The Simonetti family papers contain correspondence, documents, photographs, printed material, and ephemera related to the family, who emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1920. The bulk of the material relates to Pius (Pio) and Gaetano (Nino) Simonetti and their service in the United States Army during the Second World War.
The Correspondence series , which comprises the bulk of the collection, covers the years 1909-1921 and 1942-1945 and includes approximately 1,000 letters and pieces of V-mail; Letters, V-mail, and Telegrams are housed in separate subseries. Roughly two-thirds of the correspondence is written in Italian, with the remainder of the material in English and a handful of items in French. Alberto Simonetti wrote the earliest items in the Letters subseries to his wife Angelica, and his letters often contain pressed flowers; these letters are in Italian. The later run of correspondence, including the V-mail subseries , consists of letters composed by and addressed to Pio Simonetti during his World War II service in Algeria, Italy, and France; these are written in both Italian and English. In his letters to his son, Alberto reported family news, and often discussed rationing as well as his personal opinions of the United States government and of the war. His son sent home news of friends and relatives, and often described his leisure activities and military life, though he seldom mentioned combat. During 1945, he frequently wrote of his upcoming marriage and of his efforts to secure a visa for his new wife. By 1945, Pio expressed his frustration at remaining in Europe despite the official conclusion of combat operations. The Telegrams subseries primarily consists of messages sent between Alberto and Angelica Simonetti in the 1940s.
The Photographs and Negatives series has 41 photographs and 10 negatives. Pio Simonetti took the majority of the photographs, which depict army life in France and Italy during World War II and include several pictures of Pio and his friends. Other material in the collection belonged to Alberto Simonetti during World War I or to friends of Pio and Nino.
The Receipts series contains 9 items, the majority of which are related to goods ordered by and sent to Pio Simonetti during his European tour of duty. One item, dated 1934, is in Italian.
The Army Informational Materials series features material owned by Pio Simonetti during his World War II service. Pio collected his notes, quizzes, and exercises in Italian and English, and wrote English-language notes in a spiral notebook during training. He also saved GI pamphlets on banking, real estate, and sexual health. Other materials relate to interrogation tactics and the treatment of prisoners of war.
The Maps series consists of maps of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Picardy Region, France ("Triville"), which Pio Simonetti acquired during his military intelligence training. The series contains additional map overlays, as well as two maps of Palermo, Sicily.
Printed material includes newspaper clippings in English, French, and Italian; the English and French clippings date from World War II and the Italian clippings from 1918. Among the later materials are several satirical cartoons by William Henry Mauldin ("Bill"). In addition to these, the series also holds two pamphlets, A Total Moral Defense (1941) and a Pocket Guide to France (undated), as well as a book, P. C. Wren's The Wages of Virtue (undated).
The Ephemera series incorporates a variety of materials collected by Pio Simonetti during World War II, including holiday greeting cards, postcards, prayer cards, schedules, programs, stamps, and Italian and French currency.