Here at the Archives, our Description and Arrangement Specialist, Glenda Ward, has finished processing a collection of the Paisano Club of Upper Michigan.
The Paisano Club of Upper Michigan was founded in 1965. It was introduced by founding member Msgr. David P. Spelgatti of Ishpeming. The club was established to commemorate, preserve, and highlight the contribution of the Italian immigrant to the Upper Peninsula.
Before 1965, the club was a chapter of the Federated Italian American Societies until Spelgatti proposed to establish an Italian society specifically for the UP in 1963.
Since its creation, the club has formed additional branches in Dickinson and Gogebic Counties. The Archives has many materials such as artifacts, pictures, and over 150 oral interviews of the Paisano Club.
We have Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi papers about the project, membership information, information about the annual meetings they’ve had, as well as photos. There is also information about relief efforts that the group provided to help when an earthquake shook southern Italy in the 1980s. Also, we have information about international awards (La “Stella della Solidarieta” Awards) that three members received in 1963. The club has also sent two groups on trips to Italy.
The club is still active and is to this date the only organization in Michigan to perform such extensive research on immigrant history.
For more information on the Paisano Club of Upper Michigan or to hear any of the oral interviews, visit us in the Archives in Room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).
Prepared by: Alexandria Eisner and Glenda Ward