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MSS 143


PG 372

Sandy VanDoren

Archivist for the Balch Institute

January 1999


MSS 143 (M89-16)

6 1/2 Hollinger boxes of mss.

2 folders oversize materials

(approx. 3 1/2 linear feet altogether)


This collection was donated to the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies by Mr. Tumolo's son, Nicholas Tumolo, with the consent of his second son, Alfred Tumolo, in March 1989.  The papers came in as one accession, M89-16.  They were processed in January 1999 by Sandy VanDoren, Archivist for the Balch Institute, after some preliminary organization by Laura Szumanski.


Nicholas Tumolo was born in New York City on June 24, 1905.  He received some early education there before the family moved to Philadelphia, where he spent the rest of his life.  He was educated through high school in both Philadelphia public and parochial schools, but did not attend college.

Despite his family's disapproval, Tumolo was trained as a professional musician, and from the mid-1920s to the 1930s  appears to have organized several bands, for which he sometimes played the saxophone. Even later, when no longer directly involved with musical events, he occasionally acted as a promoter for  musicians and singers.  He was, briefly, a policeman for the city of Philadelphia, and by the early 1940s was working as a machine operator/machinist at the United States Mint.  He seems to have left that job by about 1947,  possibly to go on to the Budd Company, but by 1959 or 1960 he was working at Minneapolis-Honeywell, in the Brown Instruments Division.  Tumolo retired from Honeywell in February 1971.

All during these years, Tumolo was very active in community and civic affairs, especially as they concerned the citizens of south Philadelphia, where he lived for most of his life.  From mid-1930s through at least 1949/50, he vigourously promoted the idea of a free city college, a concept he claimed he got from his father, Alfred, a retired tailor, and spent many years speaking and writing letters to everyone anywhere with any influence on the Pennsylvania legislature to create such an entity.  He also formed the South Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce in the late 1930s, remaining at its head at least until 1971.  As a result of these and many other community activities, Tumolo became involved with innumerable publishing efforts, often formed to promote the activities themselves, or as separate business ventures.  In 1946, he merged several of these, centering around south Philadelphia and/or the free college campaign, into an small enterprise he called Courier News Publications, but remained involved with other publication efforts as well. 

Yet, in spite of all the energy and time expended on such efforts, Tumolo's real love and passion were for politics.  Even while he was at the U.S. Mint, he joined the young union there (Local 9 of the United Federal Workers of America), becoming a shop steward, later claiming he had been one of the "1942 organizers of the IUE [International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers]."  And while he was with Honeywell he campaigned for shift steward in 1966, although he did not win the election.  

Not only did Tumolo's civic activities lead to his involvement with many publishing enterprises, but often helped form a platform for his almost continuous pursuit of public office, from the early 1930s through the mid-1950s.  In 1934, having registered Democratic voters the previous year for the Roosevelt election, Tumolo ran as a Democratic candidate for city council on a free city college plank.  He ran in 1936, again as a Democrat, for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, but by November 1938, having campaigned for Arthur James, the Republican candidate for governor, Tumolo was working for a "Free City College Party" for the Republicans (as opposed to the "New Dealers").  By 1943, although no longer aggressively pushing for a free college, he had clearly switched to the Republican side.  He ran that year and again in 1951 as a Republican candidate for city council, and finally, as same for the federal House of Representatives in 1956.  He was unsuccessful in all these campaigns.

Nicholas Tumolo was a man of remarkable energy and flexibility in his promotion of  a large variety of civic causes.  He also seemed constantly to be seeking personal recognition and  power,  and thus, his community, business and political activities often appear to have had both public and blatantly personal goals.  It is perhaps because these lines often seem so blurred--possibly to his contemporaries as well--that he unfortunately failed in  many of these endeavours.  Nevertheless, he continued to be interested in a vast number of issues throughout his life, as testified to by his collection of newspaper clippings, amazing for both their number and variety, and even as late as 1973 Tumolo was becoming involved in matters pertaining to Philadelphia's Chinese community.  He was still alive in 1984,  but from correspondence in the Balch files he had clearly died by 1987. His exact death date is unknown.


