Scope and arrangement
The Alberta Masiello Papers contain very little insight into her personal life. Approximately half the collection focuses on her mother and grandfather, and much of the other materials offer only short summaries about her early years. However, this is a comment on the English language material - there is a significant amount of material written in Italian, which may offer more information about Masiello. Also, while there is a record of her professional opera career, the collection does not contain any original work such as notes or preparatory items.
The Alberta Masiello papers are arranged in five series:
.625 linear feet (1.25 boxes)
The majority of this series dates from the 1970s - 1980s and consists of fan letters to Masiello. Each letter usually garnered a reply, which was often brief or obligatory in nature, but occasionally resulted in multiple letters from the correspondent over the course of several years. For these cases, the correspondents have a folder devoted to them within the larger alphabetical arrangement. Masiello's business relationships are also documented in this series, but to a lesser extent. Of note here is a folder with three letters from Maria Callas, written in Italian.
.315 linear feet (.75 box)
The majority of material relates directly to Masiello’s career, with an exception being the first folder of clippings, which are photocopies of loose pages from scrapbooks kept by Giuseppe La Puma.
1 linear foot (2 boxes)
The photographs found here represent a spectrum of popular opera singers from the first thirty years of the twentieth century. Many of the portraits are signed, and often include sentiments to either Giuseppe or Giuseppina La Puma. The size of these photographs range from postcards to cabinet cards, and condition varies as well (the more fragile ones are housed in mylar). The La Puma family is also well documented in this series, including photographs of Masiello’s other relatives who helped to distinguish the family name. Please note that while a majority of the photographs date to before 1943, there are undated photographs and negatives that document Masiello’s later career.
2 linear feet (7 boxes)
The scrapbooks series contains two different types of scrapbooks: personal clippings and related posters or programs, and clippings from the periodical Opera News. Of the former type, the language is predominantly Italian, and most of the books are fragile (please handle with care). These scrapbooks were compiled either by or for Giuseppe La Puma and serve as a record of his vast number of performances.
0.165 linear feet (1 box)
This series consists of oversize items from other series in this collection. There is one photograph, and two folders of loose scrapbook pages that belonged to Giuseppe La Puma.