Series List and Summary Descriptions


Series 1 Offers Of Work

The records in this series relate to the work undertaken by Mrs Santospirito, as President of the Archbishop’s Committee for Italian Relief, to find employment for Italian migrants. They consist of inward and outward correspondence with prospective employers. Mrs Santospirito sought to place migrants both with private individuals as gardeners or doing odd-jobs, as well as with large companies such as the Melbourne Metropolitan Tramways Board and General Motors Holden. Migrants travelled as far as Barmera, South Australia and Lismore, in Northern New South Wales to work in positions lined up by Lena Santospirito.

There are copies of press advertisements placed by the Archbishop’s Committee in the ‘Situations Wanted’ columns on behalf of Italian men. It also contains Mrs Santospirito’s notebooks in which she recorded details of all ‘offerte di lavoro’, such as names, phone numbers, addresses, instructions on how to find the employer’s house, skills and qualifications required.

In general, the Archbishop’s Committee worked for unassisted migrants (the majority of post-war migrants to Australia), as the Italian Consulate had established a separate organisation in 1952 for assisted migrants. The Welfare Committee for Italian Assisted Migrants was headed by Mrs Lena Cincotta, who took over the presidency of the Archbishop’s Committee from Mrs Santospirito in 1955. From the records in this series, it is evident that during the peak period of unemployment (1952-53), Mrs Santospirito attempted to find employment for assisted migrants also.

Please note the related series.

Date Range: 1952 - 1953   Quantity: 46 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 2 Family Correspondence and Private Business

This series contains miscellaneous correspondence relating to private business. It contains two letters to ‘Zia Bartolina’ (presumably Mrs Santospirito’s mother, Bartolina Virgona) from Maria Concetta Pittorino.

Date Range: 1946? - 1952?   Quantity: 3 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 3 Presentation to Fr Carlo di Matteo

The records in this series relate to a Presentation to Fr Carlo di Matteo, a Capuchin priest who worked with the Italian community from 1949 to 1953. The presentation was made at the Debutante Return Ball at Fitzroy Town Hall on 18 August 1953. The records consist of invitations and RSVPs.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1953   Quantity: 10 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 4 Coronation Debutante Ball and Return Ball 1953 (Expenditures)

The records in this series relate to the organisation of the Grand Coronation Ball on 12 May 1953 at St Kilda Town Hall, and the Return Ball on 18 August 1953 at Fitzroy Town Hall. The series comprises records including accounts, receipts, floorplans, licensing permits and proposed menus.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1953   Quantity: 9 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 5 Coronation Debutante Ball Correspondence

This series consists of correspondence and other documents relating to the Grand Coronation Ball held on 12 May 1953 at St Kilda Town Hall. The first debutante ball organised by the Archbishop’s Committee (particularly Mrs Santospirito and Mrs Lena Cincotta) was held in 1946. In 1953, the debutantes were presented to Mrs Santospirito, Capuchin priest Fr Carlo di Matteo and Dr Bellini, the Italian Vice Consul. The records comprise RSVPs, notes re ticketing, lists of debutantes, speech notes.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1953   Quantity: 12 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 6 Return Debutante Ball Correspondence

This series contains correspondence and other documents relating to the Return Debutante Ball held on 18 August 1953 at Fitzroy Town Hall. The records consist of RSVPs and other miscellaneous documents, such as the list of the Guard of Honour for the Official Party.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1953   Quantity: 13 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 7 Romola Costantino Concert Correspondence

This series relates to a piano recital organised by Mrs Santospirito, the proceeds of which went to the Archbishop’s Committee. The recital was given by Romola Costantino, the daughter of Mr N. Costantino from the Italian Legation in Sydney, at Assembly Hall in Collins Street, Melbourne, on 28 November 1950.

The series contains inward and outward correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Mr Costantino, the recital programme, advertisements placed in the Argus and Age, notes on expenditure and takings and other documents relating to the organisation of this function.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1950 - 1951   Quantity: 32 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 8 Romola Costantino Concert, Booking Plan, Programs etc

This series contains further documents relating to the piano recital on 28 November 1950 (see Series 7). Records include the booking plan, mock-ups of the programme, draft ads for Lloyd Triestino, the shipping company that placed an advertisement in the program, and posters advertising the concert.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1950   Quantity: 5 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 9 Displaced Persons

This series contains correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Emilio Samblich.

Date Range: 1951? - 1952?   Quantity: 4 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 10 Antonio Santospirito

This series comprises various documents relating to Mrs Santospirito’s husband, Antonio. It includes letters from Fr Modotti to Mr Santospirito thanking him for his donation to St Vincent’s Hospital in 1941, correspondence relating to a guarantee given by Antonio for a prospective migrant from Italy and applications made by Mr Santospirito for the admission to Australia of various people in 1949-1950.

