Madame Vincent
  ... and the Memphis Crystal Palace Saloon


Her name was Mary Bacigalupo but she was always called "Madam Vincent".  It was sometimes mistakenly thought she might have been a "bordello Madam", but she was not.  In her case, the "Madame" was a title of respect.    With a happy marriage and a house full of 12 kids, Mary enjoyed a very successful life in Memphis, but it ended sadly when she was only 41 years old.



"Madame Vincent's Crystal Palace is the best place in Memphis to get the freshest, fattest and most luscious oysters.  Her wines, liquors and cigars are the best in the world, and the lady is surrounded and assisted  by as polite and efficient number of waiters as can be found ." 

And yet, not many know anything about Mary or have ever heard of the Memphis Crystal Palace Saloon?


Click on small photos to see an enlargement

Mary  was born in 1837 in Borznasca, Italy.  Her birth name was Mary Brizzolari.  She immigrated to the US in 1848 at age 10 and her name appears on the 1850 Pittsburgh Census.  During the next two years she relocated to Memphis where she married in 1852 when she was 15.  Within 10 years, Mary's name will literally be mentioned EVERY DAY in the Memphis Newspapers.  She had married Vincent Bacigalupo at St. Peter's church in Memphis.  He was 18 years her senior in 1852.  He was also born in Borznasca, Italy in 1823.  They apparently knew each other in Italy and may have both been on the same ship to the US in 1848.


Borznasca, Italy

Vincent Bacigalupo Mary Bacigalupo 1850 Census-Pittsbutgh St. Peter's Memphis

Marriage 1852



What the couple accomplished with hard work and persistence, was remarkable.  They came up from nowhere to being well-respected and prosperous leaders of the community.  Vincent started as a saloonkeeper, buying his first liquor license in 1860.  He was clever and took advantage of business opportunities that came along.  By 1878 he and Mary owned 24 prime properties in Memphis, valued at $200,000.  These included a popular dining establishment and a large home on six acres on the corner of Union at Bellevue.  Of course, this being Memphis, none of the original buildings exist today. 

Union-Bellevue- today  

1860 Census 1870 Census Crystal Palace Location Saloon 2 Location Memphis Directory

Mary had married Vincent in 1852 and became the mother of 12 children, eight of whom grew to adulthood.  Indeed, in the photo of Mary on the left, she appears to be pregnant.  She was a good, loving mother and made sure that all her children received an excellent education and all the advantages the family could provide.  And she made time for her life also.  She owned property in her own name, ran several businesses, did charitable work and was well respected for her ability and accomplishments.  Mary and a lady friend actually voted in an election.  We saw the report of this in a Memphis Newspaper, but have been unable to find the item again to copy it for this web page.

Mary Bacigalupo





Above all Mary excelled as the hostess of Vincent's saloons.  It was there that she earned her title "Madame Vincent".  Even though a saloon might have a name like Crystal Palace,  it would  unofficially be called "Madame Vincent's Crystal Palace".  Her name was always mentioned whenever there was an item about the saloon in the newspapers ... and her name appears  just about EVERY  day in the Memphis newspapers from 1867 to 1878.  Below are just a few of the MANY newspaper items about Madame Vincent and the Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace


1869 - Party

1871 - Testimony

1871 Description

1872 1873 Fresh Oysters

1874 Banquet

1875 1876 Ad 1876 Testimony Vincent's 1858 1878 Crystal Palace Billhead

... and Madame Vincent  kept a baby alligator in a decorative fountain at the Crystal Palace.



Vincent  was the quiet one.  He was a member of the "Old Folks", a historical society where membership was limited to those who had been Memphis residents for at least 20 years.  He was in good company with Eugene Magevney, Nathan Forrest, S. C. Toof, George W. Gordon and Napoleon Hill.  He and Mary would probably have done business with all of them.   And as leader of the local Italian immigrants Vincent helped found the Italian Benevolent Society in 1870.  He would have known other prominent Memphis Italians Dominick Canale and Antonio Vaccaro, the first Italian to immigrate to Memphis.  Vincent was also a director of the Irish-American Savings and Loan Association.


