About Us



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. also 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.