Date Range: 1941 - 1952   Quantity: 5 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 11 Landing Permits and Supporting Documents

The records in this series relate to Mrs Santospirito’s dealings with the Department of Immigration. She was approached by many people experiencing difficulties with immigration matters to make representations to the authorities on their behalf.

The records consist of inward and outward correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and the Department of Immigration and Commonwealth Migration Officer. Many letters provide information about the personal details of prospective migrants, including information about their family members, employment situation, etc.

This series also includes copies of typical documents required for an application for admission to Australia, including birth certificates, forms such as Maintenance Guarantees, Form 40’s Application for Admission of Relative or Friend to Australia and Application for Naturalisation as an Australian Citizen.

The series also includes applications to the Department of Immigration made personally by Mrs Santospirito on behalf of various people in Italy.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1947 - 1960   Quantity: 124 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 12 Landing Permits - Arthur Calwell

Arthur Augustus Calwell (1896-1973) was the Federal Member for Melbourne from 1940 to 1972. Calwell was a devout Catholic and close associate of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, as well as a friend to the Santospirito family. He was an outspoken advocate for the Italian community from the time of the internments in World War Two and was the Chairman of the Aliens Classification and Advisory Committee from 1943.

Calwell became Australia’s first Minister for Immigration in 1945 and was the architect of the post-war mass immigration program. Mrs Santospirito frequently sought Calwell’s assistance with the cases of Italian migrants. Calwell made numerous personal representations to the Department of Immigration on behalf of people referred to him by Mrs Santospirito. He continued to help Mrs Santospirito in her dealings with the Department following the defeat of the Curtin Labor Government in 1949.

This series contains copies of correspondence between Calwell and Tasman Heyes, the first Secretary of the Department of Immigration. It also contains correspondence between Calwell and Mrs Santospirito.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1946 - 1961   Quantity: 123 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 13 Miscellaneous - Don Marino Postcards - Bishop of Lipari Visit

This series comprises various unrelated groups of records which were not originally filed together. The postcards from Don Marino di Benedetto, Chaplain of the ship ‘Oceania’, date from 1955-1957.

It also contains documents relating to the visit to Australia by the Bishop of Lipari, the Most Rev. Bernadino Salvatore Re in August 1951. The Bishop came to Australia at the invitation of the Aeolian Islands community. (In the early 1950s, there were 5,000 people in Victoria of Aeolian Islands origin, and 10,000 in Australia.) Festivities to mark the occasion were organised by the Archbishop’s Committee and the Societa Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands Club). The series contains correspondence between the Bishop of Lipari and Mrs Santospirito and Fr Carlo di Matteo, a newspaper article by Peter Russo, RSVPs, and the program for the concert held for the Bishop on 19 August 1951 at Cathedral Hall, Fitzroy.

Mrs Santospirito’s original recordkeeping system had a file for Don Marino di Benedetto in Cassetto A (file no 29A) and for the Bishop of Lipari in Cassetto D (file no 10).

Date Range: 1951? - 1957?   Quantity: 37 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 14 Rosary Crusade of Fr Patrick Peyton

The Rev Patrick Peyton, CSC, was the Director of ‘Family Rosary Incorporated’, which had offices in New York, Hollywood and Kansas City. His Family Rosary Crusades and Prayer Rallies took place in many countries in the 1950s, and he visited Australia twice to spread his message that ‘The family that prays together, stays together’.

This series comprises literature produced by Family Rosary Inc and correspondence related to Fr Peyton’s work and his visits to Australia. Around 1954, Mrs Santospirito arranged for Family Rosary Inc’s Handbook for Priests to be translated into Italian by Fr Modotti. Folder 14.3 contains Fr Modotti’s draft translations.

These records were originally File No 3 in Cassetto A.

Date Range: 1954? - 1959?   Quantity: 29 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 15 Fr Modotti

Fr Ugo Modotti, a Jesuit priest originally from Udine, came to Victoria in 1938 to be the Chaplain to the Italian Community. He was based at St Ignatius Church in Richmond, like his predecessor, Fr Vincenzo di Francesco (who was at St Ignatius from 1920-1934).

Fr Modotti was most active in Melbourne’s Italian community, but also travelled to other settlements throughout Victoria. In addition to his religious work, he published a journal in Italian, L’Angelo della Famiglia (The Angel of the Family) and organised many cultural events, including plays and lectures on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Fr Modotti was actually arrested in June 1940 when the Commonwealth Government interned many Italian ‘enemy aliens’. Australian security services suspected Modotti was an ‘ardent fascist’, however he was soon released after the intervention of Archbishop Daniel Mannix.

