DeBlasio’s “Youngstown”: A labor of love

DeBlasio’s “Youngstown”: A labor of love

Donna DeBlasio, a YSU professor, recently authored “Images of America: Youngstown” a pictorial history of Youngstown. Photo by Dustin Livesay/ The Jambar.

Donna DeBlasio, a YSU professor, recently authored “Images of America: Youngstown” a pictorial history of Youngstown. Photo by Dustin Livesay/ The Jambar.

Donna DeBlasio, a professor in Youngstown State University’s department of history, has authored books in the past including, “Youngstown; Post Cards from the Steel City” and “A Pictorial History of YSU.” This year, DeBlasio has added to her list of published books.

DeBlasio’s latest work “Images of America: Youngstown” is set to release on Oct. 7.

DeBlasio earned two degrees from YSU and worked as the first manager of the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor in the ‘80s. She has dedicated much of her career to regional history, and has published scholarly articles on Idora Park and Youngstown worker housing.

As a Youngstown native, DeBlasio expressed pride in her publication and said she enjoyed writing “Youngstown.”

“I am really happy with it. I like the way it came out,” DeBlasio said. “It’s a labor of love, but … I guess I am prejudice, because I did grow up here, and it’s home.”

Arielle Lester, who graduated with a Master of Arts degree in History last May and who serves as adjunct faculty in YSU’s History Department, helped DeBlasio collect pictures for her book. Lester said she enjoyed working with
DeBlasio.

book“It was wonderful to work with Dr. DeBlasio. She is a great person to learn from and made the research process enjoyable,” Lester said. “I am very proud of this book. … It is rewarding to see my efforts as a part of a publication that is quite visually appealing.”

DeBlasio’s “Youngstown” is a picture book that depicts scenes from the city at various sages in its history, from the late nineteenth century to the end of the World War II. The book includes historical photos of downtown, Mill Creek Park and the steel mills.  Most of these pictures were obtained through the archives of the Steel Museum and the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

“There’s a lot of wonderful images,” DeBlasio
said. “I think [readers] will learn a lot. Even if they’re familiar with the story, they will like the photos. People really like photos. … An image or a painting is worth a thousand words — I really think it is.”

Lester said there is a lot to be learned from the book.

“People should buy this book, because there is so much to learn about the Youngstown area. The history of the steel industry tells how Youngstown made a huge contribution during America’s second Industrial Revolution, as well as in supplying the war effort during The Great War and The Second World War,”she said. “Many brands and entrepreneurs also got their start here, and it is still a great place for businesses to start.”

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