46''x 60'' banner bearing the name of the Societa Femminile di M.S. Principessa Iolanda of Pueblo, Colorado. The banner was displayed on a nine-foot, two piece, antique oak pole, covered with black velvet and carried in parades and special events by Society members. Hand-fashioned of an India ink colored cotton face and crimson colored silk backing, painted portrait of Princess Yolanda, daughter of the last Italian King, mounted with crewel stitching also used to illustrates her garment. Gold work embroidered throughout, metallic bullion fringe and moiré banding. The artist and craftsman are unknown.
Benevolent societies were building blocks of American communities. The Princess Iolanda Society was founded by 80 Italian women living in Pueblo and operated from 1920 to 1986. Its mission was to create a sisterhood of mutual benefit for Italian-American women in Colorado. The banner belonging to the Princess Yolanda Society represents the presence and assimilation of Italian immigrants in the community. The Italian presence greatly impacted the development of Colorado through food production and the development of agribusiness in the 19th and 20th century. Italian populations served as a significant labor force in the extraction and metallurgic industries of Colorado.
Cultural pluralism is an American ideal. This unique artifact is a manifestation of the ethnic dimensions and the cultural pluralism formed during the development of America by immigrant populations. Between 1880-1914 an estimated 4,000,0000 Italian immigrants arrived in America with a geographically, socially, and politically fractured history. The hardship of westward American expansion drew these traditionally fragmented communities together. Princess Iolanda represented a transforming of Italy which may have resonated in the civic and social lives of these Italian women in their new homeland. The assimilation of American ideals with diverse Italian traditions giving rise to a hybrid Italian-American culture.
Pueblo City-County Library District
1300 Jerry Murphy Rd
Pueblo, CO 81001