Mannix was instrumental in the founding of the Archbishop’s Committee for Italian Relief in June 1940, to assist people affected by internment and unemployment. Mrs Santospirito was a member of the original committee in 1940.

Modotti left Australia in 1946 and did not return, despite the protestations and appeals of the Italian community in Victoria. After working for a short while on Vatican Radio, Modotti then spent time as a Trappist monk at Tre Fontane near Rome and later became a hermit at Camaldoli in northern Italy. In 1959, Modotti was sent to the United States to found the first contemplative hermitage of New Camaldoli in California. Modotti left the Camalodese in 1960 and went to Puerto Rico, where he founded a journal, El Debato. Modotti returned to California in 1966 and worked at a parish in Fresno, California. In 1970, Modotti was selected by Pope Paul VI to establish a Catholic media organisation, Media Mark Communications. Modotti retired in June 1971. He died in his sleep in December 1971. (For more information on Fr Ugo Modotti, see Anthony Cappello, ‘Italian Australians, the Church, War and Fascism in Melbourne 1919-1945’, (MA Thesis, 1999, Victoria University).

This series comprises material from two accessions. The records from the first accession (SANT2000/0001) consist of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Fr Modotti following his departure from Australia in 1946. The second accession (SANT2000/0002) covers the date range 1938 to 1946. This personal correspondence provides further information on Mrs Santospirito’s experiences as President of the Archbishop’s Committee and her activities following her resignation in 1955.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1938 - 1970   Quantity: 196 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 16 New Camaldoli Foundation - Fr Modotti

This series contains correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Fr Modotti, relating to the Foundation established by Modotti.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1960   Quantity: 14 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 17 Photographs

This series consists of various photographs from the Santospirito Collection which have been filed together. If the photograph relates to other documents in the Collection (for example, Immigration Department forms), the relevant 'SP' inventory number has been annotated on the photograph.


Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 18 Money Owed to Frank Agostino Co

This series relates to a dispute over an unpaid account from Frank Agostino Co to the Archbishop’s Committee. It includes a letter from Mrs Santospirito to the Committee’s accountant in September 1956, in which she discusses her resignation from the Committee in March 1955.

Date Range: 1953 - 1956   Quantity: 7 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 19 Fr Raffaele

Fr Raffaele was based at the Convento Cappuccini, San Giovanni Rotonda, in Foggia, Italy. He was the contact for the stigmatist Padre Pio. In a letter to Fr Modotti (SP-00485), Mrs Santospirito explained that letters to Padre Pio are sent to Fr Raffaele, who passed them on to Padre Pio and sent back his answer.

Mrs Santospirito began corresponding with Fr Raffaele c.1962 and continued to write to him after the death of Padre Pio in 1968. Folders 19.1 to 19.6 contain outward correspondence from Mrs Santospirito. Folders 19.7 to 19.10 contain inward correspondence from Fr Raffaele. All documents are in Italian.

It is likely that the correspondence in this series was originally filed in Cassetto C, file no 36 ‘Padre Pio and Sig’na Albertelli’ (for correspondence with Bianca Albertelli, see Folder No 46).

Date Range: c. 1962 - c. 1971   Quantity: 239 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 20 Miscellaneous Work Requests

This series relates to Mrs Santospirito’s work finding employment for migrants. The records comprise correspondence between the Archbishop’s Committee and other agencies, such as the Catholic Migration Office; declarations of unemployment; letters of introduction; references; and documents relating to the placement of migrants in employment. This series also contains a few items of ‘miscellaneous’ private correspondence.

In folder 20.3, some documents are annotated 'A7', indicating that these letters were originally filed as 'Miscellaneous regarding migrants' in Cassetto A. This folder contains letters to Mrs Santospirito from migrants at Bonegilla.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1952 - 1953   Quantity: 132 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 21 Cabrini Hospital

The records in this series relate to work done by Mrs Santospirito as President of the St Frances Xavier Cabrini Hospital Ladies Auxiliary. The Auxiliary worked to raise funds to pay off the debts incurred by the Church in building Cabrini Hospital and to contribute towards furnishing the new hospital. Mrs Santospirito was also President of St Benedict’s Hospital Well-Wishers Appeal Committee which raised money to assist the work of the Cabrini Sisters.

The Cabrini Sisters arrived in Melbourne in 1948 and ran St Benedict’s before the new Cabrini Hospital was built. St Benedict’s was formerly run by the Sisters of Mercy. There was a nursing shortage after World War Two and the Church found it was not able to staff both the Mercy Hospital and St Benedict’s.

