Il Messaggero della Salute: rivista mensile d'igiene, di terapia fisio-psichica e di cultura eclettica [The Messenger of Health: a monthly review of hygiene, of physico-psychiatric therapy, and of eclectic culture], Anno 11, No. 110. Chicago: Italian Labor Publishing Co., Giugno-Luglio [June-July] 1929.

Il Messaggero No. 110 A.jpg
Il Messaggero No. 110 B.jpg

Title

Il Messaggero della Salute: rivista mensile d'igiene, di terapia fisio-psichica e di cultura eclettica [The Messenger of Health: a monthly review of hygiene, of physico-psychiatric therapy, and of eclectic culture], Anno 11, No. 110. Chicago: Italian Labor Publishing Co., Giugno-Luglio [June-July] 1929.

Description

Just when you thought you could put all Italian American newspapers or magazines into "boxes" labelled one of the following, namely, (1) "Bourgeois- Prominente Class," (2) "Anarchist, socialist, et al., and anti-fascist", or (3) "Fascist,"  - that is, that Italian Americans were either scrambling to "make" America, nose to the grindstone, and don't make any trouble, or political - let's remake the world order and its politics; or let's oppose the anarchists, et al., we find the uncategorizable Il Messaggero della Salute. Forty-four monthly issues of it, no less!

Il Messaggero has no mention in Durante, in the Routledge History of Italian Americans (William Connell, Stanislao Pugliese, ed., 2018), The Italian American Experience: an Encyclopedia (Sal LaGumina et al., 2000), La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience (Jerre Mangione, Ben Morreale, ed., 1992) or in any other reference work except a brief and unenlightening entry by Giovanni E. Schiavo in The Italians in Chicago: A Study of Americanization (Reprint: New York, Arno Press, 1975), p. 107. There the magazine's existence and only the name of the publisher, "T. Lucidi," but not its printer, the Italian Labor Publishing Company - a socialist press, is noted, without comment other than to observe that it is one of two Italian magazines in Chicago not written in a "language accessible to the average Italian with grammar school education." Note that Schiavo's book was originally published in 1928 by the Italian-American Publishing Company, which in 1917 published Why Italy Entered into the World War and Soltanto l'eliminazione della neutralità potrà subito e per sempre impedire le guerre, q.v., of Luigi Carnovale, discussed below, and copies of several of whose books in Italian are in the collection, q.v.

"Statement of the ownership, management, circulation etc. required by the Act of Congress of August 24, 1912" wihtin an issue of the magazine dated 1924 sheds little light: T. Lucidi is listed as owner, publisher, and editor, but you could figure that out from any issue of the magazine. No one else is listed in the statement, and there are no circulation figures.

So what "box" do we fit it into?

This monthly magazine that lasted for at least eleven years (1918 or 1919-1929) and possibly longer was the "organ of the Italian Nature Association and of the Eclectic Universal Association." Of course, a "nature association" does sound like a nudist colony, not exactly a conventional (or even conventionally radical) fixture of Italian American life. Indeed, there are articles about sex - not exactly a staple of magazines of the left or the right.

Here are some sample articles: the May 1927 issue begins with an essay by founder and director Lucidi himself (see below) entitled "Cerebralism." It begins with a rather odd discussion of the principle by which Omar, in his decree as to the destruction of the library of Alexandria, said books that were consistent with the Koran could be destroyed as "superfluous," and books in it that were in disagreement with the Koran should be destroyed as dangerous and damaging. So, perforce, the writer is neither Catholic nor anti-clerical, unlike the vast majority of all the writers in the collection, and he is at least sympathetic to some aspects of the Muslim faith.

Here are some hints beyond looking at some essays in some issues from what we know of Lucidi. He was the publisher of La Parola, later called La Parola Proletaria, according to Durante, and see La Parola del Popolo: rivista bimestrale.

Yet leftist (or other conventional) politics is not to be found in a sampling of issues of Il messaggero.

Perhaps Il Messaggero della Salute - The Messenger of Health - is just what it sounds like: a guide to how to improve one's health and well-being, irrespective of politics of any kind. The articles are by Italians and non-Italians alike, more of the latter. The same issue discussed above has an article by Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher, social reformer and esotericist, whose essay here discusses, besides Christianity, Yoga (as the wisdom of the East), Rosacrutionism and Gnosticism. Avem's Geoterapia (Geotherapy), whose subtitle in the ad is "Ritornate alla Natura!" - seemingly a call to join a nudist colony perhaps? - is heavily advertised in most issues, as is Aldo Lavagnini's Eufisia: the art of staying well, promising "health, vigor, beauty and longevity."  

