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American Woman, Italian StyleItalian Americana's Best Writings on Women$
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Carol Bonomo Albright and Christine Palamidessi Moore

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823231751

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823231751.001.0001

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“why, It's Mother”: the Italian Mothers' Clubs of New York

“why, It's Mother”: the Italian Mothers' Clubs of New York

(p.32) “why, It's Mother”: the Italian Mothers' Clubs of New York
American Woman, Italian Style

Carol Bonomo Jennngs

Christine Palamidessi Moore

Fordham University Press

The Italo-American Women's Club of Williamsburg staged a homegrown play entitled Why, It's Mother and was set in 1938 depicting the then gloomy situation of the first-generation female Italian immigrant. The establishment of Italian Mothers' Clubs was a short-lived twentieth century phenomenon. These clubs filled a need for many first-generation Italian immigrant women. To understand the development of Italian Mothers' Clubs, one must understand a woman's role in the family structure of southern Italy. Italian families were nuclear families headed by the father or eldest male. One's family also included one's in-laws, other nuclear families to whom one was related by marriage. Historians dealing with the Italian family also generally agree that Mezzogiorno culture was “patriarchal.” Italian Mothers' Clubs functioned for a brief time in New York, but in that time Italian women completed their transformation into Italian-American women.

Keywords:   first-generation, Italian immigrant, Mezzogiorno culture, Italian Mother's Clubs, Italian family, patriarchal, New York

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