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Ausonia Club records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: SSC-MS-00364

Scope and Contents

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

Dates of Materials

  • 1929-1993


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing 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.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections ( at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Interview of Lucretia B. may not be published (name withheld upon request).

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works by the creator of this collection. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

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 B., (1917- ), Ida Lossani Rescia (1889-1987), Vittoria Giacomina Savino (1898-1987), and Mariannina Grimaldi Venturo (1906- ). Ida Rescia's son, Richard, and Lucrezia B's brother, 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.


1 boxes (1.25 linear feet)


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.

Related Material

See also the Ausonia Club Oral History Project Records, Sophia Smith Collection.
Ausonia Club records
Finding Aid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063