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Order Sons of Italy in America, New York Grand Lodge records

Identifier: IHRC1907


The OSIA New York Grand Lodge collection comprises materials of national, state, and local groups, and non-OSIA groups and activities, as well as photographs and artifacts. National records (1959-1987) include material on the Supreme (National) conventions, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and materials relating to the Cassino Memorial Orphanage and the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. Correspondence and clippings relate to the nationwide OSIA campaign to obtain Anthony Casamento's Medal of Honor for his World War II service. State materials comprise the bulk of the New York collection, although records dating from the founding in 1911 to 1957 are virtually absent. Beginning in 1957, the records include correspondence of officers, lists of delegates to and minutes, brochures, and reports of conventions; minutes of the Grand Council, lists of officers, and records of committee activities.The District series records include lists of deputies acting as representatives of the Grand Venerable, and minutes of district meetings attended by the Venerables (presidents) of local lodges. The Districts are geographical divisions of areas such as New York which have a large number of local lodges. Local records (1957-1987) comprise lists of officers, correspondence, certificates concerning new Lodge installation, and local newsletters. Records of non-OSIA groups and activities contain a report on Italian Cultural Organizations in North America (1977).


  • Creation: 1955-1987


Language of Materials

Mainly in English; some 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.


New York City was the birthplace of OSIA in 1905, and the New York Grand Lodge was chartered on January 10, 1911, the first of twenty-two grand lodges in the Order. During the early years of this century it was the largest grand lodge; eventually 664 local lodges were formed in the state, more than any other. A death insurance fund was established in 1915, and a "Welfare Department" in the early 1920s ministered to the needs of the widows, orphans, the poor, and other needy persons. The grand lodge maintained a representative at Ellis Island to Assist immigrants, gave scholarships to Italian high school students, and contributed to relief efforts for Italy during and after World War I.

The New York Grand Lodge reached its zenith in 1925 when its members numbered 30,000. Four of the Order's first seven Supreme Venerables were from New York, including Dr. vincenzo Sellaro, the founder of the order. However, a dramatic schism occurred in 1925 that shook both the grand lodge and the entire national organization. led by the grand Venerable, State Senator Salvatore Cotillo, and Fiorello la Guardia, a large faction of the local lodges, upset by the Supreme Venerables's close relations with Mussolini's Italy, left the Order. This breach Seriously impeded OSIA during the pre-World War II years, but was finally healed in 1943 when the dissident group, the Sons of Italy Grand Lodge, Inc., rejoined OSIA. An earlier schism in 1908 occurred when Vincenzo Sellaro led the withdrawl of a group of New York City lodges out of the Order. Sellaro and several of the lodges made amends with OSIA and soon returned, but the other dissidents formed the Independent Order Sons of Italy, which grew to over 500 lodges in several states by 1926 and continued to function into the post World War II era.

During the 1930s the Grand Lodge made a concerted effort to attract the younger generation into its ranks and organized 41 junior lodges. While in earlier years it used Italian newspapers, such as Nuovo vessilo, as its official organ, the grand lodge began to publish its own paper, The Lion, in 1933, Ordine Nuovo in 1941, Il Bollettino from 1942 to 1951, and finally the Golden Lion from 1964 to 1987.

The grand Lodge of new York began a period of rapid growth in the 1960s and is today one of the largest grand lodges. It has been in the forefront of OSIA's eforts to uphold the image of Italian Americans via its committeeAgainst Bias, Bigotry and Prejudice and in more recent years, the State Chapter of the Commission of Social Justice. The grand lodge has established a Foundation, built a senior citizen housing complex, and set up headquarters on Long Island.


24.5 Linear Feet

Inventory of the Order Sons of Italy in America, New York 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