Hello, my name is Rachel (Maria Bernardo) James. I am a graduate student of art at the Ohio State University, and am seeking your help.
Maybe you recognize my middle names. They are the names of my great grandmother, Maria (Primavera) Bernardo. I am the daughter of Laura Bernardo, daughter of J.T. Bernardo. I am attempting to resurface the history of my family, perhaps even find family in Italy, although I know they have left the island (making things a tad more difficult).
I do not know much about you. I know that you are the great grandson of Barse’s sister (just as I am the great granddaughter of his model). I know that you worked in Rome for some time, and that you compiled a manuscript. I am writing to ask about the manuscript you compiled in 1980 of the letters Barse wrote his family during his study in Capri. I am of course interested in the story, but also the names of people that might also be in these letters. I know a few family members that have this manuscript, but I am writing to ask if you perhaps have transferred this manuscript to a digital file. If so, would it be too much to ask for you to email me those files? As I get older, more and more is beginning to unfold about my family and my past. It is my intention to know as much as I can. I will be in Italy for the summer, and have plans to move there once I graduate.
If you are curious about my artwork and what I am doing, feel free to ask. My work has been focused on identity for several years now, and this seems to be another extension of that. My ideas for my thesis so far seem to change, but they always seem to be about Italian women. Right now I am beginning to archive photographs of my great grandmother, learn why I was named for her, study Italian, interview family members, try to find this manuscript, and eventually find family.
I am attaching a picture that I found in Ma’s photo album. It was from August 1982. I would have been seven months old at the time. It is great grandma with you and your wife, Kristin. (I apologize for the poor quality scan – I used the cheapy one I have at home, instead of going up to school. Ha!)
I have other questions, as well, but I figured this would be a beginning point. I look forward to hearing from you. Your help is appreciated more than you realize.