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Mayor Ralph A. Villani collection

Identifier: MG Nwk Villani-(Main)

Scope and Contents

Box 1: consists of 15 reels of 16mm film (ca. 1965-1972), including footage of vacations to Las Vegas, New Orleans, Mexico, Canada, and California; LOOM Conventions; and Syracuse football games

Box 2: contains ca. 100 35mm color slides of holidays, vacations, and other family get-togethers (1950s-1960s?) One folder from Warren Grover family photos.

Box 3: contains one large envelope of black and white photographs, many of which have been cropped (1930s-1960s), including: a series of annual photographs (1937-1957) of Villani, his wife Teresa, and their daughter, Alyce; formal portraits of Villani; and a few photographs of other members of the extended Villani family

Box 4: contains 9 folders of black and white, 8" x 10" professional photographs of parades, rallies, fundraisers, swearing-in ceremonies, ground-breaking ceremonies, testimonial dinners, union rallies, LOOM affairs, and other public events. Five folders are arranged chronologically (1934-1960s); the other four folders consist of a single photograph of Villani serving at the altar in Mt. Carmel Church (1966), events and ceremonies of LOOM, Columbus Day Parades (1940s), and celebrities (1949-1967)

Box 5: contains ca. 300 photographs similar to those in Box 4. Items of interest include 2 photographs of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin at a dinner in Newark, Villani with Joe Di Maggio, 3 photographs of the Columbus Day Parade with President Kennedy and Congressman Peter Rodino (1962), Villani and other men dressed in drag for a comic revue; and family photographs. Also included are campaign materials, communion breakfast programs, and clippings.

Box 6: contains ca. 700 photographs, similar to those above. Included are family photographs; many are of Villani with Teresa and Alyce, but there are also ca. 50 sepia-toned photographs of individual family members and wedding parties (ca. 1910-1940s). A small amount of African-American material includes, but is not limited to, photographs of an interracial crowd at a swim meet at Hayes Park Pool (1948); the laying of a wreath at the monument, in Military Park, commemorating Archie Callahan who was killed at Pearl Harbor and was one of the men for whom the American Legion, Guyton-Callahan Post #152 was named; a troop of soldiers in a parade; publicity shots for Fair Employment Practices (FEP), sponsored by the Mayor's Commission on Group Relations; and a group photograph of a marching band "Pride of Newark, Junior Elks."

Box 7 contains 1 binder titled "Election Records" and 6 folders and 7 binders of photographs, clippings, and ephemera.

"Election Records" consists of tallies by district and ward for the Newark municipal elections for City Commissioners (1941, 1945, 1949). Estimated percentages of voters by race and ethnic background are listed for each ward; categories are: Irish, Colored, Italian, Jewish, German, Slavic, Spanish, and Others

The 6 folders in Box 7 are labeled as follows:

"Civic and Fraternal Organizations": photographs of the Order of the Moose and the South Ward Boys Club (ca. 1947-1967)

"Personal": snapshots of Villani family and friends on vacations, at weddings, etc. (1927-1967); an obituary for Teresa Villani (1964); and a few newspaper clippings, largely related to a car accident that injured several Villani grandchildren (ca. 1962)

"Personal--Cruise to Hawaii": menus, itineraries and photographs (ca. 1963)

"City Council": clippings related to Villani's tenure on the City Council (1963-1964)

"Church": photographs of trade-union masses at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and of annual retreats at Loyola House in Morristown

"Kennedy, John F.": President Kennedy speaking at the Newark Columbus Day Parade (1962)

Contents of the 7 binders in Box 7 are as follows:

Photographs related to the Loyola House Retreat and to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (ca. 1944- 1958)

Material related to Villani's 13th Ward Auxiliary, including a resume of Villani's career, a list of the members, meeting minutes, and correspondence regarding fundraising events (Jan-Mar 1949); clippings, including articles on a proposed statue of John F. Kennedy in Military Park (1964); and family photographs (1943-1961)

