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Helen Barolini Papers

A description of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRR
Date: 17 Aug 2006

Biographical History

Helen Barolini is an award-winning American poet, novelist and essayist; she has also been an editor and teacher.

Ms. Barolini was born November 18, 1925, in Syracuse, NY to Italian-American parents (her father was a local merchant). She received an A.B. (magna cum laude) from Syracuse University in 1947 and an M.L.S. from Columbia University in 1959. In 1950, she married Antonio Barolini (also a writer) with whom she had three children.

Ms. Barolini has been a translator and freelance writer since 1948. In 1965 she was awarded a Yaddo fellowship, and was named a MacDowell Colony fellow in 1974. In 1970, she received the Marina-Velca Journalism Prize, Ente Provinciale Turismo (Viterbo, Italy) for "Etruscan Places Today." She has also received a National Endowment for the Arts grant (1976) and for The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writing by Italian-American Women she was awarded both an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation (1986) and the Susan Koppelman Award from the American Culture Association (1987). She was a Rockefeller Foundation resident scholar at Bellagio Center in Lake Como, Italy (1991); writer-in-residence at Elmira College's Quarry Farm Center (1989); and visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, 2001. The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States gave her their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

She has also held a number of other positions including teacher of oral history for an adult education program in Dobbs Ferry, NY (1976); teacher at Trinity College in Hartford, CT (1971-1973), at Kirkland College in Clinton, NY (1974-1975), and at Westchester Community College in Westchester, NY (1988); associate editor for Westchester Illustrated in Westchester, NY (1975-1978); librarian in Westchester, NY from 1984-1991; and lecturer at Pace University in 1990.

"My husband was Italian. I lived in Italy for over ten years, and one of my daughters was born there. Much of my writing reflects the Italian influence in my life, which is strong, fundamental, and abiding. It has also put into proper perspective my own Italian-American background...I am especially proud of having compiled and written a long introduction to an anthology of writings by Italian-American women [The Dream Book], and thus given voice and presence to a whole segment of American literature which had never been perceived before."
Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Helen Barolini Papers comprises correspondence; typescripts of novels (including two unpublished), speeches, essays and a memoir; two theses on Helen Barolini; annotated copies and other material related to The Dream Book, Aldus, and Festa; copies of essays and articles; and one piece of memorabilia (a scarf).

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is unprocessed and remains in original order.


Access Restrictions:

The collection is currently unprocessed and not available for research. Please contact Special Collections Research Center for more information.

The collection is closed to researchers during Ms. Barolini's lifetime.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Barolini, Helen, 1925-


American literature -- 20th century.
American literature -- Authors.
American literature -- Italian influences.
American literature -- Women authors.
Ethnic groups in literature.
Ethnicity in literature.
Group identity in literature.
Italian American women -- Intellectual life.
Italian American women authors.
Italian Americans -- Social life and customs.
Italian Americans in literature.

Genres and Forms

Manuscripts (document genre)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Helen Barolini Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Helen Barolini, 1989-2006.

Table of Contents


An inventory has not yet been created for this collection. Please contact the Repository listed above for more information.