Guide to the Italian Nationality Room Committee Records, 1927-2001, UA.40.14

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Italian Nationality Room Committee Records
Creator
University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Italian Nationality Room Committee.
Collection Number
UA.40.14
Date
1927-2001
Extent
4.0 linear feet (4 boxes)
Abstract
In 1927, the Italian community in Allegheny County was one of the first approached with the idea of designing a room to honor their heritage in the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. After years of fundraising and planning, the room was presented to the university on December 11, 1940, and was formally dedicated on May 14, 1949. This collection contains documents and photographs regarding the creation, funding and dedication of the Italian Nationality Room.

Preferred Citation

Italian Nationality Room Committee Records, 1927-2001, UA.40.14, University Archives, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System.

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History

In 1927, the Italian community in Allegheny County was one of the first approached with the idea of designing a room to honor their heritage in the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, which had just begun construction. Dr. Charles J. Barone of the School of Medicine was elected the first chair of the Men’s Committee. He was succeeded by William Ortale in 1930 and Salvatore Sunseri in 1938. Mrs. Samuel Molinaro chaired the Women’s Committee.

Due to the outbreak of the Second World War, artists were unable to travel from Italy to complete their work in the classroom, and so the committee presented the incomplete room to the university in a small ceremony on December 11, 1940. The university was also in need for instruction space to train military cadets, and so the room opened for use without a dedication ceremony or extensive programming. In 1946, the room committee was reactivated with John S. Aldisert as chair. In 1948, painter Giovanni Romagnoli arrived in Pittsburgh to oversee the completion of the room’s decoration, including his painting of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia. The Italian Room was formally dedicated on May 14, 1949.

The idea to design the room as a fifteenth century Tuscan monastery originated with Margherita Chiari Langer. Ezio Cerpi, who oversaw ancient monuments and medieval art in Tuscany, completed the architectural drawings. Lorenzo Romanelli designed the furnishings in the room. Within the room are tributes to the Italian Renaissance and many of its notable participants, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Dante Alighieri and Galileo Galilei.

Since 1958, the Italian Room Committee has offered a scholarship for students to study abroad in Italy.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Italian National Room Committee Collection contains documents and photographs regarding the creation, funding and dedication of the Italian Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning. These records mostly comprise material from 1927 to 1941 when the committee presented the room to the university; however, there is also correspondence and publicity material about the Italian Room Committee once it was reactivated in 1946 through 2001.

A majority of the documents consist of correspondence from various members of the Italian Room Committee, Director of the Nationality Room Program Ruth Crawford Mitchell, and the room’s architect and designers. The collection also contains committee meeting minutes; donation records and financial statements; materials related to Italian Room Committee scholarships and study abroad programs; and publicity material such as newspaper clippings, advertisements, fundraising invitations, event programs, and newsletters. Also included are running memos, which provide a brief chronological summary of committee activities as well as room construction and maintenance, and architectural and decorative designs and sketches. Photographs of the room, committee, and dedication ceremony are also present.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, February 2019

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the Nationality Rooms Program office in 1968 and 2014.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Samuel Alten in February 2019.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Nationality Rooms (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Italian Nationality Room Committee.
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program.
  • University of Pittsburgh.

Personal Name(s)

  • Cerpi, Ezio
  • Romagnolia, Giovanni
  • Romanelli, Lorenzo

Subject(s)

  • Classrooms -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Italian Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- History
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

  BoxVolume
Running Memos, 1927-1941 11

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  Folder
Running Memos, 1931-1956 1

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  Folder
Running Memos, 1966-1968 2

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  Folder
Committee Meeting Minutes, handwritten, 1927-1928 3

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  Volume
Committee Meeting Minutes, 1927-1940 1

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  Folder
Committee Meeting Minutes, 1949-1958 4

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  Volume
Committee Financial Statements, 1931-1941 1

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  Folder
Lists of Donors, 1934-1939 5

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1928-1933 6

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1935-1940 7

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  Folder
Correspondence with Giovanni Romagnolia, 1936-1948 8

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  Folder
Correspondence with Mrs. Margherita Heinz Langer, 1947-1948 9

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1927-1933 10

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1934-1941 11

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1949-1959 12

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1960-1969 13

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1970-1976 14

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1977-1981 15

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1982-1984 16

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  Folder
Membership Correspondence, 1958-1959 17

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  Folder
Membership Correspondence, 1960-1967 18

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  Folder
Membership Correspondence, 1982-1984 19

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  Folder
Membership Correspondence, 1985-1987 20

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  Folder
Membership Correspondence, 1995-1997 21

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  Folder
Membership Correspondence, 1998-2001 22

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  Folder
Committee Members, 1963-1969 23

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  Folder
History of the Committee for the Italian Classroom 24

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  Folder
Description of the Italian Room 25

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  Folder
Italian Classroom Maintenance Handbook, 1947 26

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  Folder
Newspaper Clippings, 1927-1941 27

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  Folder
Publicity, 1928-1939 28

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  BoxFolder
Nativity Tableaux, 1933 21

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  Folder
Grand Benefit Ball, November 28, 1939 2

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  Folder
Italian Classroom Dedication, May 14, 1949 3

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  Folder
Publicity, 1955-1979 4

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  Folder
Presentation Ceremony for Ruth Crawford Mitchell Receiving the Stella della Solidarieta' Italiana, 1957-1958 5

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  Folder
Publicity, 1980-1986 6

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  Folder
Publicity, 1996-1999 7

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  Folder
Italian Club, 1935-1941 8

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  Folder
Italian Club, Student Participation, 1949 9

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  Folder
Italian Club Newsletters, 1982-1984 10

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  Folder
Italian Room Scholarships and Study Abroad, 1959-1989 11-13

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  BoxFolder
Photographs of the Italian Classroom, 1941-1949 31

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  Folder
Photographs of the Dedication of the Italian Classroom, May 14, 1949 2

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  Folder
Photographs of Room Events and Use, 1935-1957 3

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  Box
Original Archives Boxes 4

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