While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Elizabeth C. Ramírez

LUCCHESE, SAM (1868–1929). Sam Lucchese, impresario, bootmaker, and real estate broker, was born in Sicily in 1868 and immigrated to the United States in 1883. Upon his arrival in San Antonio, he and his brothers opened the Lucchese Boot and Shoe Factory. Lucchese took a very practical approach to the making of boots, stressing quality, quantity, and cost efficiency. According to his grandson, bootmaker Samuel J. Lucchese, he was always eager to implement the newest machines and techniques for increasing production. In 1919 the factory had a daily production of thirty-five pairs of custom boots along with various other types of shoes. As his business prospered, Lucchese began to invest his profits in real estate around the city. In 1912 he purchased the Teatro Zaragoza, situated in the heart of the Mexican-American community in San Antonio and considered the center of Spanish-language dramatic entertainment. Having no experience in theater management, Lucchese initially hired the Carlos Villalongín Dramatic Company and Juan B. Padilla to oversee operations. By 1915 Lucchese had dismissed Padilla and began to manage the resident company himself. His responsibilities included hiring and firing staff, actors, and traveling companies. He also frequently traveled to Mexico to secure top talent from that center of Spanish-language entertainment (see MEXICAN-AMERICAN THEATER). He later opened the Teatro Nacional, a theater that would become an integral part of San Antonio's social entertainment throughout the 1920s. In 1923 Sam Lucchese suffered a stroke that forced him to turn over the daily management of the boot factory to his son, Cosimo, and to restrict his involvement in his theaters' operations. In 1929 he suffered yet another stroke at his home and died. He was survived by his wife, Frances (Battaglia), and seven children, including a daughter, Josephine Lucchese, who was a nationally known opera singer. While the family did not continue to actively support the theaters, the bootmaking continued for two more generations until his grandson sold the Lucchese Boot Company in 1970 to Blue Bell, Incorporated, the parent company of Wrangler.

Sam Lucchese with Tad S. Mizwa, A Lifetime with Boots (Houston: Cordovan, 1983). Elizabeth C. Ramírez, Footlights across the Border: A History of Spanish-Language Professional Theatre on the Texas Stage (New York: Lang, 1990). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Josephine Lucchese; Sam Lucchese).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Elizabeth C. Ramírez, "LUCCHESE, SAM," accessed August 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fluan.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...