Charles Carmine Antonio Baldi, King of Little Italy

Charles Carmine Antonio Baldi, King of Little Italy

Philadelphia’s Charles Carmine Antonio Baldi empire is revered in a new book by Charles G. Douglas, III, Esq.

In his time, Charles Carmine Antonio Baldi – C.C.A. Baldi – was an Italian immigrant entrepreneur and community leader who arrived in South Philly in 1876, and took over. He founded a coal yard with its own mine in Schuykill County, opened an insurance and real estate business, organized a savings and loan bank, operated the only Italian daily newspaper L’Opinone, started the Baldi Funeral Home on South 8th Street, all by the turn of the century, and brought his brothers from Italy into the bourgeoning businesses in Philly.

All of that alone is worth a book, and family member and former Philadelphian Charles G. Douglas, III, Esq. is just the man to do it in the newly-published Philadelphia’s King of Little Italy.

The Baldi family tree has deep run roots and its connections to the present, such as having his Green Street home in Manayunk named on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2017. Even more exceptional when you consider that the late C.C.A. is Reading, PA-born pop star Taylor Swift’s great-great-grandfather on her father’s side, as well as being a second cousin to author Douglas, III, Esq. 

The same Taylor Swift is getting ready to release her new album, Midnights, on October 21. Perfect timing.

Do not buy the book looking for family gossip about Taylor Swift

Do buy the book if you are looking to read about how the Baldis and the Jacovini families, who own Broad Street’s Pennsylvania Burial Company and Baldi Funeral Home, married to create a larger funereal dynasty (and with the Jacovinis got another celebrity connection, to Norristown-born actress Maria Bello), how Baldi helped to establish Columbus Day as a national holiday in the United States, how he helped to raise money for the candidacies of Presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, and was responsible for reducing literacy requirements for naturalization, all of which combined for the C.C.A. Baldi Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia to be named for him in 1976.


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