Pittsburgh, PA – Stories of the Italian immigrant experience in America are being saved and shared through a new national historical library in Downtown Pittsburgh.

This storico e biblioteca has a pretty good immigrant story itself.

Its beginnings are housed in a handsomely renovated third-floor room of the Wood Street headquarters of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, above what’s now Hello Bistro. The national order, with 17,000 members, exists to “celebrate our culture and preserve the traditions our ancestors brought with them from Italy.”

The group’s newly re-elected president, Basil Russo, came over from Cleveland for Friday’s dedication, at which he said, “Our goal is to acquire one of the most comprehensive collections of books, manuscripts and documents nationally that will serve as a resource for not only the Italian-American community, but also for the community at large.”

Among those attending was Brother Victor-Kenneth Curley, of the Catholic religious teaching order F.S.C., or the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He’s director of its Holy Family Community for senior brothers in Napa, Calif.

But he grew up in Penn Hills and has worked at Central Catholic High School, of which he is a graduate. He’ll tell you how blessed he was that his grandmother, Carmela Blasco Pellegrino, came to live with his family in 1953, when he was 3. She had been born in Calabria in 1901. She lived to be 101.

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