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Vancini family papers

Identifier: MC-062

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the papers of Frank, Paul, and Vincent Vancini, and is divided into three series. Series I, Frank Vancini’s papers, include correspondence, newspaper clippings, and two photographs. Series II consists of records compiled by Paul Vancini in his capacity as member and/or officer of the Italian Literary & Mutual Aid Society, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, as well as a collection of books about Italy. Records for the Italian Literary & Mutual Aid Society include notes on its history and membership, statutes and regulations, a scrapbook, newspaper clippings, correspondence, one photo, and a box of ceremonial ribbons. Records for St. Francis of Assisi Parish include a deed and building permits, financial statements, newspaper clippings, and various other documents. Records for The Society of St. Vincent de Paul include a record book and informational pamphlets. Series III are the papers of Vincent Vancini and include biographical information, high school records, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.


  • 1920-1999

Language of Materials

Materials in English and Italian

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

The patriarch of the New Bedford Vancini family, Frank (1876? – 1942), was born in a town near Cento, Italy, near Bologna. He immigrated to New Bedford with his wife Elizabeth and at least one child, Paul Peter, who was an infant at the time. In addition to Paul, the family included another son, Vincent, and two daughters, Mary and Nellie. Frank served several terms as president of the Italian Literary and Mutual Aid Society of New Bedford, and was active in raising funds to assist victims of several earthquakes which struck Italy in 1920. He was also a founding member of St. Francis of Assisi Church in New Bedford in 1928. Paul (1899-1987) began his art education by taking classes at the Swain School of Design while in grade school. He graduated from New Bedford High School, and in order to earn money for college, worked as a switchboard operator at the Hathaway Mill. In 1917, one of his drawings received the Dr. George Winslow Second Prize for Best Antique Drawing, and a cash award. He received an undergraduate degree from Massachusetts College of Art and a Master’s degree from Bridgewater State University. He began teaching art in New Bedford’s public schools in 1926 and became Director of the Art Department in 1928, a position he held until his retirement in 1966. He also taught Italian language classes, sponsored by the Italian Literary & Mutual Aid Society. He married Clare J. Hayden, a teacher at Roosevelt Jr. High, in 1936, and had two daughters, Mary Beth and Joyce Ann. Like his father Frank, he was active in community and religious organizations, such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Italian Literary & Mutual Aid Society. Vincent (1895 – 2003) was born in Plymouth, MA and while attending New Bedford High School, was a Major of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), the highest rank at that time. Vincent worked in New York City, and then Chicopee, MA, for the Fisk Rubber Co. He married Nellie Fairbanks, a co-worker, in 1931, and they had two daughters, Valerie and Donna. During the Depression, Vincent earned a living at various jobs, including supermarket manager and farmhand. He returned to New York City in 1934, where he unofficially changed his name to VanCine due to discrimination against Italians in some of the work lines. He moved back to New Bedford in 1939, and worked for Merchants National Bank until his retirement in 1970, when he moved to Florida and then Maryland.

The Italian Literary & Mutual Aid Society was founded in New Bedford in 1885, between the arrival of the first Italian immigrant in 1846, and the wave of immigration that followed around 1890. Its mission was to provide assistance, especially with the language and customs of America, and social opportunities to Italian immigrants. In later years, as its mission changed to include promoting Italian culture, the Society sponsored Italian language classes and encouraged participation in local and civic activities.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New Bedford, MA, was founded by Frank Vancini and ten others in 1928. It is located at the corner of Mill and Newton Streets in New Bedford. Paul Vancini chaired the First Annual Benefit and Dance in 1928 and was a member of the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Committee in 1978.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic religious lay organization founded in Paris in 1833 to encourage personal acts of charity. Paul Vancini served as Secretary of the local chapter, which was organized in 1933.


3.5 Linear Feet (three manuscript boxes, one oversize box, one card box)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Mary Beth Dowd and Joyce Ann Milne, daughters of Paul Vancini, in 2003, as well as Valerie Chamberlin and Donna Neel, daughters of Vincent Vancini, in 2005.

MC 62, Vancini family papers
Maura McGurk
June 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA