Evening at the Archives: Italian American Immigration in the Upper Peninsula

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This past Tuesday, we held our bi-annual Evening at the Archives event. Senior history major Austin Bannister gave a fascinating presentation about Italian American immigration in the Upper Peninsula in the early twentieth century. His research was part of his HS 390 project, a class required of all history majors in which they must do a research project at the archives.

He discussed general trends of immigration to the United States in the early twentieth century. Many Italians, he said, came here only temporarily to work in the mines and later returned home. Others frequently went back and forth between the US and Italy. Some remained here and even arranged marriages. Mining conditions and fraternal organizations created by the miners were also discussed.

Interested in this topic? Want to do some research yourself? Here are useful resources at the archives:

  • Italian American Oral History Collection: This incredibly helpful resource consists of hundreds of oral history interviews conducted by Dr. Russell Magnaghi and others.
  • Marquette County Articles of Incorporation: As mentioned above, Italian immigrants created fraternal organizations to help support each other in times of need. Many of these organization registered their bylaws and other materials with the county.
  • Marquette County Naturalization Records: The naturalization records document how many Italians (and other nationalities) were becoming citizens, where they were from, what their job was, if they were married or had children, etc. They can be quite important for researchers.
  • Russell Magnaghi papers: Besides creating the Italian American oral history collection, Dr. Magnaghi has done much research into Italian Americans (and many other topics!). His papers document his research and can be extremely helpful to researchers seeking sources.
  • Il Minatore: A few issues of an Italian language newspaper from the UP
  • Many other regional newspapers: While time-consuming, looking through newspapers can yield fantastic results!

Come into the Archives and check out these and other collections today! Please note that we will be closed Wednesday-Friday of next week for Thanksgiving.

Written by Annika Peterson

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