Aldo Augustus Mino
PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C
Born 1922 in Italy, Died 2004
County of residence at enlistment: Essex County, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: artists, sculptors, and teachers of art
College education before the war: 1 year
Aldo Augustus Mino was born on January 17, 1922 in Cossato, Italy, a town in the northwest part of the country, in the Piedmont (near the foot of the Alps). He was an only child. His father, a mason, had emigrated to the US in September, 1922; Aldo and his mother did not join him until 1928, and the family settled in Newark, NJ. His father died young—sometime in the 1930s. The 1940 census lists Aldo's mother as a widow, working as a weaver in a wool factory. Aldo was still in high school, working part time as a helper in an interior decorating firm.
He registered for the draft on June 30, 1942 and enlisted a few months later, on October 13, 1942. At the time he stated that he had completed a year of college and that his occupation was artist.
Like other New York area artists, he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, and saw service in Europe during the war.
At some point after the war, Aldo started using "Augustus" as his first name. He pursued a career as an artist—a painter, sculptor, and graphic designer. He became art director at the Kenyon & Eckhardt advertising agency, and later in the 1960s, after leaving the firm, worked as a freelance designer, designing graphics, furnishings, and packaging for Fig Newtons, Chesterfield cigarettes, and Bromo-Seltzer.
Augustus married interior decorator Rita Pullano in 1951 in Manhattan. The couple were well-known for their choices of residences—they were written up several times in the New York Times and various home design and decorating magazines. In 1962, their home received a New York Times writeup which stated that "a discerning couple can turn catholic tastes in antiques into interiors of rare harmony. In their Greek Revival home in Chappaqua, designers Rita and Augustus Mino successfully combined four centuries of furnishings."
That home was one of a succession of traditionally decorated houses that they lived in. But by 1967 their taste in homes had taken a dramatically different turn. They had visited the Philip Johnson glass house in New Canaan, CT on a tour, and a New York Times article recounts Aldo telling Rita: "That's the kind of house we should have."
"'And what Mino wants he usually gets, has made, or makes himself,' proudly interjected Mrs. Mino." They hired an architect friend, Robert Fitzpatrick, to design the house to their specifications and they built it on a beautiful two-acre wooded lot in Chappaqua, NY. Augustus is credited as the co-architect.
Augustus made six copies of Matisse drawings to hang in the new house, and sculpted a copy of a Henry Moore figure for the front lawn. He also made copies of Warhols, Rauschenbergs, and others to fill up other spaces.
Many commercial shoots and publications enjoyed the use of the home's aesthetic as a location. But it wasn't to be their last house. By the 1980s they were living in a more rural property in Flemington, NJ; in 1983, records show they were seeking a variance to permit an artist studio and a darkroom to be installed in an existing barn. They sold that property in 1995, and returned to Chappaqua.
Through the years, Augustus continued to paint and to show and sell his artwork. A gallery show in Chappaqua in 1983 featured his paintings in a primitive style. And in 1991, a painting of his entitled "Peaceable Kingdom" sold at Freeman's Auctions for $880.
Augustus died on February 18, 2004 in Chappaqua.
1928 father's naturalization record (shows Aldo Augustus still living in Italy)
1941 mother's immigration records
1942 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1951 marriage record
1953 shipboard manifest NY to France
1962 article in the New York Times re their Greek Revival house
1969 article in the New York Times re the glass house they built
1980-1985 US public records index
1983 listing in The Daily Item (Port Chester, NY) re a gallery show of his paintings
1983 notice in The Courier-News (Bridgewater, NJ) re his seeking a variance to add studio to his barn
1997-2002 US phone and address directories
2004 Social Security applications and claims index
2004 Social Security death index
Pinterest board on Augustus Mino glass house and artwork
Jacobsen's biographical index of American artists, compiled and edited by Anita Jacobsen, 2002.