Textual Records:  When this collection was received at the Balch Institute, it was a complete jumble of records, photographs and newspaper clippings. The textual materials, which span the years 1925-1984, consist largely of correspondence and memos, campaign paraphernalia, business cards, print materials, programs, hand-written notes, ward and address lists, and approximately one to two linear feet of newspapers and newspaper articles, many of them torn from their respective papers, with no attribution or date.  Many of the more obscure of these, unidentified and of no discernible value, have not been included in the final collection; most of the remaining have been placed in folders as is, while some complete newspapers have been transferred to the Balch Library.  Because of the disorder of the materials when received and of at least one fire in 1948, this collection of records is somewhat random in what has been preserved.  However, sufficient information has survived for the astute researcher to draw some reasonable and accurate conclusions about Mr. Tumolo and about the Philadelphia of his time.  These materials would be of particular interest to anyone researching politics in the city from the 1930s through the 1950s, or tracing the history of free college education in the area.  Finally, this little collection is a veritable gold-mine of bits and pieces from an astounding number of local newspaper publishers which flourished in those decades.  Often very little of such presses remain, even in these materials, but the careful scholar can learn much here about the who, what and when of those often long defunct publishing houses.

All the textual records, except for information in newspapers, have been indexed.

Photographs :  There are 167 mostly black and white photographs included in this collection, generally concerning Italian-American groups.  They are almost all publicity or promotional shots taken for either a Tumolo publication or a commercial firm.  The bulk of them deals with the various American Medical Relief for Italy fund-raisers at the Ravenhill Academy, Italian-American war veterans or post war activities.  Some individuals are also represented, especially James J. Tayoun, Elba Gurzau, John Positano, "Beth Peters," and a few photos of Tumolo himself.  See PG 372 for the photo guide and photo index.

Library Materials: A few complete newspapers have been placed in the Balch Library.  Their titles are listed separately.

Artifacts: 9 buttons have been placed temporarily in the Archives stacks.


The collection has been organized in precisely the same way as the opening Biographical Note,  and thus, intellectually, flows in the same manner. 

Series I:  PERSONAL AND EMPLOYMENT  MATERIALS, 1925-1984, Boxes 1-2 (1 linear foot)

Subseries A:  FAMILY AND OTHER EARLY RECORDS,                                  1925-1984, Boxes 1-2

This subseries contains the earliest materials in the collection and information about Tumolo's musical endeavours.  There is very little reference to his family, although a few items from family members are included here, as well as some correspondence about his military history.  The subseries consists of correspondence, hand-written notes, flyers, printed materials, brochures, programs, business cards, some music scores, maps and newspaper clippings.  The materials are arranged chronologically; clippings have been loosely categorized into alphabetical subject headings of particular interest to Tumolo.


This small section deals more explicitly with Tumolo's work career (except music) and his involvement in union politics both at the Mint and Honeywell.  It contains correspondence, memos, some hand-written notes, newspaper clippings and numerous formal suggestions Tumolo made to the Honeywell management about various operations.  As above, the materials are arranged chronologically, with newspaper clippings, in large subject categories, at the end.

SERIES II:  COMMUNITY-BASED ACTIVITIES, 1931-1974, Boxes 2-6 (approximately 2 linear feet)

This series has been divided into four subseries to reflect the major areas of Tumolo's involvement in his community.

Subseries A:  CIVIC AND COMMERCIAL ENDEAVOURS, 1938-1974, Boxes 2-3

Tumolo was active in many civic and quasi/commercial enterprises, including the Passyunk Avenue Business Men's Association, which seems to have sponsored the Passyunk News, the South Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Wharton Civic Welfare or Civic Youth Association.  He is listed as either the founder, president or secretary of these various organizations.   The material consists of correspondence, memos, hand-written notes, address lists, printed materials, public relations notices and newspaper clippings, mostly interspersed throughout the folders.  Arrangement is alphabetical and then chronological.


