Ausonia Club records
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.
See also the Ausonia Club Oral History Project Records
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1929-1993
- Ausonia Club (Northampton, Mass.) (Organization)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
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The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works by the creator of this collection.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.
1.083 linear feet (1 container)
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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Helene Cantarella in 1993
- 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.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063