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Dear America Wiki

Angela on the cover of Hear My Sorrow

All of the characters that appear in Deborah Hopkinson's Hear My Sorrow.

Main characters[]

Angela Denoto[]

Main article: Angela Denoto

Angela Denoto (born 1895)[1] was the second child of Pietro and Mrs. Denoto. She had three siblings, Luisa, Vito and Teresa. When Angela was ten, her family immigrated from Sicily to New York City. She went to school until the age of fourteen. Angela then began working at the same shirtwaist factory as Luisa and their friend, Rosa. There she was befriended by Sarah Goldstein, whom introduced Angela to the concept of unions. When the shirtwaist strike commenced in late 1909, Angela joined the union and took part in the strike. In 1911, she witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Supporting characters[]

Audenzio Maniscalco[]

Audenzio Maniscalco was a cloakmaker whose father owned a barbershop. There Audenzio often talked about unions with Pietro, Vincenzo, among others. Despite his young age, he earned the attention and respect of the older men. In 1910, Audenzio participated in the cloakmaker's strike. His mother was a distant relative of Rosa's mother. The two dated with her parents' approval and were engaged in February 1911, but Rosa died a month later in the Triangle factory fire. Audenzio accompanied Vincenzo to identify her body. Around 1912, he began visiting the Denotos often after developing an interest in Angela. They were married in 1915 and had three daughters. Audenzio became a union organizer.

Luisa Denoto[]

Luisa Denoto (born c. 1893)[2] was the eldest child of Pietro and Mrs. Denoto. She was twelve years old when her family came to New York City. Despite her young age, Luisa had to start working immediately at a factory. When Luisa turned sixteen, she drifted apart from Angela and became closer to Rosa, who was the same age as her. The rift widened after Angela became involved in the shirtwaist strike and Teresa's death. Luisa and Angela finally made amends after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which Luisa had just narrowly survived. In later life, she married a grocer whose family was familiar with her own. They moved to New Jersey and had two children.

Pietro and Mrs. Denoto[]

Pietro[3] ("Babbo;" died 1921)[4] and Mrs. Denoto ("Mama") were the parents of Luisa, Angela, Vito, and Teresa. In Sicily, Pietro had been involved in the fasci dei lavoratori while Mrs. Denoto had protested taxes. The Denotos moved their family to America around 1905. Pietro began work as a hod carrier. Mrs. Denoto made money by making artificial flowers for woman's hats. In 1909, Angela went to work after Pietro hurt his shoulder. He returned to work about a month later. During the shirtwaist strike, Pietro and his wife allowed Angela to participate due to their own experiences. In 1921, Pietro was killed in a construction accident. Mrs. Denoto lived with Luisa for the rest of her life.

Rosa Riggio[]

Rosa Riggio[5] (died March 25, 1911)[6] was the daughter of Caterina and Vincenzo. She had two younger brothers, Pietro and Alfio. Rosa was a close friend of Luisa and worked at the same shirtwaist factory as her and Angela. Her mother passed away in November 1909, but Rosa still went to work the next day to support her family. During the shirtwaist strike, she and Luisa began working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. After dating Audenzio Maniscalco for two years or so, the two were engaged with her father's approval in February 1911. Unfortunately, Rosa died just a month later in the Triangle factory fire. Angela witnessed her jumping from a window to escape the flames.

Sarah Goldstein[]

Sarah Goldstein (born c. 1891)[7] was a Russian-Jewish girl whom Angela met at the shirtwaist factory. Her family came to America when she was nine. Sarah attended school for six years before going to work so her brother Joseph could stay in school. In 1909, she befriended Angela while working together. Sarah joined the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). When the strike started, she convinced Angela to join the union. Sarah became restless after the strike was over and decided to attend night school. In 1912, Sarah was able to leave factory work to be a labor organizer for the ILGWU. For her work, she traveled around the country and wrote articles. She was a devoted aunt to her brother's children.

Teresa Denoto[]

Teresa Denoto (born c. 1901[8] — March 21, 1910)[9] was the younger sister of Luisa, Angela, and Vito. She was only four when the family emigrated to America and did not remember much of their life in Sicily. Teresa was not particularly fond of school, preferring to stay at home and help her mother. She was close to Angela and expressed a wish to work at the shirtwaist factory someday so that they could spend more time together. Teresa had developed a cough sometime before September 1909. It gradually grew worse, becoming either pneumonia or bronchitis. Though the doctor thought Teresa could fight it off, she ultimately succumbed to the sickness.

