The Los Angeles City Historical Society recently held a lecture about the Italian immigrants to Los Angeles as part of the Marie Northrop Lecture series. Always on the lookout for Los Angeles historical memorabilia, I happened to find an advertising mirror that advertises the Tartaglia and Bros. Tailors with their motto, “Six Brothers, Six Reasons.” Many businesses used promotional giveaways of this type in the early part of the 20th century. This one is special. Photographs of each of the six Tartaglia brothers, Charles, Joseph, Michael, John, Angelo and Otto grace the front of the mirror. All the Tartaglia brothers were born in Italy and immigrated to the United States settling in Los Angeles. Charles arrived first in 1902. Joseph and Michael came to America in 1905 and 1906, respectively. Charles joined the Journeymen Tailors Union of America in 1907 and the same year opened his tailoring business “Charles Tartaglia & Bros. Tailors.” Brothers John and Angelo immigrated in 1909 and Otto in 1912 to join the business. The brothers were all about 14 or 15 when they immigrated with the exception of John who came when he was 24. Charles married his wife Rosina who emigrated from Italy in 1913 and was 10 years his junior. They both became naturalized citizens in 1917. By 1920, three of the brothers had married and they all lived next to each other on S. St. Andrews Place. Each of the married brothers had one bachelor brother living with them.
The Tartaglia tailors prided themselves on their union affiliation calling themselves the union tailors for men and women. Their advertisement from the 1914 California State Federation of Labor Yearbook stressed their being the only “reliable” union tailors. Otto, the youngest of the six had immigrated in 1912 so the “six brothers” motto had to been developed between 1912 and 1914. On October 12, 1929, the Los Angeles Times reported that Charles Tartaglia and Bros. Tailors had taken up a new home at 713 Flower Street, adding to the importance of Flower Street as an important street in the downtown Los Angeles shopping district. The tailoring business occupied the entire two story building right next to Barker Brothers. Although there is no information to verify the date of the advertising mirror, a rough guess as to the ages of the brothers from their pictures in the 1914 advertisement and the mirror would likely date the mirror to the mid 1920’s. By 1930 Charles was living with his wife and son Mario in his own home on Clayton Avenue, then valued at $14,000. By 1940, Charles’ wife, Rosina, has joined him in the tailoring business; Charles was renting at that time with his business listed in the city directory at 3149 Wilshire. Later we find the business at 9885 Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills where they catered to well-heeled clients like movie stars. One can also find other Tartaglia tailoring establishments in other parts of Los Angeles as the family grew.
Today, collectors of vintage clothing look for the Tartaglia label.
Gene Autry purchased suits from the Tartaglia brothers in the 1960’s. Rock Hudson also used Tartaglia brothers. This receipt below from the Rock Hudson estate collection shows Tartaglia Bros. Tailors with two locations in 1964, one in Los Angeles and one in Beverly Hills.
Yelp reports the most recent location at 9905 Santa Monica Boulevard is closed.
Prepared by LACHS Board Member Geraldine Knatz