The Ghirardelli story.
But just be sure to say Chirardelli with a hard G as in ghost or spaghetti, and leave the J sound to gin and gypsy. My grandfather, a member of the chocolate-making family and the company's second-to-last family president, said it the right way. This lively individual, Alfred Ghirardelli (1884-1956), also realized that there was a fascinating story to be told in the origins and evolution of this Italian-American clan and its business. In 1945, anticipating the Gold Rush's centennial a few years later, he commissioned a succinct scholarly history of Domingo Ghirardelli's company, which pinned down important facts about the Italian founder's life and times as a pioneer businessman. (3) Some four decades later, Alfred's daughter Polly Ghirardelli Lawrence (1921-1997), my mother, resumed the effort by combining archival research and personal reminiscences in a volume of interviews (shared with two of her cousins) published by the Bancroft Library's Regional Oral History Office in 1985. (4)
The present writer, researching a 1999-2000 family exhibition for the Museo Italo-Americano in San Francisco, (5) continued this work and found numerous untapped archives, collections, and memorabilia to shed light on the Ghirardelli past. (6) The Ghirardelli story represents a rich, multilayered slice of California history, so let us now funnel backward to see how.
ITALY AFTER NAPOLEON
The story begins in the northern Italian coastal town of Rapallo, the busiest and largest of several settlements south of Genoa along the Ligurian Riviera--an idyllic region for an only son of a modestly successful merchant to be raised and learn a trade, except for the political realities. In 1815, two years before the founder of San Francisco's chocolate company was born there, the Congress of Vienna, as part of its liquidation of Napoleon's European Empire, ceded the centuries-old Republic of Genoa to the neighboring Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. The Genoese chafed at the loss of independence and rule by a monarchy "equally imbecile as it is corrupt." (7) They reacted by staging uprisings in 1831 and again in 1834. This last one, a major city-wide revolt, was mercilessly quashed.
At that time, Domenico Ghirardelli was a teenage apprentice at Romanengo's, a fancy confectionary shop in Genoa still in business today, (8) learning how to prepare and sell sugar loaves, candies, and sugarsweetened chocolate paste to be diluted in water to create a hot "comfort" beverage and stimulant. But as Ghirardelii readied himself for an independent life, the region remained politically volatile, so with the blessing and financial help of his father,9 he set out for the New World.
THE PREFERRED AMERICAS
In this period, North America was mostly the destination of wayward, ambitious, or poor Protestants, but Italians went to South America, where a compatible Latin culture awaited them. In 1837 Ghirardelli, aged twenty and newly married to Elisabetta "Bettina" Corsini, sailed to Montevideo, Uruguay. Ghirardelli found work in a coffee and spice shop there, but perhaps because of instability created by Uruguay's border disputes, (10) Montevideo turned out to be only a temporary home for the young confectioner. In 1838, Ghirardelli and his wife took what must have been a treacherous sea voyage around Cape Horn to Callao, Peru, heading nine miles inland to the great metropolis, Lima.
Italian artisans and gold masters had lived in Lima since the first Spanish colonial days in the sixteenth century, helping embellish the Baroque metropolis. When the Ghirardelli couple arrived, the city was economically flush from worldwide exports of guano, the profitable bird-dropping fertilizer, gathered from islands off the coast. (11) Hispanicizing his first name to Domingo, Ghirardelli set up a confectionary shop on the block-long Calle de los Mercaderes (Street of the Merchants), the city's main shopping artery just off the central plaza dominated by the city's cathedral, near such attractions as an Italian Lyric Opera. (12) There he made and sold a range of goods following the Romanengo's model, with chocolate a specialty. Ghirardelli's home life was jolted by the death of his Italian wife Bettina in 1846, but the next year he married Spanish-Peruvian widow Carmen Alvarado Martin, herself with an infant, and started a family. (13)
Ghirardelli seemed ready to set down permanent roots in Peru, but fate intervened. The restless Pennsylvanian James Lick (1796-1876), later of San Francisco hotel, observatory, and high school fame, operated a piano and cabinetmaking shop next door to Ghirardelli's confectionary, and the two Lima businessmen became fast friends. (14) In 1846-47, Lick returned to his homeland to participate in the western expansion. He sold his business and, carrying six hundred pounds of Ghirardelli's chocolate to turn a profit (or so the legend goes), set sail for San Francisco. Lick immediately began buying up land, and with the news of gold's discovery in January 1848, sent word to Ghirardelli to come right away. The Callao newspapers, meanwhile, published the first foreign reports of California gold, (15) so for Ghirardelli, the decision to sail north, despite the disruption to the life he had created for himself and his Italo-Peruvian family, was irresistible.
GOLD RUSH ITALIAN
History's snapshot of the Gold Rush city--a forest of masts, ramshackle buildings, lawlessness -- was just coming into focus as Ghirardelli sailed into San Francisco harbor on the Peruvian bark Mazeppa on February 24, 1849, a few days before the first American ship arrived from the East Coast. The Italian found a growing population of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans who had crossed the borders, South Americans from earlier ships, and Italians, like himself, one-third of whom also re-emigrated from points south in the Americas. (16) Soon to come were Europeans displaced by Ireland's Potato Famine, Scotland's Removals, the revolutions of 1848 (Germans and French, in particular), and Italy's increasingly turbulent unification, as well as Chinese laborers, and seasoned American miners from the lead- and gold-rich regions of Wisconsin, Georgia, and North Carolina. By the end of 1849, this cosmopolitan population, nearly all males, had swelled to 25,000. (17)
A hispanicized Italian not yet proficient in English, Ghirardelli gravitated to the Jamestown/Sonora area of the Mother Lode, where fellow Italians from Latin America clustered at the rivers and mining camps. (18) But Ghirardelli swiftly saw that the direction to move was not in mining for gold but in selling wares to miners needing supplies. He polled them for orders, like the biscuits he bought in Stockton, and returned to the camps to hand deliver the goods. Ghirardelli then opened a general merchandise tent-store in Stockton and ran delta shipments to and from San Francisco to replenish this stock. Before long he owned grocery stores in both cities, and, in the seaport, a soda fountain, coffee house, and part interest in a twenty-room hotel. By 1851, Ghirardelli was listed as one of San Francisco's "Moneyed Men," worth $25,000. (19) Massive fires that year destroyed his businesses, but the resourceful Italian bounced back by refinancing his interests and recruiting, then buying out, partners. On June 18, 1852, the chocolate company was officially launched as a manufactory and sales shop at the Verandah Building on Portsmouth Square.
There, Ghirardelli combined chocolate and candy with liquors, ground coffee, and spices as the focus of his business, always operating under a family name sometimes amusingly botched by Anglo typesetters and journalists (Glirardel, Girardello, Ghirardelli, Gniradeili, Ghirardely, Gheardly). Over the next several years the Italian opened branch grocery and liquor outlets in Oakland, bought investment property in Fruitvale outside of Oakland that evolved from an orchard to a tract for row houses, (20) and ran several businesses in the Mother Lode country.
Among less than a thousand mostly Ligurian
Italians in a city leveling off to fifty thousand by the mid 1850s, Ghirardelli was part of a larger mishmash of foreigners who regularly jumped across ethnic lines. Although he employed a small, all-Italian workforce and favored them with loans, (21) his business partners were mostly non-Italians (the Anglo Cox, the Swiss Petar, and French-Alsatian Danzel). Ghirardelli served in the everyone-welcome Vigilance Committee of 1856 and joined the community conscious, mostly native English-speaking Society of California Pioneers in 1865. (22) Used to communicating in other tongues, he helped forge ties between San Francisco's Italians and the more populous, powerful French community, which controlled eighty or more of the city's businesses as early as 1850. (23) He was active in the French-speaking Masonic lodge (24) and a Franco-Italian coalition of investors m the coal- and gold-seeking Buenaventura Mining Company.
Ghirardelli, a short, vigorous, hard-working man whom a later chronicler described as "companionable, generous...and an exemplary citizen," (25) was a visibly successful Italian in San Francisco, but not the only one. Nicola Larco, (26) also a founding partner of Buenaventura, was another. Born near Rapallo, Larco also lived in Lima and also sailed in 1849 to San Francisco. Wealthy and civic-minded, he ran an extensive import-export business from 420 Jackson, across the street from Ghirardelli's operation, and had founded and guided, with Ghirardelli's support, the Italian Mutual Benefit Society to help indigent Italians. The two men became San Francisco's pro-forma Italian VIPs, serving in 1855 as delegates to a local celebration of a Crimean War victory (27) that their compatriots in Piedmont-Sardinia helped win against Russia with the armies of France, England and Turkey.
