The Italian American Society was founded in Peoria, Illinois on October 5, 1929 by seventeen men of Italian descent. At that time, its basic purpose was a fraternal organization dedicated to the welfare of its members. While the Society has evolved through the years, the focus of taking care of each other is as true today as it was then.
In 1979, the Society enlisted the help of Bradley University professors, Lester H. Brune and Wiliam A. Bowers, to put together a history of the Society on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary:
America is a nation consisting of the contributions of many diverse ethnic groups. Italian-Americans are one of the many groups whose wholesome and positive actions have made the United State the greatest nation in today's world.Nevertheless, it is easy for second and third generation Americans to underestimate the difficulties, sacrifices and many small and great problems overcome by the generation of immigrants who risked much to leave thier old homeland and come to the United States. Their success has made the lives of later generations more pleasurable and free; their efforts are often forgotten as later generations believe they were the ones who "did it on their own." The truth of course is that the roots of Americans today are covered with past hardships, difficulties and strife. A wholesome perspective requires acknowledgement of these prior efforts. To this perspective, the authors hope this volume offers some introductory undertstanding of the Italian-American Heritage for all families living in Central Illinois.
Today the Society's goals center not only on the welfare of its members, but also on that of the community. We continually strive to fulfill the dreams of those original founders by carrying on Italian traditions.
Our hand is extended to those of Italian descent and those desiring to learn more about Italian heritage to join the organization and become an integral part of the Society's future.