My family object is a stock certificate that shows my great grandfather, George Marino, selling stock in the Sunray Oil Company, which would later become the modern day Sunoco. A share of stock is a very American idea, a symbol of capitalism, and my Italian great grandfather began to embrace it as he became a New Yorker. New York City is known for its economic might. From 1907 to 1930 these markets were the scenes of booms and busts that changed the history of America. This certificate is a part of that history. It shows one of two stock certificates. This certificate is part of a collection that tell the story of my grandfather selling thousands of dollars worth of shares from IBM, At&t and Sunoco to make sure his family was secure during World War 2. Life was difficult. My great grandfather’s family came without money and they had to do whatever they could to survive. His shares indicate assimilation, his fear of poverty and his dream of investment. He was a responsible family man, and he wanted to make sure his family was financially secure when he went to fight for freedom in World War 2. As soon as I saw this stock certificate I realized that all the stories I had heard about my moral Italian great grandfather were true. He had dreamed large and sold everything he worked for and believed in for his family.
– Steven Alsheimer