The Italian Club of St. Louis is an organization of men and women from every walk of life, distinguished by their pride in their Italian descent and united with a love of Italy and the desire to know as much as possible about the land of their origin and its language, culture, history, and traditions.
Italian fun fact:
Filippo Mazzei, a physician and promoter of liberty, was a close friend and confidant of Thomas Jefferson. He published a pamphlet containing the phrase “All men are by nature equally free and independent.”
Founding members conducted their first meeting on January 4, 1922, at the Elk’s Club. Soon after, the members adopted a constitution and by-laws. Officers of the first Board were President Jules Bertero, Vice President August Cicardi and Financial Secretary Joseph Freschi, with Angelo Corrubia, John Ravarino, and Vincent Selvaggi as Directors. The Founders established the Italian Club in direct response to the United States experiencing a post-World War I influx of visiting Italian dignitaries. Their purpose was to meet and entertain Italian visitors, and their list included ambassadors, royalty, generals and 150 Italian athletes who were traveling to the 1932 Olympic Games in California. Princess Santa Borghese, Generalissimo Armando Diaz and Generalissimo Pietro Bedoglio were among the guests. Throughout the 20th century, the Italian Club was headed by strong and dedicated leaders who remained committed to the Club.
A ladies auxiliary was formed in 1938 and for years they worked together with the men on such events as charity balls for the benefit of the children of Saint Domenico Italian Orphan Home. In 1990 the Italian Club proudly welcomed women as full members of the Club. Joann Gambino Arpiani and Evelina Pasetti were the first female members to join. Today the Italian Club’s main purpose is to promote and encourage knowledge and interest in Italian and Italian-American art, culture, history, language, science, technology, economics, and all such matters and affairs, both contemporary as well as historical.
The Club also recognizes and honors those individuals who have distinguished themselves through their service to the Italian-American community. The list of past recipients of the Italian Heritage Award includes President Emeritus Cav. Eugene Mariani, Cav. Valerio Bianco, Past-President Marie Cuccia-Brand, Chris Saracino and Msgr. Salvatore Polizzi.
In 1992, the Italian Club began its long-term commitment of awarding scholarships to students studying the Italian language at the elementary school and university level. The Club’s dedication to assisting students continues into the 21st century.
The Italian Club is a nonprofit organization that welcomes individuals from all walks of life, irrespective of ethnic origin or socio-economic standing, who enjoy the experience of Italian culture, and who are interested in its preservation and dissemination. Our roots are firmly planted; we will flourish for many generations to come. SEMPRE AVANTI!
Jules Bertero (President)
Charles A. Boggiano
August Cicardi (Vice President)
Angelo Corrubia (Director)
Joseph Freschi (Finance Secretary)
Vincent D. Gallo
John Ravarino (Director)
Vincent C. Selvaggi (Director)
Fred Giacoma and Maria Volpi, circa 1960s