This interesting subseries gives a reasonably complete picture of Tumolo's campaign to promote a free college in Philadelphia.  It contains correspondence--mostly to and from the various incarnations of the "Philadelphia City College [Campaign] Committee"--memos, hand-written notes and penciled mast-heads for the Philadelphia City College Courier and the Philadelphia City College Advocate, semi-legal documents, legislative bills, printed materials and newspaper clippings.  The subseries is arranged chronologically, with the clippings at the end, again organized by large subject categories.

Subseries C:  PUBLICATIONS, 1936-1972, Boxes 4-5

Tumolo was involved in innumerable publishing efforts over the years, many of them spun off from his civic activities.  In 1946 he amalgamated several of these little news sheets into Courier News Publications, but remained active with other publishing enterprises as well.  This subseries consist of  correspondence, hand-written notes, memos, news and publicity releases, printed materials, some mock-ups and mast-heads, with newspapers and clippings interspersed throughout.  Arrangement is alphabetical and chronological,  starting with Courier News and its affiliates.  Some newspaper clippings are also at the end of this subseries.

Subseries D:  GENERAL ITALIAN-AMERICAN INTERESTS,             1935-1969, Boxes 5-6

Tumolo was always interested in the Italian-American community of which he was a part.  He was a member of the Order of the Sons of Italy and occasionally participated in some of its activities.  He often promoted specific Italian-American causes, such as helping with the arrangements for the annual fund-raiser of the American Medical Relief for Italy, or individuals, including singer Al Martino.  Materials here include correspondence, publicity and broadcast releases, programs, tickets, printed matter, small posters, speeches, hand-written notes and newspaper clippings, either interspersed throughout or at the end.  Arrangement is chronological.

SERIES III:  POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, 1931-1969,                      Boxes 6-7 (approximately 1/2 linear foot)

This series deals with Tumolo's patently political involvement, both in his own campaigns and those of  others.  Though small, in some ways it is the most interesting series of the collection, and gives the researcher at least a glimpse of  the effects and interactions of local and national politics during the 1930s-1950s in Philadelphia. Documents consist of correspondence, hand-written notes, speeches and platform proposals, campaign literature, printed materials, ward and address lists and newspaper clippings.  Arrangement is chronological, with most of the clippings at the end, organized in large subject areas.

The listing "OS" in the box list refers to oversize boxes.

And index to the records collection follows the box list.

The guide for the photographs can be found with PG 372


(Correspondence is indicated by an asterisk)

Material in newspaper clippings in not indexed, although local newspaper titles are.  These titles can be found in this index under "Newspaper titles."  Nicholas Tumolo is not cited as a correspondent here; it can be reasonably assumed he is such in all folders labelled "Correspondence."

Academy of the Assumption "Ravenhill," 5:16-19

Alessandroni, Eugene, 5:15

*Alessandroni, Eugene, 3:12, 14;  4:7; 5:14; 6:13

*Alessandroni, John, 3:8; 6:9

American City College Committee, 3:13

American Crusade to End Lynching, 6:14

American Medical Relief for Italy of Pennsylvania, 5:16-17, 19; 6:2

*Anderson, Add, 3:9-11, 14; 4:1, 7

Annunciation Church, 1:3

*Barrett, William, 1:4; 4:3; 5:18-19; 6:13-14; 7:2

*Borrelli, Charles, 3:11; 4:5, 8; 5:1, 16

*Brown, A. Seymour, 3:13-14; 4:1, 6

*Bruno, William, 2:12; 3:2;  6:14

Budd Company, 2:5

*Burke, Edward, 6:10

*Capano, Frank, 1:1; 4:3

*Carroll, Peter, 2:4; 4:4

Cassino Memorial Orphanage Fund, 5:15

Columbus Day, IID passim

Crisconi, John, 1:3

*Crisconi, John, 1:2; 5:6, 15

Dante Orphanage, 5:15

Democratic City Executive Committee, 3:11; 4:3

*Dempsey, Jack, 2:13-14

*Dilworth, Richardson, 6:4

DiMaggio , Dom, 5:15

*DiNubile, Anthony, 6:9

Downtown Committee for Employment of the Handicapped, 2:10-12

*Doyle, Michael Francis, 4:1, [5]

