Victor Alfieri Society 206 No. Main Ave. Scranton, PA. 18504
Preserving and Celebrating Our Italian Heritage
VICTOR ALFIERI POLO SHIRTS & FLEECE JACKETS
Hi Performance polo shirts with club logo are now available in assorted colors for only $25.00 each. Stop by the club to see these great shirts and order yours today!!!!! Beautiful fleece jackets are now available with club logo. For more information call A.J.Palazari at 840-6319
Organized on March 11, 1911, the Victor Alfieri Literary Society was formed to help young Italian men meet fellow immigrants to help each other find jobs and adjust to American ways. The founders also agreed that the social club should have an Italian name to attract the young immigrants. So it was named after Vittorio Alfieri, a popular playwright and poet who lived in Italy from 1749 to 1803.
But, in accord with Americanizing the club’s members, the writer’s Italian name was anglicized to “Victor."
Mr. Alfieri was born into an aristocratic family in the Piedmont area of Italy, where French was the language of Italian nobility. At 17, he inherited his family’s fortune and traveled through Europe. Upon his return, he began writing tragic dramas and patriotic poems. But there were many dialects in Italy so he moved to Florence to study Italian literature and use that pure Italian language in his works.
Is it a coincidence that Mr. Alfieri had language and cultural problems that he had to solve and, over 125 years later, young Italian immigrants in Scranton, PA. had language and cultural problems they had to master to be Americanized? Perhaps that’s the reason founders of the club named it the Victor Alfieri Literary Society.
In any case, Mr. Alfieri’s move to Florence did wonders for his career. Using the purer Italian he learned in Florence, he wrote 19 tragic dramas in 13 years.
Mr. Alfieri hated tyranny and loved human rights. America’s revolution against England excited him, moving him to write five odes celebrating America’s independence. The works helped arouse a spirit of nationalism in Italy.
The club here was originally for unmarried males in need of Americanizing. But, in the later years, when the population of young male immigrants shrank, married Italian men were admitted.
Good citizenship was stressed above all. English was taught by a priest from St. Lucy’s Church. Tutoring was offered to help struggling students. To sharpen language skills, professors were hired to coach debating teams. Bands and singing groups mixed Italian with American music. Traveling Italian speakers were hired for summer outings. Plays in English and Italian were produced. Male actors were plentiful but women were shy so actresses from New York sometimes were hired. Dances and other social outings were numerous. Fancy full-dress balls were held a few times a year. Groups from the society participated in parades and other American celebrations. Sports events drew large crowds. In particular, the club’s baseball and bowling teams excelled. And, to justify its status as a literary society, English and Italian literary works were made available at the club.
During World War I, the club suspended activities to support America’s war efforts. By the time World War II broke out, most members were citizens and many joined the military.
Turning Italian immigrants into Americans was the original mission of the society. And it did that well. There is no longer a need for that. Nonetheless, the society, currently headed by Joseph DeAntona, continues to function with over 500 members, all of Italian descent or married to Italian women.
The society hosts a pasta lunch the last Thursday of the month. Check the Upcoming Events section for more details regarding upcoming functions.
FIRST FLOOR RENOVATION UPDATE!!!!!
The first floor renovation project is just about complete. if you have not seen it yet, stop by and take a look at it. It truly is a first class club room. however, all of renovations still have to be paid for, so if you did not make your donation yet please consider making one to help defray the costs of the project.