San Francisco's Italians kept a close watch at Italy's unification movement and the struggle toward a "reawakening," or resurgence (Risorgimen to) to nationhood. La Parola, one of the earliest Italian-language newspapers in the United States, was published in Larco's building; he and Ghirardelli were major donors to the Garibaldi Guard, helping the charismatic guerrilla patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi lead his "Red Shirt" army to win unification in 1861 and continue his efforts at consolidation. (28) Ghirardelli also applauded Count Camillo Cavour's diplomatic moves on behalf of the movement. Deeply occupied in business matters, however, the chocolate-maker generally kept a low profile in politics. His employee Angelo Mangini, however, was another matter.
This firebrand member of Giuseppe Mazzini' s "Young Italy" movement had been sentenced to death because of his role plotting the antimonarchist Genoa uprising of 1854. (29) Mangini fled Europe via London and arrived in San Francisco in 1859, where he landed a job as Ghirardelii's bookkeeper. In 1860 Mangini started the city's second Italian paper, La Cronica, and seven years later, La Voce del Popolo, both dedicated to furthering republican ideals. In 1868 Mangini became a full partner at the Ghirardelii firm, and no wonder. He was now part of the family, having married his employer's fifteen-year-old daughter Virginia in 1862, presenting the Ghirardellis with their first grandchild, Aurelia, in 1863.
The Ghirardelli family was not only growing but living a singular life on the California frontier. In 1853 Ghirardelli's Peruvian wife, her daughter (whose father had been French), and the couple's first two children had sailed from Caliao to San Francisco to occupy family quarters above the confectionary on Portsmouth Square. The Old World living arrangement was repeated in 1857 when the business moved to Jackson Street, but quieter, sunnier Oakland beckoned. In 1859, Ghirardelli built one of that town's first big houses with a garden that took up a square block. (30) There the family grew to eight in an ambiance tinged with foreign influences. Their mother, a Spanish Peruvian living where Spanish speakers were much in evidence, though California was now part of the United States, spoke no English and had mostly Hispanic, Italian, and French friends. (31)
Italy remained a core reference point for the Ghirardellis. Outside the Oakland house was a large garden with marble fountains and statuary from Italy, including likenesses of diplomat Cavour and--on either side of a front-door staircase--figures of Christopher Columbus and George Washington proclaiming transatlantic ideals of independence and self-determination. In that garden Ghirardelli, for whom Italy was a source of "both instruction and great pleasure," (32) scrupulously nursed, as would a Ligurian farmer, a large fig tree. And, most astoundingly, he sent three of his five sons at age ten to be educated at a Genoa boarding school. (33) Cesare, the youngest, died there, but Domingo, Jr., and Joseph returned at age seventeen to attain undergraduate degrees from the Jesuit Santa Clara College and work at the firm. Both men were bilingual throughout their lives with educations grounded in business, economics, and mercantile strategies. Ghirardelli, obviously, wanted his sons to continue what he had started.
During the post-Civil War years, San Francisco emerged as the commercial center for a broad geographic region, with strong local industries a necessity because of the city's isolation. Manufacturing firms thrived for paper, sugar, furniture, woolens, upholstery, bricks, beer, and plumbing fixtures, to name a few. (34) Coffee and spices were offered by a number of companies, including Ghirardelli's, but the market for chocolate was his alone.
In 1867, Ghirardelli hit paydirt with Broma, the firm's name for soluble ground chocolate (from theobroma, "god-food" in Greek, the technical designation for the cacao plant). It was invented accidentally a year or two before after unattended bags of chocolate paste in a hot room dripped butterfat onto the floor, leaving a greaseless residue that could be ground and easily sweetened. (35) Anticipating the transcontinental railroad's completion m 1869, the company seized on the mercantile possibilities and started producing the easy-to-ship, nonperishable "miracle" powder that made hot cocoa in a cinch and enabled baking with remarkable ease. (36)
The next few years were roller coaster ones for the firm, however. In 1870 a nationwide recession took hold, and Ghirardelli, with partner and son-in-law Mangini, declared bankruptcy. Mangini, now three years a widower, was already fidgety, and fled to parts unknown when an accusation of embezzlement for more than $10,000 came in from a business associate. (37) Ghirardelli turned to the situation at hand and scaled back. First to go, in 1872, was the general merchandise store in Hornitos, a Mother Lode town, wiping out the livelihoods of his stepdaughter, Dominga, and her husband, Frank Barbagelata. (38) In 1874 practically everything else-- except the Ghirardelli plant in San Francisco--was auctioned, including the family house and contents, investment properties in Oakland, and at least four of Ghirardelli's branch stores. The sale yielded $111,450. (39)
Ghirardelli, now fifty-six, used hard work and the counsel of three talented sons to get the business back in shape, which was especially important because a French competitor, Etienne Guittard, had started a chocolate company in 1868 that would focus, and excel, not so much on over-the-counter products but on top-grade chocolate for wholesale customers. (40) The family team, eventually switching to a partnership under the name Ghirardelli and Sons, got aggressive. It bought new machinery and added an adjacent building on Jackson Street for a workforce of thirty, expanded markets to China, Japan, and Mexico, and solidified the western reputation in British Columbia, Arizona, Texas, and Utah. (41) With Broma always at the forefront of its identity, the company briefly marketed its own products under the designation "Eagle" (42) and introduced streetcar and sidewalk ads on tin and wood to tout hot cocoa to children and families. By 1885, the term Broma had been dropped and Ghirardelli's Ground Chocolate, as it was now known, was the star seller. To make it, some 450,000 pounds of cacao beans were imported annually. Soon, sales amounted to one million pounds a year. (43)
Retiring in 1889, Ghirardelli, a widower, returned on holiday to his native Rapallo and after a long stay, died there at seventy-six of influenza on January 17, 1894. He had specified he be laid to rest in the land of self-made men, America, where fellow Italians like Larco, bankers and vintners such as Andrea Sbarboro and Carlo Pietro Rossi, and various entrepreneurs in truck farming, fishing industries, and produce markets made spectacular successes in San Francisco (the star of the legendary A. P. Giannini, of Bank of America fame, had not yet risen). But few could rival Ghirardelli's quiet triumph at giving the West its primary Italian brand name, as normal to California consumers as Spreckels was to sugar or Folger's to coffee. Levi Strauss, a German Jew whose copper-riveted denim overalls were also born of miners' needs, was Ghirardelli's unknowing accomplice in fostering ethnic tolerance. And the Ghirardelli business, now run by his sons, had muscled its way into being one of the state's big manufactur ers, holding its specialty as solidly as the big iron works, lumber companies, flour mills, and bottlers, keeping Californians supplied and employed at the turn of the century.
In 1895 the dynamic Domingo Ghirardelii, Jr., age forty-seven, became the president of the newly incorporated D. Ghirardelli Company, as it was now named to honor the founder. With executive siblings Joseph and Louis solidly behind the idea, the new family head convinced sisters Elvira and Angela, who were the fourth and fifth owners of the company, to move the plant to a larger, better positioned North Beach site. (44) In 1897 he wrote a classic high-stakes business memo: "In this country, in this age, there is no such thing as standing still. One must progress, or retrograde. 'Leave well enough alone' means stagnation and decay; either retire from the business or be abreast of it." (45)
San Francisco's business climate was conducive to expansion at the turn of the century, as companies focusing on manufacturing, shipping, and finance evolved into competitive big-city operations. The first task on Domingo, Jr.'s agenda was to update and expand chocolate operations in the former woolen mill buildings on the new property, the square block we now know as Ghirardeili Square, with additional structures, new machinery, better packaging and storage systems, and rail connections to waterfront piers. The 1906 earthquake was a temporary interruption rather than a setback, leaving the factory and equipment largely unscathed, but brought human loss with the death of Joseph, age forty-seven. With youngest brother Louis already four years dead of pneumonia, Domingo, Jr. pushed ahead without fraternal counsel. In 1910, he accelerated advertising with an aggressive print ad campaign of line drawings focusing on the Ghirardelli firm's historical role and hot cocoa's allure for romance and health; a pronunciat ion-correcting parrot, Ghirardelli's long-time mascot, was also introduced to implore customers to "Say Gear-Ar-Delly.,, (46)
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, a multicolored, neo-beaux-arts "dream city" on 635 acres celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, fed the ambitions of San Francisco businessmen. Ghirardelll, a fair commissioner with other business, cultural, and social leaders, could help mold the event's potential. Among palaces, halls, and courts on American agriculture, machinery, and horticulture, and exhibits and pavilions for twenty-five nations on four continents was a seven-block entertainment and commercial area. (47) Aware of the threat of Hershey's competition from the East Coast, the chocolate-maker secured for his company a prized corner-entry location-the other's was Welch's Grape Juice (48) and commissioned Bakewell and Brown, architects, to build a flag-bedecked, belle epoque soda fountain-cum-sales! demonstration fantasy pavilion.49 Some twenty million visitors poured through the fair during its nine months. In 1916, buoyed by the fair's publicity and sales, the family board authorize d two crowning touches for the factory: a clock tower by architect William Mooser finished in 1916, following the post-fair vogue for imitating European structures, m this case the fifteenth-century Chateau Blois in France, and a few years later the 125-foot-long, two sided electrified Ghirardelli sign with monumental lettering in the style of the name on the ubiquitous orange cans of ground chocolate.
