The Italian Project

In the 1970s, the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society sponsored an Oral History Project to collect the memories of about thirty Dobbs Ferry residents who were either first or second generation Italian immigrants. The recordings were made using cassette tape recorders and the Historical Society has continued to store those cassette tapes. However, they were never transcribed so we did not have the information from them available in readable form. However, unknown to present Historical Society Trustees, copies of the tapes were also sent to the Immigration Collection at the University of Minnesota Library.

Last fall, we were contacted by Adam Matthew Digital, an internet company that provides digital resources for scholars researching various topics. They had discovered the Dobbs Ferry tapes at the University of Minnesota and requested permission to make those tapes available in their “Migration to New Worlds” collection. We enthusiastically granted the permission with the understanding that we would receive digital versions and transcriptions of those tapes. We have just heard that the digital versions are available and the transcriptions will be available soon.

The news came as we were preparing an exhibit using quotations from those tapes to illustrate what life was like for these Dobbs Ferry immigrants. Currently, the Historical Society has been collecting photographs depicting Italian life here—photos of businesses, houses, and gardens owned by Italian-Americans, family life, school and recreational events. We want to show more about the origins of the Ferry Festa that brought an Old World village fair into this New World setting.

So this is a plea to the Italian-American community: WE NEED YOUR HELP.

• Bring us your photos or documents. We’ll scan them to our computer and give them right back to you.
• We need volunteers. Let us know if you have some time to work with us on this project.
• We need ideas. Tell us what you think is the most important aspect of Italian-American life in Dobbs Ferry that we should feature.
• Share your family tree. Show us how you trace your ancestry back to a particular place in Italy.

CALL US AT 914-674-1007 (leave a message and we’ll call you back) OR E-MAIL US AT DFHISTORY@OPTIMUM.NET.

List of Interviews (pdf document)

First Last Interview Date
Josephine Barone Annichiarico 1979-03-10
Columbus Arone 1979-02-21
Coro Giollame dello Basnducci
Joseph Belarge 1979-02-08
Martha Bial 1977-10-31
Charles Biano 1979-02-22
Frank Caldara 1977-06-14
Joe Camesa 1976-01-09
Joe Camissa
Betty Caroli
Father Anthony Cirami 1979-01-29
Albert Coletti 1979-02-12
Valvedina Coletti 1979-02-05
Florence Collins
Joe Delmerico 1979-02-01
Eliot Delucca 1979-01-08
Josephine Dos Santos nee Selvaggio
Joseph Gagliardi 1979-01-11
Theresa Gelsi S3/2/79
Raymond Gerson 1979-02-12
Carmine Giaquinto
Mrs. Rita Giaquinto
Mrs. Goe
Mary Grande 1979-02-20
Lau Grayiunke?
Dr. Gaetano Logreco 1979-03-13
Emma Losee
Emma Losee 1975-10-15
Mary Jane Marziale 3/3/79, 3/14/79
Salvatore Marziale
Salvatore Marziale 1979-01-22
Tina Marziale 1979-01-22
Joseph Migliori 1977-06-06
Mary Migliori 1977-06-06
Hannibal Milano 1979-02-27
Constantine Nisco 1979-01-21
Mrs. Perullo
Helen Ricci 1979-02-20
Pat Ricci 1979-02-20
Filomena Ricciardi 1979-01-30
Joseph Rizzuto
Richard Roraback
Richard Roraback
Nick Ruotolo 1979-01-08
Ralph Sciavo 1979-04-10
Edith Serrell 5/?/76
Lilliana Staffiero 1979-02-27
Mattie Stoneman 1977-10-25
Theresa Tisi
Peter Toscani
Stephen Vavra
Filomena Volpacchio
Lucy Voulgaris
Catherine Seiss Warman
Catherine Seiss Warman 1975-10-30
Florence Waryha
Frank Yazzo
Giovanna Yazzo
Monteleon Joseph