Anthony V. Riccio
Author, Photographer, and Oral Historian
 

Anthony's New Book:
Farm, Factories, and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut



"Anthony Riccio's collection of women's oral histories is an extremely valuable addition to the growing literature regarding Italian American women's lives.  The detail in which these women speak about their work lives as charcoal burners, clay kneaders, cheese makers, union organizers - one had her ribs broken - adds a much needed dimension to an understanding of Italian American women.  This volume is filled with thoughtful reflections ranging from Mussolini to issues of social justice.  Riccio has unleashed from these women dramatic and sometimes harrowing stories never before heard, or perhaps even imagined."

  Carol Bonomo Albright
  Executive Editor of Italian Americana
  Coeditor of American Woman, Italian Style: Italian-Americana's Best Writings on Women

 



recent press:


July 18, 2014
The Westerly Sun
Book Tour Events ~ 2014


 AUGUST


 SEPTEMBER

  • September 9: Tuesday  7:00pm
    Wallingford Library
    Wallingford, CT
  • September 11: Thursday  6:00pm
    East Haven Rotary Club
    East Haven Senior Center
    91 Taylor Avenue
    East Haven, CT

  • September 15: Monday  6:30pm
    Derby Library
    Derby, CT
     
  • September 20: Saturday  2:00pm
    Russell Library
    Middletown, CT
  • September 21: Sunday  2:00pm
    Saint Anthony's Church Hall
    New Haven, CT
  • September 29: Monday  7:00pm
    Milford Library
    Milford, CT

 OCTOBER

  • October 7: Tuesday  7:00pm
    Guilford Public Library
    Guilford, CT
  • October 15: Wednesday  6:30pm
    Southington Library
    Southington, CT
  • October 19: Saturday  2:00pm
    Trumbull Library
    Trumbull, CT

NOVEMBER

  • November 1: Saturday
    Work and Working People Conference
    Hartford, CT

ACADEMIC APPEARANCES (sorry, not open to the public)

  • October 2: Thursday
    Saint Joesphs College
    Italian-American Studies Class 

TV APPEARANCES

  • July 3: Thursday  9:00am
    Fox News Morning Show, Hartford Ch. 61
    www.FOXCT.com 

 



ABOUT THE BOOK

 

“Farms, Factories and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut" is the story of Italian American women who tell their largely unknown history in their own words, through oral history interviews and photographs. History is often dominated by the exploits of men, but the book uncovers the behind the scenes roles of Connecticut’s Italian American women, the glue of Italian American culture.  As quietly heroic figures, they stood behind husbands and managed the family economy, invested in real estate, put aside money for their children’s education, cooked meals, nurtured large families -- and when times were tough  -- as they often were from the 1920's to the 1950s -- joined men on production lines and more than held their own.  During the depression with men out of work, Italian women entrepreneurs boldly struck out on their own, converting front rooms into grocery and millinery stores and first floors into garment factories.  In the early 1930s, Italian American women led the struggle for establishing unions, risking their livelihood against male-owned garment industries that exploited them under terrible sweatshop conditions.  During WWII, they took the place of men on assembly lines, producing tons of war materiel ahead of deadlines that brought the war to a quicker end.

"Farms, Factories and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut" took almost a decade to write.  Traveling the state of Connecticut conducting oral history interviews with elderly Italian American women in a race against time, I tried to record and document their legacies before they passed away.  The Italian American women profiled in this book represent the last of a generation who could reconstruct small village life in rural regions of southern Italy, weaving stories of uprooting themselves from families to journey to America in steerage, often with two or three young children in tow.  The book’s visual documentation comes from family albums, which provide rare glimpses of their experiences in southern Italy and their working lives in Connecticut – toiling on tobacco farms, in the sweatshops of New Haven, on the production lines of U.S. Rubber in Naugatuck, and many family farms in North Haven, Hamden, East Haven, Waterbury, and Woodbridge. The portraits of these women storytellers reveal visual biographies in the expression of their faces.