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Contact: Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa


Event Photos Now Online
Paul David Pope, Heir to 20th Century Media and Construction Scions Generoso and
Gene Pope, Releases Controversial Book about His Forefathers
FOR RELEASE - Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

The original copies of the National Enquirer and Italian language newspaper Il Progresso were unveiled at the Italian American Museum today. Both publications figure prominently in the history of New York City's Italian American community in the 20th Century.

The exhibit of the publications coincides with Columbus Day and the release of a new controversial new book, THE DEEDS OF MY FATHERS: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and the Tabloid World of Today by Paul David Pope (A Philip Turner Book with Rowman & Littlefield, October 11, $24.95). This exhibit will be on display at the museum through Tuesday, November 30th, 2010.

Mr. Pope's grandfather, Generoso Pope, Sr., was the publisher of Il Progresso, and his father, Gene Pope, founded the National Enquirer. The book delves into all aspects of the lives of perhaps the most influential father-son tandem of the last century. Generoso, who arrived penniless from southern Italy, eventually founded the Colonial Sand & Stone Company, which poured much of the concrete for New York City's early skyscrapers, including Rockefeller Center. Generoso also founded the New York City Fifth Avenue Columbus Day Parade.

Under Generoso, Il Progresso served New York's Italian immigrants beginning in 1928 and became the largest and most influential Italian language newspaper in US history. In its early days, the paper's editorials, and a family-owned radio station, avidly supported the regime of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The National Enquirer was founded after Gene Pope purchased a failing newspaper in 1951 and transformed it into the high-circulation supermarket tabloid that still exists today (although no longer under Pope family ownership).

"I thank Paul Pope for this loan," said Italian American Museum president Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa at a news conference. "His grandfather and father were key players in the Italian American experience, and their legacy has had a major influence on America."

"I'm making these newspapers available to the museum because of their profound influence on American history," said Mr. Pope. "My grandfather's and father's roles in politics, construction and media form a unique story, and it is one that will be studied for many generations."

Several members of the Papa family, as it was known before Generoso changed it to Pope, were present at today's event. The group included Carlo Papa of Caserta, Italy, Paul Pope's third cousin and namesake of Generoso's brother, as well as family members who reside in Canada.

Mr. Pope also announced the funding of an annual paid student internship at the Museum, which will be awarded to a deserving college student.

Founded in 2001, the Italian American Museum is dedicated to exploring the rich cultural heritage of Italy and Italian Americans by presenting the individual and collective struggles and achievements of Italians and their heirs to the American way of life. The Museum received its Provisional Charter from the New York State Board of Regents on June 12, 2001 and is a 501(c) 3. It is located at 155 Mulberry St. at the corner of Grand St. in Little Italy.

Italian American Museum
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New York, NY 10013
(212) 965-9000

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