That factory banner proclaimed both the chocolate as well as San Francisco's Italian heritage. But Italian immigration had changed radically since Domingo, Jr.'s father arrived in 1849. Immigrants now came mostly from southern Italy--Naples, Sicily, or Calabria--not the north, and they were not political and economic refugees seeking opportunity in half-formed societies, but poor, often unskilled working class or farm people drawn by the labor needs of an expanding industrial system. The numbers of yearly immigrants from Italy to the United States, which had been 12,000 in 1880, reached an all-time peak of 235,000 in 1907. (50) Ellis Island in New York was the chief entry port, and those who could afford the trip across the country came to San Francisco's North Beach, where a relatively compact Italian colony swelled to tens of thousands by the turn of the century. (51) Many were hired by Italian-owned factories, including Ghirardelli's and the nearby canneries for Del Monte fruits and vegetables owned by Mar co Fontana, but at substandard pay levels for jobs no one wanted. (52) Northern Italian bias against southern Italians may have exacerbated the situation, or it may not have, since wages were low no matter where immigrants came from.
Domingo, Jr., was nonetheless proud of his Italian roots. Born in Peru and molded by Italy at an early age, he spoke his father's native tongue, haunted North Beach markets and cafes, (53) and kept involved through charity work as founding director and then first vice president, in 1916, of the Italian Board of Relief (later the Italian Welfare Agency) (54) His largely Italian workforce, even the poorly paid ones, must have been inspired and impressed by his attunement to their culture.
But to his social and business peers, Domingo, Jr., was "not considered an Italian but an American," according to his grand-niece. (55) Growing up in fashionable Oakland, he married a Protestant judge's daughter, a neighbor, and relocated to San Francisco where the couple raised eight children in ever larger, higher-on-the-hill Victorian row houses that culminated, in 1905, with a neo-Tudor mansion (now demolished) atop Pacific Heights. (56) Fully engaged in high-end commerce, Domingo, Jr., won broad respect among the city's business leaders and worked with many of them in mutually beneficial ways. (57) Spice tycoon August Schilling, for instance, produced and packaged his brand of wet mustard at the Ghirardelli plant, which had the equipment his own factory did not. The little remembered Ghirardelli dry mustard was also produced there, offering a complementary, rather than competitive product. Lithographer Max Schmidt's printing plant south of Market Street did all the chocolate company's labels and wrappers , and Italian marble importer Joseph Musto, based at the foot of Telegraph Hill, supplied the materials to spruce up the new Ghirardelli offices and exteriors on North Point Street as remodeling began in 1896. (58) Domingo, Jr.'s, socially astute wife Addie Cook Ghirardelli, meanwhile, attracted and entertained a broad circle of friends, dressed herself and her family in impeccable fashion while guiding them to Episcopalianism, and conceived a spectacular European grand tour for herself and her husband in 1912, when their children were mostly grown. After Domingo's retirement in 1922, the couple lived out their lives at the rambling, Spanish-style La Feliciana on several sloping acres in Hillsborough. (59) These Ghirardellis defined for themselves what it means to be Italian-American, helping invent, as Kevin Starr has put it, a California dream.
ARTISTS FOR CALIFORNIA
Domingo, Jr.'s life makes a startling contrast to that of his artistic sister, Angela. Ten years younger, this observant young woman fed her drawing talent by enrolling in the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco in the early 1880s, and there met and married her instructor, Norwegian-born painter Chris Jorgensen. (60) The couple set up a San Francisco studio filled with plaster casts, oriental rugs, and other Victorian-era trappings of an artist's life. Chris painted landscapes, cityscapes, and marine subjects in oil and watercolor. His wife focused on still lifes and genre portraits, becoming particularly skilled at pyrography, the technique-which she had earlier used for a company ad-of burning images onto wood with a hot poker. (61) Both artists were reviewed in local papers. (62)
In 1892-94, the Jorgensens were away from San Francisco absorbing art in Venice, Naples, Rome, and Florence, where Chris studied under Rafaele Sorbi of the macchiaioli group of plein-air landscapists who advocated fast-paced, intense observation to depict nature's moods. (63) They settled for an extended period with Angela's retired father Domingo at Rapallo, his birthplace. There, almost certainly commissioned by Ghirardelli (who earlier sat for a marble bust in Genoa), (64) Chris created a crisply believable, panoramic oil of the patriarch's mountain-ringed waterfront town. (65) Ghirardelli may never have seen this work finished, however. With the Jorgensens at his bedside in January 1894, he died.
The Jorgensens returned from Italy saddened but bolstered by financial advantage-Angela received six thousand dollars flat out from her father's will (66) and became one of five sibling stockholders in the company, set up for life to receive 8 percent of company profits. (67) In California, they found and joined a blossoming of interest among artists and intellectuals in the state's rugged natural beauty, indigenous cultures, and colonial past-an interest congealing into a post-Victorian aesthetic of arts-and-crafts simplicity. (68) Jorgensen, the fledgling landscapist, rediscovered Yosemite's scenery, which had made the careers of his mentors Virgil Williams and Thomas Hill. (69) In 1899, painting from a riverside studio camp, he was named Yosemite's artist-in-residence.
Hiring Bay Area shingle-style architect Walter Mathews to build a log-beamed Sierra vernacular log structure they called "The Studio," (70) the Jorgensens lived and worked in Yosemite for the next seventeen summers, he the jovial, personable painter and guidepost for visiting artists and high-end tourist-collectors, and she the hostess, muse, and occasional art maker whose income ensured optimum working conditions--studio, setting, contacts, childcare, inspirational artifacts--for her husband. This sociable, thoughtful couple won over President Theodore Roosevelt on his 1903 visit to secure Yosemite's future as a national park; (71) they offered strong support to the local Native American culture as well. (72)
The Jorgensens also loved California's coast and above all Camel, which they discovered in 1903 as Chris undertook painting the twenty-one missions. (73) The seaside hamlet's "informal community of [creative people] responding to a similar cluster of California imperatives: simplicity, health, art" (74) had not yet formed, but in 1905, shortly after writer George Sterling and photographer Arnold Genthe built retreats there, the Jorgensens moved into their new large stone house, "La Playa," based on Chris's design. (75) From this winter studio, he painted the same crumbling ruins, twisted cypresses, and rocky vistas as did a growing number of other artists of varying stylistic bents (soft-focus, pattern, nocturne) attracted to the area, but remained resolutely "rapidfire," as one journalist dubbed him, (76) which is to say depictive, prolific, and salable. Such an individual fit well in Carmel's art colony, which welcomed all corners.
One of them was the Jorgensens' niece Alida Ghirardelli, whose paintings focused on maternal subjects and children. A frequent Carmel visitor, this eldest daughter of Domingo, Jr., had lived from 1901 to 1906 in Paris where she was influenced by the aging Impressionist Mary Cassatt, (77) Velasquez's darkly dramatic tableaux of the seventeenth century, and, very likely, Picasso's down-at-the-heels contemporaneous blue period. The soft-edged, melancholic, yet robust paintings that emerged might well have evolved into an important contribution to California art, but in August 1909, out for her daily swim off Carmel, the young painter, twenty-nine, was overcome by a vicious undertow and drowned. (78)
Alida's death devastated the Jorgensens, who gave up "La Playa" and briefly resided in a new studio-residence near Chris's gallery in Pebble Beach. (79) But a completely different project now challenged Chris--to complete four mural-size oil paintings depicting cocoa harvesting and chocolate manufacture for the Ghirardelli Pavilion at the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition. (80) Photographs of the works are regrettably lost, so it is difficult to assess them now. The paintings, nonetheless, gained him considerable exposure at the exposition, though it was not with some thirty other California painters in the American section of the fine arts show. Perhaps Jorgensen, at 55, was the wrong generation; his work might have been seen as offering nothing particularly new or "modem." Or perhaps the ill-composed, overworked quality his landscapes sometimes suffer kept him out of the running. Still, Jorgensen's best watercolors remain a pleasure to the eye.
