Local author and historian Stephanie Longo, of Dunmore, was chosen as a featured speaker for the second annual IDEA Boston Festival in Boston, Mass. This festival is an Italian-inspired cultural festival, celebrating literature, history, art and many other aspects of Italian and Italian-American culture.
The two-day event is organized by I AM Books, an independent bookstore in Boston’s North End neighborhood, in collaboration with several other organizations. IDEA Boston was held at the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts, Cambridge, Mass., from Nov. 1 to 2.
Ms. Longo’s presentation, “Sylvester Poli: Creating an American Stage,” highlighted Sylvester Poli, an immigrant to the United States from Lucca, Italy, who helped shape the American landscape as the founder of the theater chain that bore his name.
Having opened theaters throughout the East Coast, including what is now known as the Ritz Theater in Scranton, Poli brought enjoyment to working-class families by making theater accessible to all. Ms. Longo’s presentation discussed his life and his legacy, and showed examples of how his story is now being discovered by new generations.
The original research stems from a project undertaken by the Leadership Lackawanna Core Program Class of 2019 team “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” in which Ms. Longo participated. The project focused on the creation of the Poli Historic Gallery at the Ritz Theater and Performing Arts Center in Scranton.
A dual citizen of the United States and Italy, Ms. Longo’s work was also recently selected for inclusion in the Archivio Storico del Senato (Senate Historic Archive) in Italy during a special commemoration in Rome honoring Italian Heritage Month. Selected works were included due to their significance in retelling and preserving the experiences of Italian immigrants abroad. The included works will be available for public perusal at the Biblioteca del Senato “Giovanni Spadolini” in Rome and will also be digitized.
Ms. Longo is the author of three books on our area’s Italian-American History, “Italians of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” “Dunmore,” and “Italians of Lackawanna County.”