Helene and Michele Cantarella papers
Scope and Contents
The Helene and Michele Cantarella papers contain both of their personal and professional material before and during their years at Smith College. Files pertaining to their anti-fascist activities, their work for the government during World War II, and work within departments at Smith are part of the collection. Specifics include correspondence, travel postcards and photographs and slides, audio tapes, scrapbooks, manuscripts, publications, lectures, research notes, and speeches.
Dates of Materials
- 1881 - 2000
- Cantarella, Helene (Person)
- Cantarella, Michele (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Biographical / Historical
Michele Cantarella was professor of Italian literature and language at Smith from 1929 to 1964. During World War II, Mr. Cantarella took a leave of absence from Smith to serve in various capacities for the U.S. government, including as head of the Italian section of the War Department's information and education division. He was also active in anti-fascist activies in this country before and during wartime. His field of research, modern Italian literature and the Spanish picaresque novel, led him to write numerous books and articles. Mr. Cantarella died in 1988.
Helene Paquin Cantarella received her M.A. from Boston University in 1928, married Michele in 1929, and soon thereafter she became an instructor in the French Department at Smith. She and her husband organized one of the three major centers of anti-fascist activity on the East Coast and she translated many books of leading anti-fascists in exile, including Gaetano Salvemini, Count Carlo Sforza, and G.A. Borgese. Between 1942 and 1946, she too worked for the U.S. government, determining which films should be sent to free or liberated areas all over the world. After the war, she and Michele returned to Smith where she became coordinator of films shown to students and the public. She also became the instructor of the History of American Literature at nearby private schools for girls. Mrs. Cantarella died in 2000.
22.917 linear feet (23 containers)
Language of Materials
Michele Cantarella was professor of Italian literature and language at Smith from 1929 to 1964. His wife, Helene, became an instructor in the French Department at Smith in 1929, then, after World War II, was coordinator of films shown to Smith students and the public. Their papers contain both of their personal and professional material before and during their years at Smith College. Files pertaining to their anti-fascist activities, their work for the government during World War II, and work within departments at Smith are part of the collection.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request the creation of and access to digital copies.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Nelda Cantarella Ferace, 2001 and 2004.
- Ferace, Nelda Cantarella (Donor, Person)
- Finding aid to the Helene and Michele Cantarella papers
- Minimum Finding Aid (Completed)
- Scott Biddle
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020-02-11: Added boxes 1-21 and notes, updated dates and extents
- 2020-11-20: Box 22 added and extent updated
Part of the Smith College Archives Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063