HomeAboutAbout James J. Periconi

About James J. Periconi

I have been collecting Italian-language American imprints (and related materials) since about 1999.

I am an independent researcher, member of the Grolier Club of New York, and have been a Wertheim Research Scholar and now member of the Center for Research in the Humanities at the New York Public Library from 2018 to the present, where my essay on Augusto Bassetti, which appears on the website, was written and published in 2021 in the volume, This Hope Sustains the Scholar: Essays in Tribute to the Work of Robert Viscusi, ed. Siân Gibby, Joseph Sciorra and Anthony Julian Tamburri (New York: Bordighera Press, 2021), pp. 89-113.

My Strangers in a Strange Land: A Catalogue of an Exhibition on the History of Italian-Language American Imprints (1830-1945) (2012) was reprinted by Bordighera Press in 2013, and essays and other material from it are also reprinted on this website. I have lectured on this subject throughout the country, including at the Roxburghe Club of San Francisco, as well as directly in connection with exhibitions of my collection (much smaller then) at the Grolier Club of New York (2012), Brooklyn College (2013) and Seton Hall University (2014).

I was Bibliographic Editor of Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943 (2014), edited by Francesco Durante, Robert Viscusi, General Editor of the American Edition, Anthony J. Tamburri, Translations Editor.

My essay in the Routledge History of Italian Americans (New York: Routledge, 2018), ed. William J. Connell and Stanislao G. Pugliese, pp. 252-267, reflected my latest research (as of 2018) on the topic "Italian American Book Publishing and Bookselling"; that essay appears on the website.

I am currently working on a book on the transition between the residuary oral culture in the almost medieval Italy from which most Italian immigrants came, and the advanced literacy of 20th century U.S., using Augusto Bassetti's work, among others, to mark and explore that transition.

I received my B.A. in English Literature from Columbia College in 1970, at which time I was named a Danforth Graduate Fellow. I began graduate work at the University of Virginia, where I received an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature in 1972. While studying in Paris a few months later, I had a kind of revelation that I needed to become a lawyer and save the environment, so I left graduate school. I graduated from the New York University School of Law, and was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York. I practice environmental law in Manhattan.