That legacy of names, stories and photographs includes, by definition,  those who had emigrated from the shores of southern Italy, at the turn of the 20th century, and their offspring who were born and raised in Taylor Street’s Little Italy.

We are more than artifacts and object. Our legacy is the sum of  our stories.” Vincent Romano,Editor.

Taylor Street Archives is designed to preserve, for posterity, the legacy of those immigrants, migrants and their offspring who had lived the experience of the Legendary Taylor Street… a time, a place and a people that were and will never be again.  That legacy of names and stories includes those who had emigrated from the shores of southern Italy, at the turn of the 20th century, and their offspring who were born and raised in Taylor Street’s Little Italy.  

Our primary purpose is to record those memories that capture both the essence and spirit of growing up on Taylor Street, the near-west side immigrant community that Jane Addams had labeled, “The Hull House Neighborhood”.
“We must never allow others to tell our story to their liking.  

About the Editor: Vince Romano

Vince grew up in and is a product of Taylor Street, Chicago’s Little Italy, the port-of-call for the Chicago area’s Italian American immigrants. Like many first generation Italian American’s (the offspring of immigrant parents), his identity was, in-part, the creation of the neighborhood and its institutions—(and the larger culture as orchestrated by the media.)..

Among those institutions was the Jane Addams Hull House, America’s first settlement house founded in 1889. The Taylor-Halsted area became known as The Hull House Neighborhood, the laboratory upon which Jane Addams tested her sociological theories and formulated her protests to the establishment. As early as 1895, Jane Addams and Ellen Starr described the inner core of the Hull House neighborhood as wall-to-wall Italians.

Later, armed with his graduate degree, Vince hired on as a social worker with Hull House. Included in his duties was counselor at the Hull House summer camp, purposefully named the Bowen Country Club as detailed in the stories of both the Jane Addams’ Hull House and the Bowen Country Club. Reversing roles, he now became a contributor to the fashioning identities of waves of first and second generation Italian Americans that followed.

It is from this unique perspective, which evolved from having been both the recipient of and contributor to that Taylor Street phenomenon, that sets Vince apart from most writers and historians of the Italian American experience.

The Taylor Street Archives reflects his distinctive perspective of a time, a place and a people that were and can never be again. While lacking political correctness at times, it strives for historical accuracy. The Taylor Street Archives was designed to go beyond family values and the work ethic so often espoused by those who report the Italian American experience.

Vince’s personal odyssey includes his serving as president of the Gregorians, an Association of Italian American Educators. During his presidency he addressed the media and other institutions via lectures and workshops on the impact of the media on the Italian American experience. As a result of those efforts, Chicago hired its first TV newscaster of Italian heritage and the Chicago Tribune was shamed into removing its prologue from their editorial page: “The purpose of a modern day newspaper is to guide and lead public opinion.”   

Vince left the college ranks in 1983 and embarked on a career in the Financial Services industry. Holding the title of Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley, the Romano Group services the financial and investment needs of businesses and  individuals.

His avocation and his passion is the construction and preservation of the history and legacy of the Taylor Street phenomenon–a time, a place, and a people that were and can never be again. A people who defied the profound failure prophesy of our sociological soothsayers.   A people and a subculture who, against all odd, had transitioned themselves from having been cast as servants to the dream to participants in the dream.  The Taylor Street Archives, a chronicle of those who lived the Italian American experience, as it unfolded for those immigrants who settled into the Legendary Taylor Street made its debut in 2006.

In 2010, Vince petitioned the 33 member UIC Trustees to address the issue of the Jane Addams’ Hull House Museum’s flawed history being dispensed by the museum to historians, educators, writers and the public itself.  Devoid of the history and synergy that existed between Jane Addams and the Italian American community.  The immigrant community that Jane Addams herself had named The Hull House Neighborhood. 

The presentation won over all 33 members of the University’s trustees along with it’s president, Christopher Kennedy.  The UIC Chancellor and the UIC student body were equally impressed.  They had determined that the Taylor Street Archives was to be given its rightful place in the Hull House Museum.  

The stories of other contributors and corroborators are recorded in these Archives. They can be located via the “Search” engine.  Feel free to reach into your memory bank and add to the the legacy of our legendary Taylor Street.  I mention a few of the early contributors and collaborators here.

Eleanor Camardo, contributing writer

Luke Capuano, contributing writer

John “Johniie Boy” Parise, corroborator

Ralph Di Lorenzo, corroborator

Fred Mancini, contributing writer

Nick Balice, corroborator

Nick Caruso, corroborator

Frank “Horse” Caruso, corroborator

Joe “Joe Skornz” Esposito, corroborator

Mike “Wacker” Alesia, contributor and corroborator

Sarah Loconte, contributing writer

…and a host of others whose brains were picked in telling our story as they had lived it.