The 'Angelo Principe' Italian Canadian Newspaper Collection
In 2014, Angelo Principe donated his extensive newspaper and book collection to the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections at York University. During his decades-long research Dr. Principe gathered materials, many of which were entrusted to him for preservation by Italian Canadian activists from the first half of the twentieth century like Attilio Bortolotti and Benny Bottos. Some other materials were the result of Dr Principe’s archival research and fieldwork that allowed him to discover, for instance, the surviving documents belonging to Augusto Bersani, transnational political activist, facilitator and secret agent for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The ‘Angelo Principe Collection’ as it is now called, consisting of more than 110 cartons of materials, was received by Michael Moir, head of the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, where the invaluable documents have been organized, catalogued and professionally conserved.
The significance of this act of generosity cannot be overstressed. Especially now that a key part of the collection has been digitized, researchers and students of the experience of Italians in Canada are able to consult rare interwar Italian-language newspapers published in North America, in most cases titles and issues not available anywhere else. These include Il Bollettino Italo-Canadese, Il Cittadino Canadese, Il Giornale Italo-Canadese, Il Lavoratore, L’Araldo del Canada, L’Italia, L’Italia Nuova, L’Italo Canadese, L’Operaio Italo-Canadese, La Vittoria, La Voce degli Italo-Canadesi, and La Voce Operaia.
Dr Principe’s legacy for the study of the construction of the Italian Canadian identity and transcultural exchanges between the Old and the New World concretized in this online collection – which is the first of its kind for the Italian migrant press in North America – represents an invaluable research tool to be used and enjoyed by scholars and members of the community.
Angelo Principe was born in Delianuova (Reggio di Calabria, Italy) in 1930 and immigrated to Canada on March 21, 1957. He married in 1962 and had two children, Concetta and Cornelia, named after the Canadian hero Cornelia De Grassi.
An energetic political commentator, he published and edited La Parola and Forze Nuove, the latter being co-edited with Odoardo Di Santo and Elio Costa for a decade. All these periodicals supported the New Democratic Party (NDP), and Dr Principe was the NDP Candidate in the Davenport Riding.
Dr Principe earned his Ph.D., at the University of Toronto in 1989 with a thesis on The Concept of Italy in Canada and in Italian Canadian Writings from the Eve of Confederation to the Second World War. In his work, Dr Principe highlights the political and cultural roots of Italian Canadians in historical context. He has published extensively in the field and authored and co-authored monographs, collections and essays including Rekindling Faded Memories: The Founding of the Famee Furlane of Toronto and Its First Years (1933-1941) with Olga Z. Pugliese (Toronto: Famee Furlane, 1996), The Darkest Side of the Fascist Years (Toronto: Guernica, 1999), a comprehensive history of the Italian fascist press in Canada; Enemies Within: Italian and Other Internees in Canada and Abroad (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000) edited with Franca Iacovetta and Roberto Perin. Dr. Principe’s latest publications in the field of Italian Canadian Studies include 'Echi del Risorgimento nel Basso Canada e tra gli Italo-Canadesi: 1846-1875', Rassegna Storica del Risorgimento, 99. 3 (2012): 323-352; and the translation of five chapters of The Canadians in Italy 1943-1945 by Lt.-Col. G.W.L. Nicholson (1956), published in the Rivista di Studi Italiani (2015, pp. 1123-1379).
In Canada, Dr Principe worked at several jobs although he usually likes to mention only the first and last one. As a young immigrant, he sold bread from house to house, while his last occupation was as an instructor of Italian Cinema at York University and Erindale College (University of Toronto at Mississauga). He retired at the age of 70.
This digital repository was conceived, the research conducted and the metadata created by Dr Matteo Brera (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The research and digitization of the 'Angelo Principe' Collection were generously sponsored by
The Zorzi Family Italian Canadian Archival Fund
The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University