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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Genaro "Jiggs" Zingarelli - Oyster Tag Printer


Franklin County Press

Jiggs Zingarelli’s grandfather came to Florida from Puglia, Italy, sometime in the late nineteenth century. Jiggs’s parents settled in Apalachicola, where he was born in 1915. His nickname references his childhood habit of dancing Irish jigs. He served in the Army during World War II. When Jiggs returned home, he looked to printing as a trade. He went to Nashville to learn the craft of linotype and opened Franklin County Press in 1946. Soon he began printing the oyster tags for the seafood houses in the area. He has been printing them ever since. The mammoth Kluge press dominates his shop. Other machines and tools are scattered throughout. Hundreds of political posters he has printed over the years line the walls. Printing has changed, but Jiggs still holds true to the craft he learned so many decades ago. He still prints tags for customers he’s had now for two generations. But time stops inside the print shop. A sort of museum of printing history, it is also a meeting place. Old-timers congregate there, reminiscing about the old days. Tall tales are told as the machines crank out these vintage-style tags. Soon, the machines will stop, and the Franklin County Press will close. There is no one in line to take over the shop when Jiggs finally decides to hang up his ink-stained apron.

It is with great sadness that the SFA shares news that Genaro “Jiggs” Zingarelli passed away in September of 2008.

Date of interview:
2005-12-01 00:00

Interviewer:
Amy Evans

Photographer:
Amy Evans

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