Faculty Contribute to Ethnic Book Series


Studying Italian immigration to the Copper Country (see related story above) is an easier task when someone else has laid much of the groundwork. Cristina Menghini benefited from related research conducted by Russell Magnaghi (History) in 1982-83.


He compiled more than 300 photographs, various artifacts, 250 oral interviews, documents and other materials on Italians in the Upper Peninsula . Magnaghi later expanded his focus to Lower Michigan. This led the editors of the ethnic book series, “Discovering the Peoples of Michigan,” to tap his expertise. Magnaghi contributed a volume titled, Italians in Michigan. It was released in 2001.


He has three more books in development for the series: Cornish in Michigan, which should be available in 2004; Sammarinese in Michigan, which explores immigrants from the Republic of San Marino, a 48-square-mile “nation” in northeastern Italy; and French in Michigan.


“The latter will be one of the few works dealing with the French who settled in Michigan, as opposed to the French Canadians,” Magnaghi said. “It is unique because the French are usually overlooked because so few came to the United States compared with other nationalities. I am having fun digging through research on this topic. I hope to have it published at the centennial of my grandparents’ arrival in the United States from southern France in 1903-04.”


Magnaghi was named associate editor for the book series in February. Four NMU colleagues have also been enlisted to help with the project. Dennis Badaczewski’s (Education) Poles in Michigan was released in 2002. Chet DeFonso (History) will write about the English and Welsh, Howard Nicholson (History) will focus on the Danes, and Rebecca Mead (History) will contribute a book on Swedish immigrants.




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Updated: April 23, 2004