Mormino, Gary R. 1947- (Gary Ross Mormino)

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Mormino, Gary R. 1947- (Gary Ross Mormino)

PERSONAL:

Born January 31, 1947. Education: Millikin University, B.A.; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Ph.D., 1977.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University of Southern Florida, Department of History, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., SOC 107, Tampa, FL 33620-8100. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Historian, educator, writer, and editor. University of Southern Florida, Tampa, joined faculty in 1977, became full professor in the department of history.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Fulbright scholar, 1980, taught at the University of Rome.

WRITINGS:

Immigrants on the Hill: Italian-Americans in St. Louis, 1882-1982, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1986, reprinted, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, SC), 2002.

(With George E. Pozzetta) The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1987.

(Editor, with Ann L. Henderson) Spanish Pathways in Florida, 1492-1992, Pineapple Press (Sarasota, FL), 1991.

(With Ilaria Serra) Italian Americans and Florida, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (Boca Raton, FL), 2003.

Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida, foreword by Raymond Arsenault, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Gary R. Mormino has written extensively on immigration and urban America. He also has a strong academic interest in the history of Florida, where he has involved himself with local historical projects, such as teacher workshops and the publication of curricular materials. In his first book, Immigrants on the Hill: Italian-Americans in St. Louis, 1882-1982, the author traces the evolution of the "Hill" in St. Louis from its roots in Lombardy and Sicily to modern times. In the process, the author writes about the institutions that have both sustained and nurtured the Hill's immigrant community. Mormino discusses how Italian-Americans living on the Hill have consistently encouraged ethnic pride, working-class solidarity, and family honor through work, play, religion, politics, and even illegal activities such as bootlegging.

In his preface to the 2002 edition of the book, the author writes: "I first fell in love with the Hill as a young graduate student in the 1970s; as a fifty-something professor of history, I remain infatuated with this well-ordered community in southwest St. Louis." The author goes on to note that in the intervening years since the book's initial publication he expected to find the strong ethnic community drastically changed when he returned for a visit. However, the author writes: "In an age of increasing homogeneity and globalization, the Hill retains its historic ethnic character and vibrancy." The author goes on to write later in the preface: "Still largely Italian American, but no longer exclusively so, the Hill exerts a powerful and positive ethnic identity."

Mormino is the author, with George E. Pozzetta, of The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985, which delineates the lives of a community of immigrants who grew up in Tampa, Florida, around the cigar industry at the beginning of the twentieth century. Drawing on newspaper articles, public and government documents, institutional and private papers, Federal Writers' Project interviews, and the authors' own interviews with hundreds of Ybor City residents, the authors focus primarily on the Italian immigrant community in the multiethnic area that included Spaniards and Cubans.

The authors discuss interactions among the various groups, from their rivalries to their common community concerns. According to Mormino and Pozzetta, the cooperation among these groups was remarkable, especially compared to many other communities of mixed immigrants. The authors relate this ability to cooperate to the immigrants' strong sense of class consciousness and solidarity, especially in association with the cigar factories where many of these immigrants worked. In the process, the authors also provide a view of work in these factories where the tabqueros worked while lectores read to them from novels, radical publications, and newspapers, a practice that still goes on in Cuban cigar factories today. In addition, the book chronicles the turbulent strikes that took place and the constant conflict between native Tampa "Angolos" and the immigrant "Latins."

Spanish Pathways in Florida, 1492-1992 was edited by Mormino and Ann L. Henderson and features essays in celebration of the Quincentenary of Columbus's voyage to America. Written by fifteen historians and archeologists, the essays focus on the influence of the Spanish in Florida, from the first explorers to Hispanic migrations into Miami, including the significant immigration of Cubans fleeing the Castro regime. The essays are in both Spanish and English on facing pages and cover topics such as the impact the Spanish had on Native Americans, as well as the Spanish efforts at exploration, their missions, and their cattle ranching enterprises. The essays also highlight the contributions of Hispanics from the nineteenth and twentieth century, such as folk artist Mario Sanchez and the Miami politicians Maurice Ferre and Xavier Suarez.