Fund raising activities included fetes, raffles, dinner dances and card afternoons.

Note on Cabrini Sisters:
Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was the founder of the Missionary Sisters of Sacred Heart of Jesus, an international order which worked with Italian migrants. She worked in New York with Italians. Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonised by Pius XII on 7 July 1946 only 30 years after her death. She was proclaimed the Patron Saint of Emigrants in 1950.

The Cabrini Sisters came to Melbourne in 1948. Dr Simonds, auxiliary Archbishop of Melbourne, was in Rome in 1946 and attended the ceremonies for Mother Cabrini’s canonisation. Also present was Fr Modotti, former chaplain to Victoria’s Italian community. Simonds and Modotti made arrangements with Archbishop Mannix for the Cabrini Sisters to come to Melbourne to help ease the nursing shortage and care for patients of Italian origin. For more information on the Cabrini Hospital, see Gwynedd Hunter-Payne, Cabrini: A Hospital’s Journey 1948-1998 (Wahroonga: The Helicon Press, 1998).

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1956 - 1958   Quantity: 84 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 22 Italian Films

This series relates to Mrs Santospirito’s application for a licence to import Italian films. The showing of Italian language films was intended to be another fundraising activity for the Archbishop’s Committee as well as providing cultural events for the migrant and Australian communities. The original plan was to import 26 films a year. In August 1953 Mrs Santospirito was issued with a licence to import two films per year. It would seem that this venture did not continue for long.

As early as 1950, film distributors and theatres were approaching Mrs Santospirito to advise her of upcoming Italian films and asking her for help in promoting these films in the Italian community.

Other organisations also used Italian films for fundraising and cultural activities: these records include a circular advertising a film evening for unemployed Italians, organised by the Dante Alighieri Society in November 1952.

Date Range: 1950? - 1954?   Quantity: 31 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 23 Cabrini Hospital (2)

For more information about Mrs Santospirito’s involvement with the Cabrini Sisters, see the description for Series 21.

This series contains correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Madre Antoinetta from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Rome. There is also correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Mother Candida, the first Superior General of the Cabrini Sisters. They also contain records related to fundraising activities in connection with the St Benedict’s Hospital Extension Appeal in 1948.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1948 - 1962   Quantity: 51 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 24 Antonian Institute

The Antonian Institute, an orphanage at 311 Church Street, Richmond, was administered by the Daughters of Divine Zeal.

The records in this series relate to a concert at Prahran Town Hall on 13 November 1960 to raise funds for the Antonian Institute. The records include a list of contributors to the Institute.

Date Range: 1960?   Quantity: 10 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 25 Miscellaneous

This series comprises various ‘miscellaneous’ items.

It includes a program from a Reception to New Australians by the Catholic Community, an event held at Melbourne Town Hall on 13 July 1950. The evening included national dances and songs from the Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Czechslovakia, Holland and Italy.

There is a program from the Tribute to Fr Modotti, held on 9 December 1945 at Cathedral hall.

A document ‘Death of Mrs Bartolina Virgona’ recounts the life of Mrs Santospirito’s mother, who died in 1956, aged 99.

The series also contains postcards, photographs and representations on behalf of migrants, dating from 1960.

Date Range: 1946 - 1960   Quantity: 16 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 26 'Zingaresca' - St Vincents Hospital Concert and Red Cross Concert

Zingaresca, ‘the story of a strange gypsy’, was a production organised by the Archbishop’s Committee to aid the St Vincent’s Hospital Casualty Building Appeal. It was held at Melbourne Town Hall on 10 June 1953.

The records in this series mainly consist of invitations and RSVPs.

The State Library of Victoria holds the program from this performance.

Date Range: 1953   Quantity: 11 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 27 Miscellaneous Work and Other Matters

This series comprises various ‘miscellaneous’ documents which were filed together at the time of accession.

The records in folders 27.1 and 27.2 of this series mainly relate to Mrs Santospirito’s personal involvement with various Church organisations. These folders also contain some miscellaneous personal documents.

The records in folders 27.3 and 27.4 mainly relate to Mrs Santospirito’s correspondence and work on behalf of unemployed migrants. They include letters from Bonegilla, certifications of migrants’ unemployed status and correspondence relating to employment placements. Some of the documents bear the annotations A7 or A37, indicating that these documents were originally in the files 'Miscellaneous regarding Migrants', and 'Lettere varie emigranti' in Cassetto A.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1950 - 1953   Quantity: 81 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 28 Miscellaneous Accounts and Other Documents

This series consists of various accounting records and other miscellaneous documents relating to Mrs Santospirito’s public and private affairs. Contents include a notebook which Mrs Santospirito evidently used to keep track of her work finding jobs for migrants, and balance sheets with financial information on dances organised by the Archbishop’s Committee.

