Sunday, May 21, 2017

J. Bolgiano & Son Seed & Plant Catalog from Baltimore, MD reflects the Patriotic Liberty Gardens of WWI

In the 19C, Joseph Ault Bolgiano (1836-1913), F W Bolgiano, & J Bolgiano Jr operated the J Bolgiano & Son Seed Store at 28 S Calvert Street in Baltimore, Maryland. Joseph Ault was the son of John (Johnnes) H Bolgiano (1812-1892) who had Joseph Ault Bolgiano with with Charlotte Hannah Ault in Baltimore, Maryland. 



John's (Johnnes) father was Francis William Bolgiano, Sr (c 1769-1832) who immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland from Italy or Germany. He married Elizabeth Weller on 25 May 1799 in Baltimore, Maryland, daughter of Johan Georg Weller. Francis W. is listed in the Baltimore City Directory as a 'bread and biscuit baker' from 1799-1827. It is possible, that he also sold seed.


1919 J Bolgiano & Son Seed Company

According to Baltimore newspapers, in 1895, John Bolgiano sued Joseph A. Bolgiano, who was managing the seed company, after their partnership was dissolved. By 1897, Joseph A. Bolgiano's sons Charles J. Bolgiano (1868-1920) & Roland Bolgiano (1870-1924) succeeded their father in running the business. 


1903 J Bolgiano & Son Seed Company

The 1904 Wharf Fire from the blog The Promise of Seeds: Magic in a Packet by Emma Craib
American Poultry Advocate, 1904
It is more than probable that every reader of this paper has heard of the wonderfully disastrous fire which so recently burned the heart out of the city of Baltimore. Unless you just happened to know some one who was living or doing business in Baltimore, it is likely that you gave the fire hardly more than a passing thought. But what do you think it means to the people of Baltimore? What do you thing it means for instance, to J. Bolgiano & Sons,


the seedsmen who have for eighty-seven years been doing business In the fated city? In all that long period they have never before suffered from fire. Indeed, they felt perfectly safe this time, for when the fire first started it was more than ten city squares away from them. Later, and when they thought they were endangered — though the fire was still six squares from them — they employed two hundred hands and fifty drays and began the removal of their large retail seed stock to one of their warehouses a long distance from the fire, and where they felt everything would be safe. It transpired, however, that by a shifting of the winds the fire ate relentlessly away until both retail stores, offices, packing rooms and warehouses were destroyed. Bolgianos made a brave fight to save the orders and seeds for their thousands of customers, but fate was against them. The orders already booked and the lists of names of multiplied thousands of customers all over the world were lost in the twinkle of an eye.
With absolutely nothing to work with, nothing to aid them except their fair name and excellent reputation, the Bolgianos have set to work with firm hands and brave hearts to rebuild their business. They have already laid in a large stock of the very best farm and garden seeds, notwithstanding the short seed crop of the past season, and will be able to fill orders as usual. Since all their advance orders and names of customers are burned, they have very little to begin on. Will those of our readers who ordered from Bolgiano & Sons write a postal card at once, simply giving your name and post office address? Do this whether you are an old or new customer of theirs. Send them your name anyhow, so that they may send you their catalogue another season. Simply address the card to J. Bolgiano & Sons, Baltimore, Md.

In 1904, their business, including all poultry & seeds & related merchandise, warehouses, & business records were destroyed by fire on the Inner Harbor.  In 1913, Roland Bolgiano retired from the Seed Store, located at Pratt & Light Streets. 


J Bolgiano & Son Seed Company

In 1917, 97 feet of brick wall, in fact, the whole west side of the Bolgiano Seed building on their wharf on the Inner Harbor was about to be acquired under eminent domain by the City of Baltimore to clear the way for the new Key Highway project. It was claimed that the highway was needed to serve the increased movement of goods due to the Panama Canal, when it opened, increasing the shipping to the port of Baltimore. Charles Bolgiano had to challenge Baltimore City. It was exhausting, but he eventually won. 


1915 Bogiano's Pier on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD

On October 28, 1920, receivers were appointed for the business, after Charles J. Bolgiano was adjudicated a "bankrupt by consent in the US district court." On November 19, 1920, 42 year-old Charles J. Bolgiano ended his life.

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