October 18, 2013 500 Years of Italian-American History Celebrated in New Publication

Contact: Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ada@loc.gov
Contact: Audrey Fischer, Library of Congress (202) 707-0022 | Paolo Battaglia, Anniversary Books

The contributions of Italian Americans—from Christopher Columbus until today—are the subject of “Explorers Emigrants Citizens: A Visual History of the Italian-American Experience from the Collections of the Library of Congress,” to be published by Anniversary Books in association with the Library of Congress.

Authors Linda Barrett Osborne and Paolo Battaglia have selected 500 images related to the rich history of Italian Americans from the Library’s holdings of photographs, maps, posters, letters, films, and sound recordings. With a foreword by director Martin Scorsese, the book includes essays by Mario B. Mignone and Antonio Canovi.

“Explorers Emigrants Citizens” highlights the accomplishments of well-known individuals such as Fiorello LaGuardia and Vince Lombardi, and goes deeper to rediscover people such as Giacomo Beltrami, who reached the source of the Mississippi in 1823, and Joe Petrosino, the first Italian-American police officer to lose his life fighting organized crime.

Through the photographs of Lewis Hine and others, readers will see how Italians lived in the slums of Eastern cities and how they worked in the fields and mines of rural America. Readers will also see how Italians portrayed America through the works of such artists as Carlo Gentile, who photographed southwestern Native Americans in the 1870s, and Athos Casarini, a futurist painter and illustrator for “Harper’s Weekly.” Through these rich images and fascinating stories, the 500-year history of Italians in America jumps off the pages of this compelling book.

“Explorers Emigrants Citizens,” scheduled for publication on Oct. 26, will be the subject of a Books & Beyond discussion and book-signing by the authors at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 30 in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E, Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored jointly by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Library’s Publishing Office, is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

Linda Barrett Osborne is a fourth-generation Italian-American. A former senior writer and editor with the Library of Congress’s Publishing Office, she is the author of several books on American history. Her latest book is “Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years.”

Paolo Battaglia is an Italian author of illustrated history books such as “Un Italianonella Cina dei Boxer” (2000), a photographic account of the Boxer rebellion in China; “Frammenti di Guerra” (2005) the photographic history of World War II in northern Italy; and “New York In & Out” (2008), a 1912 photographic journey to New York.

Antonio Canovi has written on Italian emigration to Northern Europe and America in books such as “Altri Modenesi” and “Pianure Migranti” (2009).

Mario B. Mignone is a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the founder and director of the Center for Italian Studies. He also co-founded the Association of Italian American Educators. Among his many publications: “Columbus: Meeting of Cultures” (1993) and “Italy Today: Facing the Challenges of the New Millennium” (2008).

“Explorers Emigrants Citizens: A Visual History of the Italian-American Experience from the Collections of the Library of Congress,” a 320-page hardcover book with more than 500 images, will be sold for $55 in bookstores nationwide and through the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or www.loc.gov/shop/. Pre-publication orders will be accepted. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the Oct. 30 event.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, publications, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.


PR 13-176
ISSN 0731-3527