In 1917 the Jorgensens ceased their Yosemite-Monterey peninsula routine and moved permanently to Piedmont to spend their last years near Ghirardelli relatives in a final, striking studio-residence. (81) These authentic members of California's founding Bohemia, who died within months of each other in the mid-1930s, could look back on lives well spent. Their nomadic, exceedingly generous existence, made possible by profits from the chocolate business, helped foster a nature-based aesthetic for California. The state's sense of itself as a center for art would have been much diminished without the Jorgensens and their silent partner, chocolate.
GRANDSONS TAKE THE HELM
D. Ghirardelli Company, led by four grandsons of the founder under the watchful eye of his retired son, Domingo, Jr., surged through the 1920s backed by a strong economy and widespread advertising. Billboards throughout California, Oregon, and Washington and eastward to Denver (82) proclaimed the brand's sweet taste and appeal to children, while the mascot parrot taught the proper pronunciation of the Italian name. (83) There were Ghirardelli trading cards with local water fowl and Hollywood stars of the silent era, regular radio sponsorships, and a friendly woman's column in several western newspapers sharing recipe ideas for ground chocolate. A quasi-educational half-hour silent film shown in movie theaters, 'A Sweet Story," (84) took viewers from Central American cacao bean harvests to the San Francisco factory's state-of-the-art machine-age, conveyor-belt chocolate production, ending with two happy-faced scamps eagerly unwrapping and chewing a chocolate bar.
That candy bar was now an imperative for Ghirardelli. Milton Hershey's firm in Pennsylvania had introduced the "nickel bar" of milk chocolate in 1900, (85) and although it did not enjoy wide success for several years, Ghirardelli responded by developing its distinctive-tasting Sweet Milk Chocolate bar soon after. The Eastern firm introduced the bite-sized, individually-wrapped Kisses in 1907, (86) and Ghirardelli then started making its flatter, coin-shaped chocolate drops known as Flicks, particular best-sellers as movie house snacks, with a name fitting that location perfectly. No Hershey concoction could compete with Ghirardelli's hot cocoa, however. Hershey, although a national company, had no presence at the 1915 exposition, thanks, we can presume, to Commissioner Domingo Ghirardelli, Jr. The decades-long competitive dance between Ghirardelli and Hershey had begun.
D. Lyle Ghirardelli, the third "Domingo" but known by his middle name, succeeded his father as president in 1922. Perhaps because his headstrong father remained active as board chairman for the next decade, the quiet, strategic Lyle relied heavily on his three first cousins from the Louis Ghirardelli branch, who had also risen in the firm. Alfred, the eldest, starting as a machinery foreman in 1907 after earning a mechanical engineering degree from Berkeley, had already shown considerable people skills by quelling a strike by Ghirardelli workers who refused to work for a German manager during World War 1. (87) He was now vice president. His gregarious sibling Louis (named after the brothers' father) was the sales representative who plotted publicity and won over institutional customers. Harvey, the youngest, was the detail-oriented plant manager and an effective participant in the company operation for a time. (88)
The grandsons maintained a steady, but conservative, course for the company, coming out against unionization at first in favor of competitive salaries and employee benefits. Most of the one hundred fifty-plus Ghirardelli workers were Italian, and many were multigenerational, (89) so to keep morale high, the importance of community was stressed. When money became scarce during the Depression and Ghirardelli unionized in 1934, (90) management was cautious--no new product lines or equipment were pursued, and advertising was scaled back. But the company stayed on course ("People eat chocolate through hard times" was a family proverb); the mustard alliance with Schilling continued smoothly. So when San Francisco again prepared for a World's Fair--the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939--Ghirardelli could still proclaim its status as the West's number one chocolate with an art-deco pavilion marked by a huge parrot.
Between the wars, Ghirardellis were Italian Americans on the move. The family name was everywhere, as this powerful clan cajoled business associates and social acquaintances to give money to favorite causes and become involved. Ghirardellis served on the board of A. P. Giannini's Bank of America, a particularly meaningful link, and raised money for the University of the Pacific. They were founders of the Community Chest/United Crusade and of the San Francisco Junior League. They volunteered tirelessly to plant city trees, organize baseball youth leagues, and care for orphaned and abandoned children in North Beach. (91) Ghirardellis used their good fortune, in short, to make things better for people. While not all this community service centered on the Italian community, the visibility of Ghirardellis spoke well for Italians.
THE ITALIAN AMERICANS
This might have been needed. For some decades now, mainstream Americans watched as "the most disadvantaged and humble white people [they] had ever seen" (92)--poor Italians from Naples southward and Sicily--streamed in through Ellis Island and populated their cities. Real and imagined negative stereotypes of unruly, uneducated, swarthy Italians began to arise through a variety of news events: the Great Lawrence (Massachusetts) Strike of 1912 and its rioting laborers, the trial and execution of political anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and the Prohibition-era mob violence of Al Capone and others. (93) Even though the well-to-do, old-line West Coast, northern-Italian Ghirardellis were removed psychologically and geographically from these developments, an awareness of anti-Italian prejudice filtered into the family's consciousness, and small but significant gestures were made to combat it.
My grandfather Alfred Ghirardelli, despite his public persona of leadership and affability, knew he was part of a minority. One way he handled it was through self-deprecating humor. With a mischievous grin and an Italian wave of his hands, he often referred to himself and his relatives, among intimates only, as wop, dago and guinea, beating the xenophobic enemy at its own game. Yet he frequently blasted what he considered bad acts and behavior by Italians with an abrupt, condemnatory, "Ah! Sicilians!"
Koko, as his intimates called him, was pragmatic and proactive. In seeking the safe haven of a men's club with a country retreat, he joined The Family, in part, because as an Italian, he could not tolerate prejudice. Too many of his close friends were Jews, and this club had a tradition of openness. (94) And when his daughter Polly (my mother) pondered going east for college, he said no, shielding her from the ethnic bigotry he knew lay beyond the Bay Area, particularly among patricians, as he had already protected her from childhood kidnapping threats. (95) Eastern snobbery jolted my grandmother's dining room once when a Bostonian friend of a friend, upon exiting one of her dinner parties, sniffed: "Mrs. Ghirardelli, you do so well for someone with a pronounceable vowel at the end of your name."
Ironically, Mrs. Alfred Ghirardelli was of Anglo-Irish and French-Alsatian blood, not Italian, and her husband was half German. The Ghirardellis mingled and married with others of their choosing, no matter what ethnicity. The family line now had many Northern European, Scandinavian, and Anglo American strains. And few of the twenty or so quarter-Italian, quarter-Spanish, half-everything-else Ghirardellis of this third generation practiced Roman Catholicism, having been thrown afield by their virulently anticlerical grandfather's emotional break from the Church several decades back. (96) Whether this made them any more or less "Italian" was immaterial: Ghirardellis were Italian-Americans unto themselves.
Few family members would make more of the panache of an Italian ancestry than my grandfather's first cousin Carmen (1896-1971). Named after and strongly resembling her Peruvian grandmother, this Miss Ghirardelli in 1917 became Mrs. George Washington Baker 11--no relation to the chocolate Bakers of New England (or the Founding Father!) though people often assumed it was a joining of dynasties--and thereafter moved easily between California, the East Coast, and Europe. Her husband's political connections ultimately got them three years in Rome (1949-1951) as part of the ERP (European Recovery Program), where George, a former Franklin Roosevelt protege, served as deputy for Industry to aid Italian woolen mills and auto manufacturers. (97)
The Bakers lived at the ultra-fancy Excelsior Hotel and mingled with industrialists, nobles, government ministers, movie people, and fellow foreigners smitten with Italy. They went on extended jaunts north to Turin and Trieste, where George consulted at the Fiat and textile factories, and made lifelong friends with well-to-do Italian families connected with his work. Through it all Carmen, who became fluent in Italian, made no mystery of her exotic background as a chocolate heiress from the American West. She never forgot Italy, later helping to found, for Old Guard San Franciscans like herself, the Rome-styled Villa Taverna eating club in Jackson Square, around the corner from one of her grandfather's earliest Gold Rush-era factories. (98)
Because of San Francisco's ethnically jumbled origins, and non-Mayflower-oriented culture, a Carmen Ghirardelli Baker could be the very embodiment of the elite. Few other established American metropolises of the early to mid-twentieth century--only, perhaps, St. Louis and New Orleans, because of their French (and in the case of the latter, Spanish-Caribbean) backgrounds--had so easy an attitude in terms of who was "acceptable" within white high society. Italian names showed up in society columns and on social lists alongside Jewish, Irish, Hispanic, and WASP names. (99) Ghirardellis lived in fashionable Bay Area spots--Pacific Heights, Berkeley's Tunnel Road, a Telegraph Hill penthouse, all over Piedmont, (100) and in big country spreads to the north and east, (101) riding and dressing Western-style, going to white-tie balls, and yet, in the case of two Ghirardelli men in the 1920s, returning for "roots" trips to Italy. (102) Every Columbus Day, a large, all-age family group gathered on the Ghirardelli factor y roof to cheer a costumed actor playing Genoa's most famous native son as he landed at Aquatic Park below, launching the annual parade. (103) Fiercely proud of their Italian heritage, Ghirardellis epitomized the maverick, individualist streak of San Francisco, a rule-breaking city of the West, like Los Angeles, Tucson, Portland, Phoenix or Seattle, that the rest of America, particularly Easterners, found hard to pigeonhole.