Clippings regarding Villani and his family, personal photographs, group photographs of fraternal organizations, etc. (1946-1962)

Personal photographs, including Teresa Villani's induction into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem at St. Patrick's Cathedral; cruise photos, Alyce's wedding to Frank Desiderio (at Sacred Heart Cathedral?), and Alyce's graduation from Mary Lawn School in South Orange (1951-1963)

Photographs and clippings re: Villani's induction into the Knights of Malta and church activities (ca. 1960-1968)

Clippings and photographs re: Villani's re-election to the City Council, and his stint as Grand Marshall of the Columbus Day Parade (1965-1967)

Clippings and campaign material, etc.; material related to the Columbus Day Parade, the Founders Day Parade (1966), the City Council, and the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner (1950, 1966-1967)

One box (not numbered) contains loose photographs of: parades, ribbon cuttings, swearing-in ceremonies, award ceremonies, meetings and dinners, fraternal and religious organizations, swimming pools, and World War II recruiting drives.

Volumes numbered 1 to 13 are scrapbooks of clippings on Villani's life and career, with some general articles about Newark. The scrapbook volumes, in chronological order, contain clippings mostly from the Newark Ledger, the Evening Star, and the Italian Tribune: Volume 1 (1934-1941), Volume 2 (1941), Volume 3 (May 1941-Dec 1942), Volume 4 (1943-1944), Volume 5 (1945), Volume 6 (May 1945-Dec 1948), Volume 7 (Jun 1946-Aug 1952), Volume 8 (Jan 1951-Jun 1951), Volume 9 (Jan 1952-Jul 1952), Volume 10 (Jul 1952-Oct 1952), Volume 11 (1952-1953), Volume 12 (Jan 1953-Apr 1953), and Volume 13 (Apr 1953-May 1953). Volume 14 is a photo album labeled "50th Birthday Ralph A. Villani, Mayor of the City of Newark" (1951).


  • c. 1934-1966


Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.

Biographical / Historical

Ralph A. Villani (1901-1974), the son of Italian immigrants Carmine and Anna Villani, was born in Elizabeth, but lived for many years in the Ironbound section of Newark. He received his BA and JD degrees from Syracuse University. Villani married Teresa Galante (d.1964) in 1929; the couple had one daughter, Alyce Villani Desiderio (b. ca. 1934). After Teresa's death Villani married Marie Sicconolfi Juliano, an interior decorator, and the widow of C. Robert Juliano.

In 1933 Villani was appointed Judge of the Third Criminal Court in Newark, only to be ousted on charges of improper conduct the following year by Michael P. Duffy, Director of Public Safety. Upon appeal Villani was reinstated to his post late in 1934, and served until 1937, when he resigned to practice law. Villani, a Republican, was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1941. While a Commissioner, he directed the Department of Parks and Public Property and was responsible the planting of over 30,000 trees throughout the city. He was also charged with taking kickbacks for promotions.

From 1949 to 1954 Villani served as Mayor of Newark. He was elected as an at-large member of the City Council in 1962, and was still serving as councilman at the time of his death in 1974. His second wife, Marie Villani, was appointed to serve the remainder of his term and remained on the City Council until 1993.

From the 1930s on Villani was an active member of Newark Lodge 237 of the Loyal Order of the Moose and was also involved in Catholic Church affairs. He attended annual retreats at the Loyola House in Morristown, and ca. 1950 he instituted an annual mass and communion breakfast for the longshoremen's union of Newark, held at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Later other unions, including those of the Warehousemen and the Checkers and Clerks, joined the Longshoremen at the annual mass.


4.05 Linear Feet (4.05 linear ft. (1 Full & 3 Half Hollinger boxes) + (3 Paige boxes) + 14 v. ; 41 cm.)

Language of Materials



The collection consists largely of photographs, documenting both Villani's personal and family life and his public activities. There is also some film of family holidays and leisure pursuits. A series of scrapbooks contain clippings, ephemera, and election records.

No finding aid, text from catalog entry and Newark Archives Project
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library Repository

3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States