There are Mrs Santospirito’s bank statements and other personal accounting records dating from c.1949-1951. These records also include the program from the Calwell’s Silver Wedding anniversary celebration in 1957.

Date Range: 1949 - 1957   Quantity: 27 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 29 Applications for Admissions to Australia

This series relates to Mrs Santospirito’s dealings with the Department of Immigration on behalf of various people. Many documents relate to applications made by Mrs Santospirito personally on behalf of people wishing to migrate from Italy to Australia. It would seem that people would appeal to Mrs Santospirito for help after the Department had notified them that their applications were not successful.

Records consist of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Mr Calwell and copies of correspondence between Mr Calwell and the Department of Immigration. The series also contains typical personal documents required by the Italian and Australian bureaucracies, such as birth certificates, certificates of family status, certificates of identity, Department of Immigration forms, accommodation guarantees and employment assurances.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1945 - 1962   Quantity: 157 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 30 Don Marino di Benedetto

Don Marino di Benedetto was the ship's chaplain on the Oceania in the 1950s. This series mainly consists of correspondence (in Italian) between him and Santospirito, dating from the mid 1950s to the late 1960s.

Quantity: 129 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 31 Antonio Agostini

In June 1944, Antonio Agostini was convicted of the manslaughter of his Australian wife, Linda, ten years earlier. In the Australian media, this case had been known as the ‘Pyjama Girl Murder’. Agostini had previously worked as a waiter at Romano’s restaurant in Sydney, and been editor of the fascist Italian newspaper, Il Giornale Italiano.

Agostini came into contact with Mrs Santospirito when he was facing deportation back to Italy. Antonio Agostini wrote a letter to Lena Santospirito from Pentridge Prison in December 1947. He appealed to her for help, asking Santospirito to plead his case to Arthur Calwell, who was then Minister for Immigration and had the power to reverse his deportation order.

This series contains a long letter written by Agostini which gives an account of his life in Italy and in Australia, including his relationship with his wife. Researchers are requested to use the photocopy of Item No SP-01522, due to this document's fragility and significance.

Quantity: 3 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 32 Fondo pro Danneggiati di Guerra in Italia

This series consists of one document, published as a supplement to L’Angelo della Famiglia on 1 August 1944. It lists donations to the Fondo pro Danneggiati di Guerra in Italia from members of Victoria’s Italian communities.

After the September 1943 Armistice, the Archbishop’s Committee established a Fund for War Victims in Italy at a meeting held at Cathedral Hall, Fitzroy, on 12 September 1943. The Archbishop Dr Mannix sent all monies collected to Italy through the Vatican.

This document details the funds collected by each ‘lista’, which were set up to cover local areas. Each lista was organised by its own incaricato (responsible person). For each lista, donors’ names and the amounts donated were published. Even those groups which didn’t manage to procure any donations had their names published in the Angelo!

Date Range: 1944   Quantity: 1 item
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 33 Dance Returns - Archbishop's Committee for Italian Relief

This series consists of records in one notebook, showing financial details of dances organised by the Archbishop’s Committee during the period 1952-54. Dances were held every Saturday and Sunday night, at Cathedral Hall in Fitzroy, and at St George’s Hall in Carlton.

The notebook also includes accounting information from occasions such as the Italian Community Debutante Ball held at St Kilda Town Hall in May 1953.

The credits usually consist of admissions (ticket sales) and sales of refreshments. Costs included hiring of musicians and the hall.

The records in this series show that at least 500 people attended each dance held throughout this period.

Date Range: 1952 - 1954   Quantity: 1 item
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 34 Lloyd Triestino & Flotta Lauro

This series consists of miscellaneous records relating to two major shipping lines between Italy and Australia, Lloyd Triestino and Flotta Lauro. It was originally filed as Folder 20 in Cassetto A.

It includes correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Lloyd Triestino. There is a Reuters Daily Bulletin from Aden dated 16 December 1952, presumably distributed to the line’s passengers.

This series also contains a passenger list from 1952. This document lists information about passengers disembarking at Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney, and their past and future occupations and addresses. Information about 78 passengers is recorded for Fremantle disembarkations, 250 passengers at Melbourne, and 239 at Sydney. The following data is recorded for each passenger: Name, Nationality (British or alien), Past occupation, Country of last permanent residence, Future occupation, Intended address in Australia.

Date Range: 1952?   Quantity: 9 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 35 Archbishop's Committee for Italian Relief

This series consists of documents such as flyers and programs for various entertainments organised by the Committee or the proceeds of which went to the Committee. It includes programs from productions by the Filodrammatica Italiana of Melbourne. It also contains invitations to upcoming Committee meetings, agendas and rough minutes, and rough accounts, ie from dances.

