The Italian American Experience in New Haven

Images and Oral Histories

By Anthony V. Riccio
Foreword by Mary Ann McDonald Carolan
Afterword by Philip Langdon

Subjects: American History
Series: SUNY series in Italian/American Culture, Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9780791467749, 472 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791467732, 472 pages, July 2006

Table of contents

Foreword by Mary Ann McDonald

1. Life in Italy

2. The Journey to America: Life on the Ships

3. A New Life in New Haven

4. Becoming American Citizens

5. Going to School in New Haven

6. The Spanish Flu Pandemic Strikes New Haven

7. Justice Denied: The Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti

8. Letters to Loved Ones

9. Fables and Proverbs

10. Farming Life in New Haven

11. Working Life Experiences

12. New Haven’s Garment Workers: Life in the Sweatshops

13. Workers Organize: The Labor Movement in New Haven
14. Northerners and Southerners

15. Going Back to Italy

16. The Depression in New Haven

17. Witches, Healers and Herbs

18. Italian Feasts

19. Italian Societies

20. Sports Stories

21. Artists and Singers

22. Meat Markets, Pastry Shops, Bakeries and Pizzerias

23. Holiday Celebrations

24. Vanishing Dialects

25. Life by the Sea

26. New Haven’s Italian Americans in World War II

27. The Franklin Street Fire

28. Life in the Annex

29. Life in the Wooster Square Neighborhood

30. Life in the Hill

31. Life in the Forbes Avenue Neighborhood

32. Life in Fair Haven

33. Life in the Legion Avenue Neighborhood

34. Highways and Urban Renewal: New Haven Forever Changed


Afterword by Philip Langdon

A compelling social history of a vibrant immigrant community, told through interviews and photographs.


Using interviews and photographs, Anthony Riccio provides a vital supplement to our understanding of the Italian immigrant experience in the United States. In conversations around kitchen tables and in social clubs, members of New Haven's Italian American community evoke the rhythms of the streets and the pulse of life in the old ethnic neighborhoods. They describe the events that shaped the twentieth century—the Spanish Flu pandemic, the Great Depression, and World War II—along with the private histories of immigrant women who toiled under terrible working conditions in New Haven's shirt factories, who sacrificed dreams of education and careers for the economic well-being of their families. This is a compelling social, cultural, and political history of a vibrant immigrant community.

Anthony V. Riccio is Stacks Manager at the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University. He is the author of Portrait of an Italian-American Neighborhood: The North End of Boston.