Almost no records remain from Dr. Cellas medical practice,
so it is impossible to analyze it. There are no records from his
other solo investments, eitherthe 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 shops books, often in unexpected places,
it has been difficult to build a coherent picture of Annas
investments (and her joint investments with Dr. Cella) from these
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 Annas house there;
- receipt in 1933 from "William Valcarenghi, Painter at 324
Pocasset Ave., Prov. RI" for painting the Narragansett Cottage
[presumably Annas 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.
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