53c-Serrapede Family in America: Emily Leatrice’s first studio portrait, 1932 Part 2


This posting is a continuation of 53c-Serrapede Family in America: Emily Leatrice’s first studio portrait, 1932 Part 1.

Albert Della Monica, the photographer and owner of the studio where Emily’s first portrait photo was taken, achieved the American Dream twice.  He not only achieved home ownership, he also owned his own business.  We thought his story was worth telling so we have presented the highlights of the Della Monica family’s history after arriving in America.

Albert Della Monica: Artist, businessman and homeowner

We don’t know why Albert used the name  Dell Monic on the label which he put on the picture frame for Emily Leatrice’s photo. Uncle Sammy thought the decorative elements to the left and right of the name on the label represented the letter “A”.  So we began our search using Della Monica.  A quick look-up in the 1933 Brooklyn City Directory proved Uncle Sammy was on target with the right name.

53c-Mom baby photo label

Close-up of the label on the frame of Emily Leatrice’s 1932 studio portrait.

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53c-Serrapede Family in America: Emily Leatrice’s first studio portrait, 1932 Part 1


Josie left an extensive photo collection to her daughter when she passed away in 1995. There are almost 300 photos of all sizes and types. Josie had a box camera which she used extensively throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In the photos she took we have many scenes of the neighborhood around 66th Street where the family lived. There are also many studio photos taken as part of special occasions such as weddings and Holy Communion.   Studio portraits of family members are also part of the collection.  This posting is about the earliest photo we have of Emily Leatrice. She always said that she was born with blonde hair. Judging from this studio portratir her hair may have been a golden brown, perhaps a shade darker than popular 1930s child star Shirley Temple’s.

53c-ELS Della Monica Photo INTERNET

Emily Leatrice Serrapede, June 1932.
Close-up of the photo taken at the Studio of A. Della Monica, Gravesend, Brooklyn, NY.

Josie treasured her photo collection. We do not know how she did it but the photos have remained in good condition despite being stored in nothing but brown paper bags and then carefully stacked in brown cardboard boxes. Many of the original cardboard frames complete with the studio labels are still intact as well.  Because of this we know the name of the photographer and the location of the studio for Emily Leatrice’s 1932 photo.

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