THE SLOW DECLINE
World War II, a defining event for West Coast economics and demographics, also affected the Ghirardelli business. After December 7,1941, Hershey's in Pennsylvania, not Ghirardelli, was tapped by the military for full-scale production of D Ration chocolate bars for troops in Europe and the Pacific. The huge contract transformed American soldiers and adults into Hershey chocolate eaters--75 percent of the chocolate eaten in the United States during wartime was produced by Hershey. (104) But as San Francisco emerged as a staging area for the Pacific Theater, the Ghirardelli name put itself forth in other ways. As U.S. Navy ships crossed the Golden Gate, the Ghirardelli factory whistle sounded off to greet or bid farewell, and the big Ghirardelli sign flashed its lights. Ghirardelli, not so much for its chocolate, but for its landmark status, became part of wartime pageantry and lore.
In 1944 Alfred, age sixty, took over the company presidency from Lyle, and a gnawing question persisted: Who would take over from the fourth generation? He had lobbied to have his daughter Polly brought in, (105) but because she was a woman, that idea was nixed by the traditionalist Lyle whose own son D. Kent Ghirardelli, the fourth "Domingo," ironically, soon fled to carve a successful career under the chocolate-free, non-Italian name Ghirard (pronounced with a soft G!) leading one of Hawaii's most celebrated hula troupes of the 1950s. (106) Nephew Bob Ghirardelli (Harvey's son) already worked at the factory, but this pianist and watercolorist yearned for a creative life and was unremarkable as a businessman. (107) Offering hope were three returning servicemen: George Baker III, Ben Reed (grandson of founding sibling Elvira Ghirardelli Sutton), and my father Sidney Lawrence, Jr., who chose working for his father-in-law over business school to support a family.
The postwar years started out promisingly. In 1947, reports showed working capital of $1,325,000, nearly $200,000 in net profits, and a healthy 10 percentage rate of return. (108) That year Nu-Malt, a powdered product with a new Ghirardelli taste, was introduced. And by 1952, when the company celebrated its one hundredth anniversary with moderate publicity, the prospects looked good: new lines of chocolate bars in shinier wrappers incorporated raisins and almonds, and Flickettes, a smaller, chocolate-chip-cookie-friendly version of the popular movie snack Flicks, were heavily promoted to stores and distributors.
But California was changing. The 500,000-plus new residents arriving yearly (109) brought their own tastes and habits, and many simply did not recognize or care about this Italian-named "Chocolate of the West." Hershey's, which saw national sales rise from $149 to $170 million from 1950 to 1960, (110) was the star brand, and Ghirardelli bars (even to me as a young child) began looking like imitations, with the same shape and etched name. Yet despite pleas from my father and his fourth-generation co-workers to advertise, especially on the powerful new medium of television, management eschewed this strategy--as Hershey's did at the time--believing that Ghirardelli could ride on its reputation alone. Meanwhile, the supremacy of Ghirardelli's reliable ground chocolate was threatened by liquid chocolate blends like Hershey's Syrup, Bosco, and Nestle's Quik that made hot cocoa, chocolate milk, and ice-cream sauce more easily and instantly. With products like these--and M&Ms (from the Mars company) and Hershey Kisse s inching in on the popularity of Ghirardelli Flicks, not to mention See's boxed candies from Los Angeles--the company was losing ground.
When Alfred retired as president in 1955 because of ill health at seventy-one, youngest brother Harvey took over, and the situation grew worse. This former "junior team player" became a secretive and hostile company boss. Under Harvey, the company reached new annual lows of 2 percent net income, 4 percent rate of return, working capital of $370,000, an earned surplus of $3000, (111) and sales of only $2,000,000. (112) The infrastructure started to fall apart with instances like an uninsured infested shipment from South America. (113) By 1960, word was out: D. Ghirardelli Company was for sale. Hunt's Foods, General Foods, and other conglomerates were approached but none responded. Developers made overtures to buy the Ghirardelli block to continue the high-rise luxury apartments they had just put up where the demolished Fontana cannery had been next door. The offer created a stockholder deadlock, and was rejected. But what now?
Entrepreneur and shipping heir William Matson Roth had the answer. Troubled by the demolition of the 1853 Montgomery Block studios downtown and inspired by the Jackson Square restorations, Roth had the vision to convert the Ghirardelli buildings and grounds into a retail and restaurant complex. In 1962 he bought the property for $2.5 million. (114) The next year, the Italian-American-owned Golden Grain Macaroni Company, in the flush of national success with Rice-A-Roni, paid $100,000 for the brand, equipment, formulas and inventory, renting half the block until it could move production to an industrial exurb. (115) Two of the Bay Area's more adventurous molders of environments--the architectural firm of Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons, and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin--teamed up to develop Ghirardelli Square. Its launch in 1964 was applauded equally by city planners and historic preservationists.
From the start, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company (with the "D." for Domingo eventually dropped) and Ghirardelli Square fed one another's success and public image. Golden Grain launched a TV ad campaign for the old stand-by, Ghirardelli's cocoa, with an animated parrot squawking "Say Gear Ar Delly," but the ads were eventually dropped. Why bother? The best ad of all sat near Fisherman's Wharf. A castle-like structure crowded with well-appointed stores, good restaurants, water reflections and sunshine, Ghirardelli Square took off as an attraction for tourists and locals alike. The ever-chic converted factory and namesake brand, elevated by Golden Grain (above Hershey) to an affordable American luxury with accessorized retail stores, maintained a productive symbiosis through the 1960s, '70s, and '80s against a backdrop of San Francisco's growing renown as "Everybody's Favorite City" and beacon metropolis (with New Orleans, of course) of European-ness.
The Ghirardelli clan, meanwhile, stepped aside, some very rich and others not at all. Family members, fewer and fewer bearing the name, pursued livelihoods and identities outside the chocolate realm, adding yet more ancestries from every corner of Europe, and more recently, the indigenous Americas and sub-Saharan Africa. The last descendant called Ghirardelli--Robert of the fourth generation--died in 1990. (116) But the name, of course, lives on. Today the Square attracts visitors as an office as well as a retail space, (117) and the brand, currently owned by Switzerland's Lindt-Sprungli chocolatiers, (118) can be found everywhere from international flight menus to gourmet shops in New York City.
Ghirardelli, a product, a landmark, and once a family, is something of an icon. Italian yet American, immigrant yet old-line, and authentically San Franciscan throughout, it has given California a captivating, emblematic lens through which to reflect on itself.
(1.) Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars (New York: Random House, 1999), 74.
(2.) Barbaralee Diamonstein, Buildings Reborn: New Uses, Old Places (New York: Harper and Row, 1978), 208. Boston's Faneuil Hall and New York's Fulton Fish Market came next.
(3.) Ruth Teiser, An Account of Domingo Ghirardelli and the Early Years of D. Ghirardelli Company (San Francisco: D. Ghirardelli Company, 1945).
(4.) Polly Ghirardelli Lawrence, The Ghirardelli Family and Chocolate Company of San Francisco. Including Interviews with Marjorie Menfee Tingley and Ben W. Reed. Interview conducted by Ruth W. Teiser (Berkeley: Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, 1985). Hereafter cited as P. G. Lawrence oral history (factual lapses not repeated here).
(5.) Sidney Lawrence, Ghirardelli: Portrait of a Family, 1849-1999 (San Francisco: Museo Italo-Americano, September 17, 1999-January 9, 2000). No checklist was published, but various responses in the press (Museo archives) indicate the breadth of material. The exhibition received a 2000 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.
