A visual history of the Italian American experience from the collections of the Library of Congress
Explorers Emigrants Citizens, a new book by Linda Barrett Osborne and Paolo Battaglia, celebrates 500 years of Italian-American history, from the first explorers to the Godfather movies. The 320-page, coffee-table book is lavishly produced with 500 images drawn from the Library of Congress’s vast pictorial holdings.
The book highlights the accomplishments of well-known individuals such as Fiorello LaGuardia and Joe DiMaggio, and also delves deeper to recognize people like Joe Petrosino, the first Italian-American police officer to lose his life fighting organized crime.
Carefully selected photos illustrate the lives of Italians in crowded Eastern cities, and in the fields and mines of rural America. Also included are photos of works of art by Italian
Americans, such as photographer Carlo Gentile and Athos Casarini, a futurist painter and illustrator for Harper’s Weekly.
Aside from celebrating Italian- American history, the book also touches on harsh realities faced by the early immigrants: stereotyping, racism and barriers to assimilation.
Linda Barrett Osborne, a fourth generation Italian American, is a former writer and editor at the Library of Congress and co-author Paolo Battaglia is an Italian author of illustrated history books.
Director Martin Scorsese, whose grandparents came from Sicily, writes in the book’s foreword, “In images and words, this wonderful book charts our transformation across generations—in my family and so many other families—the hundreds of thousands of families that came to these shores and left their mark on this place we call America.”