Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Simonetti Family Papers, 1909-1945

Finding aid created by
Abby Smith, August 2011, and Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Simonetti family papers
Creator: Simonetti, Pius Gaius, b. 1918
Inclusive dates: 1909-1945
Bulk dates: 1942-1945
Extent: 6.5 linear feet
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.
Language: The material is in Italian, English, and French
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1991. M-2808; M-2929.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Simonetti Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is organized into the following series and subseries:

  • Series I: Correspondence
    • Subseries I: Letters
    • Subseries II: V-mail
    • Subseries III: Telegrams
  • Series II: Photographs and Negatives
  • Series III: Receipts
  • Series IV: Army Informational Materials
  • Series V: Maps
  • Series VI: Printed Material
    • Subseries I: Newspaper Clippings
    • Subseries II: Books and Pamphlets
  • Series VII: Ephemera
    • Subseries I: Greeting Cards and Postcards
    • Subseries II: Prayer Cards and Religious Materials
    • Subseries III: Schedules and Programs
    • Subseries IV: Stamps and Currency
    • Subseries V: Other

The correspondence series is arranged chronologically.


Alberto Simonetti was born in Naples, Italy, in 1874, and married Angelica Musolino in New York City in 1915. Though his work involved frequent travel between the United States and Italy, he moved permanently to New York City in 1920 and, later, to Medford, Massachusetts. He died in 1950.

Pius Gaius Simonetti ("Pio") was born on May 16, 1917, the son of Alberto and Angelica Simonetti, and worked as a salesman for the Musolino Lo Conte Company, a grocery owned by his mother's family. He enlisted in the United States Army in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 20, 1942, and began training in military intelligence at Fort Ritchie, Maryland. He served in Algeria, Italy, and France. While stationed in Sicily, he met Conchita de Lisi, whom he married in 1945.

Gaetano Simonetti ("Nino") , another son of Alberto and Angelica Simonetti, was born on June 23, 1918, and initially took over his brother's sales route after Pio's enlistment in the army. Nino enlisted on October 10, 1944. He was injured during training and remained in the United States, where he helped train incoming soldiers.

Adriana Simonetti , the daughter of Alberto and Angelica Simonetti, was born in 1930. The entire Simonetti family became naturalized United States citizens in 1955.

Collection Scope and Content Note

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.

Subject Terms

    • Algeria--History--1830-1962.
    • France--History--1914-1940.
    • Italy--History--Allied occupation, 1943-1947.
    • Military spouses--United States.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Europe, Southern.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Italy.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Photography.
    • Simonetti, Alberto, 1874-1950.
    • Simonetti, Angelica.
    • Simonetti, Pius Gaius, b. 1917.
    Genre Terms:
    • Brochures.
    • Business cards.
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Greeting cards.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Manuals (instructional materials)
    • Maps.
    • Negatives (photographic)
    • Newspapers.
    • Pamphlets.
    • Paper money.
    • Photographs.
    • Postage stamps.
    • Postcards.
    • Schedules (time plans)
    • Telegrams.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Boxes   1-11  
    Letters [subseries]
    Box   12  
    V-mail [subseries]
    Box   12  
    Telegrams [subseries]
    Box   13  
    Photographs and Negatives [series]
    Box   13  
    Receipts [series]
    Box   13  
    Army Informational Materials [series]
    Box   13  
    Maps [series]
    Printed Material [series]
    Box   13  
    Newspaper Clippings [subseries]
    Box   13  
    Books and Pamphlets [subseries]
    Ephemera [series]
    Box   13  
    Greeting Cards and Postcards [subseries]
    Box   13  
    Prayer Cards and Religious Materials [subseries]
    Box   13  
    Schedules and Programs [subseries]
    Box   13  
    Stamps and Currency [subseries]
    Box   13  
    Other Ephemera [subseries]