(6.) The richest is the Ghirardelli Company Archives (1985 inventory, Julia Sutherland), hereafter referred to as Archives. Neva Beach, The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1995), full of Archives ad art, summarizes the early history elegantly, although Ghirardelli's father was not what Beach characterizes as a world-traveling spice merchant.
(7.) Harold Nicolson, The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity, 1812-1822 (London: Readers Union, 1948), 186.
(8.) Paolo Lingua, "Gli Zuccheria de Romanengo," I Segreti del Gusto, No. 14, Supplement to La Stampa (Turin), (Oct. 24, 2000); Michael Frank, "Genoa, City of Contrasts," New York Times (April 9, 2000), Sec. 5, p. 1.
(9.) According to family lore, Giuseppe Ghirardelli, Domingo's father (mother: Maddalena Ferretto), gave him a bag of gold coins at the dock in Genoa. Genealogist Aldo Ghirardelli (b.1927) of Leffe/Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy, states that Giuseppe sold a parcel of land near there to finance his son's journey (letter to author, June 12, 1998). Aldo Ghirardelli's genealogy to the twelfth century (Bergamo, Ferrara, Bologna, from progenitor Gherardus) is in the library of the Museo Italo-Americano. It supplies the full name of Domenico's first wife, which descendents had not known.
(10.) Unification hero-to-be Giuseppe Garibaldi implicated himself in these disputes, serving in the Brazilian navy and the Uruguayan army from 1836 into the 1840s. This is a fascinating story unto itself, recounted in most biographies and profiles of Garibaldi.
(11.) Peter Bakewell, A History of Latin America: Empires and Sequels, 1450-1930 (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1997), offers useful profiles of nineteenth century Uruguay and Peru.
(12.) The street's function has been clarified by scholar Guillermo L. Toro-Lira, Sunnyvale, CA (letter to the author, October 30, 2001), who recommends, for atmosphere and possible portraits of Lick and Ghirardelli, an 1843 genre painting by Maurice Rugendas (1802-1852), La Cathedral y la Plaza Mayor de Lima, private collection, Mexico City (http://www.ceveh.com.br).
(13.) The infant was Dominga Martin (b.1846). Carmen's first husband was "a French doctor lost at sea"; her parents were Andres Alvarado and Mergilda Pimentel (from death certificate).
(14.) Rosemary Lick, The Generous Miser: The Story of James Lick of California (San Francisco: Ward Ritchie Press, 1967), 31, 37-38.
(15.) J. S. Holliday, Rush for Riches: Gold Fever and the Making of California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 83.
(16.) Allessandro Baccari and Andrew M. Canepa, "The Italians of San Francisco in 1865: G. B. Cerruti's Report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," California History (winter 1981/82), 368, note 15.
(17.) David J. St. Clair, "The Gold Rush and the Beginnings of California Industry," in James J. Rawls and Richard Orsi, A Golden State: Mining and Economic Development in Gold Rush California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 187.
(18.) Bill Cerruti, "Nostra Storia--Our History: The Italian Legacy in the Mother Lode," Altre Voci--Newsletter of the Italian Cultural Society of Sacramento (March/April 1999), 6-11.
(19.) Teiser, An Account, 9. This 33-page study is the basic source for information on the founder herein not otherwise footnoted.
(20.) 1869 map by W. F. Boardman, County Engineer (University of California, Bancroft.G436r4.02:2FR75 1869.B6); Gaskill and Vandrook's 1888 city map of Oakland, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.
(21.) A four-page typed reminiscence, dated April 1984, by Adolph Capurro, San Francisco, recalls his great-grandfather's use of a Ghirardelli employee bank in the mid-1860s.
(22.) Archives, Sutherland inventory #1-1.53 D-32.
(23.) Gerald D. Nash. "A Veritable Revolution: The Global Economic Significance of the California Gold Rush," in Rawls and Orsi, A Golden State, 285.
(24.) Leon O. Whitseil, ed., One Hundred Years of Freemasonry in California, (San Francisco: Freemason's Grand Lodge, 1950), Vol. III, 967.
(25.) "Domingo Ghirardelli," The Society of California Pioneers, Record II, 1886,89.
(26.) Baccari and Canepa, "Italians of San Francisco," 352-337, tells Larco's story.
(27.) The fall of Sebastopol; the event was a banquet at South Park.
(28.) Francesca Loverci, "Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Italians of California," in Garibaldi and California (San Francisco: Garibaldi Centennial Committee, 1982), 27,28,32.
(29.) "Angelo Mangini," in Michele Rosi, ed., Dizionario del Risorgimento Nazionale (Milan: F. Vallardi, 1931-37), Vol. III, 446-447; Philip M. Montesano, "Angelo Mangini in San Francisco, 1859-1870," 130th Anniversary, Societa Italiana di Mutua Beneficenza (San Francisco: Societa Italiana di Mutua Beneficenza, 1988).
(30.) The block was either 3rd, 4th, Clay, and Jefferson (P. G. Lawrence oral history, p. 7; Olney & Middleton auction sheet, note 38) or 1st, 2nd, Grove, and Jefferson (Beth Bagwell, Oakland: Story of a City ENovato, CA: Presidio Press, 1982], 142-143). There is no known photo or lithographic view of the house.
(31.) Carmen's 1872 scrapbook (author's collection) depicts numerous apparent Californios. Family tradition says 1836-1842 Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado (1809-1882) was a relation.
(32.) "Ghirardelli Returns," La Voce del Po polo (San Francisco, August 26, 1890). Translation by Andrew Canepa. Although without quotation marks, this brief report is clearly based on an interview and gives a sense of how Ghirardelli spoke. The only two surviving documents in Ghirardelli's voice are a legal document and a business letter.
(33.) Collegio-Convitto Commerciale, Genoa (Archives, Sutherland inventory, 2-temp, 137/138).
(34.) St. Clair, "The Gold Rush," 195, provides a revealing chart of early products under manufacture in California and year the first plants or factories were opened.
(35.)Ghirardelli's invention, leaving beans 100 percent free of butterfat, appears to have bettered Conraed van Houten's 1828 "cocoa press," which removed 50 percent. See Brenner, Emperors of Chocolate, 100; also Christine McFadden, The World of Chocolate (London: Hermes House. 1999), 29.
(36.) Broma won its first medal in 1867 (see The Society of California Pioneers Newsletter, December 1998: 23). "D. Ghirardelli & Co.'s Chocolate Factory," San Francisco Newsletter and California Advertiser (April 20, 1867), 4, touts "paste" but not Broma.
(37.) Montesano, "Angelo Mangini," 10-11.
(38.) Ghirardelli bought the store (now a ruin maintained by Mariposa County) in 1860 after Barbagelata, a company employee, married his stepdaughter. Years later Dominga contested Ghirardelli's will by claiming she was his blood daughter ("The Ghirardelli Will Case," San Francisco Bulletin, March 23, 1896).
(39.) "Ghirardelli Sale!" Thursday. December 10, 1874, Olneys & Middleton Real Estate Auctioneers (Archives. Sutherland inventory 1-7/2.4, N10); "A Big Sale. The Ghirardefli Estate Under the Hammer," Oakland Daily News (December 11, 1874), 3.
(40.) McFadden, World of Chocolate, 29. The Guittard Chocolate Company, the nation's third oldest, is in business today and still family owned and operated.
(41.) "Cocoa and Chocolate: A Pioneer and Successful Local Industry," The Evening Bulletin (San Francisco, June 3, 1893), 19.
(42.) The Pioneer Eagle Chocolate Manufactory ran from October 1869 (Archives, Sutherland inventory 1-f8.3.N6) or 1871 (Teiser, An Account, 22) to the early 1880s, the U.S. centennial period. The eagle remains to the present day.
(43.) "Cocoa and Chocolate," McFadden, World of Chocolate.
(44.) Youngest sibling Eugene Ghirardelli (b.1860) was not an owner. His E. Ghirardelli Mercantile Company had a bad end ("E. Ghirardelli is Sued in Superior Court," San Francisco Call (June 28, 1905) and he disappeared in 1909 and was declared legally dead by wife Rosa Capelli Ghirardelli in 1921 (P. G. Lawrence Oral History, p. 26). The couple's two sons Angeldo D. and Rinaldo had no issue.
(45.) Seven-page memorandum, February 20, 1897 (Archives).
