The author of “The Journey of the Italians in America” will be reading and discussing her book at the Excelsior Branch Library at 4400 Mission St. on Jan. 13.
What is “The Journey of the Italians in America” about? It’s a pictorial history from Italians from all over America from the 1770s to the present. The book is broken up into sections and themes. In each theme, I wanted to show how Italians worked on the land over time from immigrants, their children and now their great grandchildren.
Where are the pictures from? They are from families. The Internet has helped immensely. There are list services for
Italian-Americans and people connect there. I also was able to get some pictures from Italian newspapers.
What is your interest in Italian-Americans? I’m an Italian-American born into a Sicilian family. I’m also a research historian. I wrote a picture book in 1982, when living in San Francisco, about the Italian community and the ties to San Francisco.
How has the Italian community shaped San Francisco? One of the early mayors, Angelo Rossi, was mayor the same time Fiorello La Guardia was mayor of New York. Italians have a lot of longstanding interest and influence in politics. Also the cuisine and culture, Saints Peter and Paul Church and Corpus Christi were an important impact on the community. Industrial-wise, the canning industry, Ghirardelli Square and the fishing industry were influenced by Italians. In so many ways, Italians have left their imprint on San Francisco.