With OSIA’s 53rd Biennial National Convention coming up in a couple of weeks, I thought it might be fun to dust off the old archive books we have in the office and learn more about the history of the convention. Information is scarce before OSIA News, the monthly newspaper that the Sons of Italy published from 1946-1995, was first distributed. The first convention covered in the newspaper was the 17th Biennial National Convention, which took place in San Francisco, Calif. in August 1947. To put this year in perspective, the same newspaper in which convention plans were announced, had an article dedicated to condemning communism. Let’s take a look back at some of the more memorable conventions in OSIA’s history.
The first convention ever held by the Order took place in Paterson, N.J. in April 1914, nearly nine years after the Order was founded. It wasn’t until three years later in 1917, beginning with the convention in Cleveland, Ohio, that OSIA started to hold the conventions biennially.
17th Biennial Convention
This convention held in San Francisco, Calif. in 1947 was the first convention to be covered in OSIA News, the Sons of Italy newspaper created in 1946.
This convention, which took place in 1955, has the location in common with this year’s convention, taking place in Philadelphia, Pa.
36th Biennial Convention
This 1979 convention was special because it marked the first time in the Order’s 74-year history that a sitting president addressed the national convention. President Jimmy Carter delivered a speech to the crowd in Baltimore, Md.
49th Biennial Convention
The 49th convention, which took place in New York City, was significant because 2005 marked the 100 year anniversary of OSIA’s founding.
50th Biennial Convention
Cheers to 50 conventions! Our 50th convention was held in 2007 at The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
Overall, digging up facts about the convention’s history ended up being a very fun project for me. Reading through the OSIA News books was like opening up a time capsule and seeing all the stories from yesteryear. I am really amazed at how well the tradition has kept up. The National Office staff looks forward to another great convention with OSIA leaders in Philadelphia!
Written by OSIA National Office Intern, Brandon Pinto. Pinto is a rising junior at the University of Maryland, majoring in communications.