Letters From Home

The Italian Heritage Collection at Digital Maag contains almost two hundred letters, most of them sent to Italian immigrants in the Mahoning Valley from their relatives who remained in Italy.  The letters come from three local families: the Lariccias, the Colangelo Baldellis, and the DiLallos.  Most of the letters have been translated into English, and both images of the originals and translations are available on Digital Maag.  Here is a sampling of the collection, reflecting some of the major themes.


Giving Carmela and Nello their Blessing (Click for English translation) – December 27th 1924

This is a letter from Domenico and Anna (Baldelli) to their soon to be daughter-in-law Carmela Colangelo. With this letter, they send their best wishes to the couple and entrust her to love their son Nello and to make him happy. Though they have never met Carmela, Domenico and Anna share their approval of the bride and wish them a long life together. To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.

awaiting-departure-to-america_page_11Awaiting Departure to America (Click for English translation) August 15, 1917

This is a letter responding to Gioso (Giuseppe) Lariccia’s request for Lucia Bisceglia’s location and departure date. Gioso, already in the US, wonders where his bride to be is. Lucia’s letter tells of the changes in departure date due to the battle going on at sea.  She explains that she will attempt to contact him whenever she can. She trusts she’ll be with him soon, but wants him to know that his words don’t always reach her and hopes that she has not displeased him. She sends her love to the family and awaits an answer from Gioso. To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.


Well Wishes for the Child with Severe Burns (Click for English translation) – September 13th, 1925

Antonia Mucci Bisceglia sends her daughter Lucia Lariccia, who is in the US, this letter in response to the news that Lucia’s  2nd daughter, Antoinette, has received severe burns from an accident. Some younger boys in the community were playing with fire when it spread onto Antoinette’s dress, resulting in burns that hospitalized her; she was five years old at the time. Antonia expresses her pain and sorrow for the little girl. She also speaks of the distance between them and sends best wishes for the child’s recovery. To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.

responding-to-childs-condition_page_1 Responding to the News of Antoinette’s Condition (Click for English translation) – October 10th 1925

This is letter was sent from Antonia Mucci Bisceglia to Lucia Bisceglia Lariccia after receiving word that Antoinette is doing better. Again, she sends best wishes by communicating her longing to be with the child, and her wish to help Gioso Lariccia, (Lucia’s husband) during this stressful time. To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.


icecreamsFamily Ice Cream Recipes (Click for English translation) – Pre WWII Undated

This letter contains step-by-step directions for Chocolate and Cinnamon Ice Cream from Caterina Bisceglia Musacchio and Francesco Musacchio to sister/sister-in-law Lucia Bisceglia Lariccia, after receiving a request for family recipes.  This letter was written sometime before WWII and includes ways to economize the ingredients, so that the ice cream is cheaper to make.  Like the Pizza Dolce recipe, this is part of a set of recipes sent that Lucia had requested, possibly for items to sell at Lariccia’s grocery store.  To read the original letter, click on the image on the left.

Pizza Dolce Recipe (Click for English translation) – Pre WWII Undated

This letter instructs Lucia Lariccia on how to make a popular cake known as the Pizza Dolce (also called Pasta Reale or Pane di Spania). To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.


A Family Reaching Out (Click for English translation) – Pre WWII Undated

This document contains 2 letters both written to Lucia Bisceglia Lariccia. The first is from Caterina Bisceglia Musacchio asking for help from Lucia in contacting one Gennaro DeMichele, in attempt to get him to write to his mother back in Italy. Caterina expresses his mother’s sadness from lack of contact with her son.The second letter is from Caterina’s husband Francesco sending his hopes that all the recipes work well for Lucia and offering assistance if anything is needed. In a brief final sentence, Francesco explains that they are awaiting the war and wishes for protection from the coming battle.  To read the original letter, click on the image to the left.

A Visualization of Post WWII Conditions (Click for English translation) – January 23, 1946

2 letters are contained within this document. The first is to Teodoro Ritucci (Fiorentina Ritucci DiLallo’s brother, living in the US) from his sister Lucia in Italy. She thanks her brother for the package containing money and clothing and communicates the harsh reality of post-war conditions. Families who received assistance from loved ones in the US were fortunate during that time. She also speaks of her parents and the destruction the war has caused both their marriage and family life.The second letter is also addressed to Teodoro Ritucci, this time from his nieces and nephews Lena, Dorina, and Vincenzino. They thank him for the package and state their desire to come to America. To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.

thankful-and-hopeful_page_11Thankful for the Assistance and Hopeful for Change (Click for English translation) – March 16th, 1946

Antonio Paradiso writes to his brother- in-law, Antonio Ritucci, (Fiorentina’s Ritucci DiLallo’s brother) expressing his gratitude for the packages he has sent from the US, relaying to him hardships faced by others in the family and how they appreciate his kindness. He begins to pass on news about upcoming Socialist party elections, but does not express any true feeling towards the matter, perhaps so as not to jinx it. To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.


the-passing-of-luicas-mother_page_1The Passing of Lucia’s Mother (Click for English translation) – January 3rd 1937 This letter is from Lucia Bisceglia Lariccia’s brother-in-law Francesco Musacchio in Italy. It is written to her brother-in-law Gennaro Lariccia in the USA, informing him of Lucia’s mother Antonia Mucci Bisceglia’s death. Within the letter he takes care to share the illness which she died from and assures the family that the proper religious burial was carried out. He does not address the letter directly to Lucia, for he believes that such sad news should be delivered by a third party, in person. To see the full letter in Italian, Click here.

Web page designed and constructed by Kasey Johnson, September 2010.

One Response to “Letters From Home”

  1. I am interested in these letters as my relatives are from riardo,italy. my grandmothers brothers moved to Youngstown, ohio, her name was filomeno dellatorre(santanastagio). she married my grandfather Giovanni dellatorre and had my father joseph dellatorre and his sister ermalinda dellatorre who was born in riardo before leaving for America. I met my cousins one time when they visited in Cincinnati but I was very young. my grandmothers one brother was named ralph and he took the last name of sandy. I know he had used car lots, that’s all I know . any information on family would be welcome as only ermalinda is still living and is 93 thank you Caio.

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