Settlement houses were part of America’s Progressive Movement, and were catalysts for change within the educational system. The Italian Settlement, now known as the Neighborhood Center, Inc.,... More > was established in 1905 in Utica, New York and has served the community for over one hundred years. Founded by the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Church, the Settlement’s primary goal was to help the newly arrived Italian population assimilate into American culture.
This study provides an oral history of the author and of Marie Russo, a child of an immigrant family who, with the support of the Italian Settlement, overcame cultural and societal challenges. Her career with the Settlement culminated with her achievement of serving as the agency’s Executive Director. Russo’s unique seventy-year relationship with the Settlement provides a perspective of the agency’s history that needed to be preserved while firsthand knowledge was still attainable.< Less