Order Sons of Italy in America, Massachusetts Grand Lodge records
The Order Sons of Italy in America, Massachusetts Grand Lodge was chartered in 1914. Records (1918-1986) consist of local and national OSIA materials. Included are Supreme Convention records (1981-1983), OSIA Immigration and Naturalization Commission reports (1950s), and OSIA hymns (1916, 1943). Massachusetts Grand Lodge materials include minutes, correspondence, financial records, officer lists, local lodge charters, information on charities, photographs, motion picture films, microfilm, and copies of the Sons of Italy Magazine/News. Minutes include Grand Council minutes (1963-1987), and minutes of the Benefit Insurance Commission (1965-1986). Also included are convention materials (1940-1986), insurance records and death claims (1974-1980), financial ledgers and reports (1957-1985), credit union documents, per capita payment sheets, records of the Charitable and Educational Trust Fund (1970-1975), committee reports, correspondence with local lodges, local lodge charters (1931-1985), officers lists, and a history of OSIA Victor Emanuel Lodge No. 1646 (1918-1962).
- Order Sons of Italy in America. Massachusetts Grand Lodge. (Organization)
Language of Materials
Mainly in English; some items in Italian
Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room. However, selected files may be restricted and archivists will review each request for any possibly restricted information before providing access.
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The Massachusetts Grand Lodge was founded on January 25, 1914, the fifth state lodge chartered by OSIA. The original local lodge in the state, Ettore Fieramosca #60, was organized in 1910, the first of 231 lodges.
The Fondo Unico Mortuario, or Mortuary Fund, was organized in 1918 and offered a death benefit of $200. In 1935 this amount was increased to $500. By 1924 over 7,000 people were enrolled in this program. In addition, many of the local lodges offered sick benefits for breadwinners. In 1959 the Benefit Insurance plan was established as the grand lodge's own insurance company to replace the Mortuary Fund. It offers a variety of life insurance plans and is not based on the per capita assessment that characterized the older program.
During the 1930s the grand ldge raised funds for the Home for Italian Children and the Italian Red Cross. The Junior Division was organized in 1931 and over the next half a century founded 132 youth lodgesthroughout the state, most of them during the 1930s. This represened the most successful effort of any OSIA grand lodge. The total number of youth or junior lodges organized including those in Massachusetts, is approximately 366. Scholarships for college students have also been a long-standing activity of the Massachusetts OSIA.
During World War II the state lodge was active in the War Bonds program, and purchased $140,000 worth of bonds by mid-1942. The grand lodge was involved in the Supreme Lodge's successful effort to have the classification of "Enemy Aliens" removed from Italian aliens. OSIA members in the armed forced were exempted from dues and assessments of the grand lodges and the $500 death benefit was paid to the beneficiaries of those who died serving the country. Following the war the Order in massachusetts donated tons of food and clothing and over $75,000 for war-torn Italy.
In 1956 the grand lodge's membership reached its highest point with 22,000 members. The Order during the 1950s assumed a leadership role in raising funds for the Don Orione Home for the Aged and the Madonna Queen Shrine in Boston. Active in Charity work of all kinds, the Order in Massachusetts also provided relief to OSIA members who were victims of tornados, floods and fires. The establishment of the Charitable and Education Trust has provided an ongoing vehicle for funding charity causes.
The Massachusetts Grand Lodge office was located for many years in Boston's North End and is currently situated in Cambridge. With a membership of 18,000 it is now the second largest state lodge. Since 1928 the Grand Lodge has produced its own monthly publication. Il gazzettino was published from 1929 to 1931 when its title was changed to the Sons of Italy Magazine. Since 1966 the journal has been called the Sons of Italy News. Most issues of these publications are included in the Sons of Italy Archives, and they represent a rich source of detailed information about grand and local lodge activities.
Boston, Massachusetts has been the location of OSIA National Conventions in 1935, 1945, 1951, 1959 and 1973. Among the twenty-two men who have served as Supreme Venerable of the Order are four Massachusetts natives: Felix Forte (1940-1947), Joseph Gorrasi (1957-1961), Peter Gay (1973-197), and Aldo Caira (1981-1985).
35 Linear Feet
The collection is divided into eight series as follows: (1) Historical, (2) National, (3) State, (4) District, (5) Local, (6) Non-OSIA, (7) Photographs and (8) Artifacts. All records are in English except for an occasional document in Italian. The collection covers the period 1919 to 1987 while the bulk of records is for the years 1970 to 1985.
- Italian Americans -- Charities. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Italian Americans -- Massachusetts -- Societies, etc. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Italian Americans -- Music. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Inventory of the Order Sons of Italy in America, Massachusetts Grand Lodge records.
- IHRC Archives
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Finding Aid in English