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Orange/West Orange UNICO Chapter scrapbook collection

Identifier: Mss 0126

Scope and Contents

This collection primarily contains scrapbooks documenting the West Orange/Orange Chapter of UNICO National. These scrapbooks served as yearly summaries of activities and feature photos and descriptions of events and some meetings. Some loose photographs, certificates, and event programs from the late 1960s and 70s are included as well.

Additionally, photographs of plaques that were received but not retained are also a part of this collection, the bulk of which are awards from the yearly convention of UNICO National.


  • Creation: 1962-2018
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1990-2018

Biographical / Historical

UNICO was founded in 1922 in Waterbury, CT as an Italian-American service organization in the North Atlantic region charged to engage Italian Americans in charitable work, higher education, and performing patriotic duties. UNICO was formed following World War I, where despite the fact that 12% of American casualties were Italian, many Americans believed that Italian immigrants were more loyal to their homeland than their adopted country. Dr. Anthony P. Vastola led a group of 15 others in forming UNICO, which functioned independently until 1947 when the National Civic League and other Italian heritage organizations combined to create a national organization. The name initially came from the Italian word for “unique,” and has since been turned into an acronym for Unity, Neighborliness, Integrity, Charity, and Opportunity.

After World War II, the bulk of UNICO’s work has been in fundraising for scholarships, relief work, and related issues. Their first major work was in raising $500,000 to construct buildings in a region of Italy affected by earthquakes. UNICO and its individual chapters donate approximately $1 million annually in support of various charities. In supporting the Italian-American community, UNICO also holds campaigns against Italian stereotyping, and even lobbied against the portrayal of Italian-Americans in the MTV show, Jersey Shore. In addition to their community work, UNICO also works within the higher education community to fundraise for endowed chair positions in Italian and Italian-American Studies. They funded positions at the University of Connecticut in 1992, Seton Hall University in 1993, California State University-Long Beach in 1994, SUNY-Stonybrook in 1998, and most recently Montclair State University in 2001.

The West Orange/Orange chapter was founded in the 1960s. Their work primarily supports scholarships for local students, but also reflects Italian-American interests


4 Linear Feet (Two record cartons, one letter size standard document case, and nine customized boxes)

Language of Materials


Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the The Monsignor Field Archives & Special Collection Center Repository

Archives, Walsh Library
400 South Orange Ave
South Orange NJ 07079 US