Tag Archives: Antonio Curcio

Circa 1915: Tony and Joe, the Laurence Teens

Sepia Saturday 597. Nineteenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

At one time, the teen years weren’t recognized in U.S. popular culture as a special time of life. That changed after WWII, according to Derek Thompson in his Saturday Evening Post article titled “A Brief History of Teenagers.”

“The teenager emerged in the middle of the 20th century thanks to the confluence of three trends in education, economics, and technology. High schools gave young people a place to build a separate culture outside the watchful eye of family. Rapid growth gave them income, either earned or taken from their parents. Cars (and, later, another mobile technology) gave them independence.

This sociological development occurred after my maternal grandfather Tony Laurence (b. 1902) and his brother Joe (b. 1903) were adults. Yet their adolescent photos shown below, from circa 1915, seem to reveal the type of teenage changes we recognize today.

Circa 1915: My maternal grandfather Antonio W. “Tony” Laurence at about age 13. He posed for this photo at Forbes Studio in Gloversville, N.Y. Scan by Molly Charboneau

More mature expressions

In his baby and toddler photos, my grandfather Tony looked playful and sported an infectious grin. In this teen picture, however, he looks more serious and worldly in a stiff-collared shirt, suit jacket and tie.

The same is true of his younger brother, my mom’s Uncle Joe. Although he was a “tween” in 1915 — about the time these photos were taken — he also looks more staid and serious than in his youth. Every hair is in place and he also wears a suit, shirt and tie.

Circa 1915: My maternal grandfather ‘s younger brother Joseph Bernard Laurence at about age 12. He posed for this photo at Forbes Studio in Gloversville, N.Y. Scan by Molly Charboneau

The Forbes Studio

Tony and Joe posed for their photos at Forbes Studio of Gloversville, N.Y. — a different studio than the one their parents took them to as children. So I went online see what I could find about this photographer, and discovered an interesting ad.

Gloversville Morning Herald, Oct. 12, 1915. Source: fultonhistory.com

Forbes Studio apparently joined other Gloversville businesses in the raffle of a “Pony outfit” — which I am guessing may have been a Halloween costume, since the ad appeared in October 1915.

Forbes Studio placed other ads in the Gloversville newspapers over several decades encouraging parents to bring their children in for portraits at the start of each new school year.

Headed for adulthood

Whatever the impetus, I am glad my great-grandparents Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence/di Lorenzo took my grandfather and Uncle Joe to have these photos taken at a transitional point in their young lives.

In 1915, my Laurence/di Lorenzo ancestors were still living at 128 E. Fulton Street — in the crowded Curcio household of Mary’s parents (and my great-great grandparents) Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro ) Curcio. My grandfather Tony and his brother Joe were both still in school.

Yet how handsome and mature they looked as they headed toward adulthood. And how grateful I am for these portraits — the only adolescent images of Tony and Joe that I have found in the family photo collection.

Up next, my grandfather Tony in a mystery photo. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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.

1897-1912: Evolution of a Shoe Shine Parlor

Sepia Saturday 587 and the Genealogy Blog Party. Thirteenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

The previous post chronicled the 1906-1917 Gloversville, N.Y., shoe shine careers of Michael and Vincenzo “Jimmy” Del Negro — the brothers of my maternal Italian second great-grandmother Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio.

https://pixabay.com/photos/shoeshine-shoe-polish-shine-brush-72477/
Tools of the shoeshine trade. Photo: Pixabay

I wondered what more I could learn about the Del Negro brothers’ various work locations, which were listed in the Gloversville-Johnstown Business Directories. So I turned once more to Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for the next phase of their story.

Evolution of a shoe shine parlor

Michael Del Negro moved to Gloversville, N.Y., in the late 1800s — buying property in 1896 from his sister and her husband Antonio Curcio and moving in with the Curcio family by 1900.

By 1909, he was the proprietor of Mike’s Shoe Shining Parlor at 12 N. Main Street — with a commercial listing under Boot Blacking in the Gloversville-Johnstown City Directory.[1]Gloversville, New York, City Directory, 1909, p. 385. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line accessed 9 Aug. 2021]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Which made me wonder: what was the evolution of his shoe shining parlor?

In 1897, a Cigar Store operated at 12 N. Fulton St in Gloversville, N.Y., a small yellow wedge labeled Cigars on the lower left of this map. By 1909, Michael Del Negro operated Mike’s Shoe Shining Parlor from that location. What was the evolution of his parlor? Source: Library of Congress/Sanborn Map

The detail above — from an 1897 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Gloversville — shows that when Uncle Mike arrived in town, a cigar store operated at 12 N. Fulton St., the future premises his shoeshine parlor.

The tiny building labeled “Cigars” was a one-story, wedge-shaped wooden structure (yellow on the map) with a slate/tin roof in a long line of stores near the Kasson Opera House.

Uncle Mike builds his career

On the 1902 Sanborn map of Gloversville, the 12 N. Main St. building still housed a cigar store. However, on the 1907 map (see detail below) “Shoe Shining” was added to “Cigars” at that location — the same address Uncle Mike gave as his place of employment in the 1906 Gloversville-Johnstown Business Directory. The “x” indicates the tiny building then had a shingle roof.

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3804gm.g3804gm_g059511907/?sp=21
In 1907, 12 N. Main St. offered Shoe Shining and Cigars as shown in this detail from the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Gloversville, N.Y. Michael Del Negro gave this as his work address in a 1906 city directory. Image: Library of Congress/Sanborn Maps

A shoe parlor of his own

Fast forward another five years and the cigar store is gone. The 1912 Sanborn map of Gloversville shows “Boot Black” as the sole business operating from 12 N. Main Street (below) — the address listed as Mike’s Shoe Shining Parlor in the 1909 Gloversville-Johnstown Business Directory.

 https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3804gm.g3804gm_g059511912/?sp=8
By 1912, 12 N. Main St. was exclusively a Boot Black parlor as shown in this detail from the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Gloversville, N.Y. Michael Del Negro listed “Mike’s Shoe Shining Parlor” at this address in a 1909 city directory. Image: Library of Congress/Sanborn Map

Not only that, but the neighborhood had improved. A fireproof bank with a clock dome had been constructed at the corner of E. Fulton St. and N. Main St., two doors down from Uncle Mike’s parlor — which undoubtedly added some foot traffic to his shop. And the shoe shine parlor had a black dot, indicating a composite roof.

Alas, the building that housed Uncle Mike’s shoe shine parlor at 12 N. Main St. has not survived — but many of the surrounding buildings have. In the next post, we’ll take a look at the once bustling Gloversville neighborhood that made shoe shining a successful career — including for Uncle Jimmy, who shined shoes at various other locations.

Up next: Modern and vintage photos of the Del Negro brothers’ workplaces. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants. Then visit the September 2021 Genealogy Blog Party: What You Learned to check out the skills genealogy bloggers have shared.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

References

References
1 Gloversville, New York, City Directory, 1909, p. 385. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line accessed 9 Aug. 2021]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.