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Order Sons of Italy in America, Ohio Grand Lodge records

Identifier: IHRC1941


The Order Sons of Italy in America, Ohio Grand Lodge was founded in 1915. Records (1921-1987) includes Grand Convention minutes and reports (1931-1932, 1937-1939, 1947-1981), booklets (1939, 1963, 1967, 1971-1975, 1981-1983), Grand Council minutes (1929-1941), miscellaneous correspondence (1930-1952), membership rosters, applications, per capita reports (1957-1973), award, banquet and other program books, General Laws (1926), checkreceipts (1959-1977), the NOI Monthly Magazine of Ohio Grand Lodge (1938), a booklet on "Italy in World War I," typescripts of Grand and local lodge histories, OHIO OSIA News Monthly 91959-1964), a newsletters and reports of the Ohio Commission for Social Justice (1985-1987). Also included are Supreme Convention books (1963, 1981), reports and correspondence of the Immigration and Naturalization Committee (1958-1960), miscellaneous birth certificates from Italy, Italian Festival booklets (1980-1985), OSIA officer directories (1961-1963, 1975-1977), miscellaneous program booklets, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.


  • 1921-1987


Language of Materials

English and 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.

Biographical / Historical

The Ohio Grand Lodge was organized on May 16, 1915, the sixth state lodge chartered by the Order Sons of Italy in America. The first local lodge in the state, Guglielmo Marconi #147, was organizaed in Cleveland in 1915. SInce that time, another 119 lodges and 42 junior lodges have been chartered in Ohio.

In 1916 the Ohio Grand Lodge created a Mortuary Fund, which had 5,098 subscribers and capital of $20,736 in 1924. The original death benefit of $300 eventually was increased to $1,000. Following World War I the state lodge was active in supporting the Italian Red Cross and giving relief funds for refugees and those wounded during the war. In 1919 the lodge honored the 332d Regiment of the U.S. Army, which was from Ohio and had fought on the Italian Front. The Ohio Grand Lodge also organized cultural activities; gave money to student scholarship funds; and, in Cleveland and Youngstown, sponsored Italian schools.

These activities occurred under the leadership of Dr. Giovanni Barricelli, who was Grand Venerable from 1917 to 1924. Referred to as "The Father of the Order in Ohio," Barricelli travelled throughout the state organizing lodges. By the end of 1924 some 57 lodges had been established. During his tenure the 500th birthday of Dante was celebrated by the Grand Lodge before an audience of 20,000 people: and 15,000 copies of the lecture, "Opuscoli Danteschi," were distributed to public schools in Cleveland.

A grand lodge building that included meeting rooms and a library was constructed and inaugurated with great ceremony in 1935. While much of the labor of the Italian American construction workers was donated, the $125,000 spent on the building did deplete the lodge's treasury. This, plus the general financial hardships of the Depression, caused a drop in membership and activities.

Under the leadership of Grand Venerables Giuseppe Cherubini, 1935-1939, and Ben Marconi, 1941-1951, the state lodge gradually rebuilt. In 1940 the Mortuary Fund was replaced by an insurance system based on actuarial practices. The building in Cleveland was sold several years later and the proceeds used to rebuild the treasury. Following World War II, activities at both the grand and local level increased. In 1957 OSIA membership in the state stood at 3,769, then dropped in the 1960s and early 1970s. By 1977 the membership had risen to 3,130 and in 1982, to 3,201.

The Ohio Grand Lodge has intermittently published newsletters since 1937, and in 1974 it began printing a newspaper, The Lion's Roar.


14.5 linear inches


The collection is organized into eight series as follows: 1) Historical; 2) National; 3) State; 4) District; 5) Local; 6)Non-OSIA; 7) Newsclippings; and 8) Photographs. Documents date from 1923 to 1987, although the overwhelming majority concentrate on the period 1945-1975.

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 preexisting groupings.

Processing Information

The Collection was acquired from the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1987-1988 by John Andreozzi, Sons of Italy Archives Project Coordinator. The collection was processed by Edward Tebbenhoff, manuscript processing assistant at the IHRC during May and June of 1988. John Andreozzi and IHRC Curator Joel Wurl directed the project. IHRC Archives student assistant Anna Peter reformatted the finding aid in 2017.

Inventory of the Order Sons of Italy in America, Ohio 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