Vito Denoto[]

Vito Denoto (born c. 1896)[10] was the only son of Pietro and Mrs. Denoto, and the brother of Luisa, Angela, and Teresa. He was generally allowed more freedom than his sisters and his mother "pamper[ed]" him. Vito dreamed of becoming a businessman someday. At thirteen, Vito quit school after earning enough money from selling various items he found in the street. He later bought a shoeshine kit and became a shoeshine boy. Vito continued "junking" and often took Pietro and Alfio Riggio with him as helpers. In his adult life, Vito fulfilled his dreams by starting a restaurant supply business. He remained close to Pietro and Alfio, who became two of his best workers.

Minor characters[]

  • Alfio (born c. 1902)[11] and Pietro Riggio[5] (born c. 1900)[11] were the sons of Vincenzo and Caterina, and younger brothers of Rosa. After their mother's death, the boys began spending a lot of time with the Denotos. As adults, Vito hired the two for his business. They were successful and eventually became managers.
  • Anna Shaw, Publio Mazzella, and Rose Schneiderman, activists whom Angela Denoto heard at workers' rallies.
  • Arturo Caroti and Salvatore Ninfo, Italian organizers who went house to house to get support for the shirtwaist strike among the Italian community.
  • Arturo Cavello (born c. 1894)[10] was the baker's son. Angela often met him when she went to the bakery. Teresa once teased Angela by calling Arturo her boyfriend.
  • Caterina Riggio[5] (died November 10, 1909)[12] was the wife of Vincenzo, and mother of Rosa, Pietro and Alfio. She caught tuberculosis and gradually became weaker, before passing away.
  • Clara Lemlich was a labor rights activist who made the call for all shirtwaist workers to strike. It became known as the Uprising of the 20,000.
  • Clara Ruben (c. 1890[13] – March 25, 1911)[14] was a friend of Sarah Goldstein. She participated in the shirtwaist strike, but eventually had to return to work because of her family. Clara began working at the Triangle factory, where she later perished in the fire.
  • Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, known as the "shirtwaist kings," were the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. They resisted unionization the most out the larger factories.
  • Joseph Goldstein (born 1896)[15] was Sarah's younger brother. She worked so that Joseph could stay in school. As an adult, he married and had four children, whom Sarah was devoted to.
  • Miss Kelly was Angela's teacher. She was disappointed when Angela had to leave school. Miss Kelly gave her a diary, promising to give her another if she filled up the first one. Some years later, Angela returned to show Miss Kelly her diary.
  • Mr. Klein was the foreman at the shirtwaist factory where Angela worked. He was a generally gruff man, but became somewhat nicer after the strike.
  • Maria, a neighbor of the Denoto family. Angela addressed her with "Zi'," a short form for aunt. Her husband died some years prior in a construction accident. Like many in the neighborhood, Maria was always willing to lend a helping hand. She later married Vincenzo.
  • Mary Dreier was the president of the Women's Trade Union League.
  • Rosalia was a neighbor of the Denotos in their tenement building. Angela described her as a "wiry older woman." She enjoyed bragging about her granddaughter, Giuseppa.
  • Mr. Silvio, the man Mrs. Denoto went to get orders to make artificial flowers.
  • Tina Cavello was the younger sister of Arturo. She was a student of Miss Kelly. Tina later began working at the Triangle factory and survived the fire.
  • Vincenzo Riggio[5] was the husband of Caterina and father of Rosa, Pietro, and Alfio. He worked as a day laborer, but the pay was not regular. His wife passed away in 1909, followed by their daughter in 1911. Vincenzo then decided to take a brief respite to Sicily. When he returned, he married Maria who helped him raise his two boys.

Epilogue characters[]

  • Angela was the granddaughter and namesake of Angela Denoto. She earned her doctorate in sociology from New York University.
  • Teresa, Rosie, and Claire Maniscalco were the three daughters of Angela and Audenzio Maniscalco. Teresa graduated from college and went on to earn her master's degree in social work.


See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?