Simone Cinotto

Leonard Covello, la Collezione Covello e la storia alimentare degli immigrati italiani a New York

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


An emigrant to New York at a very early age from Avigliano in the Basilicata region, Leonard Covello (1887-1982) was a teacher, public "leader" and earnest student of the Italian-American community in East Harlem. Among other activities, Covello dedicated himself to collecting interviews and life-stories from immigrants and their children. The archive of his papers, which includes investigations, letters, written documents and minutes from associations, and photographs, represents a priceless documental patrimony when seeking to understand the moral world of Harlem's "Little Italy" in the interwar years. The author has used the Covello collection to examine the links between food culture and ethnic identity, and draws the conclusion that the strong links between food practices and "italianità" that existed in the community was not reflected by one single identity, but rather by the formation of multiple identities. This finding arises as a result of an in-depth analysis of three diverse perspectives: the first is the subjective one presented by Covello, in his capacity as creator and selector of archive material; the second is that resulting from the objective examination of the documents container in the collection; and the third comes from the voices of the immigrant men and women which continue to be heard by virtue of the "Covello Papers".

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