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Thread: Sorting out the Vinaccias

  1. #1
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Sorting out the Vinaccias

    I have been trawling back through posts from the past few years looking for reference to the late nineteenth century Vinaccias, as I am trying to get a more definitive picture of who was who from the 1880s onwards. I was interested to notice this thread which appeared a couple of days ago with a picture of the label clearly marked Guiseppe Vinaccia fu Gaetano with a date of 189*. From what I can work out 'fu' means 'was' or perhaps 'deceased' which I took as meaning that Guiseppe might be the son of Gaetano? Robert Lundberg gives Gaetano's active dates as 1887-1914, and he only knew of Guiseppe labels from 1914, but I seem to remember earlier ones that have been mentioned.

    So as far as I can work out, there was
    Pasquale b.1806, d 1885
    his three sons
    Gennaro (1832-1908), Achille (1836-1920) & Federico (1839-1882)

    Sometime after 1882 Gennaro and Achille started selling instruments under the Fratelli Vinaccia label. (although I did find an old post from Alex Timmermann suggesting that they were nephews of Pasquale, rather than sons?)

    We have Gaetano building from 1887 until 1914, so we might expect that he was born within a few years of 1860, which would work well if he were the son of either Gennaro, Achille or Federico.

    Then we have Guiseppe (fu Gaetano) from the 1890s and his relationship to the others and of course the question of who was running Fratelli Vinaccia after Gennaro and Achille, as there seems to have been instruments under that brand into the 1930s.

    cheers

    graham

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Graham,

    My Giuseppe Vinaccia also has the same label as the one posted in the other thread, and is dated 1898. So, Giuseppe did definitely build in the 1890s.

    Martin

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Graham, I don't know what Gennaro and Achille's relationships were to Pasquale, but on at least some of his labels he included 'e figli'. If these were other guys then the family tree branches further.....

    Mick
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    I suppose you found this thread from 2004 in which I posted the same question.

    My list from that thread (this is before I got as copy of the Sparks book):

    I have been trying to get that Sparks books for a few years now. It is very scarce. Supposedly it will be reprinted soon. I emailed Oxford but heard nothing. I will call.

    In the meantime, I would like to establish some sort of chronology of the family. Here is what I have from various sources. These are dates of actual instruments or, in the case of Henley, working years:

    Baines:
    Antonio 1772, 1773,
    Gaetano 1744

    Timmerman:
    Pasquale 1891
    Giuseppe 1895
    Vinaccia family, 1770
    antonio 1780, 1779

    Henley (working years):
    Antonio(1): 1754-1781
    Antonio(2) (son of Gennaro) 1763-1798
    Gaetano: 1779-1831
    Gennaro (son of Antonio): 1755-1778
    Giovanni (son of Gennaro): 1762-1777
    Mariano (son of Antonio1): 1790-1806
    Nicola: 1745-1780
    Vincenzo (son of Gennaro): 1769-1795

    Other instruments I have seen on line:
    Gennaro and Rubino 1890
    Pasquale 1882
    Giuseppe 1901
    Fratelli Vinaccia 1905, 1918, 1904, 1928 (who signed it?)


    What happens after that? Who was the last of the Vinaccias? When did the company fold and why? Tune in next week...
    Then Bob A posted this:

    Vinaccia, Achille (1836-1920)
    Federico (1839-1884)
    Gaetano (1759-after 1831)
    Gaetano (c1900) - Described as the most significant luthier of the period (turn of the century Virtuoso Era in Italy). It was also mentioned that the family firm had split into two or more competing businesses by the turn of the cent).
    Gennaro (b. 1832)
    Giuseppe (c.1900)
    Pasquale (1806-c1885)
    Jim

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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Here is a label, can't remember where I got the photo.... but shows Giuseppe in 1890...
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Name:	Made by Giuseppe Vinaccia in Naples, dated 1890c.jpg 
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Nice add, Dave. I notice on this label Giuseppe does not include the 'fu Gaetano' and has his shop in a different location from the label Graham posted. I am including a couple of Gaetano Vinaccia labels one of which has a fairly illegible date which may be in the '20s. Both are rather graphically crude to my eye given the flourish of previous labels from members of the family.

    Mick
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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    From Roangelo.net:

    fu: short for figlio (figlia) del fu: son (daughter) of
    the who-was-in-life. For example, Giovanni
    Valente fu Nicola: Giovanni Valente, son of the
    now deceased Nicola Valente. (Fu is the third-
    person singular, simple past tense (preterit)
    of the verb to be: he or she or it was.)

    The Gaetano in Rua Catalana who signed a label in 1906 shouldn't be the same man as the deceased Gaetano whose successor was in Via G. Mancinelli in the 1890's. But maybe the same branch of the family? And is the Giuseppe in Corso V. Emmanuele in 1890 the successor of Gaetano? The label doesn't say so; so perhaps that Gaetano was still living in 1890 but deceased by the time of the Mancinelli label (printed for use in the 1890s). There are probably enough labels with date, signature AND street address to solve this.

