The Italian Diaspora Archive Resource Map Project



The Italian Diaspora Archive Resource Map project has concluded its work as a World History Center Working Group for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Working Group’s aim was to explore collaborative networks around—and innovative digital approaches to—cataloguing the wealth of archival materials relating to the Italian diasporic experience. 

Most immediately, the Archive Resource Map project will identify, catalogue, and map archival materials present in the PA-WV-OH region, as well as the scholarly projects that emerge from their analysis. The ultimate goal of this mapping is to render both primary and secondary materials on the Italian diaspora more accessible to students and researchers of all kinds beyond this tri-state area; eventually the conveners seek to identify national and international collaborators for this project to further raise these resources’ profile and accessibility.

This Working Group met remotely (on Zoom) throughout the fall semester, inviting informants and potential collaborators to discuss their own related work. 

During the Fall 2020 semester, the Italian Diaspora Working Group was able to hold a total of two fullgroup meetings (11 attendees each) and 4 additional meetings of the convening group. The group was able to leverage their virtual reality by creating regionally-based (Mahoning Valley, West Virginia, and Southwestern PA) sub-groups that proceeded with their work through the Fall semester.

The conveners expect that the Working Group will be able to achieve enough demonstrable progress in their work to form a roundtable or even a workshop at the Italian American Studies Association’s Pittsburgh conference, now postponed to October 2022. 

Of the working group, conveneing member Lina Insana said, “The World History Center’s Working Group framework has really given us the necessary structure to maintain momentum in this project, despite the considerable challenges to participants regardless of their institutional affiliation—museums, academia, archives and libraries.” 

Members of the Italian Diaspora Archive Resource Map Working Group include:


Nancy Caronia, Teaching Associate Professor of English, WVU

Lina Insana, Associate Professor of Italian, U of Pittsburgh

Melissa E. Marinaro, Director, Italian American Program, Heinz History Center


Other Members:

Donna DiBlasio, Professor Emerita of History, Youngstown SU

Hal Gorby, Teaching Assistant Professor of History, WVU

Sierra Green, Archivist, Detre Library and Archives, Heinz History Center

David Grinnell, Coordinator of Archives and Manuscripts, U of Pittsburgh University Library System

Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director and Assistant University Librarian, WV and Regional History Center

Francene Kirk, Interim Director, Frank and Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center, Fairmont SU

Martha Pallante, Professor of History, Youngstown SU

Chris Rutushin, Archivist, Mahoning Valley Historical Society

Carla Simonini, Director of Italian American Studies, Loyola University Chicago


Image from Andrea Mazzotti Papers and Photographs, c1913-1947, MSS 1077, Detre Library and Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center