Diego Delfino Letters

Diego Delfino with daughter Mary Elena

Seven letters were selected from the Diego Delfino Papers which contain roughly twenty letters. Born in 1874 in Acciarello, Calabria, Diego Delfino immigrated to the United States in 1908 with a medical degree from the University of Naples (1903). As a physician, he practiced medicine in a number of states, including Ohio, West Virginia and New Jersey. In 1911, he married an Irish immigrant woman, Anna Sullivan, who died shortly after the birth of their daughter, Mary Helen.

This selection of letters is comprised of the correspondence between Delfino and Mary Helen, an adolescent girl living for several years in the convent, Monastero della Visitazione di Santa Maria in Reggio Calabria. In the United States, Delfino remarried, and fathered three sons. As his grandson Diego Cassone recounts in a biographical note found in the collection, Delfino was brutally murdered on 17 November 1926; despite a police investigation the crime was never solved.

The letters that have been transcribed and translated on this site offer a religious and emotional outpouring from a widowed father to his long-loved daughter.