Yet the fact that this magazine was written entirely in Italian seems oddly out of character with the brave new world it appears to be introducing to its readers. That is, one might have imagined a magazine like this to have been written by and for Italians in English, appealing to the more free-thinking, socially (not necessarily politically) progressive elements of the Italian immigrant community, eager to participate in American experiments of various sorts.

A letter by Lucidi to one of the collection's authors, Luigi Carnovale, suggests that Lucidi was having trouble in 1921 - two years after the first issue - making a financial go of the magazine. We're delighted he managed to last for another 9 or so years.

I found a copy for sale of one of the other works advertised in an issue of Il Messaggero, a curiously named brochure containing one "lecture", called The Crusaders Academy of Science, Incorporated: Constituted for the promotion and development of the spiritual and mental faculties, directed by the Masters of the Crusaders Order of the World, of the Masonic Society, q.v.

Ah, Masons! Finally something familiar, although Masons or Freemasons aren't found in the Routledge History or the Italian American Encyclopedia, but there is an excerpt from Michele Pane in Durante that speaks of a charcacter who is a "Venerable of the Freemasons of the Mazzini Lodge."

Inside this typescript or mimeogaphed brochure, undated but perhaps 1932, the seller opined, there is advertised "Transcychology," "the Ancient Mysteries," Occultism (Spiritualism-magnetism and Allied Sciences," and "Projection and Psychic Levitation-Systmes and Practices." The ad seems to be promoting "A Course of Superior Studies" compiled by Gaetano Russo, M.Ps.Sc., Director General of the Crusaders Order of the World. There follows episode No. 36 of the course, namely, "astrology-horoscopes." The cover contain a photograph of the headquarters, at 1857 Anthony Avenue, corner of Mt. Hope Place, in the Bronx. The building was previously the Shuttleworth mansion, built in 1896.

One could say that while there is heavy Italian American involvement or investment in the magazine, and the cults that support it, the philosophy is in no particular sense "Italian" or "Italian American." Perhaps even especially for that reason, this magazine shines light on what is to me a hitherto unknown aspect of Italian American culture in Italian in the early decades of the 20th century.

The 44 or more issues of this magazine alone should keep a few graduate students busy for a while.

Creator

T. Lucidi

Publisher

Italian Labor Publishing Co.

Date

Giugno-Luglio [June-July] 1929

Relation

Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 55 - Gennaio [January] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 57 - Marzo [March] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 58 - Aprile [April] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 59 - Maggio [May] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 60 - Giugno [June] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 61 - Luglio [July] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 62 - Agosto [August] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 63 - Settembre [September] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 64 - Ottobre [October] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 65 - Novembre [November] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 6, No. 66 - Dicembre [December] 1924
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 67 - Gennaio-Febbraio [January-February] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 68 - Marzo [March] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 69 - Aprile [April] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 70 - Maggio [May] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 71 - Giugno [June] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 72 - Luglio [July] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 74 - Settembre [September] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 75 - Ottobre [October] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 7, No. 76 - Novembre-Dicembre [November-December] 1925
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 77 - Gennaio [January] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 78 - Febbraio [February] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 79 - Marzo [March] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 80 - Aprile [April] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 81 - Maggio [May] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 82 - Giugno [June] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 84 - Agosto [August] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 85 - Settembre [September] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 86 - Ottobre [October] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 8, No. 87 - Novembre-Dicembre [November-December] 1926
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 88 - Gennaio [January] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 90 - Marzo [March] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 91 - Aprile [April] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 92 - Maggio [May] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 93 - Giugno [June] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 94 - Luglio [July] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 95 - Agosto [August] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 96 - Settembre [September] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 98 - Novembre [November] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 9, No. 99 - Dicembre [December] 1927
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 10, No. 106 - Agosto-Settembre [August-September] 1928
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 11, No. 108 - Gennaio-Febbraio [January-February] 1929
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 11, No. 109 - Marzo-Maggio [March-May] 1929
Il Messaggero della Salute, Anno 11, No. 111 - Dicembre [December] 1929

Il Messaggero della Salute [main entry]

Language

Italian

Citation

T. Lucidi, “Il Messaggero della Salute: rivista mensile d'igiene, di terapia fisio-psichica e di cultura eclettica [The Messenger of Health: a monthly review of hygiene, of physico-psychiatric therapy, and of eclectic culture], Anno 11, No. 110. Chicago: Italian Labor Publishing Co., Giugno-Luglio [June-July] 1929.,” Italian-Language American Imprints: The Periconi Collection, accessed September 26, 2022, https://italianamericanimprints.omeka.net/items/show/522.

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