Table runner from Giovanna “Jenny” DeLauro's hope chest
Table runner from the hope chest that belonged to Jenny DeLauro. Table runner consists of off white linen with decorative crocheted sections attached to left and right ends. Crocheted elements feature flowers and triangular shapes with pyramidal outer edges. Originally in left stack.
Donated to History Colorado by Theresa "Terri" DeLauro Meler. Terri inherited the piece from her great-grandfather (Giovanni “John” DeLauro) who kept it after his daughter (Giovanna “Jenny” DeLauro) died during the secondary wave of the 1918 influenza epidemic that spread across the United States beginning in 1923. According to donor, the chest has remained largely untouched since Jenny's death. ,
The DeLauro family’s American story began in Italy in 1884 with the birth of Giovanni “John” DeLauro. Seeking a better life, John came to America in 1902. A coal miner, he settled in Colorado, where in 1906 he married Rosa Florence Madonna in Fremont County. A short time later, daughter Giovanna “Jenny” was born in Berwind, Colorado, followed by Vincenzo “Jim” DeLauro in 1909. A Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (CF&I) coal camp, Berwind was named after Edward J. Berwind, the chairman of the board of CF&I. Established in 1888 and located not far from Trinidad, Berwind at its height had a population of around 1,000 with many living in some 200 miner's homes along Berwind Canyon.
Around 1910, the DeLauro family moved to Chandler in Fremont County, Colorado. Located near Canon City, in the early 1900s Chandler Mining established the Chandler coal camp. Here seven more children were born to John and Rosa: twins who died in infancy, Nick born in 1912, Rocco born in 1914, John Jr. born in 1917, Dominic born in 1920 and Mary born in 1921.
In 1922, the family moved to the town of Brookside, Colorado, also located in Fremont County. Here, John and Rosa purchased their own home. Two years later, daughter Jenny was engaged to be married. Sadly, Jenny died of influenza. Many recall the 1918 influenza pandemic, also known as the Spanish Flu, however many forget the secondary wave of the virus that spread across the United States beginning in 1923.
A look at the 1923 newspaper headlines quickly reveals the impact. On March 3, 1923 the Telluride Daily Journal reported ““Babe” Ruth Very Sick; suffering from Influenza.” On March 30, 1923, The Moffatt County Bell published “Take Precaution of the Flu,” reporting symptoms similar to a cold that developed into a high fever. The article went on to say stay away from crowded places and sick people, avoid the use of common towels, rest, get fresh air, keep sick children home, drink plenty of water and eat well. Despite precautions and medical aid influenza (and pneumonia) contributed to an increase in the American death rate in 1923 by nearly 13%. (History and Hope: Giovanna DeLauro, Andiamo!, April Community Story, Alisa DiGiacomo, 3/20/2020)