The Goldsmith Sisters: A Post for Women’s History Month

In the last series of posts, I’ve written about the death of my three-times great-uncle, Jacob Goldsmith, the death of his son Philip in the 1896 Atlantic City train tragedy, and the mysterious life of Jacob’s son Harry Goldsmith, who died in 1913. But now it is time to return to the women in Jacob’s family and their families: his wife Fannie and their four daughters, Caroline, Emma, Hannah, and Huldah.

That seems quite appropriate as March is Women’s History Month. None of the Goldsmith sisters had public lives, but their private lives are representative of the lives many women led in those times.

In the earlier posts we saw that all the daughters had married by the 1890s and that two of them, Caroline and Huldah, had children.  In 1900, three of the four daughters were living in Philadelphia while one, Hannah, was living with her husband Isaac in Circleville, Ohio.

The first decade of the 20th century saw three weddings in the family, the births of two of Jacob and Fannie’s great-grandchildren, and one death.

Both of Caroline (Goldsmith) and Nathan Rice’s younger children were married in 1902, and they married siblings. First, on March 25, 1902, Jessica Rice married Philip Joseph Sondheim in Philadelphia1; a month later in Boston, on April 29, 1902, her brother Sidney Rice married Philip’s sister, Martha Sondheim.

Sidney Rice and Martha Sondheim marriage record 1902; Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Martha and Philip were both born in Boston to Joseph and Johanna (Lorch) Sondheim.2 Their father was in the men’s clothing business, and Philip was an attorney. 3

Sidney and Martha settled in Philadelphia, where Sidney was a salesman. Philip and Jessica settled in the Boston area, where Philip continued to practice law. Their daughter Ruth was born on January 16, 1903.4

Fannie Lehmann Goldsmith lived to see the birth of her first great-grandchild Ruth, but died two years later on June 16, 1905, in Philadelphia.  She was 77 years old and died of chronic nephritis. She was buried with her husband Jacob in Mt. Sinai cemetery.

Fannie Goldsmith death record
“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6X3Q-KTV?cc=1320976&wc=9FRQ-BZS%3A1073114202 : 16 May 2014), 004008778 > image 153 of 535; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

The third wedding of the 1900s decade was that of Adelaide Raphael, the daughter of Huldah Goldsmith and Chapman Raphael. Adelaide married Harry William Hahn on October 21, 1908. The wedding was written up in the October 25, 1908, Washington (DC) Evening Star:5

A wedding that will interest a number of Washingtonians took place Wednesday night at the Majestic Hotel in Philadelphia, when Miss Adelaide G. Raphael, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chapman Raphael, became the bride of Mr. Harry W. Hahn of this city.

The ceremony, which was performed by Rev. Dr. Joseph Krauskopf, was witnessed by over one hundred relatives and friends of the couple.

The youthful bride was most becomingly gowned in an empire white satin dress elaborately trimmed with panels of duchess lace and touches of the same lace on the waist.  Her tulle veil was held in place with natural orange blossoms and she carried a shower bouquet of orchids and lilies of the valley. The bride’s two attendants were Miss Rae Hahn, sister of the groom, and Miss Lillian Klein of Philadelphia.  They wore yellow satin empire gowns and carried yellow chrysanthemums.

An example of a wedding dress from 1908 (Not of Adelaide)
By Snyder, Frank R. Flickr: Miami U. Libraries – Digital Collections [No restrictions or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Then followed a list of the ushers including the bride’s brothers, Herbert and Arthur.]

Mrs. William Hahn, mother of the groom, wore a handsome gown of gray chiffon velvet, trimmed with real laces, and wore a corsage bouquet of violets and orchids. Mrs. Chapman Raphael, mother of the bride, wore a black lace robe and violets.

After the ceremony and reception a dinner was served.  The tables were made attractive with flowers and trailing vines, from which shone tiny electric lights.

Mr. and Mrs. Hahn are taking a water trip to Savannah and Florida. Upon their return to this city they will take an apartment in the Royalton on M street.

Adelaide and Harry’s first child was born less than ten months later on August 2, 1909; he was named Harry William Hahn, Jr.6

By 1910, three of the four daughters of Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith were what we now call empty nesters. Caroline and Nathan Rice were now in their sixties, living in Philadelphia with Nathan’s brother J.J. Rice and a servant.  Nathan was a traveling clothing salesman.7 Their daughter Rena and her husband Edwin Sternfels were living in New York City; they had no children.8 Sidney Rice and his wife Martha were living in Philadelphia where Sidney was an advertising salesman; they also had no children.9 And Caroline and Nathan’s youngest child Jessica was living in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband Philip Sondheim and their daughter Ruth; Philip continued to practice law in Boston.10

