Alfred Anthony Albiani and Henry Francis Albiani

Alfred Anthony Albiani and Henry Francis Albiani by Camille Arbogast

The Albiani brothers were born at 33 Hudson Street in Boston; Alfred Anthony on February 26, 1898, and Henry Francis on April 7, 1899. Their mother, Theresa (Genotti or Gianetta) had been born in Lowell, Massachusetts. Dominick Albiani, their father, was from Cassano all’Ionio, Calabria, Italy. In 1891, he immigrated to the United States, becoming an American citizen in 1897. With his brothers Anthony and Peter, Dominick operated a barber shop, Albiani Brothers, which later expanded to a second location. Theresa and Dominick married in May 1897. They also had a younger son, Peter, born in 1906.

During the first decade of the 20th century, Dominick and his brothers transitioned from the barbershop business to the restaurant industry, opening a cafeteria, the Albiani Lunch Company. For a time, the family operated both businesses. Eventually the Albiani Lunch Company became the focus, growing to more than a dozen cafeterias in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1900, the Albianis lived at 52 Compton Street in Boston’s South End. By 1910, Dominick and Theresa had moved to Dorchester, where they owned 206 Neponset Avenue. Alfred attended Mechanic Arts High School and Chauncy Hall School, while Henry was a student at the Boston High School of Commerce. The Albianis purchased and moved to 147 Train Street by 1917.

On November 25, 1917, Alfred enlisted in the National Guard at Fort Standish on Lovell Island in Boston Harbor. He served in the Company 28, Coast Artillery Corps (CAC). The CAC provided coastal defense, manning coastal and harbor fixed artillery installations and minefields. On January 11, 1918, Alfred was assigned to Battery F, 55th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps, 31st Heavy Artillery Brigade. The 55th had recently been organized out of eight existing CAC companies. Four days after his transfer to Battery F, Alfred was made a wagoner. Battery F was based at Fort Strong on Long Island in Boston Harbor.

The 55th sailed for France on March 25, 1918, leaving from New York City on the RMS Mauretania. Alfred was made a private on April 23, 1918. In France, the 55th trained in Clermont Ferrand in the Auvergne region. On the battlefield, the CAC was responsible for manned heavy artillery. The 3rd Battalion, including Battery F, christened their guns on July 30; Battery F naming theirs Strong, Jiggerboffus (a “mystic pass-word” from the Fort Strong days), Alky, and Midget. Alfred participated in the engagement in the Vesle defensive sector from August 9 through 17, the Oise-Aisne offensive from August 18 to September 9, and the Meuse-Argonne offensive September 26 until the Armistice on November 11. After the war ended, CAC Artillery units were prioritized for early return to the United States, so they could resume defending the coast. The 55th sailed on January 10, 1919, travelling on the HMS Cretic, arriving in New York on January 22. From there, the 55th was sent to Camp Mills, Mineola, Long Island, for delousing, then performed a short stint as coast defense on Long Island Sound around New London, Connecticut.

On February 8, 1919, Alfred was on the 11:47 train from New London, along with 115 members of Battery F. At South Station, they were met by the Navy Yard Band playing “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here.” The band accompanied “the soldiers out of the station up Summer st to the … Common, where they were registered and given refreshments. Doughnuts, hot coffee, and sandwiches were served.” Alfred was discharged later that day.

While Alfred was overseas, Henry had graduated from the Boston High School of Commerce in 1918. That September, Henry registered for the First World War draft, reporting he was employed as a clerk at Albiani Lunch Co., 77 Oliver Street in Boston. That autumn, he entered Boston University. On October 9, 1918, he was drafted and inducted into the army as a member of the Student Army Training Corps at Boston University. He remained a part of the Student Army Training Corps until December 11, 1918, when it was disbanded. Later he served in Boston University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He graduated from Boston University in 1920, according to his obituary.

After returning from the war, Alfred also worked for the family business, becoming a buyer for the company. In 1920, after he had “been a salaried employee of the company for about two years” he was sent to Italy “for the purpose of purchasing merchandise to be used in their business, such as, olive oil, sardines, cheese, etc.” On his passport, Alfred reported that his address was 77 River Street. In the 1920s, he became a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.

Henry returned to the Albiani Lunch Company after his graduation from Boston University, employed as an auditor. In 1921, he was involved in a hit and run accident in Hull, Massachusetts, injuring a woman walking on Nantasket Avenue, causing her to be hospitalized. He “was charged with driving an automobile at Hull in such a manner as to endanger the lives and safety of the public, with going away after causing injury to a person without making himself known, and with assault and battery. … Albiani testified that at the time of the accident he did not see the girls or know he had hit anyone until he heard a scream from under his car.” He was found guilty, fined $50, and given a suspended jail sentence. The injured woman filed an action of tort against Dominick and the case was heard by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the spring of 1923. The court ruled that Dominick had no liability, as “a father is not liable for his son’s torts merely because of the relation of parent and child.” In November 1923, Henry filed for bankruptcy. According to the Globe, he owed “$19,009.91, all of which is unsecured. Assets $50.”

