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Center for Italian Culture Archives

Center for Italian Culture Collection consists of donated materials from individuals, families, and organizations, presents archival documents and artifacts related to the history of Italian- Americans in New England

Michael Vincent Addorisio (Addorizzi) Family Collection

Michael Vincent Addorisio Family Collection

Michael Vincent Addorisio Family Collection is a digitized collection available online, with original physical documents and supporting artifacts available for view by appointment.  If you would like to learn more about the Michael Vincent Addorisio Collection please contact the Archives & Special Collections at Fitchburg State University at (978) 665-4869 or send an email to the archivist Asher Jackson @ 


Michael Vincent Addorisio Family Collection is a unique series of letters written by a son of the City of Fitchburg, Michael Vincent Addorisio, to his family during World War II. The letters, postcards, and medals presented here depict a military life that was tragically cut short while serving on the USS Reid during World War II. His letters describe his travels across the United States by train to his first duty station and his journey across the world by sea. Routines of a sailor's life and a firsthand account of Pearl Harbor are included. His medals, letters and that fateful Western Union Telegram bring Michael's story to life.

This collection was carefully curated, preserved, and donated by Michael Vincent Addorisio's niece Rose Anne Addorisio, a Center for Italian Culture Board Member, and Professor Emeritus from Fitchburg State University.



Michael Vincent Addorisio (Addorizzi)

Michael Vincent  Addorisio, the son of immigrant parents Pasquale and Rosina (Maria Rosa Loreto) Addoriso was born on January 23, 1919, in Fitchburg Massachusetts. He was the 6th of 8 children, four born in Rocchetta, Sant'Antonio Italy, and four born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. According to his birth and military records, his official name was Michael Vincent Addorizzi. 

On October 7, 1940, Michael enlisted in the US Navy in Springfield Massachusetts under the officially recorded name of Michael Vincent Addorizzi. He wrote to his family saying, "don't make fun of my new name" and "remember the 2 zz's". 




This collection includes 93 letters from the time Michael was enlisted in 1940 to 1944 when he was killed in an attack.

After basic training, Michael traveled with the other recruits across the US by train to his assignment in San Diego, California. Traveling through New York, Ohio, St. Louis, and Kansas his letters tell of large cornfields, flatlands, using mules instead of horses, and a lot of swamps. New Mexico had lots of cattle with slum houses built out of orange crates. The train reached California at 03:00 AM, a pretty state with swell houses, mountains, miles of orange groves, and The Vineyard Co. 

"I bet there were millions of rows of the grape"

-Michael Vincent Addorisio, about California Vineyards



Later he traveled from San Diego on the USS Neches to Hawaii. January 6 1941 the men slept in bunks, swabbed the decks and sides. The pay was $11.00. As they sailed to Hawaii, the sailor studied "The Bluejackets Manual", learned the Morse Code, semaphore, and all the flags. 




Notification of Micheal's death was delivered to his parents on his birthday-January 23, 1945. Michael Vincent Addorizzi died on December 11, 1944, after a direct kamikaze strike on his gun. 

This is a part of the Navy Department letter on Michael's death:

"Our ship blew up and sank in about two minutes after a serial attack by Japanese planes south of Leyte, Philippine Islands. Rescue vessels were present and recovered all survivors, and the area was thoroughly searched for living and dead. The USS REID remains the final resting place of our shipmates who gave their lives for our country. Naturally, all of our personal effects went down with the ship, and there was no chance for recovery."

Michael Vincent Addorizzi received the following medals:

  • American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp
  • American Area Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with Five Stars
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Purple Heart


Gallery with pictures, letter and postcards from Michael