Bailey, Light D'Albergo (1908–1972)

By: Judith N. McArthur

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: August 3, 2017

Light D'Albergo Bailey, teacher, translator, and historical preservationist, was born on January 24, 1908, in New York City, the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Arturo D'Albergo. She spent her early childhood in Sicily, where she received her first education, and after the family's return to the United States she attended schools in New Jersey and New York. She studied at Birmingham Southern College in Alabama and earned a B.A. from the University of Texas in 1930. After marrying Clay Bailey, a teacher, on July 27, 1930, she taught school for a year in Alabama. From 1931 to 1933 Mrs. Bailey taught high school Spanish, Latin, and Italian in Galveston, and from 1934 to 1942 and again from 1944 to 1951 she was an instructor of Spanish at Southern Methodist University, where she also initiated the first regular coursework in Italian. In 1951 the Baileys and their daughter moved permanently to Houston; there Light Bailey joined the faculty of the University of Houston and introduced Italian to the curriculum. With her husband, she established the Clay and Light Bailey Collection on Italian Culture at the University of Houston in 1966.

Mrs. Bailey published an English translation of Annibale Ranuzzi's Il Texas, first published in Bologna in 1842. She reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News and classical records for the Dallas Times Herald. She also lectured frequently on Italian culture to civic, church, and school organizations. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded her its Cultural Medal in 1961, and Unico, the Italian service organization, honored her in 1969 for her contribution to the understanding and preservation of the Italian heritage and history in the United States. Light Bailey died in Houston on January 24, 1972. In recognition of her career in teaching and disseminating Italian language and culture, she was posthumously awarded a decoration by the president of Italy. See also ITALIANS.

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Biographical File, University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio. The Italian Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1973).

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Foreign Languages
  • Women
Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Judith N. McArthur, “Bailey, Light D'Albergo,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

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November 1, 1994
August 3, 2017

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