1939 – Women sat, sewed, and visited near Hanover Street in the North End. Boston Globe File

The Globe profiles life in the 1940’s based on the recently released 1940 census which included details about employment and education. Boston had an unemployment rate of 13% then with only about 10% of the working population identified as “professionals.” The vast majority of workers were in the trades or clerical/sales.

The article profiles several North Enders:

On Cross Street in the North End, Milano Santosuosso, a 44-year-old from Italy, was looking for work as a tinsmith, while his daughter, a 17-year-old “new worker,” was looking for her first job.

Nearby on Hanover Street, Italian immigrant Umberto Volpe, 43, worked as a stonemason for the Works Progress Administration, earning $800 a year. His stepson, 20, had been looking for work for a year.

At 422 Hanover St. was the Passacantilli family, who lived above their restaurant, the well-known Blue Front. Three years after the census, Victor Passacantilli was born into a teeming North End that felt like a giant family, in a world apart.  “It was like living on an ­island,” Passacantilli recently recalled.

Read the full article at the Boston Globe.

See the 1940 Census.

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