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Ausonia Club Records, 1929-1993
1 box (1.25 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 364

Abstract:
Women's club. The records relate primarily to the club's mission of preserving Italian traditions in America, offering support to newly arrived women immigrants, and promoting an interest in Italian language and culture among the citizenry of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to unpublished materials may be owned by the creator, or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The Ausonia club, one of the oldest women's clubs in Northampton, Massachusetts, was founded in 1921 by Anacleta Vezzetti, a professor in the Smith College department of Italian. The club's purpose was to bring together Italian-American immigrant women, many of whom were mill workers, in order to keep alive the traditions, language, and culture of their native land and to help members meet the challenges of living in this country. Over the years the Ausonia Club, whose name is taken from the poetic designation for the prehistoric nucleus of the Italian people, met once a month in the homes of its members to read, study, and help others by making contributions to the city's charities and to victims of disasters in Italy and elsewhere. With the passing of time, the Ausonia membership expanded to include non-Italian women with an interest in the political and cultural affairs of Italy. In 1951, Vezzetti passed the torch of the club's leadership to Helene Cantarella, who remained its "scribe" until 1993. In 1959 the group established the Ausonia Club Prize for the best essay on a subject related to Italian culture written by a student at St. Michael's High School. After St. Michael's closed, the prize was awarded to a student at Northampton High School. The Club also established the Anacleta C. Vezzetti Prize Fund at Smith College in 1976. The prize is awarded to the senior who writes the best paper in Italian on any aspect of Italian civilization.

The Ausonia Club Oral History Project was inaugurated by Lella Gandini in 1984, and carried out with the help of Gisele L'Italien for the next four years. The two women conducted two or more interviews with six of the remaining Ausonia Club members, Silvia Viola Aprile (1905- ), Tranquilla Anna De Bastiani (1904- ), Lucrezia Bellantuono Duseau, (1917- ), Ida Lossani Rescia (1889-1987), Vittoria Giacomina Savino (1898-1987), and Mariannina Grimaldi Venturo (1906- ). Ida Rescia's son, Richard, and Lucrezia Bellantuono Duseau's brother, Vito Bell, were also interviewed. The aim of the project was to preserve the experience of a group of small-town Italian-American women, since most work of this sort has been focused upon immigrants to large urban areas. Lella Gandini, herself Italian-born and raised, brought to the project extensive knowledge of Italian dialects, and experience studying Italian-American women and conducting oral history interviews. Gisele L'Italien, who holds a B.A. in sociology from Smith College, conducted interviews in the course of her studies and is also fluent in Italian.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The records of the Ausonia Club contain minutes; financial records; memorabilia; correspondence; and records pertaining to prizes awarded by the club. They relate primarily to the club's mission of preserving Italian traditions in America, offering support to newly arrived women immigrants, and promoting an interest in Italian language and culture among the citizenry of Northampton, Massachusetts.

NOTE: The container list for this collection is available in the Sophia Smith Collection. Please contact us to request a copy.

See also the Ausonia Club Oral History Project Records


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to unpublished materials may be owned by the creator, or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Ausonia Club Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/

Language
English