The Italian presence in America has been the most sustained, continuous and varied of any foreign-born group, with more than five million Italians having emigrated to make new lives in the U.S. since 1880 alone.

This heritage of Italians in the new world is increasingly omitted from standard histories in favor of commercial stereotypes. Too little is known about the experience and impact of Italians in all parts of the nation, a study which is crucial for Americans of Italian descent to understand their own identity, and for all Americans as an integral part of the history of the United States.


In December 1966, a group of historians, educators, sociologists and other interested persons met at the LaGuardia Memorial House in New York City and founded the Italian American Studies Association (formerly theAmerican Italian Historical Association). The Association is incorporated as a non-profit organization and is tax exempt under state and federal law.

In 1974, a group of historians in San Francisco formed the first regional chapter of the IASA. The new Western Regional Chapter devoted itself to the study of the Italian experience in the western states, including California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, New Mexico, and Hawaii. The Western Regional Chapter has been operating ever since, twice hosting the IASA National Conference in San Francisco and once in Las Vegas.


The IASA/WRC seeks to create a true understanding of the Italian American experience in the West. Its members encourage Italian American Studies programs at universities; collect, preserve, study and popularize materials that illuminate the Italian American experience in the West; and hold regular programs to present those studies to the public.

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