*Duff, James, 5:18

*Ellis, Furey, 3:13-14

*Falkenstein, Francis, 3:11

Federal Treasury Department, Bureau of the Mint, 2:3

Federal Works Progress Administration, 1:1; 2:3, 6:10

Fine, John, 6:4

*Fine, John, 5:18

First Infantry Pennsylvania Reserve Defense Corps, 2:3

*Flaxer, Abram, 2:4

*Freund, Alex, 2:4

*Gaw, Lew, 2:6

*Gilhool, Tom, 7:2

*Guffey, Joseph, 6:8-9

*Gurzau, Elba Farabegoli, 5:16-17

*Hoover, J. Edgar, 4:2

International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, Local 116, 2:5-6 See also United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers….

*James, Arthur, 3:9; 6:9

*Langerman, Charles, 3:7-9, 11; 5:6; 6:9-10

*MacQueen, Theus, 1:2-3

Margiotti, Charles, 2:9; 3:14; 6:8-10

*Martin, Edward, 3:14; 4:2, 4

*Martino, Al, 1:5; 6:1

Martucci, John, 3:8-9, 11

Millen Herbert, 6:13

*Millen, Herbert, 6:7-9

Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company, Brown Instruments Division, 2:5-6

*Mitchell, Harry, 2:3

Musmanno, Michael, 6:7

*Musmanno, Michael, 3:7, 14; 6:10, 14

*Myers, Francis, 2:3; 5:7; 7:2

*Myers, James, 2:6

National Guard, 1:1

National Italian-American Hall of Fame Society, 5:15, 17

Nereto [Club, Social Club] Society of Philadelphia (Neretese M.S. Society), 5:18

New America, 7:3

Newspaper titles, Philadelphia area only (Philadelphia Inquirer excluded):

