Making Minnesota Our Home
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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A cornucopia of a book! Open its pages and you will be immersed in an untold richness of human experience. With candor and insight, these Italian immigrants and their children share their life stories with us. Modern American culture seems to label persons such as these—hard-working...
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For years now, my Minnesota Italian roots have beckoned to me. Every time they called, I hung up on them, but I did so with a little less certainty each time, until finally I gave in. During his lifetime...
Chapter 1. The Promised Land or the Island of Tears?
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Like other international migrants, Italians often left their homes because of economic difficulties, moving wherever they could find work. Minnesota’s Italians were not the first to emigrate to seek their fortune; before the late 1800s...
Chapter 2. Bread and Work
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Italians in Minnesota, like migrants throughout history, spent the prime years of their lives engaged in the ongoing struggle for subsistence and identity in a strange new culture. As workers from rural backgrounds, often with little formal...
Chapter 3. Women's Work
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As a rule, Italian immigrant women did not seek work outside the home in the early twentieth century. In her study of Italian women in Buffalo, New York, Virginia Yans-McLaughlin demonstrated that the reluctance of married women to work outside the home was particularly pronounced among...
Chapter 4. The Boarders
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The custom of having boarders was generally unknown in Italy. In the rural areas, stranieri (strangers) were not admitted into the close-knit family circle. When my grandmothers, Vittoria and Maria, came to America, having boarders was something new to them, as it was to many other Italian women. Among...
Chapter 5. Religion, Supernaturalism, and Folk Medicine
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Giovanna Gentilini described the tongue-lashing she gave an Irish priest in her town of Virginia, Minnesota in 1929, after the Depression had begun, over the burial of a friend’s daughter. The dead girl’s family was depending on...
Chapter 6. Life Cycles and Calendar Events
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Rites of passage played a central role in the lives of the Italian immigrants. Celebrated with old Italian traditions, births, weddings, and funerals—as well as the religious milestones of baptism, first communion, and confirmation—marked transitions in the lives of individuals. Customs tied to...
Chapter 7. Leisure and Recreation
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Sports and games are part of traditional folkways, with rules formed in the obscure past, handed down through the generations, and changing only gradually, if at all. Many children’s games follow this pattern especially closely; for example,...
Chapter 8. Italy at Table
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As is true for many immigrant groups, food played an important role in maintaining the Italian Americans’ heritage. Food figures in every chapter of this book because of its cultural significance to Italians. Food was important not only...
Chapter 9. The Performers
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For members of Minnesota’s Italian immigrant community, coming to an alien land to work was like leaving the table after one course. The immigrants needed something more, and they provided it themselves through dramatics, music, creative writing, storytelling, poetry, and proverbs. Whatever...
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Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich’s inspired notion to capture the recollections of Minnesota’s Italian immigrants and their descendants has left us with a valuable legacy indeed, a rich treasure trove of information on a population about whom...
Appendix: List of Interviews
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This appendix lists information on the interviews quoted in this book. For a complete listing of Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich’s interviews, see the finding aid for the Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich Papers at the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The collection includes...
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Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2007