1904: My Grandfather Antonio W. Laurence at Age 2

Sepia Saturday 591. Sixteenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

The first studio photo of my Italian-American maternal grandfather Antonio W. Laurence was take in 1904 when he was 2 years old. My great-grandparents Peter and Mary “Mamie” Laurence were married circa 1901 in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y.

Tony was their first child, born 10 May 1902. And I’m sure Peter proudly sent a copy of this photo to his family back in Italy.

1904: Antonio W. Laurence at age 2. This is the first studio photo of my Italian-American maternal grandfather Antonio W. Laurence. Scan by Molly Charboneau/Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

A jaunty nautical portrait

My grandfather looks so cute in this photo, wearing a belted wool sailor-collared shorts-suit, lace-up boots and a cabbie hat — with a nautical striped shirt completing the picture. I particularly love his impish grin — which lasted throughout his life.

This toddler photo of Tony was taken at the W.L. Havens studio, located at 16 Bleeker Street in Gloversville, N.Y. — the same studio where his father Peter had his wedding photo taken.

Bleeker Street, Gloversville, N.Y. (undated). My grandfather Tony’s first studio photo was taken at the W.L. Havens studio located at 16 Bleeker Street in Gloversville, N.Y. — the same studio where his father Peter had his wedding photo taken. Photo: Front Page Gloversville

The Laurence/di Lorenzo family takes shape

With my grandfather Tony’s birth, the Laurence/di Lorenzo family began to take shape. A couple of years later, my grandfather’s younger brother Joseph B. Laurence (aka Uncle Joe) was born — completing the family unit.

This might give the impression of a small family of parents and two sons. However, my great-grandparents Peter and Mamie lived with her parents (Antonio and Antoinette Curcio) at 128 E. Fulton St. for more than 15 years — a family within a family.

The vibrant Curcio household

This meant my grandfather Tony and his brother Joe grew up in the vibrant Curcio household of their maternal grandparents — surrounded by relatives and Italian culture.

There were some Curcio aunts their own age (their mother Mamie’s younger sisters) along with a few Del Negro cousins (children of Antoinette’s brother Michael Del Negro, whose family also lived there). So Tony and Joe had plenty of playmates and surrogate siblings during their childhoods.

Not until 1920 did the Laurence family move into a new house at 12 Wells Street — around the corner from the Curcios — to set up their own household. And by then, Tony and Joe were teenagers.

Up next: More childhood studio photos of Tony and Joe Laurence. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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12 thoughts on “1904: My Grandfather Antonio W. Laurence at Age 2”

  1. Cute pic! They must have been somewhat well to do to have a portrait such as this taken. 😉
    I love that you added the picture of the street view there, and also of how you noticed his same grin when he was 2 from this pic that he had later in life. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Diane. Actually, I believe studio photography dropped in price in the early 20th century — which enabled his parents to afford these photos. And I’m glad, because his lifelong grin is priceless!

  2. A full mark of 10 AAWS (Antique Adorable Winsome Scale) for Antonio’s photo. I’m sure at the moment the camera shutter clicked his mother was telling him to mind that potted plant. He has the look of a boy enjoying a new suit and being the focus of all the attention.

    It’s funny how smiles are often a lifelong facial characteristic. My maternal grandmother’s smile was nearly always the same from age 10 to 95. And likewise my parents retained special smiles that lets me identify them in any group photo.

    1. Thanks, Mike — proud to accept the award 🙂 I agree, facial expressions are often lifelong. I was familiar with the adult version of my grandfather Tony’s wry smile — so I chuckled when I realized he’d had it all his life.

  3. I think back then it was not unusual for families to live together in a large household – especially those coming from other countries and not only because it was cost-efficient, but because families lived together in “the old country”. It was a normal way of life there and coming to a new country didn’t necessarily change that.

    1. I agree! The multi-generational household likely made for a fun and busy childhood for the children of the house. And provided built-in childcare, too.

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