  8. #8
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Bruce, that was my assumption: a possible Gaetano Due for those labels I posted. Or some such person. This would be a great thread to gather up the assorted Vinaccia labels that folks have collected and track the name, location, date, signatures (if those are to be believed) and see what we have.

    I don't have any labels from Gaetano, padre di Giuseppe, in my files. Maybe someone else does?

    Mick
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Vinaccia_Guiseppe-#6-Label.JPG 
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    I will check on labels etc.
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    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    The story so far...
    Pasquale e figli at 53 Rua Catalana, which was where they had been for more than a century
    Fratelli Vinaccia (Gennaro and Achille?), from the mid 1880s, same address. Sparks does mention that they had to move to larger premises in the 1890s

    Gaetano (son of Gennarao, Achille or Federico?, born 1860s?) from 1890s to at least 1914. at 96 Rua Catalana in 1906 and at another address Chatamone 38? maybe in 1927

    And then we have Guiseppe fu Gaetano at 45 Via Guiseppe Mancinelli in the 1890s, which would have meant he was born no later than the early/mid 1870s, which would make it hard for him to be Gaetano's son. As Bruce suggests, we may have two Gaetanos?

    I suspect we need more labels

    graham

  11. #11
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Mick's 1906 label above says Gaetano Vinaccia di Gennaro (=Gennaro's son?). He's still in Rua Catalana, and is being distinguished from another (older?) Gaetano. Do we have a street address for the "Fratelli" instruments?

    The Gaetano whose son is a Giuseppe active in the 1890s should be of the same generation as the three born in the 1830s (Gennaro, Achille, Federico). But a Pasquale still active in 1882 may be too young to be the father of those three.

    Too many Vinaccias with too few names!

  12. #12
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    It is a quiet morning at work, so I have been doing a little internet trawling looking for pics of Vinaccia labels. I am putting them into a spreadsheet with name, address and date so maybe that will illuminate things once I have a few more. Interestingly Mick's Gaetano 1927 label with the red printing has the same Via Chiatamone 32 address as a 1927 Flli Vinaccia fu Ple & Co label.

    Sparks' book has an excerpt from an article written by an English visitor to Rua Catalana 53 in the ealy 1880s where he mentions that old Pasquale (b. 1806) was still there with his three sons Gennaro, Archille and Federico involved in the business. It seems reasonable from those dates that a Gaetano could well be the son of one of these who could be doing things in 1906, but more unlikely in 1927.

    I will put the Excel spreadsheet somewhere accessible if that is useful, but it is a bit sparse at the moment.

    cheers

    graham

  13. #13
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Good, Graham. So P. is the father of the three G. A. and F. I see now a Fratelli label from 1894 that specifies Gennaro and Achille (older first) as the brothers. Address is rua Catalana. I wonder how late these Fratelli labels persist. In any case it looks like in the 1890s Giuseppe's was a separate operation.

    (edit) I see also a label posted by Jim with Fratelli Vinaccia fu P.le e Co. (V. brothers, sons of the late Pasquale), but without specifying which brothers. Date is 1902 and address is now S. Chiara 32 33. So that part of the operation had moved, but at least one member of the family continued in r. Catalana.
    Last edited by Bruce Clausen; Jun-27-2011 at 7:38pm.

  14. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Here are a few more labels to put into the mix. I don't know if this helps anything.
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Great, Jim, thanks. Those are awesome. I picture Federico Vinaccia as kind of the Fredo Corleone character in this mix. The Antonio V label you post surely looks later than the 18th C. Antonio in the list noted above. A lot of folks cashing in on the name it seems. A spread sheet is a good idea Graham, maybe I can work to develop it into an illustrated albero genealogico.

    Here is a label with Sonny and Michael at Rue Catalan 53, Pasquale's old place.

    I'll see what else I can turn up.

    Mick
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Sorry that one had the same mystery dribbles on it that Giuseppe's did. Here is a cleaner version.

    Mick
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    One other label I turned up, with i fratelli (Pasquale's kids) and their nephew Munier. Got it all, Graham?

    Keep them coming, ragazzi.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Here is another on ebay at the moment...
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Name:	1890's GUISEPPE VINACCIA MANDOLIN3.jpg 
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Quote Originally Posted by dave17120 View Post
    Here is another on ebay at the moment...
    Dave, that is the one from this thread.
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  20. #20
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Here is the info to date. I have grouped the various Pasquale/Fratelli Vinaccia labels together by date, and then Guiseppe and the Gaetanos (if there were two!) Then of course the unexplained Antonio.

    I think the big questions are:
    1. Who was the second Gaetano?
    2. Why was he working from the same address as Fratelli Vinaccia in 1927?
    3. Who were Fratelli Vinaccia in 1927?
    4. Where does Antonio fit into this?


