Alphonse Apicella (1920-2001) and Eleanor Apicella (1920-2012), 1980 April 29
This interview looks at the Apicella family's immigration to the United States, and how Alphonse and Eleanor met. Additionally, it details the family's work in tailor shops, unionizing, fighting in World War II, and Alphonse and Eleanor running their own grocery store.
- 1980 April 29
- Apicella, Alphonse, 1920-2001 (Narrator, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Biographical / Historical
Alphonse's father Anthony immigrated to Baltimore in 1912. Anthony and his brother opened up a tailor shop together. Alphonse was born in 1920, and began working at his father's tailor shop at the age of 15. He enlisted in the army on December 8th, 1941. When he returned, he took over the Vaccarino's grocery store.
4 Items (80-minute audio recording, two biographical forms and a tape index.)
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English
The Baltimore Sun. "Eleanor M. Apicella." Legacy.com. July 24, 2012. https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/baltimoresun/name/eleanor-apicella-obituary?id=19442496.
Scope and Contents
The Little Italy oral history collection oral history collection was established to better understand the lives of Italian immigrants who settled in Baltimore from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. This collection includes 16 audio recordings, numerous tape indexes, biographical material, and some additional articles and photographs depending on the interview. There is one full transcript for John Torrieri.
The individuals interviewed helped create Baltimore's Little Italy district into a thriving center of Italian culture. The oral histories focus on a variety of topics: initial American experiences, starting businesses in Little Italy, family life, Italian culture, the Depression, and World War II, among other topics.
The interviews were primarily conducted by Jean Vincenza-Scarpaci, known as "Vincenza," from 1979-1980, except for one recording done by Mary Thayer in 1973. Vincenza is a well-known immigration historian, in particular focusing on Italian American immigration in the United States. While teaching at Towson State University in the 1970s, Vincenza took an interest in the study of groceries and bakeries in Baltimore, Maryland, which led to the creation of this oral history collection. For more information on Vincenza's many works that could be helpful in contextualizing the interviews in this collection, please see the Bibliography.
Narrators of this collection include Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., Maryland's Delegate in the House of Representatives (1939-1947) and Mayor of Baltimore (1947-1959); Joseph Fava who created a successful macaroni brand; brothers Vincent and Michael Pastore who opened a number of groceries; Joe Vaccarino, who owned the Sole D'Italia brand, and a number of other Italian immigrants who settled in the Little Italy area.