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Guide to the Vincenzo Beltrone Collection
1924-2017
 MS 3029

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta, June 2017

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 30, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

The correspondence in the Vincenzo Beltrone Collection spans 1924–1968, but at its core are the letters exchanged between Beltrone and his fiancée (later wife), Kate Felicita Fabian (1903–1969), during his internment as an alien enemy of the United States, 1941–1945. Beltrone and Fabian each wrote often—sometimes more than once per day—to and from the locations of his internment, which changed with dizzying frequency (see the Biographical/Historical Note for places and dates). The letters describe conditions in the camps, Beltrone's health, and endless efforts to clear his name. A number of the letters have been razored or redacted by government censors.

Some correspondence is with Edward J. Ennis (1908–1990), director of the alien enemy control unit of the Department of Justice, and Howard F. Corcoran (1906–1989), U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

A few letters are from Beltrone's fellow detainees on Ellis Island, congratulating him on his release. One, from a woman named Gloria McCleod (postmarked 19 June 1945), describes her attempted suicide: "I am sincerly sorry I had to let you see such an unpleasant sight as it must of been to see me jump from the balcony." Another frequent correspondent in the collection is Raven Poetry Circle founder Francis Lambert McCrudden. (See Series I.)

While researching her article "Alien Enemy M68-279: The Unresolved Case of Vincenzo Beltrone," published in the May/June 1987 issue of Attenzione, Roslyn Bernstein (donor of this collection) requested and received by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) a copy of Beltrone's WWII Alien Enemy Detention and Internment Case File from the U.S. Department of Justice. It contains correspondence, questionnaires, affidavits, and other documents dating between 1940 and 1947 that tell the complete story of Beltrone's arrest, internment, and eventual release. (See Series II.)

The collection includes typescript and manuscript versions of virtually all Beltrone's poetry and some of his prose, in Italian and English. He was an active member of the Raven Poetry Circle of Greenwich Village, and some sheets show evidence of having been thumbtacked for display and sale at Raven shows on Washington Square. After her husband's death, Kate Fabian Beltrone worked to assemble an omnibus edition of his writing called Poetic Letters. This never materialized, apparently, but the projected book was to include 293 poems, some drawn from his only known published volume,  Eroica and Other Poems (New York: S. F. Vanni, 1940). The drafts for a number of these sections survive in the collection, but it is unclear at what stage Kate left the project on her death in 1969. There are also photocopies of pages from journals Beltrone kept while serving as a private in the signal corps of the Italian army in Somaliland, 1935–1936, and copies of some of the pro-Fascist editorials he wrote for the newspaper  Il Grido della Stirpe, or "The Cry of the Race." (See Series III.)

A mix of published material—mostly poetry books (some in Italian) and poetry journals—that belonged to Vincenzo Beltrone and his widow, rounds out the collection. Kate Fabian Beltrone, a poet herself, was a contributing editor to PEGASUS: The Poetry Quarterly, in which she published her late husband's verse along with her own. A few scattered issues are in box 7, folder 2. The collection also includes two small woodblock printing plate portraits of Beltrone, one of which is reproduced in the 1987 version of Roslyn Bernstein's article, "Alien Enemy M68-279: The Unresolved Case of Vincenzo Beltrone." (See Series IV.)

Arrangement

The collection is organized in four series:

Series I. Correspondence, 1924–1968 (bulk, 1942-1945)

Series II. Series II. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and Bernstein research, 1940–2017 (bulk, 1940-1947)

Series III. Writings, 1930s–ca. 1950

Series IV. Print matter, 1933–1959

Material is generally ordered chronologically, with some exceptions clarified at the series level.