Authored by Alma Sakic
The Academic Service Learning (AS-L) object of which this narrative is an exposition was first selected at the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) of New York. CMS is an educational institute devoted specifically to the study of the immigrant experience and the phenomenon of international migration.
As an institution, it is devoted to the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of highly unique informational objects related specifically to the immigrant experience. These objects are then stored and safeguarded in the Center of Migration Studies’ archive. The CMS archive contains over 40 impressive collections, containing papers, records, photographs, and correspondence, all relating to the subject of immigration in New York. Among these archived records are case histories of immigrants assisted by agencies working on Ellis Island; the documents of immigrants who rose to prominence and fame upon their arrival to New York; the records of immigrant advocacy groups and institutions; as well as the largest surviving collection of material pertaining to transit of displaced immigrants in New York after World War II. 1
One of the most unique aspects of the CMS immigration archive is its extensive collection of correspondence related to prominent and famous immigrant figures. Among these prominent figures was the celebrated Italian inventor Antonio Meucci, who is the author of the AS-L artifact treated in this exposition. The title of the artifact is Antonio Meucci’s Letter to Prime Minister Ricasoli. The context of the object is that of the Third Italian War of Independence of 1866, which paralleled the Austro-Prussian War and was fought between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire. In the letter, Meucci urges Prime Minister Ricasoli to incite the Italian people to excitement and action, in an attempt to unify Italy in a rallying cry against the Austrian Empire’s dominance. The object, highly unique in its presentation, consists of 23 pages of Meucci’s letter, 14 of those translated from the original, handwritten Italian, five of them in Meucci’s handwritten Italian cursive, with the remaining pages printed in the original Italian and signed by Meucci himself.2
1. “Center for Migration Studies”, http://www.cmsny.org