1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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 Theresa Sodini Paolinelli Papers

 Midwife, of Providence, R.I.

 Papers, 1921-1954

 Size: 1 linear foot

 Catalog number: MSS 177

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, July 1994

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Theresa Sodini (ca.1875-1954) was born in Lucca or Sesto, Italy, the daughter of Giovanni Sodini. She married Guiseppe Paolinelli in Italy. On July 17, 1897, she passed an examination at the Royal University of Pisa to practice as a midwife. She and her husband emigrated to the United States in 1911, first appearing in the Providence directory in 1913. She practiced as a midwife at American Street in Providence through 1950 before her retirement. She had three daughters: Elvira (m. Joseph Quilici), Elide (m. Theodore Pugliese), and Paola (m. Joseph Ferrara).


Obituary, Providence Journal, January 22 1954, page 16.

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Scope and content:

            The Theresa Paolinelli manuscript collection consists mainly of her midwife records, spanning the era 1921 to 1948. These fifty small volumes contain the stubs retained from the official birth return records she was obliged to keep. The records show the name of the child, the date of birth, the number of previous children for the mother, the address of birth, and the father's occupation. For both parents, the race, name, age and birthplace are given. The families Paolinelli attended to were almost exclusively Italian-American; most were from Providence, though there are others scattered throughout the state. There are no records surviving outside of the given dates, though she apparently did practice in Providence both before and after that period.

            Also included are an English transcript of Paolinelli's diploma, and a few Italian-language printed materials kept with the collection for simplicity.

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            The papers were a gift of Antonio Vasquez in 1994. The 1954 prayer was made part of this gift in 2000. The donor placed no restrictions on the use of this collection, but to protect the privacy of the persons mentioned, the birth returns are closed to genealogical research until eighty years after the creation of the records. Researchers can use the records only if they pledge not to record the names of individual parents or children.

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Box 1, folder 1. Birth returns, 1921-1925

Box 1, folder 2. Birth returns, 1926-1929

Box 2, folder 1. Birth returns, 1929-1948

Box 2, folder 2. Italian medical textbook, 1871 (fragmented); Italian prayer books, etc.

Box 2, folder 3. English translation of University of Pisa diploma

Box 2, folder 4. Genealogical material: family tree, undated; prayer card, 1954; obituary, 1954

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Birth certificates - Italian Americans - Providence, RI

Italian American women - Rhode Island

Midwives - Rhode Island - Providence

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