In November, Fife Historical Society Board Member Mizu Sugimura alerted Managing Director Julie Watts to a curious find for sale on Ebay – 3,000 miles away, in Florida, was a vintage scrapbook/photo album with clear ties to Fife. Specifically of interest were photos from Fife’s famed dance hall, the Century Ballroom.
The Historical Society is very interested in discovering any never-before-seen photos from the Ballroom in its heyday, specifically the 1930s and 1940’s big band eras.
“Though we weren’t sure if any other historically significant items were in the scrapbook, the price was right so we took a chance and bid on the item,” Watts said. “There is some interest on our Board in possibly holding a Century Ballroom-inspired dance in 2017.”
And they had the winning bid.
Once the scrapbook arrived in Fife, Museum volunteers took a close look at each page. “It became clear that this album belonged to a Fife resident of Italian descent, and we started getting excited,” Watts said. “What if we could use social media to try and identify the family?”
So they posted a wedding photo from the scrapbook on their Facebook page, tagged a Facebook friend of the Museum’s who was a longstanding Fife family of Italian descent, and magic happened.”
“I wish I could say there was more to it. But this couldn’t have gone smoother. Vicki Errigo, now of Scottsdale, Ariz., saw the photo and wrote, ‘Yes, I sure do know who that is; that’s my uncle Ricky!’”
The Fife Historical Society learned that the Errigo family had relatives that, sure enough, moved to Florida. “I actually see a lot of vintage personal albums and scrapbooks for sale. It’s a shame, because wouldn’t we all like to think that our descendants will treasure tomorrow what we treasure today? At the same time, it would be quite a task to have the responsibility of managing all of the scrapbooks from parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. I completely understand how albums like this end up for sale as vintage memorabilia. And I’m sure happy for the ones that get saved, like this one,” Watts said.
The Fife Historical Society has scanned copies of each page of the album, and intends to share the album with any and all Errigo family members that are interested.
“It is really a thrill to not only discover the Century Ballroom pictures, but to get to possibly reunite the album with family. That’s the icing on the cake.”