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Order Sons of Italy in America, California Grand Lodge records

Identifier: IHRC1744


The Order Sons of Italy in America, California Grand Lodge, was founded in 1925. Records include California Grand Convention books (1956-1978); minutes (1949, 1964-1970); Grand Council minutes (1951-1959); and reports (1973-1978). Also included are an OSIA soccer club booklet (1977); a 10K "runathon" entrants' book and expense book (1979); Grand Lodge transfer cards (1957); Hospitalization Fund applications (1953-1959), along with payments (1968-1969); Grand Lodge membership applications (1929-1957); and materials relating to the mortuary fund.


  • Creation: 1929-1980


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.

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Biographical / Historical

The California Grand Lodge was founded on September 20, 1925, the sixteenth state lodge chartered by OSIA. The first local lodge in the state, Cristoforo Colombo #1149, was organized in 1922 in Fresno.

Alfonso Cubiccoitti is credited with initiating the movement to organize the grand lodge of California. Born in Salerno, Campania, he migrated to Pennsylvania and became active in Italian American affairs in Philadelphia. He became active in OSIA with his membership in Italia #77. In 1919 he moved to San Francisco, California and began to organize a lodge. In the process of doing so he was contacted by Italians in Fresno who then organized the Colombo Lodge #1149. Shortly later Vita Nuovo #1198 was formed in San Francisco by Cubiciotti, who then organized another ten lodges. With the creation of the grand lodge in 1925, he was regularly elected as Grand Recording Secretary until his death in 1940. Since 1922 147 local lodges and 12 youth lodges have been founded in California.

The California Grand Lodge established the Mortuary Fund in 1932 that paid a death benefit of $200. In 1941 this sum was raised to $250 and in 1951 to $500. meanwhile the Hospitalization Fund was created in 1949 to offer members benefits for hospital confinement. In 1979 the two funds were fused to create the Benefit Insurance Commission, and a private insurance company contracted to admninister the programs.

The grand lodge in 1957 erected a large building in San Francisco which served as a focal point of statewide activity. The athletic Committee, first instituted in 1940, has organized bowling, soccer, basketball, baseball, and bocci teams and leagues. The grand lodge has promoted the teaching of Italian at the University, high school, and elementary levels. In 1958 annual competitions for Italian language students in the high schools were organized. Three years earlier the Scholarship Committee was established to annually award a number of grants to high school graduates of Italian descent who have distinguished academic records. The California Grand Lodge has published two books on its history and created the office of State Historian in 1956.

In California the Order has been active in Columbus Day celebrations and for several years entered a float in the tournament of Roses Parade on behalf of the Supreme Lodge. The grand lodge has supposrted OSIA's relief efforts for victims of natural disasters, and in 1968 donated three ambulances to assist Sicilian earthquake victims.

The California Grand Lodge is one of the largest. In 1957 its membership of 9,063 made it the third largest state lodge, behind only Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. It grew to 13,027 members in 1969, 14,512 in 1977, and then declined to 13,087 in 1982. WIth the expansion of the New York Grand Lodge, California is now the fourth largest state lodge. Two Claifornians have been National President of the Order: Peter Bentoglio, 1965-1969, and Bruno Giuffrida, 1985-1987.

In 1928 wo members of the Order began a monthly publication entitled Il Leone and offered the grand lodge space for announcements. The following year the paper was discontinued and its publication assumed by the California Grand Lodge as its official organ. It has been published on a monthly basis since that time.


6.5 Linear Feet


The collection is organized into 8 series as follows: 1) National, 2) State, 3) District, 4) Local, 5) Non-OSIA, 6) Newsclippings, 7) Photographs, and 8) Artifacts. The time period covered by the collection is 1929 to 1986. Applications for membership in local lodges date from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The remainder of the colelction pertains mostly to the period 1965-1980.

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 the Grand Lodge of California in 1987-1988 by John Andreozzi, Sons of Italy Archives Project Coordinator.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Edward Tebbenhoff, manuscript processing assistant at the IHRC during June 1988. John Andreozzi and IHRC Curator Joel Wurl directed the project.

Inventory of the Order Sons of Italy in America, California Grand Lodge records.
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