The Mystery Wedding Photo. Was this happy couple from New York City or Wilmerding, Pennsylvania?
We all enjoy mystery stories. Even more so we enjoy how the unfolding of the story provides hints that help answer some or all the questions so that a degree of closure is reached. Right now Uncle Sammy and I are turning to our extended network of family and descendants of the paesani of Josie and Sam for help in solving a mystery.
One of the photos Josie left is that of a very happy young couple posing for a studio portrait on their wedding day. Based on the style of the wedding gown and the studio background we estimate the time period to be the late 1920s-early 1930s. What makes this picture even more of a mystery is that Josie did not leave any notes on the back or on an enclosed piece of paper. The large cardboard frame the photo is in does not have any imprint from the studio. Continue reading
We wish all our family and friends a day of happiness and recollection as we recall all
the goodness, strength, encouragement and life-giving power of the love our Mothers
–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–EmilyAnn Frances May
Public domain Victorian era image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
This posting is a continuation of 54c-Serrapede Family in America-Emily Leatrice’s Studio Portrait 1935 (Part 1) where we shared a studio portrait of Emily taken in 1935. The name of the studio on the picture frame prompted us to learn more about the photographer, Joseph Weise. We followed the growth of his business from 1930 to 1940. We now continue with our review of the findings which showed that Mr. Weise had studios in two different neighbhorhoods where the mix of immigrants and American citizens created the opportunities for expanding his client base.
Joseph Weise Photography Studios in Bensonhurst and Borough Park
The Weise Studio located at 4723 13th Avenue was situated in the part of Brooklyn formerly known as Blythebourne in the late 19th century. In the early 20th centuries Jewish immigrants settled in the area becoming the majority population. Italian and Irish immigrants also lived in this neighborhood. By the 1930s a shift began to take place as Hasidic Jews moved in. Today, the Hasidim dominate the community outnumbering the Orthodox Jews who were the dominant Jewish group at the time Joseph Weise opened his studio on 13th Avenue sometime after 1933 and before 1935.
The studios at 6408 18th Avenue (in 1933) and 6411 18th Avenue (in 1935) were situated in Bensonhurst. Up until the end of WWII, Bensonhurst had almost equal percentages of Jewish and Italian immigrants living in the community. With the development of middle class housing in the suburbs after WWII many of the Jewish residents moved out leaving the Italian-American community as the dominant ethnic group in the area. Today Bensonhurst is home to a much smaller Italian-American population. The up-and-coming immigrant groups are Chinese and Russian.
The first studio portrait of Emily Leatrice was taken when she was 14 months old in 1932. We shared that photo and the research results about studio where the photo was taken in these previous postings:
53c-Serrapede Family in America: Emily Leatrice’s first studio portrait, 1932 Part 1
53c-Serrapede Family in America: Emily Leatrice’s first studio portrait, 1932 Part 2
When Emily was 4 years old in 1935, Sam and Josie had another photo taken of Emily at a different studio. This photo comes with a pretty cardboard frame that is attractive enough to use as is. In the back is a stand so that the photo may displayed on a table. There is also a tab with a hole in it that makes it possible to hang the photo on a wall. Despite being stored in nothing other than a brown paper bag that was placed into a sturdy, cardboard carton with other photos, the frame is still in good condition. This may have been due to the fact that the attic where Josie stored her photo collection was usually warm and dry in all seasons.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede. Photo take in June 1935 at Wiese Photo Studio, Brooklyn, NY.
Our visit to the Serrapede family at home continues where 54b-Serrapede Family in America, 1930s-In the news and on the radio (Part 1) left off. In this posting we continue our visit to the family at their apartment on a weeknight. Sam has returned from work, ready for dinner and some conversation about current events, radio programs for the evening and happenings in the neighborhood with Josie.
At the conclusion of our visit Uncle Sammy and I share some fun-filled memories of our favorite comics and magazines from our childhood.
All resources used for Part 1 and Part 2 are listed at the end of this posting.
Josie’s Advice to Sam: “Talk to me about what you read in the news.”
Letter to the editor written June 2nd and published on June 10, 1935.
Josie and Sam subscribed to many magazines and newspapers. As a child I remember the sofa, end tables and coffee table full of such magazines as “Life”, “Time”, “The Saturday Evening Post”, “Cue”, and “The New Yorker”. Among newspapers the “Daily News” and “The New York Post” were the ones I remember most. Sometimes I found copies of “Mad Magazine” that belonged to Uncle Sammy in the drawers or on the nightables up in the attic.
I got to know my Grandparent’s favorite topics in the newspapers since I spent many weekends at their house as a child and a teenager. I also lived with them for 8 months during 1978-79. I thought it would be an enjoyable trip back in time to June 10, 1935 to select short articles or features in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that would have caught their interest. The reason why I picked this date is because it appears on a photo of Emily taken at the Weise Photo Studio. I thought a good way for readers to get to know Josie and Sam would be through a visit to their apartment on the evening of June 10, 1935 after Emily had her photo taken that morning.
Sam and Josie Serrapede were parents to Emily Leatrice, Gerald and Sammy. They were EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandparents.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle Monday, June 10, 1935
When her children were young, Josie prepared dinner early and ate with them sometime between 5 and 6 p.m. before Sam came home. She’d let the dishes soak before washing them and take some time to relax after dinner. Josie loved to read so she started with the newspaper. First she checked the radio programs that Emily would enjoy listening to before going to bed.
Listings for radio programs broadcasted on Monday evening, June 10th and Tuesday morning, June 11th, 1935.
This posting is a continuation of 54a-Station Break-In the News 1934: The Dionne Quintuplets, Part 1 . After the material on the Dionne Quintuplets is completed, Uncle Sammy and I share our childhood memories of products, toys and famous people in the news who were an important part of our childhoods. This is followed by the Resources section where you will find links to all sources used for this posting.
Dionne Quintuplets: Return to home and then out on their own
In 1943 the Mr. and Mrs. Dionne won custody of their daughters. The move back home was not the joyous occasion one might think. The Quintuplets were treated badly as their siblings showed signs of jealousy and their parents were constantly berating them. Yet Mr. and Mrs. Dionne thought enough of the money their daughters had made to live off of it without any qualms. When the quintuplets turned 18 they all left home and cut off ties with their family. As of 2014 only Cecilie and Annette remained alive.
Discussion with Uncle Sammy on Sunday, February 21, 2016 11-11:50 a.m.
Uncle Sammy and I discussed the cartoon characters and pop stars of our childhood that captured our imaginations. We attribute the fascination the public had with the Dionne Quintuplets part of the great desire people had for escape during the Great Depression. The fascination Uncle Sammy and I had for our favorites developed during different decades. In many ways they show the growing influence of radio, movies and then television marketing to children.