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Order Sons of Italy in America - Peter B. Gay papers

Identifier: IHRC765


The Peter B. Gay Order Sons of Italy in America Collection (1970-1986) consists of convention records, committee reports, officers' correspondence of the Supreme Lodge, materials pertaining to California, Nebraska, and New York Grand Lodges, Gay's speeches, press releases, and newspaper clippings. Bulk of the collection is from the period 1973-1975, when Gay was National President of OSIA.


  • Creation: 1970-1986


Language of Materials



Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

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Biographical / Historical

Peter B. Gay was born in Taunton, Massachusetts on July 13, 1915. His father, whose last name was originally spelled Gai, was born in the Piedmont and his mother in Marchie. In 1944 Gay married Laura Garda and the coule settled in Taunton where they raised seven children.

Peter Gay attended Taunton public schools; graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received his law degree from Boston University in 1939. Gay was the first man of Italian extraction from Taunton to become a member of the Massachusetts Bar and election to public office. In the same year he was a successful candidate for Tanton Municipal Council. He was inducted into the Army in 1942 while still a member of the Council. He was discharged from the service in 1945 and sought re-election to the Council in 1945 and 1947. Gay was elected President of the COuncil in 1947 and was sworn in as acting mayor for a period of four months n 1948. He served as a member of the Taunton Municipal Council for six years. He was admitted to practice before the Federal Courts and the Board of Immigration and Appeals in 1945 and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1964.

Peter Gay was a successful candidate in 1948 as Representative for the Fourth Bristol District Taunton, Massachusetts and held that post for ten years. DUring his reign as a Representative, Attorney Gay served on many legislative committees and was Chairman of the Committee on legal Affairs. He was appointed by several speakers of the House to various State Commissions and was cited by Massachusetts Taxpayers Association for his "attendence and efficient work as a legislator." One of his achievements was when he won approval to rename Route 138 from Boston to Fall River "Amvets Memorial Highway."

In 1959 Gay was appointed first assistant district attorney for the Southern District of Massachusetts. Over his thirty years as a practicing attorney he has been a member of the Board of Delegates of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Vice President and Executive Board of Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association and member of the Criminal Division of National District Attorney's Association.

Peter Gay began his career in OSIA in 1939 when he became a member of Giuseppe Garibaldi Lodge #540 in Taunton. During his first ten years he held the offices of Trustee, Orator, Assistant Venerable, Secretary, Venerable and Grand Delegate. At State conventions he was elected Supreme Delegate and has held that position from 1945 to 1975. He was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee during the reign of five different Grand Venerables. Gay was elected to Supreme lodge office and moved through a succession of positions to the national presidency. He served as Supreme Trustee, 1959-1963, Third Assistant Supreme Venerable, 1963-1965, Second Assistant Supreme Venerable, 1965-1969, First Assistant Supreme Venerable, 1969-1973, and, finally, Supreme Venerable, 1973-1975. He has continued to be active on the Supreme Council as an ex-Supreme Venerable.

Included in the list of legal, fraternal, civic and social organizations to which Gay has held membership is he Taunton Post of Amvets, Post 61, in which he was selected to fill the position of State Legislative Counsel for the Department of Massachusetts AMVETS; served as judge advocate and commander of Post 61; Knights of Columbus Taunton lodge of Elks; American Legion; Massachusetts Legislators Association; Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association; third Vice-President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Trial Lawyers Association; Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity; President of Mansfield Finance Company; past President and Treasurer of Bristol County Bar Association; past President of Taunton Bar Association; Board of Directors of Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association; five years a Vice-President of the Massachusetts Bar Association; a former Chairman of the March of Dimes and is presently a member of the Board of Directors; Director of the Taunton Savings Bank; and Secretary to the taunton Redevelopment Authority for twelve years. He was named "Man of the Year" for the City of aunton on February 7, 1971, on the occasion of the Fifteenth Annual Brotherhood Convocation in conjunction with the National conference of Christians and Jews marking Brotherhood Week.

Gay was an instructor for several years at Northeastern University where he taught criminal law and court procedures. he has co-authored with Richard H. Prunier books entitled "Policemen and the Accused" and supplement theret; in 1967 he and Mr. Prunier compiled the 'Massachusetts Forms of Indictments and Complaints," in 1968 and "addendum" to the above book and also a booklet entitled "Drug Abuse," in 1969 they combined the three books with the most recent changes. He has lectured at the following places: Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association, Boston, Mass.: NVP Conferences First Circuit; National American Law Student Association; St. John's University, New York; Bristol Country Police Academy; Panelist on Massachusetts Bar Association; Bristol County Legal Secretaries; and police academies.


3 Linear Feet


The collection is divided into eight series as follows: 10 Biographical, 2) National OSIA, 30 Regional OSIA, 40 State OSIA, 5) Local OSIA, 6) Non-OSIA, 7) Newsclippings and 8) Photographs. All records are in English. The collection covers the period 1939 to 1987. The bulk of records is for the years 1972 to 1983.

The original arrangement of the files at the time of their transfer to the IHRC has been largely maintained. Series and subseries categories were artificially established in processing the material but drew heavily upon pre-existing groups.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired from Peter Gay in 1987 by John Andreozzi, Sons of Italy Archives Project Coordinator.

Processing Information

John Andreozzi, Sons of Italy Archives Project Coordinator, processed the documents in 1988.

IHRC Archives
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

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