Exhibit | August 31, 2012

History of Italian-language American Imprints at the Grolier Club

The Grolier Club is pleased to present a groundbreaking examination of the legacy of Italian-language publishing in pre-war America.  Opening to the public on September 20, Strangers in a Strange Land will showcase a wide range of literary works that entertained, educated and inflamed an Italian-language audience during a period of critical historical development. Drawn from the collection of James J. Periconi, nearly 150 books, pamphlets, broadsides, photographs and documents will illuminate this little-known literary field, which wielded a lively social influence for generations.

The commonplace that all Italian immigrants to America immediately began to learn the English language, exclusively, for reading, writing and speaking is not entirely true. This exhibition provides a broad and representative sample of a once thriving Italian-language American book publishing industry that flourished in the U.S., especially in the fifty years before World War II, with its beginnings earlier in the nineteenth century. 
This industry created and reflected a vibrant national literary and political culture among a broad spectrum of permanent as well as transient Italians living and working in the United States. The publishers included the Società Libraria Italiana, or Italian Book Company (which published Bernardino Ciambelli, the Balzac or Zola of Mulberry Street) for imaginative literature; and numerous political presses, such as Libreria dei Lavoratori Industriali del Mondo (or I.W.W. press), and those that were mostly the publishing arms of anarchist or other radical newspapers, such as Luigi Galleani’s Cronaca Sovversiva press and Carlo Tresca’s Il Martello press.  

LOCATION AND TIME: Strangers in a Strange Land will be on view at the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, from September 20 - November 3, 2012. The exhibit will be open to the public free of charge, Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional information and directions are available at www.grolierclub.org.  

CATALOGUE: A fully-illustrated catalogue of Strangers in a Strange Land will be available at the Grolier Club. 


Sept. 11 -Nov. 17, 2012. In Pursuit of a Vision: Two Centuries of Collecting Americana at the American Antiquarian Society. 

Dec. 4, 2012 - Feb. 2, 2013. From Wunderkammer to Museum, 1599 - 1850
Visit the Grolier Club website: www.grolierclub.org