Almost no records remain from Dr. Cella’s medical practice, so it is impossible to analyze it. There are no records from his other solo investments, either–the stocks and bonds and the farm. Because Anna Tirocchi managed their joint investments and mingled those records with her business records, there are still documents that shed some light on these activities. However, even these records are spotty and because personal investment transactions are recorded in the shop’s books, often in unexpected places, it has been difficult to build a coherent picture of Anna’s investments (and her joint investments with Dr. Cella) from these journal entries.

The curators and scholars working on this aspect of the Tirocchi story have truly had to become sleuths to track down, connect, and make sense of various documents and journal entries left behind. Among the things they have had to work with are:

  • the 1933 sale agreement for the Narragansett property;
  • a Narragansett Electric Lighting Co. bill dated June 25 1923;
  • letters dating from 1920 and 1923 from realtors offering real estate investment opportunities to Madame Tirocchi;
  • an authorization to "make repairs" on 514 Broadway, dated 1917, from the Office of the Inspector of Buildings, Providence;
  • correspondence from a realtor in Narragansett in 1933/34 regarding sale or rent of Anna’s house there;
  • receipt in 1933 from "William Valcarenghi, Painter at 324 Pocasset Ave., Prov. RI" for painting the Narragansett Cottage [presumably Anna’s nephew];
  • receipt to Union Trust Co. for mortgage payment;
  • bound insurance ledgers recording all policies and their payments.

Generally, however, there was sufficient information in the shop records to date property purchase, tax payments, and levels of mortgage encumbrances. For example, the insurance records indicate which properties were mortgaged and to whom.

Some of the correspondence in the files lends insight into Anna Tirocchi as businesswoman. In 1941, she received notification from the Office of Inspector of Buildings informing her that her properties at Tobey St. and Bainbridge Ave. needed "additional means of exit in case of fire." Madame Tirocchi fired back a well-reasoned letter to the Inspector disputing this, saying among other things that one family had been living in one of the buildings over 20 years. She argued that the number of staircases was adequate and concluded by saying that she did not wish to build an outside fire escape that "would spoil the look of the houses in that section." As evidenced by similarly direct letters to her commercial suppliers, Anna Tirocchi was not one to shrink from conflict in a matter about which she felt strongly.

Another side of her comes through in correspondence from the realtor who was handling her Narragansett house. It seems as if they had become fast friends in the process. One letter concludes: "I think the time I spent with you was anything but ‘lost.’ It was a pleasure to listen to one who had really seen so much of the world and was big enough to take it in and able to give others some idea of it all. I hope to have that pleasure again and to be of some service to you in this matter. Very sincerely yours, S. A. Walsh" In another letter, Mr. Walsh signs off with this bit of neighborhood news: "Our new priest strikes me as quite feeble and a dreamer, student, and we cannot hear a word he says. We do so miss Fr. Ferry. Most sincerely yours" Madame Tirocchi evidently charmed and won over some of those whose help she needed in one capacity or another.

[ printable version ]


   Sources and Methods
   The People
      Census Records
      City Directories
      Social Directories
      Employee Records
      Investment Records
   The Business
   Custom Dressmaking



Anna's investments are also discussed in the STORY.