Date: September 16, 2009
Department: News & Public Information
"The Portuguese-American community has been central to the economic, social and cultural development of our region, Commonwealth and world,'' said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. "This new archives will be a place where past and current contributions of this population are studied so that they are fully understood and appreciated."
Located in the Claire T. Carney Library, the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives are named for the pioneer Portuguese-language radio and newspaper personality, Affonso Gil Mendes Ferreira, whose daughter, Otilia Ferreira, is the Archives' lead benefactor. The Archives house the largest collection of historical material documenting the experience of Portuguese immigrants and their descendents in the United States.
National in scope, the Archives contain papers of Portuguese-Americans distinguished in politics, business, law, entertainment, the arts and literature. Among its holdings are genealogical records, newspapers, books, recordings, family photographs, scrapbooks and correspondence that document social history, illustrating the collective experience of immigration, settlement and life in the United States.
Collections include the literary papers of noted immi¬grant author Alfred Lewis; original runs and microfilms of newspapers like the Diário de Notícias, Portuguese Times and O Jornal; the televised interview program "The Portu¬guese Around Us"; the Ferreira-Mendes Radio Recordings (from the 1940s), and the American-Portuguese Genealogical and Historical Society Collection.
One of the most recent initiatives of the archives is digitizing newspapers and other materials so researchers and geneologists from all over the world can go online to access voluminous information about the development of the Portuguese-American community in America and how that community responded to issues and events occurring in the Portuguese-speaking world. The Portuguese-American Newspaper Digitization Initiative, undertaken in conjunction with the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, has already completed a searchable version of the Diário de Noticias (1919-1973).
The pre-ribbon cutting colloquium will feature Mr. Pedro Bicudo, director of RTP Açores; Prof. Kimberly DaCosta Holton, associate professor and program director of Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rutgers University; and Prof. Andrea Klimt, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Crime and Justice Studies at UMass Dartmouth.
Mr. Bicudo will deliver a lecture entitled "Portuguese Ethnic-Media: Quest for Survival," and Professors Holton and Klimt will discuss the book Community, Culture and the Makings of Identity: Portuguese-Americans Along the Eastern Seaboard, a collection of essays edited by the two and recently published by the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture.
During the colloquium, Mr. Bicudo will present the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives with a collection of television programs he produced for Portuguese Public Television (RTP) about the Portuguese in the U.S. The colloquium is co-organized by the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture and the Claire T. Carney Library.