Old Folks V-1

N. B. Forrest

Napoleon Hill

Eugene Magevney

S. C. Toof

Geo W. Gordon

Dominick Canale

Antonio Vaccaro



As one who was interested in the beautification of the city, Mary was one of the donors to the costs of erecting the famous fountain in Court Square.  Her name appears as "Madame Vincent" among the list of  donors on the plaque at the base of the fountain.  The complete dedication appears below and contains some of the most famous names in Memphis history.


This Fountain Erected A.D. 1876 And Donated To The City Of Memphis May 28,A.D. 1876 By James Elder With The Aid And Assistance Of The Following Persons - S.C. Toof, Jno. E. Randell, John Gaston, Schoolfield Hanauer & Co, Randle, Heath and Livermore , Wm. A. Williamson , H.B. Plant, President, Southern Express Co Jones, Brown & Co, Noland Fontaine, Bronson Baylis, Meredith Yates, A. Vaccaro, Nathan Adams, Geo. H. & Theo. W. Holst, Thomas H. Allen, Estes Fizer & Co, John Overton, F.H. Cossitt, N.Y. ,Elias Lowenstein, J.C. Neely, S.R. Clarke, Mitchell Hoffman & Company, B. Lowenstein & Bros, A.D. Gwynne, O.H.P. Piper, S.H. Brooks, G.C. Bethel, R.D. Daniel, C.B. Church, Thad S. Ely, H.M. James, F.S. Davis, S.H. Dunscomb, G. Falls, Thomas Boyle, Jno. T. Farguson, Madame Vincent ,J.F. Frank & Co, Humes & Poston, James B. Cook, Architect Contributors, Material Transportation and Labor Star Union Line, M.& C. R.R. Co, Memphis City Transfer, Thos. R. Farnsworth, R.A. Parker, Browne, The Plumber, A.F. Davis, Painter H. Lemmon, Mason, Memphis Daily News ,Jno. T. Flynn, L & N Railroad Co, Ingleton, Alabama Limestone Quarry, T.L. Fossick & Co, G.W. Cheek, R.L.Cochran ,Wm. H. Wood, Oddfellows Hall & Library Association, S. Mansfield & Co, Christian Brothers Band, Plumbing By J.W.X., Browne 1876 W.L. Cameron S.J. Murray, Civil Engineer Robinson Iron Corp Jno. M. Lea, Nashville, Tenn Jno. B. Leech, Liverpool, England



Had Vincent and Mary continued their remarkable success, it's hard to imagine what they would have achieved.  But in September of 1878, Yellow Fever struck the family.  In spite of the best care available, Vincent died September 19 at the age of 56.  Mary died two days later at the age of 41, and their young daughter Mary Alice died two days later at the age of 6.   They were all buried at Calvary Cemetery.  Two other children who also had the fever, survived.


The Memphis Appeal described Vincent as "quiet and retiring" stating that "No charity or good deed ever passed by him unaided.  His word was his bond".  They praised Mary for her industry and excellent business sense saying she would "be remembered for her many charitable acts". 

Calvary records

Vincent's death

Mary's death

Mary's death

Mary's funeral

Family Bible

Vincent and Mary died without a will and shortly after their deaths, bills and claims began arriving for their care and their funerals.  And there were 6 minor children who were now orphans.  One of the older sisters, Annie Louisa Montedonico, along with her husband Joseph and their own three children moved into the Bacigaiupo home to take care of her younger brothers and sisters and to settle all the family accounts.   They were dedicated surrogate parents and were well-loved by the younger children.  Their education was continued just as if Mary had been in charge.  There are many court documents which refer to this .   A few are posted below.

Doctor's Bill Druggist's  bill Fruit Bill Funeral Bill S. C. Toof Bill Guardian Payments


As time passed, Emma married Augustine Signaigo and raised a family in Chattanooga.  Vincent became a salesman.  Lee married Parmelia Cicalla and was in the grocery business (Bacigalupo & Sawtelle).  Julia married Mr. MacCullen and moved to Philadelphia.  Tony (Anthony W.) married Katherine McBride and served as inspector of weights and measures in Memphis for 33 years.  Bertha married businessman James M. Shaw and later moved to Chattanooga.    Joseph and Annie Montedonico were successful in banking and politics.  The eldest daughter Jennie?  That's another story ... (below).


