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.