Portuguese American Journal

Community | Joseph George Ray Portuguese American Archives – Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College has announced the establishment of the “Joseph George Ray Portuguese American Archives Endowed Fund” endowed by Marie Fraley, co-founder and former director of the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rhode Island College (RIC).

The “Joseph George Ray the Portuguese American Archives”, named in honor of Fraley’s father, aims to collect, preserve, and document the Portuguese American immigrant experience in the State of Rhode Island.

The archives will be digitalized and made available to researchers and the public, allowing anyone with Internet access to go online and view the digitized items.

Administered by the Rhode Island College Foundation, the archives are available to anyone interested in consulting a particular collection, by contacting Digital Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Veronica Denison for an appointment.

According to the RIC website, contributions of papers, photos, and other types of documentation by individuals, families and cultural organizations are welcome for permanent retention in Adams Library’s Special Collections.

Sponsored internships and research opportunities for RIC students, and support to cultural events related to the collection will be promoted.

Professor Marie Ray Fraley

Remarking on the establishment of the endowment, Marie Fraley said, “We have a word in Portuguese – teimoso, which means stubborn. In the positive sense, it means determined. I think one of the legacies of the Portuguese people is their determination. They are some of the hardest working people I know. They have grit. They know how to survive. I see it in the young people, as well, because they were raised that way. The Portuguese also have a sense of pride in being Portuguese. They have social clubs that are over 100 years old that pass on the pride and cultural values to the children.”

To mark the occasion, Marie Fraley authored My Buffalo Nickel and Other Stories from a Portuguese American Life  (Jan-Carol Publishing, Inc., 2023), a book that compiles Joseph George Ray’s writings and Fraley’s insights into her father. The book offers a window into his life as a Portuguese American growing up in Rhode Island.

“My hope is that other members of the Portuguese community will be encouraged to contribute to the archives,” Fraley says. “It helps build and preserve the legacy of our community.”

To learn more about how to submit to the archives, see the acquisitions and donations policy of Special Collections at Rhode Island College or contact Special Collections Librarian Veronica Denison at vdenison@ric.edu or at 401-456-9653. Submissions and access to the collections are by appointment only.

Rhode Island College (RIC) is a public college located primarily in Providence, Rhode Island, with parts of its campus in North Providence. Established in 1854, it is the second oldest institution of higher education in Rhode Island, after Brown University. The college has a suburban campus of 180 acres and a student body of approximately 7,523, with 7,295 undergraduates and 228 postgraduates. RIC offers a wide range of academic programs across five colleges and is known for its strong emphasis on teacher education.


Source: More @ Rhode Island College


Portuguese Americans have a significant presence in Rhode Island, a trend traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period, many Portuguese, particularly from the Azores and Madeira, settled in various parts of Rhode Island such as Providence, East Providence, Cranston, Warwick, Bristol, and Pawtucket.

This migration was part of a larger pattern of Portuguese immigration to the northeastern United States, including states like New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maryland. 

In Rhode Island, the Portuguese American community has made substantial contributions to the state’s cultural and social landscape. Several Portuguese clubs and organizations in Rhode Island focus on preserving Portuguese cultural heritage and providing venues for community events, athletics, and other sociocultural activities.

Rhode Island has a Portuguese population of approximately 83,002 people. This represents 7.56% of the state’s population, making it the state with the highest percentage of Portuguese residents in the United States. In terms of total numbers, however, California and Massachusetts have larger Portuguese populations, with Rhode Island ranking third.​


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