There was nobody quite like my Uncle Ford. Hopefully there never will be.

by reddit user Jaksim

The first time I ever saw Uncle Ford I was only ten. I didn’t even know I had an uncle until he showed up one day at the edge of our fence with a suitcase. Most of his body was covered by a heavy brown coat, far too warm for the weather. He never approached the house. He simply spoke to my father at the edge of our property and then he left.

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I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, I found three things: first, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them.
—  Italian immigrant, circa 1900

Even a carefully executed business plan won’t bypass the biggest stumbling block in Starbucks’ attempt for Down Under domination: Australia’s cafe culture is just too damn good.

Thanks to waves of Italian and Greek immigrants in the early 1950s, Australia adopted the art of espresso-drinking-as-a-social-lubricant much earlier than the United States. While Starbucks introduced Americans to a European Lite version of coffee shop culture, in Australia it was a latecomer to a party no one invited it to.

“Starbucks was revolutionary in the US because the market is more accustomed to drip coffee,” explains Tuli Keidar, head roaster at Sydney’s Mecca Espresso. “Australia already had a well established cafe culture based on espresso when Starbucks arrived. It had to compete with cafes that provided a similar product of equal or better quality.”

There are over 10,000 cafes in Australia. No square of urban real estate lasts for long without being decked out with an espresso machine and ironic seating area fashioned from milk crates and hessian cushions. I once had a soy latte in a former crack den.

—  This is Why Australians Hate Starbucks by Phoebe Hurst (alternatively titled, look at the ethnic makeup and historical context of a country before shoving frappucinos at us)

The origins of immigrants. The most common source of immigrants in Romania is, of course, the Republic of Moldova. Our Moldovian brothers are always welcome. And we Romanians are, again very obviously, the immigrant group in Italy and Spain. But also, more surprisingly, in neighboring Hungary.

Interesting map!


More Art Monday: America

The good ‘ol US of A, The States, 'Merica. Whatever you call it; this country has been an inspiration for artists since it began. Here are a few of our favorite America-inspired images from the collection.

Brooklyn Bridge,” 1910, by Alvin Langdon Coburn

Italian Immigrants Seeking Lost Luggage,” 1905, by Lewis W. Hine

Woman’s Sweater“,” 1989, designed by Ralph Lauren

Giant Redwood Tree,” c. 1890–1900, possibly by Frances(?) Judd Catterlin or William H. Catterlin

Shoe Rosettes,” c. 1824, artist/maker unknown

On this Day

Italian immigrant and co-founder of the Planters Peanut Company, Amedeo Obici was born on July 15th, 1877 in Veneto, Italy. Amedeo settled in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania region and co-founded the company with another Italian emigre, Mario Peruzzi. The company’s iconic logo of an anthropomorphic gentleman peanut was created by fourteen year old schoolboy Antonio Gentile in 1916.

Bookmark from the Collection on the 1939/1940 New York World’s Fair, Queens Museum, 2011.1.117WF39.

Vendredi 26 juillet | Eugenia Corriés | Rotonda

Once, when I was little, I spent the night at my grandparents’ house in Mar del Plata. The noise their clock made scared me, and seeing that I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep, I asked my grandmother to read me a story in bed. There were no children’s books at their house, except for an old Pinocchio in its original Italian version that I found, by being persistent, in the bookshelves. Since she was born in Italy, I thought that she would be able to translate it for me. I handed her the book, I brought her a chair, and I slipped into the bed and waited. She sat in the chair, nervously opened the book, looked at it, then looked at me with sad eyes. I understood in that moment that she wouldn’t be able to read it: she had forgotten her mother tongue.

Notice to Aliens of Enemy Nationalities, 02/09/1942

From the series: Public Relations Records, 1940 - 1954; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service

This is a Department of Justice notice directed towards aliens of German, Italian, and Japanese nationalities to apply for a Certificate of Identification by the deadline of February 28, 1942.

‘Yes, Dante, they can crucify our bodies today as they are doing, but they cannot destroy our ideas, that will remain for the youth of the future to come.’

Last words of the italian anarchist immigrant Nicola Sacco to his son Dante, before being unjustly executed by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, togheter with the friend Bartolomeo Vanzetti, on the 23rd August 1927.

Both were later proved to be completely innocent.

A portrait of physicist and Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago, c. 1940. Photograph by Stephen Deutch

As part of the Manhattan Project during World War II, Fermi led the team that built the first atomic reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and successfully produced the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942, in an abandoned squash court under the grandstands of the since-demolished Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is named for him.

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An Italian immigrant family on New York’s Lower East Side, ca. 1910, photographed by Jessie Tarbox Beals (American, 1870-1942). Beals was an American photographer, the first published female photojournalist in the United States and the first female night photographer.

The family shown here is living in an “old-law” tenement. The apartments in these buildings were not required to have ventilation in each room. The window facing the kitchen appears to look into a smaller room or closet. More than 100,000 immigrants lived in rear apartments (behind other buildings) that were wholly unfit for human habitation. In a room not thirteen feet either way slept twelve men and women, two or three in bunks set in a sort of alcove, the rest on the floor. In the summer months 3-4 babies would suffocate in the airless tenements every night.


Artist on Tumblr

Vanessa Aisling | on Tumblr (b.1993, Canada) - Unricordo

Vanessa Aisling is a Montreal-based photographer and student. Currently studying film production, she is a 2013 graduate of photography, working with primarily with medium format. Vanessa is a second-generation Italian immigrant whose works focus largely on the impacts of globalization on small cultures and communities and their cultural heritage, and the relationship between dreams, reality, and the changing memory. Her most recent project, Me and My Girl Holly, focuses primarily on the postmodern construction of the home within North American culture, its indecipherability within the suburban environment, and the relationship between the individual and the home.

Vanessa spent the better half of 2012 working on the series entitled, Un ricordo, a series of images exploring the homes of Italian-Canadian immigrants. The completion of this project sparked interest to continue exploring Italian tradition and custom. She will be spending the summer travelling the Mediterranean, exploring dying communities, dialects, and traditions, and attending an artist residency in Cadiz, Spain to complete the project. You can explore more of her work on her Website, Instagram and on Tumblr.

[more Vanessa Aisling]