Physical description: Interview with three women that grew up together in Denver's Little Italy and surrounding area. See attached index for additional information.
Original on two audiotape cassettes in cases. Cassette 1, side A has a length of 31 minutes, 50 seconds. Cassette 1,side B has a length of 31 minutes, 50 seconds. Cassette 2, side A has a length of 31 minutes, 52 seconds. Cassette 2, side B has a length of 15 minutes, 59 seconds. Transferred to one mp3 file for access. Clip of access file attached. Full digital version available on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/historycolorado/peggy-england-fran-sawyer-and-donna-rothe-oral-history-ciapaoh056
In 2002, the Colorado Historical Society (now known as History Colorado) founded the Colorado Italian American Preservation Association (CIAPA). A volunteer organization, CIAPA’s mission is to work collaboratively with the Society and other organizations to develop, support and coordinate projects that preserve, promote and celebrate Italian American culture and heritage. Since 2002, CIAPA has carried out its mission by meeting with people from the Colorado Italian American community, recording their stories and creating an archive of research materials that includes oral histories, photographs, moving images, sound recordings and artifacts. To date, CIAPA has helped the Society acquire over 200 oral histories, 600 artifacts and nearly 6,000 photographs. Since 2002, CIAPA has developed over 4,000 research files, all of which document the history, culture and traditions of Italian American families in Colorado.
This interview was conducted on June 19, 2003 at the home of Fran Sawyer. The interviewees were Fran Sawyer, Peggy England, and Donna Rothe, interviewed by History Colorado staff member Alisa Zahller. The interview begins with the three interviewees briefly outlining when their families, mostly through their grandparents, first arrived to the United States from Italy. Their families largely arrived in the early 1900s; Peggy’s family became farmers in Welby, while Donna’s had a boarding house business. All of the interviewees went to North High School, and had remained friends for over fifty years after graduating in the 1950s. Much of the interview involves the women recalling their experiences of friendship throughout their high school years, and the various family and community structures they were part of growing up. The three women also recall various Italian traditions they experienced growing up, including Catholic beliefs, marriage expectations, visiting extended family, and family hierarchy and leadership.
The last half of the interview focuses extensively on the women’s views on issues such as familial roles, work, women’s rights, and technological change, and how all these things compare between their time starting their own families, and today. Much of this includes discussion of their work at a telephone company, the feminist movement of the 1970s, their families during childhood and after marriage, and what they think present American society should learn from the close-knit Italian community of their youth.
See MSS.02595 Peggy England, Fran Sawyer, and Donna Rothe files for additional information and images.