The Albianis moved to 143 Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1927. In the 1930s, the brothers continued to work for the family business and Boston and Newton directories listed them living with their parents on Commonwealth Avenue. The 1930 census recorded the family employed a live-in servant and that the house was valued at $30,000.

Henry married in 1940, wedding Emma Loretta (Ramey) O’Neil in Methuen, Massachusetts. Emma had been born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, immigrating to the United States in the mid-1920s. She lived in Cambridge and worked as a manicurist. Emma had been married previously and was divorced. Henry and Emma appeared in the Cambridge directory at “5 Cawford” in 1941. In the mid-1940s, they were listed at 28 Concord Avenue, Cambridge. On his World War II draft registration of February 1942, Henry reported he lived at 48 Topliff Street in Dorchester, but gave 143 Commonwealth Avenue as his mailing address and his mother residing there as his next of kin. Throughout the 1940s, Boston and Newton directories listed Henry at 143 Commonwealth Avenue.

During World War II, Alfred served as a lieutenant in the Army from September 22, 1942, until August 10, 1944. On September 21, 1949, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Alfred married Vesta Eloise (Richardson) Brett. Vesta was the widow of E. E. Brett, a Florida real estate investor and University of Miami basketball coach. A resident of Miami Beach at the time of her marriage, Vesta had been born in Otter Creek, Maine.

Dominick died at his winter home in Coral Gables, Florida, in November 1950 and Theresa died in 1957. After Dominick’s death, Alfred, Henry, and Peter continued the family business. Alfred lived in Cohasset, Massachusetts, in the early 1950s. By 1957 he resided in Hull; later he moved to Centerville on Cape Cod. Henry and Emma lived in Cambridge in 1951. The next year they moved to Brookline, where they lived at 1134 Beacon Street. Beginning in the mid-1950s, Henry and Emma appeared in Newton directories living at 157 Evelyn Road in the Waban section of Newton, where they remained through at least the mid-1960s. The cafeteria chain folded in 1964, according to Henry’s obituary. That year, Peter and Henry opened the Mills Falls Restaurant in the Upper Falls section of Newton. They sold the restaurant in 1968. Emma died in 1979. Henry married a second time, wedding widow Margaret (Lonval) Epps. They lived in her home at 321 Dartmouth Street in Boston’s Back Bay. Margaret died in 1989.

Alfred died of cancer on August 10, 1985. A graveside service was held for him. Henry died of pneumonia on October 7, 1991, at the Liberty Commons Nursing Home in Chatham, Massachusetts. A funeral mass was celebrated for him at Holy Trinity Church in West Harwich, Massachusetts. Both brothers were buried in Newton Cemetery on Walnut Street in Newton.

Researched and written by Camille Arbogast.


Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA;

Family Trees;

1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 U.S. Federal Census;

Boston, Cambridge, and Newton Massachusetts directories, various years;

Military, Compiled Service Records. World War I. Carded Records. Records of the Military Division of the Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts National Guard.

Lists of Outgoing & Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985, The National Archives at College Park, MD;

“Battery F Rolls in As Thousands Cheer,” Boston Globe, 9 February 1919: 8;

Cunningham, William, et al, ed. The Boston High School of Commerce in the World War. Norwood, MA: Pimpton Press, 1921;

United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration;

Boston University World War Record. Boston, MA: Published by the Trustees of the University, Earnshaw Press Corporation, 1920;

“Henry F. Albiani, 93,” Boston Globe, 10 October 1991, 99;

Selected Passports. National Archives, Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records Administration (NARA);

“Autoists’ Cases Up In Court At Hingham,” Boston Globe, 10 September 1921: 6;

Grabill, Ethelbert V., reporter, “Christine L. Haskell vs. Domenic Albiani, Middlesex, March 28, 1923- May 24, 1923.” Massachusetts Reports, Volume 245: Decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts May 1923-June 1923. Boston: The Fort Hill Press, 1924; 234-237;

“Business Troubles,” Boston Globe, 15 November 1923: 17;

Department of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Massachusetts Vital Records Index to Marriages [1916–1970]. Volumes 76–166, 192– 207. Facsimile edition. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA;

Naturalization Records. National Archives at Boston, Waltham, MA;

Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;

United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, National Archives and Records Administration;

“New Hampshire Marriage Certificates, 1948-1959,” database citing Marriage, New Hampshire, Vital records, New Hampshire Vital Records Office;

“$400,000 Price Put on Worry,” Miami Herald, 24 March 1950: 14;

“Dominick Albiani” Boston Globe, 23 January 1950: 17;

“Mrs Theresa Albiani,” Boston Globe, 19 November 1957: 55;

“Mills Falls Restaurant Opens to Public Today,” Newton Graphic, 17 December 1964: 15;

“Deaths,” Boston Globe, 4 March 1979; 54;

“Deaths,” Boston Globe, 6 July 1989: 52;

Voter Registration Lists, Public Record Filings, Historical Residential Records, and Other Household Database Listings;

Margaret Albiani;

State of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003. Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health Services, 2005;

“Alfred Albiani, 87,” Boston Globe, 14 August 1985: 31;

“Deaths,” Boston Globe, 15 August 1985: 60;

“Deaths,” Boston Globe, 10 October 1991: 98;



Posted on

March 22, 2022

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.