Italian American Oral History Project
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In 1982, the Center for Oral History at Northern Michigan University (now defunct), together with the Paisano Club of Upper Michigan, Northern Michigan University, and the Michigan Council for the Humanities, sponsored a project on Italian immigration to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Italian American Oral History Project spanned twenty years. The project's initiator was Greta Swenson, formerly of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, aided and encouraged by Msgr. David Spelgatti. The project was directed by Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi, professor of history at Northern, and entailed interviewing one hundred and fifty Italian-American individuals from a variety of economic and cultural backgrounds. A full list of interviewers can be found in the finding aid. Dr. Magnaghi donated the original tapes to the Northern Michigan University Archives. The collection also includes some subject indices, transcripts, summaries, and student papers related to the interviews.
The project attempted to contact every Italian-American community in Upper Michigan, neighboring Wisconsin, and Ontario. These communities included: 1.Chippewa County: Sault Saint Marie. 2.Dickinson County: Iron Mountain, Kingsford, Loretto, Norway, Vulcan. 3.Gogebic County: Bessemer, Ironwood, Wakefield. 4.Keweenaw County: Mohawk. 5.Houghton County: Baltic, Calumet, Franklin Mine, Hancock, South Range. 6.Iron County, Michigan: Caspian, Crystal Falls, Iron River, Virgil. 7.Mackinac County: Cedarville-Hessel. 8.Marquette County: Gwinn, Ishpeming, Marquette, Negaunee. 9.Menominee County: Hermansville. 10.Iron County, Wisconsin: Hurley, Kimball. 11.Ontario: Sault Saint Marie.