L'Asino: è il popolo, utile, paziente e bastonato [The Donkey: is, [like] the people, useful, patient and beaten]. Roma and New York, 8 Gennaio [January] 1905 - 28 Novembre [November] 1909.
The collection includes:
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 2 - 8 Gennaio [January] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 3 - 15 Gennaio [January] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 6 - 5 Febbraio [February] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 7 - 12 Febbraio [February] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 8 - 19 Febbraio [February] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 11 - 12 Marzo [March] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 12 - 19 Marzo [March] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 14 - 2 Aprile [April] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 14, No. 18 - 30 Aprile [April] 1905
L'Asino, Anno 2, No. 48 - 28 November 1909
There are nine issues of the Italian imprint of this important illustrated review (1892–1925) in the collection, all in Year 14 of its publication in Italy, in 1905.
The motto of the newspaper, carried on the masthead, L’Asino è il popolo, utile, paziente e bastonato, reflect the magazine’s premise that like the donkey, “the people [are] hardworking, patient and mistreated.”
The Italian imprints are in the collection because they were so widely distributed in the U.S. among the Italians here by an Italian bookstore that only recently finally closed down, in the West Village, S. F. Vanni, then of 548 West Broadway in Manhattan.
You can see this on the cover of all the Rome-published issues in the collection: in addition to noting (above the L'ASINO masthead) that it was published in Rome, along with the date and number (and year) of the issue, below the masthead is the following: "Entered at the Post Office at New-York as second-class matter" and "Deposito dell'ASINO per gli Stati Uniti d'America presso S.F Vanni 548 Broadway New York," this latter description meaning "Warehousing [for distribution] of L'Asino for the U.S. at S.F. Vanni [address]."
For the full story on the similarities and differences of the New York-based publication of L'Asino, please see the entry for Anno II, no. 48, dated 28 November 1909.
Started in Rome by Guido Podrecca (who about 25 years later turned to fascism) and Gabriele Galantara (1865–1937, who under the nom d’artiste, Rata Langa, was the principal cartoonist of the magazine), L’Asino (The Donkey) was best known for its virulent anti-clerical expression and colorful political illustrations.
Claiming a circulation of about 100,000, the magazine won international admiration in the early 20th century.
Not surprisingly, given its popularity, the magazine earned the hatred of the Church, as the observation of one priest visiting an Italian community in Ybor City, Florida in 1905, suggests. He informed his superiors that Italians there were largely indifferent to religion, as “every week about 70 copies of the most infidel, anarchical and lascivious paper published in Italy are distributed among them,” nothing but L'Asino fitting that description!
In 1908, a papal nuncio in Washington took action that led to denial of entry of L’Asino as published in Italy into the U.S., on the grounds that it contained pornographic material, at the same time that police raided Vanni’s and arrested the owner.
L’Asino was still largely composed in Italy even after publication in the U.S. began. The Fascist Party permanently closed L'Asino down in 1925 - something that the Church had been unable to do years before.