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The Centennial of the Societa di Mutuo Soccorso of Barre

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Barre's Societa di Mutuo Soccorso (The Mutuo), which is observing its centennial in 2006, originally emulated a parent health care cooperative in the province of Lombardy, Italy. Indeed, most of the 12 original incorporators were born in that province. From the time of its inception, the society employed local physicians, and sometimes nurses, whose services were underwritten by dues assessments. It also paid a death benefit to the widows of deceased members. The founding of the organization, the formulation of its charter and bylaws as well as the formative years of its operational history will be discussed by Mary Fregosi, who is translating the society's minutes which, until 1960, were written in Italian. Arthur Ristau will examine more recent aspects of the society's evolution, which reflects the enactment of Social security, the influence of organized labor, and other societal and political developments that diluted the necessity for the Mutuo's original rationale. The society now has a social/civic function but remains the repository of an outstanding Italian meals program.

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