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)
|Coro Giollame dello||Basnducci|
|Josephine||Dos Santos nee Selvaggio|
|Mary Jane||Marziale||3/3/79, 3/14/79|