 Advance, 5:13

 American City College Courier, 5:9

 Catholic Standard and Times , 1:10

 Christian Review, 1:3; 3:14

 City College, 5:13

 Delaware Valley Business Fortnight, 2:7

 Evening Bulletin , 1:10; 2:2, 7; 3:10; 4:9, 11-13; 5:18; 6:4; 7:2-3

 Evening Public Ledger, 3:10

 Feltonville Weekly, 3:14; 4:9

 Girard Home News, 4:10

  Greenwich Village News, 5:3, 13

 The Guide, 3:14

 Italian-American News [-Courier, Courier-News], 4:9; 5:1-3, 13, 15

 Jewish Times, 4:9

 Lebanese-American Journal, 5:10-11

 Observer, 7:3

 Olney Times, 3:10

 Passyunk News, 2:8; 3:8; 5:4, 13

 Passyunk Times , 2:8; 4:10; 5:4

 Pennsylvania Democrat News Leader, 5:5, 13

 Philadelphia Afro-American, 3:10, 14

 Philadelphia City College Advocate, 4:10; 5:6

 Philadelphia City College Courier, 2:8; 4:10; 5:6, 13

 Philadelphia Daily News, 3:11; 4:9-12; 5:18; 6:1-2, 4

 Philadelphia Democratic Courier, 5:12; 6:13

 Philadelphia Dispatch, 4:9-11, 7:3

 Philadelphia Exclusive, 7:3

 Philadelphia Independent, 3:10

 Philadelphia Jewish Daily Forward , 1:3

 Philadelphia Jewish Morning Journal, 3:14

 Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Beacon, 2:1

 Philadelphia Record, 4:11-12

  Philadelphia [Republican][Courier], 2:8

 Philadelphia Tribune, 2:9; 3:10, 14

 PM Sunday, 4;12

 Point Breeze Times, 3:6

 Real Record , 4:9

 Review (West), 7:3

 South Philadelphia American, 4:9; 5:11, 13, 15; 6:2, 4; 7:3

 South Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce News, 5:11, 13

 South Philadelphia Courier, 5:13

 South Philadelphian, 4:10; 5:13; 6:1-2, 4; 7:3

 South Philadelphian American Weekly, 5:4

  South Philadelphia News, 5:13

 South Philadelphia News [City College Courier], 5:7; 6:4; 7:3

 South Philadelphia Review, 4:9, 12; 5:13, 18; 6:1-2, 4; 7:3

  South Philadelphia Times, 5:13

 Southwark Courier, 2:8; 5:8, 13; 6:7, 13; 7:3

 Sunday Bulletin, 2:1; 4:11-12; 5:18; 6:4; 7:3

  West Philadelphia and Wynnefield News, 4:13

 West Philadelphia Times, 3:10

Nicholls, Jay, 1:1, 5; 4:2;  5:14; "Aristocrats," 1:1

*Nix, Robert, 4:2

*North Philadelphia Publications, Inc., 3:14

"Old Newsboy's Day," 1:5; 2:13

Order of the

Sons of Italy in America, IID passim

Passyunk Avenue Business Men's Association, 2:8-9

*Pastore, John, 5:14

Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs, 1:2

Pennsylvania Leatherneck, 1:2-3

Pennsylvania Marine Corps League, 1:2-3

Philadelphia County State's Rights Party, 6:9

Philadelphia Fellowship Commission, 5:1-2

Philadelphia Suburban Newspapers, Inc., 5:7

*Positano, John, 5:18-19

*Pretcher, Bernice ("Bunny")/Peters, Beth, 1:5

Rizzo, Frank, 3:2

*Roosevelt, Eleanor, 4:3

*Sandlot Sports Association, 3:5-6

*Smith, Alfred, 3:7

South Broad Street Business Men's Association, 3:2

*Stassen, Harold, 3:4; 4:7

*Stoddard, Alexander, 3:10-12; 4:2, 4, 6-7

*Stokes, Edward, 3:4-6

*Taft, Robert, 4:6

*Tarquin, M.M./Tarquinio, Anthony, 3:7, 9, 12, 14; 4:1, 13; 5:4, 6

Tayoun, James J.. 5:9

*Tayoun, James J., 2:10; 3:4, 7; 5:11; 6:13-14

*Teachers Union of Philadelphia (United Public Workers of America,

 Local 556), 3:12; 4:5-8

*Torrance, James, 6:9

Tumolo, Alfred, 1:3

*Tumolo, Leonard, 1:2, 4; 6:9

Tumolo, Nicholas, 2:2 (newspaper clippings about); Majestic Knights, 1:1;

 Majestic Musical Monarchs, 1:1; Missourians, 1:1;

 Poolino-Boccino Games, 1:9

*Tumolo, Nicholas, resume in letter form, 3:10

Tumolo, Nicholas [Jr.], "Nicky,", 1:3-4

Tumolo, Rita, 1:3

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Local 155, 2:3.

 See also International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers….

United League of the Democratic Division Committeemen's Progressive  Association, 6:7

United Public Workers of America/United Federal Workers of America,  Local 9, 2:3-5; Mint Reporter, 2:3.  See also Teachers Union of Philadelphia.

War veterans, Italian-American, 5:19-20

*Weiss, Donna, 1:9


PG 372 (M89-16)

These 167 photographs should be used in conjunction with the manuscript collection,

MSS 143.  They illustrate only part of  those records, and consist generally of publicity or promotional shots of groups or individuals, although some snapshots are also included.  Because they do not relate closely to the manuscripts, they have been organized differently from the records collection.

Many of these photographs are from outside news companies, with the photographer's name clearly stamped on the back.  Nicholas Tumolo did not own reproduction rights to such photos, and neither does the Balch Institute.  Therefore, the researcher is warned to be cautious in his public use of these materials.

The photographs have been organized in two series, by groups and by individuals, both arranged alphabetically.  Totally unidentified pictures, with neither identification or date, have not been included.

Individuals identified in the group pictures have been cited in the index which follows.



Citations are given by box and folder number.  Box 1 here is box 52 of the Balch Archives Photo Group sequence and box 2 is box 53.  "OS 8" is Oversize Box 8 in the same sequence.  Individual names are not listed here if they only appear on folder headings.  Thus, the researcher is advised to use this index only in addition to the folder listings.

