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Order Sons of Italy in America - Joseph Gorrasi papers

Identifier: IHRC784


The Joseph Gorassi Order Sons of Italy in America collection (1926-1973) consists of Massachusetts Grand Lodge records including Grand Convention records (1926-1931, 1944, 1946-1962), miscellaneous copies of Grand Council minutes (1953-1973), "Sons of Italy Magazine" published by the Lodge (1931-1967), miscellaneous material relating to the Lodge during World War II, and transcripts of radio speeches (1939, 1941-1942). Also included are correspondence and reports pertaining to B'Nai Brith, use of the term "Mafia" by newspapers and magazines, the Grand Lodges of Quebec and Ontario, Canada, the television program "The Untouchables," columnist Walter Winchell, and newspaper clippings.


  • Creation: 1926-1973


Language of Materials

Mainly in English; some items in Italian


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.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRCA.


Joseph Gorrasi was born in Albanella, Salerno, Italy on Jul 5, 1901. He migrated with relatives to Woburn, Massachusetts in 1911. He attended public schools in that city and then Boston University, where he graduated with a law degree in 1924.

Active in civic life, Gorrasi was City Solicitor in Woburn for 18years. During World War II he was called upon to administer the Woburn Rationing Boad, for which he did not receive pay. He served as Associate Justice of the Boston Munucipal Court from 1963 until his retirement in 1972.

Gorrasi joined OSIA in 1925 as a member of medford Lodge #1359. Two years later he organized Woburn Lodge #1406 and became its fist venerable. At the grand lodge level he was a member of the Chairty Board, chairman of the OSIA Baseball League, and founder of the Sons of Italy Bowling League. Gorrasi was elected to Massachusetts Grand Lodge offices starting in 1929: Grand Orator (1929-1933), Assistant Grand Venerable (1933-1937), and Grand Venerable (1939-1946). He was also a state deputy and delegate.

At the national OSIA level Gorrasi served as Supreme Orator (1951-1953), Second Assistant Supreme Venerable (1953-1957), First Assistant Supreme Venerable (1957) and, finally, Supreme Venerable (1953-1957). As a member of the Supreme Council he served as the national chairman of OSIA's first nationwide membership campaign in 1956 and negotiated fraternal pacts with the Ontario and Quebec grand lodges in Canada. During his tenure as Supreme Venerable the Order's Public Relations Commission fought stereotypes of Italian in the print and electronic media, and the OSIA National Foundation was created.

In 1980 the Woburn Men's Lodge #1406 honored Gorrasi by changing the name lodge name to Joseph Gorrasi Lodge #1406. Joseph Gorrasi died on July 29, 1982.


2 Linear Feet


The collection is divided into six series as follows: 1) Biography, 2) National OSIA, 3) State OSIA, 4) Non-OSIA, 5) Newsclippings, and 6) Photographs. All records are in English except for an occasional document in Italian. The collection covers the period 1926 to 1987. The bulk of records is for the years 1941 to 1961.

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 in processing the material but drew heavily upon pre-existing groups.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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

Processing Information

This collection was processed by John Andreozzi, Sons of Italy Archives Project Coordinator in July 1988.

Inventory of the Order Sons of Italy in America - Joseph Gorrasi papers.
IHRC Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Immigration History Research Center Archives Collecting Area