Emma Bacigalupo

Emma Census 1900 Lee 1888 Irving Block -1915 Lee - 50 N. 2nd Lee- CBC 1897

1916 Directory

Bacigalupo-Sawtelle Ad 1900

Vincent 1904

Tony 1919

Tony 1919


Annie's Death Certif.




The Saga of Jennie Bacigalupo

Virginia "Jennie" Bacigalupo was the eldest daughter of Mary and Vincent Bacigalupo ...

  Jennie Bacigalupo


In 1870,  she married her uncle James Brizzolara, her mother's brother.  They had 2 children.  She left him in 1877 ...

James Brizzolara  

In 1877 Jennie married Angelo Marre, but her marriage to James had not been dissolved.  Bigamy charges were brought against Jennie and a trial ensued. Her defense was that the Catholic Church did not recognize her marriage to James due to the uncle/niece relationship. Court records were sealed and the final judgement  was unknown. 


Angelo Marre

Angelo Marre killed a man in Tennessee in 1865.  He became a saloon keeper, arrested for possessing stolen goods and sentenced to 3 years in prison.  He lost his citizenship, but regained it after a 4 year battle.

In 1889 Angelo Marre died.  He left his personal possessions, money, a large collection of diamonds, and various other items to his wife, absolute and with no restrictions. His will stipulated that Jennie could remain in their home until her death.*


Marre's Monument

In 1896 Jennie married Marion E Dunn and moved to another home and rented out the Marre home.

In 1904 Jennie Marre died.  Some questioned her cause of death however the coroner ruled her death was due to heart failure

Marrion Dunn  


* The Marre home:  Jennie and Angelo Marre had moved to Little Rock and built an elegant home on fashionable Scott Street.  It was especially distinctive because its design combined features of both the Italianate and Second Empire styles of architecture.  It reminded Angelo of his childhood in Italy.  Fast forward to 1986.  The Villa Marre gained world-wide fame as the home of Sugarbaker and Associates in the popular TV series "Designing Women".

  Marre's Little Rock home

Email from Elizabeth Marre:  There are " ...issues with some of the content previously produced by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.  Many of the documents that they've produced with stories about Jennie Bacigalupo Brizzolara Marre Dunn and her husband Angelo Marre are factually incorrect and were based on flawed published research they accessed. This flawed research tangled the life events of 2 different Angelo Marre's and created false narratives about both Angelo Marre's, Lenna Brizzolara Marre, her son William Marre, and our Angelo Marre's brother Anthony Marre and his son Louis Marre.  Please attach the information (on the right) to whatever files you may have regarding the Marre and Brizzolara families to ensure that future researchers can easily access the factual information regarding these families and individuals."

  We have posted all 4 pages of the information sent by Elizabeth Marre >

Page 1 Page 2

Page 3 Page 4

Read about the "Jennie saga" in the 1879 Memphis Newspapers   >

  One Article 2nd Article



... and the Crystal Palace


"The Crystal Palace presents the most inviting appearance of any saloon or oyster establishment in the city ..."

"Madame Vincent has the largest and best oysters in the city ..." 

"Madame Vincent is the best place in Memphis to get the freshest, fattest and most lucious oysters.  Her wines, liquors and cigars are the best in the world, and the lady is surrounded and assisted by as polite and efficient number of waiters as can be found ... "

"... the freshest and the best shell oystetrs can be had at Madame Vincent's Crystal Palace Saloon in the alley on Mair Street, opposite Odd Fellows Hall.  Oysters served up in all styles at all hours and the best liquors and cigars in the city are furnished by the Madame."

Peter C. Canale, the brother of Dominick Canale, purchased one of Madame Vincent's saloons in 1872.  He did well for several years but  died of Yellow Fever in 1878.  Col R. B. Warner purchased the Crystal Palace on Main Street in 1879.  Although he and his partner, Billy Barnes, were very popular Memphis bartenders, he was never able to match the complete success of Madame Vincent and after 2 1/2 years moved on.  The secret of the success was "The Madame", herself.  She was the star.







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