(46.) The parrot, or macaw, was introduced between 1910 and 1916 (Archives, Sutherland inventory 2-13 Pl88bw/P2O5bw). P. G. Lawrence oral history ascribes it to an "ad man." Another famous food-product mascots introduced in the period is Mr. Peanut (1916).
(47.) David Lavender, California: Land of New Beginnings (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987/1972), 370.
(48.) Period photo (Oakland Museum Collection).
(49.) "Ghirardelli Company Display Building Plans for the Panama Pacific International Exposition, 1914," 8 blueprints in oversize folder, Bancroft Library.
(50.) Erik Amfitheatrof, The Children of Columbus: An Informal History of the Italians in the New World (Boston and Toronto: Little Brown, 1973), 168.
(51.) Deanna Paoli Gumina, The Italians of San Francisco 1850-1930 (New York: Center for Migrations Studies, 1984), 5.
(52.) Ibid., 135.
(53.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, 144; "D. Ghirardelli Given Surprise" (January 3, 1916), unattributed newspaper clip (author's collection).
(54.) Del Monte cannery co-founder Marco Fontana, vintner Andrea Sbarbaro, and banker A. P. Giannini also served in this organization, organized to help Italians regardless of region. (P. G. Lawrence Papers, Bancroft Library).
(55.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, 13.
(56.) 3000 Pacific Avenue, torn down about 1957. Earlier family residences include 610 Fulton (1877), 2416 Fillmore (1884), 2617 Laguna (1892), from a family scrapbook (private collection).
(57.) "D Ghirardelli Dies, Dean of San Francisco Businessmen," San Francisco Call (August 10, 1932). The Stanford Business School Library was bequeathed an unknown sum to buy books in his memory. See also "Ghirardelli, Domingo," The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, (New York: J. T. White and Co., ca. 1950), vol. XXXVII, 379.
(58.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, 135 and 164, discusses Schilling and Schmidt in relation to Ghirardelli; Joseph Musto Estate, Sansome Street, San Francisco, has a check, dated 1896, for marble delivery and installation at the then-new Ghirardelli plant on North Point Street.
(59.) Now 915 West Santa Inez, with property sold off (No. 703 41, 1.151/Previews Inc. brochure). After her husband died in 1932, Addie Ghirardelli donated a public card shelter in his memory. See Christopher Pollock, San Francisco's Golden Gate Park: A Thousand and Seventeen Acres of Stories (Portland, OR: Westwinds Press, 2001), 26-27.
(60.) Katherine Littell, "Chris Jorgensen, California Pioneer Artist," Master's Thesis, California State University, Stanislaus, 1993 (444 pp.),is the definitive study. See also Littell's 24-page catalog (same title) for the Society of California Pioneers, 1988. Jorgensen bequeathed Yosemite 198 of his paintings. See "Yosemite Man," Time Magazine (December 28, 1936), 25, with inaccurate commentary on his lack of sales). The Seaver Center for Western History Research, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, has a Jorgensen collection.
(61.) Three pyrographic portraits by Angela Ghirardelli--one a portrait of naturalist Galen Clark in the Yosemite Museum--were assembled. Her one surviving oil painting, "Pansies in the San Francisco Chronicle," 1886 (family collection, Victoria Ghirardelli Robinson, Woolsthorpe, Australia), plate 62, in Janice T. Dreisbach, Bountiful, Harvest, 19th Century California Still-Life Painting (Sacramento: Crocker Art Museum, 1989). It was also shown in "Nature's Bounty: American Floral Painting, 1835-1935" at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, Stamford, CT, 1993.
(62.) Littell, "Chris Jorgensen," chapter 2, 21.
(63.) Ibid, chapter 2, 26, suggests this mentorship was arranged and paid for by Ghirardelli. See Norma Freedman Broude, The Macchiaioli: Italian Painters of the 19th Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987).
(64.) The bust, dated 1890 and owned by Ghirardelli Square, is by Genoese sculptor Antonio Bozzano (1858-?). Information: Catalog of American Portraits file, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. A much earlier (ca. 1860) 2 1/2 x 3 albumen photographic portrait of a standing Ghirardelli by George H. Johnson is in the Portrait Gallery's collection.
(65.) Collection Ghirardelli Square, reproduced as the cover of Ghirardelli Square: One Place in a City's History (San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square, 1994), an engagingly succinct walking-tour booklet.
(66.) "Estate Domingo Ghirardelli, Deceased, no. 14, 521," San Francisco Law Journal (March 38, 1896), 1.
(67.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, p. 15, reports Angela had 180 shares out of 2,620. Domingo, Jr., at 800, had the most.
(68.) Timothy J. Anderson, Eudorah M. Moore, and Robert W. Winter, eds., California Design 2920 (Salt Lake City, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1974), 39.
(69.) Littell, "Chris Jorgensen," chapter 1, 22-29, 56-60. Williams (for whom the Jorgensens named their only son) and Hill are well-documented California artists.
(70.) Ibid., chapter 3, 39. Mathews's brothers were painter Arthur and architect Edgar A., as noted in Richard Longstreth, On the Edge of the World: Four Architects in San Francisco at the Turn of the Century (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1983), 395 n. 28. "The Studio" was moved after the couple's years there to Wawona, outside the Valley, where it is now part of the Yosemite Pioneer History Center. Edan Milton Hughes, Artists in California: 1786-1940. (San Francisco: Hughes Publishing, 1986), 205.
(71.) Carl E. Ackermen, "President Roosevelt in the High Sierra," Sunset Magazine (July 1903), 206-211, includes a backs-to-camera photo of the pint-sized trio totally engrossed in conversation.
(72.) The Jorgensens collected artifacts and had a bark "ochum" dwelling on their property Valley champion Galen Clark's self-published 1904 book, Indians of the Yosemite Valley and Vicinity: Their History, Customs and Traditions, had Angela's line drawing as its cover and Chris's illustrations inside. Angela's pyrographic portrait of Clark is in the Yosemite Museum collection.
(73.) Now on display at the Sonoma Mission, a gift to the State of California in memory of Virgil Jorgensen (the artist's son).
(74.) Kevin Starr, Americans and the California Dream (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 267.
(75.) With a star-window imitating Carmel Mission. The Jorgensen house is the core of today's La Playa Hotel.
(76.) Willard Huntington Wright, "Hotbed of Soulful Culture, Vortex of Exotic Erudition: Carmel in California," Los Angeles Times (May 22, 1910), quoted in Littell, "Chris Jorgensen," chapter 4, 45.
(77.) Ghirardelli did Cassatt's portrait (now lost), had her own studio, and was helped in Paris by muralist Mary MacMonnies. In 1906, she and Gertrude Partington showed at the American Art Club (scrapbook clips, private collection, San Francisco; California Historical Society artist file).
(78.) "Girl is Swept to Death at Sea--Miss Alida Ghirardelli Drowns in Surf, at Carmel-by-the-Sea," San Francisco Chronicle (August 17, 1909), 1.
(79.) Elmer and Elena Lagorio, "The First Lot Sold in Del Monte Forest," Scoreboard [Pebble Beach residents newsletter] (November-December 1996), 6. See also Littell, "Chris Jorgensen," chapter 4,51.
(80.) Littell, "Chris Jorgensen," chapter 5, 42, mentions but does not describe the murals. My mother always said the murals were displayed for a time in a factory warehouse. Dennis de Domenico, the Golden Grain family executive for the Ghirardelli operation in the 1970s and 1980s, told me, around 1985, that the murals were lost when the business was moved from Ghirardelli Square to San Leandro.
(81.) 444 Mountain Ave., "The Nest," by Louis Christian Mulgardt, architect of the De Young Museum, built in 1909 for the Charles Fore family.
(82.) Archives, Sutherland inventory, 1-6/2.3 - 1-6/8.3.
(83.) The same problem encountered by the Boiardi pasta family of Cleveland, who didn't bother with their real name, just "Chef Boy-Ar-Dee."
(84.) Produced by Castle Films, date unknown (Archives).
(85.) Brenner, Emperors of Chocolate, 109-110, 50. Hershey's desire as early as 1900 was to market its chocolate coast-to-coast.
(86.) Ibid., 113.
(87.) "Ghirardelli's Men Walk Out," San Francisco Chronicle (March 26, 1918).
