Italian immigrants came to America to follow their dreams and realize the Declaration of Independence’s promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” “La Famiglia: Their Pursuit of the American Dream” examines how these individuals adapted to life in a new world and serves as an educational resource for researchers focusing on Italian culture and the Italian-American immigrant’s experience. The United States offered immigrants an opportunity to belong to a socially just community that upheld the principles of equality and justice for all, even to the poorest of families. Utilizing documentation housed in The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) in New York City provides insight into the experience of Italian immigrants who left Italy in the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century to improve their lives and those of their families.
The Center for Migration Studies, a mission of the St. Charles Province of the Society of St. Charles-Scalabrinians, founded in 1887 to minister to immigrants in their new homes and while in transport, gradually accumulated a collection of books and various publications that were donated by closing parishes in New York City. By accumulating this treasure of archives, the Scalabrinians envisioned an outlet for scholars and students alike to access primary documents dealing with the immigrant experience. The preservation of these irreplaceable resources ensures that the Italian immigrant’s adoption of an American way of life while honoring their Italian heritage will remain accessible for generations to come.