Anthony P. "Tony" Pizzo collection

Material Information

Anthony P. "Tony" Pizzo collection
Pizzo, Anthony P ( Anthony P. Pizzo ), 1917 - 1944
Physical Description:
141.00 : (287.00 boxes) ;


Subjects / Keywords:
Florida -- History, Local ( lcsh )
African Americans -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Hillsborough County (Fla.) -- History ( lcsh )
Hispanic Americans -- Florida -- Tampa Bay Region ( lcsh )
Italian Americans -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Tampa (Fla.) -- Social conditions ( lcsh )
Tampa Bay Region (Fla.) -- History ( lcsh )
Cigar industry -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Círculo Cubano de Tampa ( lcsh )
Clubs -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Cuba -- Relations -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Cuba -- Revolution, 1895-1898 ( lcsh )
Cuban Americans -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Cuban Americans -- Florida -- Tampa -- History ( lcsh )
Cubans -- Florida -- Tampa -- History ( lcsh )
Tampa (Fla.) -- Ethnic relations ( lcsh )
History -- Tampa (Fla.) ( lcsh )
Tampa (Fla.) -- Politics and government ( lcsh )
West Tampa (Fla.) ( lcsh )
Ybor City (Tampa, Fla.) ( lcsh )


Scope and Content:
Publications, photographs, postcards, cigar labels, maps, realia, manuscripts, diaries, printed ephemera, artifacts, and other materials documenting the history of Tampa, Florida and its vicinity, with particular emphasis on the area's Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrant communities of Ybor City and West Tampa.
Preferred Citation:
Tony Pizzo Collection, Special Collections Department, Tampa Library, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Anthony P. Pizzo
The son of Paul and Rosalia (Pizzolato) Pizzo, Antony P. "Tony" Pizzo was born on September 22, 1912 in Ybor City, Tampa's immigrant cigar making community. While growing up, Tony absorbed the multiethnic cultural ambience of Ybor City and its primarily Cuban, Spanish, and Italian population. A graduate of Hillsborough High School, he attended the University of Florida for two years, then transferred to Stetson University to study law. After two years, he left Stetson to embark on a business career. Following service in the U.S. Army during World War II, Pizzo started his own company, International Brands, a wine and beer distributorship. He subsequently accepted a position with Tampa Wholesale Liquors, which later became Midulla Importing Company and House of Midulla, Inc. From 1950 to his retirement in 1984 Tony Pizzo was the company's vice president in charge of sales, also serving as president of Midulla affiliates Rey del Mundo Cigar Company (1965-1971) and Fruit Wines of Florida (1972-1984). Pizzo was active in local business, civic, educational, and cultural organizations, including the Tampa General Hospital Foundation, Barrio Latino Commission, University of Tampa Foundation, University of South Florida President's Council, Ybor City Redevelopment Committee, Tampa Philharmonic Association, and Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame. He was the founder and first president of the Tampa International Trade Council, first president of the Ybor City Junior Chamber of Commerce, first president of the Rotary Club of Ybor City, and the first honorary mayor (alcalde) of Ybor City. In 1952, the Cuban government awarded Tony Pizzo the Order of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, and in 1976 the government of Italy invested him as a Knight Officer of the Order of Merit. A 1993 [i]Tampa Tribune[/i] article commented that no other Tampan had been awarded so many honors for contributions and service to his community. During the early 1950s, Tony Pizzo realized that the colorful, multiethnic Ybor City of his youth was rapidly fading away due to post-World War II demographic and economic changes. He decided to make it his mission to preserve the history of Tampa's immigrant cigar makers and the community they built. Over time, this mission expanded to include the history of the Tampa and Hillsborough County as a whole. Pursuing his avocation for local history, Pizzo became the most prominent advocate of and spokesman for Tampa's historic heritage, earning the informal title "Mr. Ybor City." A prolific writer whose history articles appeared in a range of publications- from [i]Tampa Bay History [/i]magazine to the popular press- his first book-length work, [i]Tampa Town, 1886-1834: Cracker Village with a Latin Accent, [/i]appeared in 1968. In 1979, Pizzo collaborated with WUSF Television in creating [i]Tony Pizzo's Tampa, [/i]a ten-part documentary that won two awards from the National University Television Association. In 1983, he co-authored a comprehensive history of Tampa and its vicinity, [i]Tampa, the Treasure City[/i], with USF history professor Gary R. Mormino. In 1971, Pizzo founded the Tampa Historical Society and served as its first president. He was chairman of the Hillsborough County Historical Commission from 1968 to 1980, and from 1984 until his death was Hillsborough County's official historian. As a Tampa native, civic leader, and prominent spokesman for local history, Pizzo was ideally positioned to gather historically significant material. He "knew everyone" and "everyone" knew him. His decades of gathering information about Tampa's past resulted in a monumental collection of historical materials documenting virtually every aspect of the community's historical heritage from its origins as a frontier fort to the dynamic, modern metropolis of today. In a letter dated August 11, 1980, Tony Pizzo expressed his intention that the Special Collections Department at the University of South Florida's Tampa Library be the permanent repository for his unique collection. This intention was realized on October 23, 1982 when USF President John Lott Brown formally accepted the Pizzo Collection during a gala dinner program held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Tampa. Since that time, the Tony Pizzo Collection has become one of the most consulted and referenced resources for historians and other researchers studying Tampa history and culture. As an "open" collection, librarians, historians and researchers regularly contribute to the growth and value of the collection. Tony Pizzo died January 2, 1994 and was buried in the mausoleum at Myrtle Hill Memorial Park in Tampa. He was survived by his wife of fifty-two years, Josephine (Acosta) Pizzo, and two sons, Paul and Anthony.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
Some materials are fragile. The contents of this collection may be subject to copyright. Visit the United States Copyright Office's Website at [url=][/url] for more information.
Resource Identifier:
u29.086-p21-ead ( USFLDC Handle )

USFLDC Membership

USF Tampa Library Special Collections Finding Aids

Postcard Information

Mixed Material