Researcher Receives NMU Grant
Cristina Menghini decided to write her master’s thesis on Italian
immigration to the Copper Country, she found some valuable resources
at the Central U.P. and NMU Archives. Menghini had a chance to thoroughly
review the materials as the latest recipient of a Grace Magnaghi
research travel grant from NMU. She will give a campus presentation
based on her findings in April.
is a graduate student in industrial archaeology at Michigan Tech.
Her thesis topic combines her academic interest with her personal
interest in immigrants from her home country. She is a native of
Foligno, which is about a two-hour drive from Rome
immigrants came mainly from two places in Italy
,” Menghini said. “They organized
themselves into different societies. Many came here originally for
mining and several had farms. Later on, their business interests
expanded. The 1910 census showed that many Italians owned grocery
stores and saloons.”
discovered that there were about 3,000 Italians in the Copper Country
in 1900. The number increased by 1910, but took a hit by the next
census a decade later, primarily because of the 1913 miner’s strike.
several interviews, people talk about their parents moving to other
mining areas such as Pennsylvania
,” she added.
was able to find some Italian-language documents and newspapers
at the MTU archives, but she said the most valuable sources of information
came from Russell Magnaghi
used some of his material at the beginning of my research, and when
the opportunity for the travel grant surfaced, I was eager to apply,”
she said. “What I think is really nice is the oral interviews he
had from Houghton County
from the early 1980s. He also
found some documents in Calumet
, books of Italian mutual benefit
societies and names of Italian workers.
Magnaghi gave me notes he gathered during his research for his book
on Italians in Michigan ,
as well as tapes and transcripts from the oral interviews. He and
Marcus Robyns (Archives) helped me a lot – not
just in providing resources, but with arranging transportation,
accommodations and other things.”
explained why the research travel grant selection committee decided
to support Menghini’s project: “We agreed that the archives and
its collection could best serve her project. It is a competitive
selection process and it’s not that the other proposals weren’t
good projects. It’s just that this one was a better fit in terms
of the materials available to her.”
said she hopes to complete her thesis by May.