By Jude Seminara
Recently, Anthony Martignetti — “Anthony!” from the Prince Macaroni commercials — passed away. Martignetti was a local celebrity, court officer, and Italian immigrant.
The following is the story of another Italian immigrant, my great grandfather Giuseppe Seminara, one of the founders of the Prince Macaroni Mfg. Co. Prince Macaroni got its start less than half a mile from the North End tenement on Powers Ct. where Anthony burst panting through the door for supper in the advertisement. Antonino Seminara, Giuseppe’s father, ran a bakery at 92 Prince St.
The Seminara family arrived in the United States aboard the SS Trave in 1901 and settled in the North End, Boston’s Italian neighborhood. Following Antonino’s death in 1911, Giuseppe Seminara (who earned his citizenship in 1905), his brother-in-law Gaetano LaMarca, and LaMarca’s cousin Michele Cantella began Prince Macaroni with some baking equipment, a horse and cart, and $150. Their macaroni was sold from the storefront at 92 Prince St. to the Italians in the neighborhood. By 1917, these three “off-the-boat” immigrants had so much success that they purchased a lot on Commercial St. to erect an eight story plant in order to keep up with the growing demand for semolina pasta.
During this time, anti-Italian sentiment ran high in the United States. Known as “guineas,” “wops,” and “dagos,” Italians were regularly discriminated against. In fact, the largest mass lynching in American history occurred when eleven Italians were murdered in New Orleans in 1891. Louisiana would see two more mass lynchings of Italians in the 1890s. Anti-Italian prejudice was not limited to the South either. The KKK held a mass protest in Vineland, NJ in the 1930s, and even closer to home, in Boston, Italian immigrants were suspected of causing the Molasses Disaster of 1919; and Sacco and Vanzetti were subject to an unfair trial which resulted in their execution in 1927 for a crime they did not commit. Prejudice certainly touched Giuseppe as well In 1919, he, LaMarca, Cantella, four other Italians, and one German and one Jewish applicant were all denied gun permits. Almost forty permits were issued, all to applicants with Irish and English surnames.
Despite the obstacles presented by bigotry, the Seminara, Cantella, and LaMarca held their course towards the American Dream. Twice, tragedy struck the Seminara family (Giuseppe and his wife Elvira lost their second son Salvatore to jaundice one day after he was born; and Elvira herself died after a long illness in 1923 when she was only 28 years old), yet Giuseppe persevered.
Prince Macaroni continued to grow through the Roaring Twenties and survived the Great Depression. In 1939, the business moved to Lowell. In 1941, despite having done $600,000 in business, LaMarca, Cantella, and Seminara were seeking new management, which came in the form of Italian immigrant New Yorker Joseph Pellegrino, who purchased a controlling share in the corporation. By 1955, Prince was turning out a million pounds of pasta per week and doing ten million dollars in business. Prince Macaroni was a household name.
Giuseppe Seminara died in 1961 at age 76, nine years before Anthony Martignetti burst through the door for supper at Powers Court, He was survived by his wife Rosalia, his oldest son by Elvira (my paternal grandfather) Antonino, and a son Joseph and daughter Elvira, as well as several grandchildren of which my dad was one.
Part of Giuseppe’s legacy is that anyone, despite their circumstances or the obstacles they face, can achieve the American dream with perseverance and hard work.
Are the whitewalkers coming to Gloucester? Is John Snow roaming East Gloucester? It’s Friday, where are all the beach goers?
This Saturday September 12, 2020 from 11-1 we will be having a drive by feast to honor the Mother of Grace. Our lady will be moved to the front of the building for people to drive by to honor our Patron Saint, Maddonna Delle Grazie for her 76th feast. At this time members will be able to pay their dues and donations will also be accepted. Dues must be paid by check for our records. In order to continue future feasts and to keep our traditions alive these donations and dues are vital for our organization. Covid-19 protocols must be followed, masks must be worn, social distancing must take place, and no entry into the building .
If there are any concerns please feel free to private message me on face book at Gus L Macintosh
Viva Maddonna Delle Grazie
Great hats at Arts Abound located at
21C Lexington Avenue
Magnolia, Gloucester, MA 01930
Celebrating Creativity with local artists
Our gallery features a variety of beautiful and unique artwork from local artists as well as carefully handcrafted gifts, such as pottery, hand-painted scarves, hand-carved wooden cutting boards with bread knives, greeting cards, jewelry, and local photography.
Sue Wheeler, owner, has over 25 years of experience in marketing and design; she offers her graphic design services. Let her help you with your next marketing campaign.
Come visit. Buy local.
OPEN Sunday, September 13 10am-2pm
HOURS FOR SEPTEMBER
Monday noon – 5pm
Tuesday 9am – 5pm
Thursday 10am – 3pm
Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday 9am – 3pm
Sunday sometimes open…check here for updates
Also by appointment and by chance…call (603) 359-2173
Sue Wheeler – owner | artist | designer
21C Lexington Ave
Magnolia Village in Gloucester, MA
WE SELL FACE MASKS!
Go to our Face Mask page
Arts Abound has donated numerous masks to healthcare workers and now they are available for purchase.
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Gift baskets are a wonderful gift for folks in your life! Choose from all kinds of locally made products including whimsical fish mugs, ocean-inspired pottery, handsewn aprons, gorgeous scarves, local photography, hand-painted greeting cards, unique jewelry, glass plant hangers, cutting boards, and so much more. It’s a wonderful way to support local artists! Email us to discuss gift ideas and pricing:
We now carry Gloucester-made Ryan & Wood hand sanitizer for $25/liter (plus tax). Match with a mask or two for the perfectgift! $40 for hand sanitizer and mask as shown here.
Sample gift basket…we can add whatever you would like.
We have an amazing selection of hand-crafted products
Jewelry for the holidays!
Lovely copper and silver jewelry
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NOTES FROM THE FIREHOUSE: THE ANNISQUAM HISTORICAL SOCIETY
I hope that you enjoy the second post in this series from the Annisqum Historical Society’s Notes and Findings.
This is such a wonderful glimpse into the Annisquam Historical Society’s extensive collection of photographs dating back to the days of glass plate negatives.
Take some time and view their impressive collection here: annisquamhistoricalsociety.org
I am very grateful to David W. Teele & Betsey B. Horovitz for sharing this information with us. I am hopeful that they may continue to share some of their findings and extensive research. What a joy it is to see these images and take this trip back in time.
What is a cunner net, and why do you need one?
We hold many images of men lobstering from dories; virtually every image shows a metal hoop net with a bail. Even the image below, in which somebody is posing for aspiring artists, shows the net (as well as, apparently, a diving board on the nearby float). The model sports a handsome moustache plus a white shirt, collar, necktie, and vest, uncommon apparel for a working lobsterman. He may well have been a fellow artist…. Read more in the PDF screen grabs below
September 11 2001. Where were you when you heard the news?