Mormino's 2005 book Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida was called "an interesting and compelling look at the outstanding growth and unanticipated growth of Florida" by Abel A. Bartley in H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. In the book, Mormino explains how Florida experienced an enormous growth from 500,000 residents at the turn of the twentieth century to 2.7 million inhabitants in 1950 to 15.9 million in 2000. Focusing on the diversity of people who migrated to Florida, the author also writes about the developers of tourism, beaches, shopping malls, and gated communities. In the process, the author examines the state from its capital, Tallahassee, which is a day's walk from the Georgia Border, to Miami, the one-time far-away city noted for its closeness to Cuba and Haiti. He also explores the role that new technology, such as air conditioning, and the space age led to the growth and development in Florida and how this has impacted Florida's environment.

In his book, the author stresses that Florida's growth occurred mostly in the last half of the twentieth century and that prior to the start of World War II it was still the least-populated state in the South. Mormino pays special attention to Florida (instead of St. Louis) being chosen for the site of Disney World as well as to the Cuban immigrant populations' impact on the state. Writing in the History Teacher, Joe P. Dunn noted: "For me, the prevailing tone of the book is nostalgia. Drive-ins, silver Airstream trailers, myriad tourist traps and small amusement parks, orange groves, cattle ranches and dairy farmers, family-owned motels, Cyprus Gardens, the shabby old ballparks …, and ‘The City Beautiful’ Orlando before ‘The Mouse that Roared.’ A sadness resonates about the way that Disney's sacred rodent spawned Central Florida's glutted theme park, chain motel, fast food commercial blight."

Other reviewers noted that the author's success in examining the significant social, cultural, and economic forces that drove Florida's transformation and his analysis of the complex and complicated social framework involved. "In Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, Gary R. Mormino captures the essence of modern Florida, deftly explaining the substance and allure that has spurred the Sunshine State's rise to prominence," noted R. Bruce Stephenson, a contributor to the Journal of American History. Southern Cultures contributor Stephen J. Whitfield wrote: "To trace the astonishing transformations of Florida since World War II requires an historian of uncommon skill; but Mormino, who is (inevitably) not a native, is up to the task."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Mormino, Gary R., Immigrants on the Hill: Italian-Americans in St. Louis, 1882-1982, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, SC), 2002.

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, December, 1987, Donna Gabaccia, review of Immigrants on the Hill, p. 1288; June, 1988, Dino Cinel, review of The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985, p. 783; October, 2007, Susan Greenbaum, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida, p. 1233.

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January, 1988, William Petersen, review of Immigrants on the Hill, p. 182.

Choice, June, 2006, D.R. Turner, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, p. 1890.

Hispanic American Historical Review, February, 1988, review of The Immigrant World of Ybor City, p. 162.

History Teacher, May, 2006, Joe P. Dunn, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, p. 415.

Journal of American History, December, 1987, Dino Cinel, review of Immigrants on the Hill, p. 1070; June, 1988, Frances Kraljic, review of The Immigrant World of Ybor City, p. 280; September, 2006, R. Bruce Stephenson, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, p. 618.

Journal of Economic History, September, 1988, Henry B. Leonard, review of The Immigrant World of Ybor City, p. 782.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 1988, review of Immigrants on the Hill, p. 359.

Journal of Social History, fall, 2006, W. Andrew Achenbaum, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, p. 262.

Journal of Southern History, May, 1988, Rudolph J. Vecoli, review of Immigrants on the Hill, p. 348; August, 1988, review of The Immigrant World of Ybor City, p. 510; November, 2006, Mark S. Foster, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, p. 978.

Journal of the West, April, 1988, Lawrence H. Larson, review of Immigrants on the Hill, p. 95.

Labour/Le Travail, fall, 1989, review of The Immigrant World of Ybor City, p. 297.

Library Journal, October 1, 1986, Roger W. Fromm, review of Immigrants on the Hill, p. 105; March 15, 1992, Susan Hamburger, review of Spanish Pathways in Florida, 1492-1992, p. 102.

Southeastern Geographer, November, 2006, Ken Whalen, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, p. 325.

Southern Cultures, fall, 2006, Stephen J. Whitfield, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, p. 104.

USA Today, July 1, 1987, Francesco Cordasco, review of The Immigrant World of Ybor City, p. 97.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (August, 2006), Abel A. Bartley, review of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams.

News at USF St. Petersburg,http://www.stpt.usf.edu/sp_news/ (April 25, 2003), "Mormino Named Co-Director of USF St. Petersburg's Florida Studies Program."

University of South Florida Web site,http://www.cas.usf.edu/ (May 29, 2008), faculty profile of author.

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