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'The Journey of the Italians in America'

'The Journey of the Italians in America'

Anew book "The Journey of the Italians in America" by Vincenza Scarpaci, chronicles the contributions of Italians in this country since the late 1870s.

Scarpaci will be in Southern Oregon to talk about her book at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22, at Antiquarium Books and Antiques, 297 E. Main St., Ashland.

Scarpaci will talk about the large number of Italian-Americans in Chiloquin, Weed and Mount Shasta and why they came. There will be an Italian accordionist at the event who will invite guests to sing Italian songs like "Volare" and "That's Amore." Italian antipasti and wine will be served.

Thomas Jefferson adapted the classic Italian architecture of Andrea Palladio in designing his home and the University of Virginia. He discussed agronomy and political philosophy with his neighbor, the Italian-trained physician and merchant Philip Mazzei.

He signed the Declaration of Independence along with William Paca of Maryland and invited Italian musicians to join the United States Marine Band in Washington, D.C.

Since that time, millions of Italians have immigrated to the United States. They brought with them a distinct set of beliefs, traditions and customs that have been passed down through generations.

Examining more than 400 photographs of Italian families, settlements, businesses, and celebrities, Scarpaci celebrates the ways in which Italians have influenced many aspects of American life, including arts, agriculture, industry, religion, cuisine, sports, and politics.

Her 350-page book documents how the immigrants and their descendants faced the hardships, disappointments, achievements and successes of their lives in their new country.

As much a history of Italian influence on America, "The Journey of the Italians in America" also is a history of American influence on Italians. Scarpaci uses the photographs as an occasion for telling the stories of individuals and their contributions.

Brooklyn native Scarpaci is a writer and teacher. She graduated from Hofstra University in New York in 1961 with a bachelor of arts degree in history and obtained her Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University in 1972.

Scarpaci has worked as a consultant, grant writer and volunteer coordinator in addition to her university teaching. Her work has been published in journals and encyclopedias. She lives in Eugene.

Call 488-1615.

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