United States representative Tiberi: Mount Rushmore's Italian American chief carver from New York "should be formally recognized"

Apr 14, 2014 1386

United States Representative Patrick "Pat" Tiberi (Republican - 12th Congressional District) of Ohio believes the late Luigi Del Bianco "should be formally recognized" for having served as chief carver of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

In Carving a Niche for Himself; The Untold Story of Luigi Del Bianco and Mount Rushmore, author Douglas J. Gladstone's valentine to the obscure Italian American immigrant who served as chief carver at the monument from 1933 through 1940, Tiberi, who co-chairs the Italian American Congressional Delegation, says that Del Bianco's story "is an inspiration to many.

"From growing up in Italy to raising a family in the United States, his immigration story reverberates through generations of Americans," continues Tiberi. "Luigi left his mark on some of the most recognizable monuments in our nation, most notably bringing Lincoln's eyes to life on the faces of Mount Rushmore."

The co-chairman of the Italian American Congressional Delegation, a bipartisan and bicameral organization of members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate who are actively involved in promoting and celebrating the accomplishments of the nation's Italian-American community, Tiberi was first elected in November 2000.

Ohio's 12th Congressional District is comprised of Delaware, Licking and Morrow Counties, as well as portions of Franklin, Marion, Muskingum, and Richland Counties.

A member of the House Ways & Means Committee that has jurisdiction over tax issues, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and trade agreements, Representative Tiberi is the proud son of Italian immigrants. His mother was a seamstress and his father a machinist. Many members of Representative Tiberi's family still live in Introdacqua, a town in the L'Aquila Province in the region of Abruzzo in Central Italy.

The Italian ambassador to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero, conferred the title of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on Representative Tiberi in May 2013. The Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy is the highest order of knighthood in Italy. It is awarded to those who have gained merit for Italy in the fields of literature, the arts, economics, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers.

Though Rushmore sculptor and designer Gutzon Borglum's own correspondence in the Library of Congress clearly indicates that Luigi Del Bianco was the glue that held the project together, Del Bianco for some inexplicable reason has never received the credit in scholarly publications or documentaries on the creation of the memorial that many individuals believe he is deserving of. Prior to their work together in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Del Bianco assisted Borglum on the Wars of America Memorial in Newark, New Jersey.

A native of Meduno in the Province of Pordenone, Del Bianco died on January 20, 1969 of accelerated silicosis that was brought on, in part, by his years of not wearing a mask while working at the monument. The book takes the National Park Service to task for its failure to honor Del Bianco, whose studio was a fixture on Clinton Street, in Port Chester, New York, despite the agency touting a long standing policy of pluralism and multi-culturalism.

"Luigi's dedication and skill are seen every day by Americans and visitors alike and should be formally recognized and his contributions remembered," concluded Tiberi.

Published by Bordighera Press, Carving a Niche for Himself is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Headquartered at 25 West 43rd Street in New York City, Bordighera Press is recognized as the foremost publisher of Italian-American literature and poetry in North America. Founded in 1989 by Fred Gardaphé, Paolo Giordano, and Anthony Julian Tamburri, Bordighera Press' books are carried by Small Press Distribution.

For more information about the book, contact either Gladstone at 518-817-8253 or Tamburri at 212-642-2005.

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