Arcadia Publishing Little Italy

Want to learn more about Arcadia Publishing’s Little Italy? Read on for facts and info on the book that gives a pictorial history of the Italian immigrants in Chicago…

“Taylor Street: Chicago’s Little Italy” is the name of a book authored by Kathy Catrombone and Ellen Shubart. Released by Arcadia Publishing the book is written in honor of Chicago’s near West side, which is regarded as being Little Italy owing to the presence of numerous people of Italian origin in that enclave.

It was back in the 1850s that Italian immigrants started making their way towards Chicago. This was even before the massive waves of Italian immigration that took place between 1874 to 1920. On reaching Chicago the Italian immigrants settled into small pockets scattered throughout the city. Ultimately Taylor Street became the primary enclave for the Italian immigrants and because of the unique culture that developed there over the passage of time it acquired the name of Little Italy.

According to statistics at one point in time about one third of the total population of Italian immigrants was living in this particular neighborhood. Even today many of their descendents continue to live in the same area whereas others have moved further into the suburbs. For Italian Americans Taylor Street has a special place in the heart and hence they are so strongly bonded with this neighborhood that even though many of them have moved out they still regard it as being Little Italy in America.

The book entitled “Taylor Street: Chicago’s Little Italy” is meant to serve as a pictorial history of the Italian immigrants in this region from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. It gives a detailed account of the guiding role that Jane Addams and Mother Cabrini played in their attempt to Americanize the Italians. It also enlightens the reader about the vibrant decades that Taylor Street has witnessed along with giving an account of the saddening effects of urban renewal that took place in the 1960s. Finally it informs the reader about the rebirth of Taylor Street as Chicago’s Little Italy more than 25 years later.

About the Author

Kathy Catrambone was a journalist by profession and a second-generation Italian-American by lineage. According to her research she belongs to the west side of Taylor Street as her forefathers had immigrated to the region back in the early 1900s. She continues to live in Taylor Street along with some of her relatives and it is from there that she gives the reader a unique perspective on Chicago’s Little Italy. Ellen Shubart on the other hand is an expert author and historian. She is also known for her admiration of Italian food and culture and has been a frequent visitor to Taylor Street over the years.

In its essence “Taylor Street: Chicago’s Little Italy” is an easy read that has not only attracted the attention of Italian immigrants that settled in the region many years ago, but has also won the appreciation of Americans with an interest in learning about the history of Italian Americans.