Acchione, Lawrence, 1:9

Alessandroni, John, 1:9; 2:2

Alessandroni, Walter, 1:9

Amodei, Charles, 1:9

Baker, R.W., 2:3

Battafarano, Carmela, 1:1

Black, George, 1:16

Bocco, Dina, 1:3

Borja, Arthur, 2:13

Borrelli, Charles, 1:7; OS 8

Braig, Joseph, 2:11

Carano, Frank, 1:3

Carano, Mrs. Frank, 1:3

Carano, Gina, 1:4-6

Carletti, Ernest, 2:4, 8

Cifone, Giuseppe, 1:4

Cini, Caspar, 2:9

Cipriani, Nicholas, 1:9

Creighton, Mrs. Harry, 2:5

Curcio, Vita Marie, 1:3

DiGiacomo, Sara, 1:3

DiMaggio, Dom, 1:7-8; OS 8

DiPhilippo, Lena, 1:11a

Feitleson, Milton, 2:13

Fernetti, Elda, 1:3

Frances Margaret, the Reverend Mother, 1:11

Galzerano, Mrs. Luigi, 1:3

Gattone, Gene, 1:7

Gurzau, Elba Farabogeli, 1:1-3, 5-6; 2:6

Hudgins, Walter, 1:16

Huidobro, Teresa Maria, 1:11

Iezzi, Albert, 1:7

Jones, Kenneth, 1:16

Klop?, Walter, 1:11a

Logan, John, 1:16

Lograsso, Angelina, 1:1, 5

Lyle, George, 1:16

Malandra, Angelo, 1:3

Markay, Grace, 2:14

Masciantonio, John, 1:15

Millar, Mrs. William, 1:11

Naimoli, Maxine, 2:13

National Italian-American Hall of Fame Society, 1:7-8

Nereto [Club, Social Club] Society of Philadelphia (Neretese M.S. Society), 2:4, 8

Palermo, Joseph, 1:9

Palumbo, Walter, 1:9

Palumbo's Restaurant, 1:9, 14; 2:12

Pelosi, A.V., 1:7

Petrillo, Frank, 1:9

Pettine, Betty, 1:15

Porreca, Lewis, 1:7

Positano, John, 1:9; 2:13

Potts, Elaine, 1:15

Pretcher, Bernice ("Bunny"), 2:12

Price, Laurence, 2:3

Rainone, Michael, 1:2-3

Rilling, Paul, 2:5

Silent Club, 1:13

Smith, Gerald, 2:13

Stokes, Edward, 1:16

Strumia, Mary, 1:1, 5-6

Strumia, Max, 1:3-4

Tate, James, 1:15

Taxin, John, 2;13

Tayoun, James, 1:11a; 2:15

Teirs, Sally, 1:11

Tenuto, Angelina, 1:15

Tenuto, Michael, 1:15

Tonkinson, Mrs. John, 1:11

Tortu, Led, 1:3

Tucci, Anthony, 1:15

Tumolo, Nicholas, 1:7-8; 11a, 13, 15-16; 2:16; OS 8

VanDyke, George, 2:5

Verna, Joseph, 1:15



The following non-manuscript items were removed from the NICHOLAS TUMOLO PAPERS, manuscript number/accession number MSS 143/M89-16, and transferred to the Balch Library :


  Greenwich Village News (Italian-American Courier-News)   Jul-Aug 1955 (multiple copies)

  Il Popolo Italiano, Feb 1947 (2); Jun, Aug 1951; Apr 1952

  Italian-American Courier-News, Dec 1955

  Passyunk News, May 9 (2), 22, 1940

  Pennsylvania Ambassador, May 10, 1965

  Philadelphia City College Courier, May 29, 1940 (2), Dec 19, 1949 (2)

   Philadelphia Dispatch, Feb 23, 1941 (2), Jun 2, 1946

   Philadelphia Jewish Morning Journal and Daily News , Feb 5, 1951 (probably Yiddish)

   Philadelphia Exclusive, Oct 1967

   RCA Family News, Nov 1954

   South Philadelphia American, Oct 24, 1969

   South Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce News, n.d.

   South [Broadway News/South Broad Street] Philadelphia City College Courier, Dec 16,1 949 (2)

   Southron News, May 17, 1946

   Southwark Courier, Sep 11, 1943