Charles C. A. Baldi

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Charles C.A. Baldi
Born(1862-12-02)December 2, 1862
DiedDecember 28, 1930(1930-12-28) (aged 68)
Other namesCharles Carmine Antonio Baldi
CitizenshipUSA
Known forPublic service
SpouseLouisa Eurindine Sobernheimer
Children7 including Charles Carmine Antonio Baldi Jr. and Joseph F.M. Baldi
FamilyTaylor Swift (great-great granddaughter)
Chuck Douglas (great-grandson)
Austin Swift (great-great grandson)

Charles Carmine Antonio Baldi, named after the mathematician with the same name, (December 2, 1862 – December 28, 1930) was an American merchant, banker, newspaper publisher, entrepreneur and philanthropist who lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]

He immigrated from Italy at age 14 and pursued a career that gained him recognition in the early 1900s as a prominent leader among the growing population of American citizens of Italian descent. Baldi further achieved strong relationships with the existing American political and business communities in the greater Philadelphia area that developed from his business enterprises, which included social and philanthropic organizations that centered around supporting the lifestyle of Italian immigrant people to attain improved economic status and preserve traditional cultural heritage while living in the United States.

Early life[edit]

Baldi was born 1862 in Castelnuovo Cilento, in the province of Salerno, Italy. As a boy in Italy, he first distinguished himself by helping to write letters for the peasant women of his town to their relatives in the United States. Baldi would learn by reading about the USA in the letters coming back and attributed his fascination with life in the US to the letters. He immigrated from Italy to Philadelphia at age 14 with his father and 12-year old brother. Later he changed his name to "Charles Carmen Antonio Baldi" and adopted the "C.C.A. Baldi" naming convention.

Career[edit]

His first start-up business in America was a push cart fruit stand that rose to notoriety by skillfully cornering the local wholesaling and retailing market selling lemons. This successful enterprise provided revenue to invest in other ventures and he began to manage for profit job contracts with the railroads to employ Italian immigrants who needed to be employed in a job for them to come to the US and also facilitated their acquiring basic needs for housing and other services.[citation needed]

He organized a bank, the First Italian Exchange Bank, so immigrant workers could save their money and send money back to relatives in Italy. He owned and operated the largest daily Italian language newspaper L'Opinione from 1906-1930[2] that provided job openings, news of the day in both America and Italy. It later incorporated into the Italian language daily newspaper under Il Progresso Italo-Americano that began in 1906 as L'Opinione, and was published until 1989. Baldi founded an anthracite coal yard supply company, C.C.A. Baldi & Brothers Co Inc., based on experience the brothers had with mining operations and the need to supply an environmentally clean home heating fuel to replace wood.

Additionally, Baldi operated a real estate and insurance business catering to Italian immigrant workers and founded a charity organization, The Italian Federation of Charitable Societies, while providing a leadership role in the worker society Mutuo Soccorso di SanBiagio (St. Blase Mutual Relief Society). His early letter writing provided him language skills and he provided interpreter services for Italian-speaking people for the courts of Philadelphia. He established and operated a funeral home, Baldi Funeral Home, dedicated to servicing Italian Americans families that has carried his family name for over four generations in South Philadelphia.[3] His interest in politics and education lead him to be appointed to the School District of Philadelphia Board of Education and served on that board until his death in 1930.[4][citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]

On April 19, 1907, as a publisher he was awarded the decorations of Commander in the Order of the Crown of Italy and Knight in the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italian: Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro) (abbreviated OSSML), a Roman Catholic dynastic order of knighthood, awarded him by King Victor Emmanuel III for his work on behalf of Italians living in the USA.[citation needed]

In 1974, the City of Philadelphia recognized C.C.A. Baldi as the first immigrant named to the School District of Philadelphia Board of Education, on which he served until his death in 1930, by naming Baldi Middle School after him to commemorate his service in education.[5]

In 2017, the C.C.A. Baldi residence located at 319 Green Lane, Philadelphia was designated as a Historic Place in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.[6]

Baldi Brothers[edit]

Baldi Funeral Home year 1908 located at 1011-1017 S. 8th St Philadelphia, PA - Photo of Baldi Brothers

The Baldi Brothers of Philadelphia is a story considered to be one of the most remarkable families of brothers prominent in business affairs in the early 1900s in the United States working in a harmonious combination. Their affairs embraced many enterprises, with C.C.A. BALDI Brothers diversified in lines of banking, real estate, insurance, transatlantic steamship agency, coal sales, livery stable, funeral undertaking and newspaper publication. This remarkable family combination comprised five brothers, C.C.A. Baldi, Giuseppe (Joseph), Virgilio, Guerrino and Alfonso. The family heritage was well established in Italy for centuries, with the father, Vito Baldi being a contractor and a houseman in the Province of Salerno where the five boys were born.[7]

Descendants[edit]

Baldi was the father of five sons and two daughters:

Baldi's great-grandson, Chuck Douglas, wrote a book about his life.[9]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CHARLES C.A. BALDI, BANKER, FOUND DEAD; Philadelphian Had Many Interests --Was Leader of ItalianAmerican Colony, nytimes.com. Accessed February 19, 2024.
  2. ^ |Library of Congress |Retrieved December 29, 2022
  3. ^ Baldi, Victor. "Our Story & Articles". Baldi Funeral Home. Victor Baldi Funeral Home. Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  4. ^ Middle School, Baldi. "Our History". Baldi Middle School. School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  5. ^ "About Us - Our History". Baldi Middle School, School District of Philadelphia. School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  6. ^ Vadala, Nick Vadala (July 14, 2017). "Taylor Swift ancestor's home added to Philly Register of Historic Places". Philadelphia Inquitrer. Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  7. ^ Hudson, Samuel (1908). Pennsylvania And Its Public Men. Hudson & Johnson. p. 298. ISBN 9780343458027. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  8. ^ Amorosi, A.D. (July 19, 2017). "Taylor Swift's great-grandpa's former Philly home gets historic designation". Metro Philadelphia. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  9. ^ "Chuck Douglas presents Philadelphia's King of Little Italy: C.C.A. Baldi & His Brothers". gibsonsbookstore.com. October 5, 2022.