(88.) Two other Ghirardelli men of this generation might have, but did not, participate in the business. Joseph Jr. (1898-1967), a bon vivant, did not take part beyond board service. Edwin "Sid" Ghirardelli (1884-1912) gained experience in a financial firm in Portland, presumably to train for a family position, but died young. In correspondence with the author, historian George Painter has suggested that Ghirardelli, who committed suicide on December 29, 1912, may have been one of some 70 men implicated in the November raids of gay hotels and bathhouses in Portland known as the Vice-Clique Scandal (See George Painter, "The Case of Edward McAllister," Oregon State Bar Bulletin [April 2001]). No documentation verifies this, but at the time of his death, the despondent Ghirardelli had been forbidden by parents Domingo, Jr., and Addie to return home for the holidays ostensibly for bad business dealings, as reported in "Cocoa King in the Dark as to Son's Suicide," San Francisco Call (January 2, 1913). But a Portla nd obituary hints at moral issues and reports a cabbie's delivery of the doomed man to a Turkish bath on his last night: "Son of Chocolate Maker Ends his Struggle to Break Away from Evil Ways," The Oregon Daily Chronicle (January 7, 1913).
(89.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, p. 136.
(90.) Ibid, 49.
(91.) As represented by Alfred Ghirardelli, Esperance Ghirardelli (Alvord), Clarisse Lohse Ghirardelli, and Louis Ghirardelli, from obituaries and other reports.
(92.) Erik Amfitheatrof, Children of Columbus, 137.
(93.) Ibid., 174-77,220-222,323-324.
(94.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, pp. 52-53. There is a belief in some San Francisco circles, seldom put in print, that The Family was founded as a protest against the Bohemian Club's anti-Semitism, In fact it was founded (in 1902) by twenty-seven Bohemian Club members and eleven others, many of them journalists, protesting the irrational anti-Hearst newspaper sentiment gripping the club in the wake of the McKinley assassination. Several of the founders, it happens, were Jews belonging to the Bohemian Club. This was not unusual for 1902, as San Francisco men's clubs of that period did welcome Jews and Catholics, However, xenophobia arising from World War I changed this tolerant attitude in the Bohemian as well as Pacific Union clubs. By the 1920s these two clubs, according to Robert W. Cherny, "Patterns of Toleration and Discrimination in San Francisco," California History (Summer 1994): 138, began a "gradual elimination of Jews from their membership rosters." The Family remained a haven where Alfred Ghirard elli (who joined in 1917) could enjoy fellowship with fellow members named Sloss, Esberg, Hellman, Ehrman, Haas, Dinkelspiel, and others. The tradition of tolerance was there from the beginning: A 1902 Family founders' statement reads, "There should be no distinction of caste or religion" (Arthur Hargrave, The Family Story: 1902-1977 [San Francisco: The Family, 1978] 2.). Harrison Beardsley, club historian of The Family, helped flesh out this information.
(95.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, 49. Then and now, because of a port culture, history of multiple rulers, and location near France, the Genoese are the most likely to eschew Italian papal authority; for Ghirardelli, membership in a Masonic order further exemplified his distrust of the Church.
(96.) Douglas Kiester, Going Out in Style: The Architecture of Eternity (New York: Factson-File, 1997), 31. "Ghirardelli di Ritorno," Voce del Popolo (August 26, 1890), expresses further disdain.
(97.) Wendy Grissim Brokaw, "With Love and Kisses for the Babies": A History of the George Washington Baker Family of Nevada and California, 1845 to 1964 (Carmel, California: 1985), 188-191 (spiral-bound typed manuscript). Roosevelt and Baker (real name: Earl Bradley Baker) met through the latter's brother Ray, director of the U.S. Mint.
(98.) 27 Hotaling Place is very near 415-417 Jackson. The Rome commentary is based on spring 1999 conversations with the Bakers' daughter, Carmencita Cardoza (now Mrs. Jose Antonio), who accompanied them.
(99.) Social Register, San Francisco including Oakland, 1918 (New York: Social Register Association, 1917), has nine Ghirardelli entries and many Koshlands, Peixottos, de Vecchis, de la Montanyas, Murphys, Caminettis, Lowenbergs, Van Sicklens, Splivalos, Sutros, and Crockers.
(100.) Ann Swift, "The Ghirardelli Connection," The Attic Trunk: A Publication of the Piedmont Historical Society (Spring 2002), 1-8. See also map, P. G. Lawrence oral history, 95b.
(101.) Edgewood Farm, a Magee property near Mt. Diablo (Mrs. Harry Hush Magee was Juanita Ghirardelli), and Laurel Brook Farm, a dairy run by Virgil Williams Jorgensen, son of Angela Ghirardelli.
(102.) Joseph Ghirardelli, Jr., in 1927, reported to cousins Alfred and Lyle that a flood had destroyed the Ghirardelli homestead near Santa Anna church (postcard of ruin, Archives). Virgil Jorgensen, in 1925, visited Italian cousins Castegnete, Figallo, and Grasso in Rapallo (Jorgensen papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley). Chris Jorgensen painted at least two views of the homestead in 1893 (Seaver Center, note 60, and Mrs. Antonio Cardoza collection, San Jose).
(103.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, 40.
(104. Brenner, Emperors of Chocolate, 9.
(105.) P. G. Lawrence oral history, 74. She went on to have an outstanding career in public service. See "Restless Ladies," Time (November 22, 1963 [a small but significant mention of a nine-year PR business with two other women]); Patty McGettigan, "Junior League Leader and Community Contributor/Pioneer," Fogcutter (October 1986), and obituaries San Francisco Chronicle (December 25, 1997), A24, and Social Register Observer (Summer 1998), 84-85.
(106.) Kent Ghirard and his Hula Nani Girls, as documented in Hans Johannes Hoefer, ed., The Hula (Honolulu: Apa Productions LTD, 1982), 100-104, 109, 124, 150-151. Ghirard (born 1919) then ran a successful children's pony circus. He still resides in Honolulu. His sister Ynez Ghirardelli (1909-1972) was a well-known Berkeley "character" who left her extensive book collection to the Bancroft Library and made her own contribution to scholarship with a limited-edition fine press volume, The Artist H. Daumier: Interpreter of History, (San Francisco: Grabhorn Press, 1940).
(107.) Ghirardelli studied art with great uncle Jorgensen (Hughes, op. cit.: 205).
(108.) Jan.29, 1962, lawyers' report to D. Ghirardelli Co. stockholders (Archives).
(109.) Lavender, California, 395.
(110.) Jan. 29, 1962, lawyers' report (Archives).
(111.) Jan. 29, 1962, Ibid.
(112.) Vincent de Domenico, in The De Domenico Family: Growth of the Golden Grain Company through Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Berkeley: Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, 1994). From research notes by Douglas Morse.
(113.) This is a vivid memory of the author who unfortunately has not been able to track down the newspaper report, ca. 1960.
(114.) Carolyn Anspracher, "Ghirardelli Square," San Francisco Chronicle (July 24, 1963), 1.
(115.) N. D. De Domenico, in The De Domenico Family, 153.
(116.) Obituary, San Francisco Examiner (May 5, 1990). Kent Ghirard, the fourth "Domingo," legally changed his name in the 1950s.
(117.) Kenneth Howe, "Ghirardelli Square Changes Attraction," San Francisco Chronicle (May 14, 1995), 2.
(118.) Ghirardelli was acquired by the Swiss firm in question in January 1998. In 1986, Golden Grain sold it to Quaker Oats. In 1992 it changed hands to a partnership that began an aggressive expansion, Clifford Carlsen, "Ghirardelli Chocolate Plans National Rollout," San Francisco Business News (April 29-May 5, 1994), 1, 17. The approach continues under Lindt, George Raine, "Sweet Sesquicentennial," San Francisco Chronicle (June 9, 2002).
Sidney Lawrence is Head of Public Affairs at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. He has curated solo shows there of works by Roger Brown, Houston Conwill, Boyd Webb, Alison Saar, Tony Oursler, and Ron Mueck. He has published on modern design in Art in America and is co-author of Music in Stone: Great Sculpture Gardens of the World (1984). Lawrence frequently exhibits his own art and also serves on the advisory committee of the Lehman Art Center at Brooks School, North Andover, Massachusetts.
The author wishes to acknowledge, with gratitude, Thomas L. Birch. Also essential were the exhibition research of Doug Morse and Stephanie Cha-Ramos, and Andrew M. Canepa's kind counsel and scholarly references made this essay possible. Color reproductions accompanying this article were made possible by the generosity of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Mrs. Barbara H. Magee, Ghirardelli Square, Mr. Peter J. Musto and Ghirardelli family members Ms. Joan D. Wells, Mr. John Skov, Ms. Natalie D. O'Brien, and Ms. Carrie Morgan. Article [C] 2002, Sidney Lawrence. All rights reserved.
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|Title Annotation:||Ghirardelli Chocolate Company|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2002|
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