The records in this series only document a short period of Mrs Santospirito’s presidency of the Committee. Other series in the Santospirito Collection document activities carried out by the Committee in assisting migrants, as well as fundraising and social activities organised by the Committee.

Date Range: 1954 - 1955   Quantity: 21 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 36 Invitations, Circulars

This series consists of various records relating to the fundraising work of the Archbishop’s Committee.

It includes invitations to fundraising events, such as the Debutante Ball in July 1945. This was held at the Hawthorn Town Hall and its proceeds went to the Catholic Welfare Organisation. The debutantes were presented to Mrs Arthur Calwell. This Ball was organised by Mrs Santospirito, Mrs Mary Rodriquez (Santospirito’s sister), Mrs L. Tizio, Miss R. Palamara and Mr Frank Conti.

The series includes a pamphlet published by the Archbishop’s Committee in September 1945 regarding its work to raise funds for victims of the war in Italy.

It also contains invitations received by Mrs Santospirito from other organisations such as Xavier College and the Genazzano Mothers’ Association.

There are flyers and circulars regarding Archbishop’s Committee activities, as well as miscellaneous items such as dance tickets.

Date Range: 1943 - 1960   Quantity: 46 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 37 Copie Lettere di Presentazione

This series consists of copies of letters of introduction produced by Mrs Santospirito to help newly-arrived migrants to find employment. The vast majority of people assisted by Mrs Santospirito and the Archbishop’s Committee were unassisted migrants, however some records indicate that the Committee also helped some assisted migrants.

Mrs Santospirito prepared these letters of introduction, which set out the migrant’s skills, qualifications, etc, to employment bureaux and companies. The migrants could also take a letter of introduction with them to job interviews or visits to prospective employers.

The date range of this series coincides with a period of relatively high unemployment in Australia. Mrs Santospirito, as President of the Archbishop’s Committee, also prepared declarations that a person was destitute, unemployed for x months, presumably to help migrants obtain welfare from the government.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1951 - 1953   Quantity: 145 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 38 Bishop of Lipari

This series consists of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Father Bernardino Salvatore Re, O.M. Cap, Bishop of Lipari, who visited Melbourne in August 1951. It also contains records created by the Bishop’s visit, such as guest lists to the function held in his honour. There are also copies of some poems written by the Bishop!

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1951?   Quantity: 37 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 39 Mr Holt

The series consists of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Harold Holt, Minister for Immigration from 1949 to 1956. The subject matter of the correspondence is similar to the letters between Mrs Santospirito and Arthur Calwell, relating to the status of applications made by Italians to the Department of Immigration.

It includes a copy of a ‘Form 40’, which was required to be filled out when applying for a relative or friend to be admitted to Australia from overseas.

These records were originally file ‘A3’ in Cassetto B.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1951 - 1952   Quantity: 14 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 40 Arthur Calwell - Landing Permits

This series consists of inward and outward correspondence between Mrs Santospirito to Arthur Calwell and the Department of Immigration. It also contains copies of correspondence between Calwell and the Department which were forwarded to Mrs Santospirito.

Folder 41.5 contains many undated documents, most of which detail the cases of migrants whose applications to the Department for entry into Australia or for landing permits for their nominees were unsuccessful. These cases were presumably enclosed with letters to Calwell or the Department and most likely date from the period 1951-1952.

These records were originally files ‘A2’ and ’A4’ in Cassetto A.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1945 - 1957   Quantity: 234 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 41 Italian Consulate Correspondence

The majority of records in this series are items of inward correspondence from the Italian Consulate. Other records include guest lists, RSVPs and other documents relating to a function organised by Mrs Santospirito for the Italian Community to meet with the newly-arrived Italian Consul-General, Dr Luca Dainelli, on 23 October 1950 at the Hotel Australia.

The Italian Consulate established the Committee for Welfare of Assisted Migrants c.1952 to provide help to assisted migrants. The first assisted passage agreement between Australia and Italy in 1951 coincided with a period of relatively high unemployment in Australia. Many assisted migrants came to Australia to find that there was no work for them, and many remained at reception centres, such as the camp at Bonegilla, for months.

Many migrants who came to the Consulate for assistance were personally referred to the Archbishop’s Committee by the Consul-General.

In this series, there are documents dating from 1959 which relate to the Royal Children’s Hospital Italian Auxiliary. It is unknown whether these documents are estrays, or whether there is some administrative reason why these documents were filed with Consulate records.

