31 July 2013

The Ardolino Brothers - Working On An Angel

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The above photo - titled "Cathedral of St. John the Divine - Working On An Angel" - was taken in 1909 and is part of the George Grantham Bain Collection held at the Library of Congress.  Here's what they have to say about this collection: 

"In 1948 the Library of Congress purchased the photographic files of one of America's earliest news picture agencies, the Bain News Service. George Grantham Bain (1865-1944), formerly affiliated with the United Press, founded his New York photo agency in 1898. The news service specialized in New York City news and covered, to a lesser degree, events in the eastern United States. It distributed its own pictures and those purchased from other commercial agencies to about one hundred newspapers. The collection was purchased from D. J. Culver of New York, who retained some material at the time of purchase."

The same photo appears in the book "Bain's New York:  The City in News Pictures 1900-1925," written by Michael Carlebach and published in March 2012 by Dover Publications.  From page twenty-nine of Mr. Carlebach's book: 

"Construction began on the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint John the Divine at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue in Morningside Heights on December 27, 1892, Saint John's Day, and it has never stopped.  The original design by the New York firm of Heins and LaFarge envisioned a massive structure with Romanesque and Byzantine features, but after the death of George Lewis Heins in 1907, the trustees hired Ralph Adams Cram who added significant Gothic elements to what had already been built.  Construction delays, two world wars, the Great Depression, and a fire in December 2001 that destroyed the still incomplete north transept precluded final completion, and today both construction and restoration projects continue apace, earning for the cathedral the slightly derisive name Saint John the Unfinished.

Conceived as a "house of prayer for all nations," the cathedral welcomed the participation of New York's burgeoning immigrant community, and benefited substantially from the work of skilled craftsmen and artists from Europe.  Thus, the great tiled dome over the central crossing of the church is the design and work of Rafael Gustavino, the renowned architect and builder from Valencia, Spain, while many of the cathedral's magnificent stone carvings were produced by Domenico and Clamanzio Ardolino who immigrated from Torre la Nocelle, Campania, Italy late in the nineteenth century.  The Ardolino brothers, joined at times by their cousins Rafael and Eduardo, worked for years at the cathedral, often carrying out the designs of British sculptor John Angel.

In this photograph made in 1909, the year work was completed on Gustavino's dome, one of the Ardolino brothers works on the ornate capital of a column."

"Bain's New York:  The City in News Pictures 1900-1925" 

I should first point out that Mr. Carlebach mixed up the Ardolino brothers / cousins.  Clamanzio Celestino and Eduardo were brothers.  Raffaele and Domenico were brothers ... and all four were cousins and grandsons of Clamanzio Ardolino (1810-1871).  

Grandfather Clamanzio was married three times.  His first wife was Maria Giuseppa Bocchino from San Giorgio la Montagna.  Clamanzio Celestino and Eduardo are grandsons from this relationship.

Family Group Sheet of Giovanni Antonio Ardolino and Fiorita de Minico, parents of Clamanzio Celestino and Eduardo.

Family Group Sheet - Clamanzio Ardolino and Maria Giuseppa Bocchino

Clamanzio's second wife was Teresa Vozella.  She died less than a year into their marriage and there were no children.  His third wife was Teresa Strollo.  Domenico and Raffaele are grandsons of this relationship.

Family Group Sheet - Carmine Ardolino and Maria Elisabetta Selvitella, parents of Domenico and Raffaele.

Family Group Sheet - Clamanzio Ardolino and Teresa Strollo 

Okay, now that Ardolinos have been sorted out and introduced it's time to figure out which Ardolino appears in the photo - Eduardo, Clamanzio Celestino, Domenico or Raffaele?

I'm going to rule out Domenico and Raffaele right off the bat based on age alone... Domenico would have been seventeen years of age and Raffaele only fifteen.  Photos of both below were graciously shared by cousin Jeff.

 Domenico Ardolino (1892-1973)

Raffaele Ardolino (1895 - abt 1992)

Based on the hairless upper lip I think we can also rule out Eduardo, who seems to have preferred that style later in life as well.

Above and below - Ermalindo Eduardo Ardolino (1883-1945).

Which leaves us with a bushy 'stached, chisel-cheeked Clamanzio Celestino.  What say ye, cugini?  Is Celestino a match?

Clamanzio Celestino Ardolino 1922 U.S. Passport Photo

Lest I forget, here's a link to The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

*** Update***

The cugini have spoken and we need to add another contender - Angelo Raffaele Ardolino born 23 September 1869 in Torre.  Angelo Raffaele is another first cousin of Eduardo and Celestino Ardolino. 


***Update #2 ***

Cousin Jeff made some further inquiries and was given this photo of Angelo Raffaele by Gail Deninger, Angelo Raffaele's great- granddaughter.  She confirms that the sculptor in the Saint John The Divine photo is not her great-grandfather ... so I think we're safe to assume it's Clamanzio Celestino Ardolino.

Angelo Raffaele Ardolino (1869-1937)


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