    Pasquale Vinaccia e figli - Rua Catalana 53 - 1882
    Frat GENro e Alle Vinaccia fu Ple - Rua Catalana 53 - 1892-1898
    F.lli VINACCIA fu Ple e Nipote C. Munier - S. Maria la Nova 25 - 1901
    F.lli Vinaccia fu P.le e Co. - S. Chiara 32-33 - 1902-1905
    Flli Vinaccia fu Ple & Co - Guglielario Dan Felice 22 - 1915
    F.lli Vinaccia fu Ple & Co - Via Chiatomone 32 - 1927

    Guiseppe Vinaccia - Corso Vittrio Emmanuelle 466 - 1890
    Guiseppe Vinnacia fu Gaetano -- 1899
    Guiseppe Vinaccia e Comp - No 9 S. Maria a Lanzata a Foria

    Gaetano Vinaccia di Gennaro - Rua Catalana 96 - 1906
    Gaetano Vinaccia - Via Chiatamone 32 - 1927?

    Antonio Vinaccia fu Pasquale

    cheers

    graham

  21. #21
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Interesting stuff, Graham.

    Maybe the "brothers" outfit developed something like this: At some point near 1900 Gennaro (and Achille?) died. The company continued— it was a large one, and of course we don't know for any period who was actually building the instruments. But henceforth the Fratelli labels don't identify the brothers; that is, "Fratelli Vinaccia" has become a brand. (These labels do however claim a connection to old Pasquale.) But one of the partners or heirs opts out and starts a separate operation, labeling his instruments Gaetano Vinaccia di Gennaro. He opens up the street at no. 96 by 1906. But by 1927 he has dropped the "di Gennaro" and is now occupying the same address as the Fratelli operation; perhaps a general decline in the mandolin business was involved.

    Meanwhile across town (?) we have Giuseppe, whose shop seems to have occupied four different addresses over (perhaps) a short period. (Notice the crossed out address in the fifth label in Jim's post, dated 1899, and the Mancinelli address from 1898.) He is the "son of the late Gaetano", but we haven't seen a label from this Gaetano and we don't know his relationship to Pasquale's family.

    Seem like reasonable possibilities? Antonio remains a mystery, as does Rubino.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    I like your thinking, Bruce. No counter arguments from me, but just an added perspective. Think about Italy 1906-1927. They went through an unfathomable upheaval (in US/Canadian terms at least) during this time period that we are obsessing about mandolins. Unification is only a few decades old; monarchy and the papacy is contracting. What else? World War Uno and Mussolini comes to power (when? 1922?) How a business stays in business is amazing to me. The family fracturing at this time would come as no surprise.

    The latest Fratelli V label I have in my files listing both brothers, is 1909. It is signed 'Fratelli' which apparently they had done all the way back into the '90s. There were also around the turn of the century labels bearing 'Fratelli' w/ Gennaro ed Achille as well as 'Fratelli Vinaccia' without the front-names. Are we talking the same set of brothers here? Both claim Fu Pasquale status. Two different addresses for these (possible) pairs of brothers: Rue Catalana and S. Chiara. The last label has them (the non Gennaro/Achille labeled) brothers on Via S Sebastian.

    Man, that was awful confusing to write. I hope it makes some sense to y'all.

    Does anyone have a Fratelli V label (with Gennaro ed Achille) from the 1900-02 period? Anything from these bros post 1909?

    Mick
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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Excellent, Mick. That 1909 label demolishes my idea about the occasion for Gaetano's separate operation. Whatever Gaetano may have been up to in 1906, we clearly have two kinds of Fratelli label used in the same period: F.lli Gen.ro ed A.lle Vinaccia fu P.le (at least 1892 to 1909) and F.lli Vinaccia fu P.le & Co. (with or without Munier, at least 1901-27). Both labels claim the makers are purveyors to Her Majesty, so it would seem they are the same company with the same founding brothers. So what do we know about the mandolins themselves— for example is one of these labels found on better instruments?

    (edit) I've just noticed that all the Fratelli labels without the brothers' first names mention prizes won in London and Chicago. These might have little or no value locally but be considered important for the export trade. So maybe these labels went on export instruments?
    Last edited by Bruce Clausen; Jun-29-2011 at 12:47am.

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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    Sorry Jim, didn't see that fred?!
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  25. #25
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sorting out the Vinaccias

    I know I will be probably be chastised by Alex T for such supposition based on incomplete evidence, but it might be that they used the F.lli Gen.ro ed A.lle Vinaccia fu P.le label until Gennaro died in 1908 and then went to the more ambiguous F.lli Vinaccia labels after that. Of course that then suggests that there were still people working from Rua Catalana 53 until at least 1909, when there are two other addresses on labels from 1901 until at least 1905. Sparks mentions a BMG magazine article from 1956 that says the 'most' of the Vinaccia workers moved from there in the 1890s to larger premises, so maybe manufacturing going on at two or more addresses.

    Here is another label I found yesterday, which looks like it could be from the late 30s, though hard to read and a pic of the fairly plain instrument it is in. It is from a 'for sale' page in the Italian mandolin federation site (I think)

    Thank you all for your suggestions and input. It is a tiny bit of mandolin history, but it would be good to have it sorted out, some some extent at least. The next big challenge is getting my head around Chicago and who was doing what to who there...

    cheers

    graham

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