Newspapers tell the story of history day by day. While they offer only the most immediate picture of the events shaping daily life and times, that perspective can be their greatest advantage for historians. Newspapers offer a wealth of information in addition to the record of events. Newspaper advertisements show prices for both goods and services; public notices are published. Each edition is a snapshot of a community.

Obituaries, or death notices, are published daily in the newspaper and are essential reading for any historian. These notices and articles sometimes simply serve to verify a death date and place, but they often do more. Obituaries situate the individual within their family and community. They mention surviving relatives and important friends and colleagues. Often an obituary is published for a former member of a community who has moved away, and these can be useful in helping scholars to locate death certificates, creating a trail of documents one piece at a time.

Newspaper companies maintain "morgues" of their past issues. While these archives are primarily for the editors own reference, they are generally available to researchers as well. It is very helpful to researchers when back-issues of newspapers are indexed. Often public libraries have back issues of the local newspaper on microfilm. With the advent of the Internet, some newspapers are offering on-line searches of past issues. The Providence Journal, for example, offers searches of articles since 1983.

Providence newspapers from the Tirocchi period have helped us to understand things about the sisters, their business, and their clients. How much competition did retail stores give small shops like A&L Tirocchi? What were the advertised prices of ready-to-wear garments? Were other dressmakers advertising? What was happening in the Italian-American neighborhoods? Were there articles or wedding write-ups about the Tirocchis’ clients or their husbands?

Some of the most valuable newspaper research for the Tirocchi project didn't even require a trip to the library. Throughout the course of their business's history, the Tirocchi sisters clipped newspaper articles about their clients and saved them. The ones that remain are mostly accounts of weddings and events from the society pages. The wedding party photographs most certainly show Tirocchi-made gowns and the society shots may show clients wearing Tirocchi garments.

In the course of our research, we learned of a local priest who had been clipping newspaper articles about the Rhode Island Italian community for years. We visited him and learned, by looking through his collection, much that helped to situate the Tirocchi family and their workers in the proper context. These special collections enhanced the general research and allowed us to complete a comprehensive study of the family, shop, clients, and workers.

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   Sources and Methods
      Personal Papers
      Public Records
      Libraries & Collections
      Oral Histories

   The People
   The Business
   Custom Dressmaking