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Title My Autobiography [Joseph Fucilla]
Author Fucilla, Joseph G
Date n.d.
Document Type Personal Account
Reference IHRC752, Box 6, Folder 6
Library / Archive Immigration History Research Center Archives, University of Minnesota
Collection Name Fucilla, Joseph Papers
Description Joseph Fucilla's experiences as an Italian immigrant in the United States.
Biographical Note / History Joseph Fucilla's parents were born in Italy. Fucilla was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1897. Fucilla's father was a shoemaker in Italy. Fucilla's father immigrated to the U.S. in search of employment. Fucilla's father immigrated in 1892, his mother in 1894. Fucilla remained in the U.S., but one of his aunts returned to Italy. In 1900 the family moved to Racine, Wisconsin. Fucilla went to Madison, Wisconsin, for his university studies. He went to Fort Benning, Colorado for officer training. After graduation he went to Ames, Iowa. His other cities of residence were Indianapolis, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois. He spent a year in Europe and returned to Chicago, later moving to Evanston, Illinois. In 1938 he went to Europe. He returned to Evanston where he remained except for short stays in Boulder, Colorado, and Santa Barbara, California. At a young age Fucilla played the trombone in a band. He left school to work in a factory to help the family. After an industrial accident he took business courses and then went on to college. While in college he worked in the college library and in a restaurant. He enlisted in an officers' training corps and was assigned the job of finding subversives among the foreign populations in Wisconsin. After graduation from college, he taught at Iowa State College. He then taught at Butler College in Indianapolis, Indiana. He took a leave of absence to study at the University of Chicago, where he also taught Spanish. In 1927 he visited France and studied in Spain and Italy. He returned to the U.S. in 1928 and taught at Northwestern University's Chicago campus. In 1929 he wrote his first articles and later was author of a textbook and several bibliographies. In 1938 he did research in Florence, Italy. After World War II he worked on the Committee for a Better Peace with Italy. He returned to Evanston and from 1949 to 1950 was visiting professor at the University of Chicago. During 1951 and 1952 he did research in Europe. In 1960 another book was published. In 1965 he retired from Northwestern and accepted a visiting professor position at the University of Wisconsin. From 1966 to 1968 he taught at the Universities of Colorado and California. As a college student Fucilla joined a Socialist organization. Fucilla became a member of the Modem Language Association. He was also a member of the Accademia Cosentina and the Rome Arcadian Academy. In 1968 he became the president of the American Association of Teachers of Italian. In 1900 Fucilla's family moved to Wisconsin with Fucilla's grandmother and her husband, two great-uncles and several aunts and uncles, all of whom had just arrived in the United States. Fucilla had six brothers and sisters. He married and raised two sons. By 1974 he had ten grandchildren. Fucilla proposed to his wife six weeks after meeting her. The Biblioteca National where Fucilla did his research was segregated. Women were assigned special tables and could not talk to men. The neighborhood was German, so Fucilla learned German in school. Other nationalities were Italian, Danish, and Hungarian. At a young age there were arguments with children of other nationalities about which nationality was superior. During World War II, Fucilla had a difficult job continuing the American Association of Teachers of Italian due to reactions to the Benito Mussolini regime. As a young boy he had applied for a job selling newspapers and distributing advertising leaflets. His application was rejected, since this particular job was reserved for Anglo-Saxons and Danish. Italian-Americans were discriminated against in real estate and the building trades. Fucilla's grandmother was illiterate, but she had a very good memory. She was able to memorize many folktales. Fucilla learned Italian by his father reading Italian books to him. The family also subscribed to several Italian newspapers.
Theme(s) Arrivals: Ports and Early Experiences
Country (from) Italy
Country (to) Unites States of America
Places Cosenza, Southern Italy, Italy; Binghamton, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, Chicago, California, United States
Nationality Italian; European; American; Danish
People Fucilla, Don Diego
Keywords emigrant, biography, travel, education, social class, push factors, history, government, conflict, employment, clothing, trade, labourer, labour, family, manufacturing, factory, living conditions, language classes, languages, national identity, leisure, sport, religion, Catholicism, First World War, transport, finance, rent, police
Additional Information Please note: Some of the metadata for this document has been taken from the Immigration History Research Center Archives catalogue.
Catalogue Link Immigration History Research Center Archives Catalogue
Language English
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