Chicago. Folkways
Records, 1965, FE 4010.
- Chairetakis, Anna Lomax. Calabria Bella, Dove T'Hai Lasciate? Italian Folk Music Collected in New York, New Jersey,
Island: Calabria. Folkways Records,1979, FES 34042.
- ---.In Mezz'una Strada Trovai una Pianta di Rosa: Italian Folk Music collected in New York and New Jersey: The Trentino, Molise,
Campania, Basilicata, and Sicily, Folkways Records, 1979, FES 34041.
- Conte, Pat, and Michael Schlesinger. Rimpianto: Italian Music in America, 1915-1929.New York: Global Village
- Leydi, Roberto. The Bagpipe in Italy. Lyricord, LLST 7343, 1969.