There are a large number of undated documents within this series. Many of these are referrals to Mrs Santospirito from the Consul-General. It is likely that these documents date from the period 1952-1953.

These records were originally file ‘E2 Consolato d’Italia’ in Cassetto B.

Date Range: 1950 - 1960   Quantity: 149 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 42 Debts Owed to Mrs Santospirito

This series comprises documents relating to loans made by Mrs Santospirito and/or the Archbishop’s Committee to various people. During the early 1950s, many recent migrants to Australia as well as people living in Italy approached Mrs Santospirito seeking financial assistance. For example, some people sought loans for an amount to cover the cost of their passage to Australia. Others were lent money to travel interstate in Australia to take up job offers.

Some of the documents in this series were originally filed in the A37 folder, ‘Lettere varie emigranti’. These largely consist of letters to Mrs Santospirito in Italian with the date range 1950-1951.

The records in this series consist of declarations by debtors that they had received amounts of money from Mrs Santospirito or the Archbishop’s Committee. The series also includes promissory notes, correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and banks or solicitors, and documents presumably left with Mrs Santospirito as security for loans. Some debtors left their passport, or their birth and marriage certificates with Mrs Santospirito (and given that the documents remained in her custody, presumably never repaid the loans).

The series also contains several drafts of a list of monies owed to Mrs Santospirito, which details the name of the debtor, the amount lent and for what purpose.

In Folder 42.2 of this series, there are (presumably estray) records relating to an application to the Federal Government in 1953 for the publication of a weekly Italian newspaper.

Date Range: 1950 - 1962   Quantity: 142 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 43 Padre Cappuccini

The records in this series relate to Mrs Santospirito’s dealings with the Padre Cappuccini, or Capuchin Fathers, an order of Italian priests invited to Melbourne by Archbishop Mannix in 1949 to start an apostolate with Italians in Victoria. The first Capuchin priests to work in Melbourne were Fr Carlo di Matteo and Fr Nicola Simonazzi. Initially, the headquarters of the Capuchins was at ‘Villa Gonzaga’ in Power Street, Hawthorn (the headquarters of the publication started by Fr Modotti, L’Angelo della Famiglia). With donations from the Italian community in Victoria, the Capuchins built St Anthony’s Church in Hawthorn, where they are currently based.

Historian Pino Bosi writes that ‘the Archbishop’s Committee for Italian Relief offered itself as a channel for Fr Carlo to establish a Capuchin ministry within the Italian community in Melbourne’. (See his Mandati di Dio [On God’s Command: Italian Missionaries in Australia] (CIRC, 1989), 133). The records in this series provide evidence of the assistance given to the Capuchins by Mrs Santospirito and the Committee.

The series contains correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Capuchin priests based in other Australian towns and cities. She corresponded with Fr Filippo Magni, the Capuchin chaplain at Bonegilla. The series has copies of accounts relating to the Capuchin’s operations in Melbourne, such as rate notices, car insurance etc. It contains copies of correspondence between Fr Carlo and Minister Holt in 1950, regarding a proposed Italian language newspaper for Melbourne, along the lines of La Fiamma, the publication of the Sydney Capuchins.

This series was originally file ‘B:E5’ in Cassetto B.

Date Range: 1950 - 1954   Quantity: 71 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 44 Lettere Varie Emigranti

The majority of documents in this series are written in Italian. They consist of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and prospective migrants in Italy and recent migrants from Italy to Australia. This series includes correspondence with people at Bonegilla. Most correspondence relates to the issues of migration and finding work in Australia.

These records were originally file ‘37’ in Cassetto A. Researchers should note that some documents with the annotation ‘A37’ can be found in other series within the Santospirito Collection, for example, Series 27 Miscellaneous Work and Other Matters, and Series 42 Debts owed to Mrs Santospirito.

Date Range: 1950 - 1957   Quantity: 83 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 45 Delegazione Apostolica and Vatican Spiritual Bouquet

This series consists of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and the Apostolic Delegation.

It also contains records relating to various ‘Spiritual Bouquets’ coordinated by Mrs Santospirito for the Pope. These ‘bouquets’ consisted of prayers collected from people in Australia for various Catholic Feasts, a record of which was sent to the Pope. For example, in 1949 for the Feast of the Assumption, 115,950 Ave Maria’s including Rosaries were collected from members of the Italian Catholic community. Mrs Santospirito sent to the Pope a record of the name, address and amount of prayers performed by each contributor.

This series also contains a letter to Pope Pius XII in 1946 from Italian community leaders in Melbourne (including Mrs Santospirito) following the departure of Fr Modotti, lauding his work with the Italian community.

These records were originally file ‘E3’ in Cassetto B.

Date Range: 1946 - 1957   Quantity: 34 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 46 Bianca Albertelli

This series consists of inward and outward correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Bianca Albertelli, and others. These correspondents seem to be associated with Padre Pio.

The letters are written in Italian and relate to various religious and personal and family matters.

Please note related series.

Date Range: 1961 - 1971   Quantity: 60 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 47 'Giornale e Riviste Varie, Cuttings, Poems, Songs'

The series consists of miscellaneous items, namely: a list of Mrs Santospirito’s donations to various bodies for the financial year 1964/65; copies of song lyrics; a copy of a poem called ‘What is Life’.

It also contains a copy of a ‘Portrait’ of Mrs Santospirito prepared by the Italian newspaper, La Corriere d’Australia, entitled ‘Mrs Lena Santospirito: the Woman, the Philanthropist, and the Religious’.

There is an account of the life and the funeral of her husband, Antonio Santospirito.

The documents in this series were originally filed as ‘B:G3’ in Cassetto B.

Date Range: 1959? - 1965?   Quantity: 5 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 48 Guido Modotti

The documents in this series were originally filed as ‘1A’ in Cassetto C.

The series consists of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and Guido Modotti, brother of Fr Modotti. Mrs Santospirito also corresponded with Natalia Modotti and Lisetta Modotti Picciocchi.

Date Range: 1945 - 1952   Quantity: 40 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 49 Records to be kept
Original name of file: Records to be kept: Italia Libera, Gruppo Femminile, War Loans, Miscellaneous, 1937-1949

[Original name of file: Records to be kept: Italia Libera, Gruppo Femminile, War Loans, Miscellaneous, 1937-1949]

The series consists of various documents relating to Mrs Santospirito’s activities and the work of the Archbishop’s Committee. The original file title indicates that Mrs Santospirito considered this group of documents important enough to be kept and ‘archived’.

Some of the documents relate to disputes involving the Archbishop’s Committee. The series contains records relating to a rift between the Archbishop’s Committee for Italian Relief and a women’s fundraising group for post-war Italy, the Gruppo Femminile, established in 1944. It also contains documents relating to the anti-fascist organisation, Italia Libera, which was perceived by the Catholic Church as a communist and anti-clerical group. Other records relate to a campaign organised by Committee member Gualtiero Vaccari, to encourage Italian-Australians to contribute to the Australian government’s ‘Victory Loan’ program.

The series also contains minutes of a meeting of the Committee from 1944, and records relating to the Committee’s fundraising activities during the War, such as theatrical productions, dances and bazaars.

The documents in this series were originally filed as ’28 Archives - Records - Paper to be kept’ in Cassetto A.

Date Range: 1937 - 1949   Quantity: 67 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 

Series 50 Letters from Italy, 'La Mamma Degli Italiani'

The series largely consists of correspondence between Mrs Santospirito and people in Italy who made contact with her after she was mentioned in an article published in the Italian press in 1950. The Italian journalist, Gino De Sanctis, travelled around Australia in 1950 and a series of his articles about his experiences were published in various Italian newspapers, including Il Messaggero, Il Secolo and Il Giornale di Trieste. The articles described Australia’s post-war immigration program, employment conditions and cultural life in Australia, and Italian-Australian communities in Far North Queensland. (The Italian Historical Society holds photocopies of these newspaper articles.)

In one of De Sanctis’s articles, he referred to Mrs Santospirito as 'la mamma degli italiani'. The small paragraph about Mrs Santospirito resulted in many letters being sent to her by Italians considering emigrating to Australia. The letters were often addressed only to ‘Signora Santospirito, La Mamma degli Italiani, Melbourne, Australia’.

Mrs Santospirito’s correspondents wanted advice about life for Italian migrants in Australia - employment, wages, housing, weather - and describe their personal situations in post-war Italy. Some people asked Mrs Santospirito whether she could nominate them for a landing permit.

In Mrs Santospirito’s replies to the letters, she often advised people against emigrating, particularly if they had qualifications in Italy. She wrote that Gino De Sanctis painted a rather rosy and superficial picture of life in Australia for Italian migrants, and stressed that life could be very difficult. Mrs Santospirito advised her correspondents that they would most likely only obtain manual or farming work in Australia. She did offer to nominate several people for an atto di chiamata.

The records in this series were originally File 4 in Cassetto C.

Date Range: 1947 - 1953   Quantity: 57 items
Provenance: Lena Santospirito

 


Published by the Italian Historical Society, CoAsIt, December 2001
Listed by Cate Elkner and Tony Santospirito
HTML edition
Updated 14 May 2004
http://www.coasit.com.au/historical/sant/serieslist.htm

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