Emma Goldsmith and her husband Abraham Cohlman were living in Philadelphia in 1910 where Abraham was a clothing merchant. Their ages are not reported accurately on the 1910 census where it reports that Abraham was 48 and Emma 46 when in fact Abraham was 41 and Emma was 59.11

Emma’s younger sister Hannah had returned from Circleville, Ohio, by 1910; she and her husband Isaac Levy were living in Philadelphia where Isaac was working as a liquor salesman. Neither Emma nor Hannah had had children.12

Finally, the youngest sister Huldah was living in Philadelphia with her husband Chapman Raphael and their two sons, Herbert and Arthur. Chapman was in the wholesale liquor business, Herbert was in the polish and oil business, and Arthur was in the shoe business.13 Huldah and Chapman’s daughter Adelaide was living in Washington, DC, with her husband and son, Harry William Hahn, Sr. and Jr., where Harry’s family owned a shoe store, Hahn Shoes. 14 Adelaide and Harry had their second child on September 10, 1912, and named him Arthur.15

Although the 1900s decade was primarily a happy one for the family, the decade between 1910 and 1920 was primarily a decade of losses for the family.

Hannah Goldsmith Levy died in Atlantic City of acute nephritis on August 12, 1912; she was 58 years old.

Hannah Goldsmith Levy death certificate
“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6SR9-4RD?cc=1320976&wc=9FRK-HZS%3A1073200601 : 16 May 2014), 004009260 > image 264 of 547; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Caroline Goldsmith Rice lost her husband Nathan less than a year later; he died on January 16, 1913, in Philadelphia; he was seventy and died from cerebral apoplexy or a stroke.

Nathan Rice death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 009001-012660
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Emma Goldsmith suffered a different type of loss; by 1914 her marriage to Abraham Cohlman had ended. Perhaps the eighteen year age difference finally proved to be too difficult. Abraham remarried and by 1920 had a six year old child with his second wife.16 As we will see, Emma lived for over twenty more years, on her own without a husband. She was probably quite unusual for a woman of her times.

As noted in my last post, Harry Goldsmith also died in this decade, in 1917 in Detroit.

There was at least one happy event in this decade. Huldah and Chapman Raphael’s younger son Arthur was married in 1917 to Josephine Isaacs.17 She was the daughter of Marc and Fannie Isaacs, both of whom were Philadelphia natives as was Josephine. Her father was a pawnbroker.18

But the following year the family suffered yet another blow when Hulda Goldsmith Raphael, the youngest daughter of Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith, died from pneumonia on October 3, 1918; she was 57 years old.

Huldah Goldsmith Raphael death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 146751-150000
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

 

Thus, during this decade, Caroline became a widow, Emma was divorced, and Hannah and Huldah died.  Only Caroline and Huldah had children who would survive them. Their lives in 1920 and thereafter will be covered in my next post.

 

 

 

 


  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Index, 1885–1951.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia marriage license index, 1885-1951.” Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951. License Number 144239. 
  2.  Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915; Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. 
  3. Joseph Sondheim and family, 1900 US Census, Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 1474; Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4.   Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Ancestry.com.  Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915. 
  5. Washington (DC) Evening Star, October 25, 1908. p. 61. 
  6.  Draft Registration Cards for District of Columbia, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947, WWII Draft Registration Cards. National Archives. Fold3.com. 
  7. Caroline and Nathan Rice, 1910 US Census; Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1414; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 1200; FHL microfilm: 1375427; Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  8. Rena and Edwin Sternfels, 1915 New York State Census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 25; Assembly District: 23; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 22; Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  9. Sidney and Martha Rice, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1399; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 0692; FHL microfilm: 1375412, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. The census lists Martha as “Rose” for some reason, but all other records identify her as Martha. 
  10. Philip Rice, 1908 Boston City Directory, Boston, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1908; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  11. Abraham and Emma Cohlman, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1402; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0628; FHL microfilm: 1375415;  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  12. Emma and Isaac Levy, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1403; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0751; FHL microfilm: 1375416; Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13. Huldah and Chapman Raphael and family, 1910 US Census; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1403; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0751; FHL microfilm: 1375416, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  14. Adelaide and Harry W. Hahn, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Precinct 2, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_149; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0015; FHL microfilm: 1374162; Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  15.  The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for District of Columbia, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 094; Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947. 
  16. Abraham Cohlman, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 969; Ancestry.com 
  17. Marriage record of Arthur Raphael and Josephine Isaacs, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951; Original data: “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Index, 1885–1951.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia marriage license index, 1885-1951.” Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. License Number 375863, 1917. 
  18. Marc and Fannie Isaacs and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 10; Enumeration District: 0829; Source Information Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 

31 thoughts on “The Goldsmith Sisters: A Post for Women’s History Month

  1. Another lovely wedding write-up. I was a bit disappointed (for you) that the beautiful photo of the lady in her wedding dress was not of the featured bride.
    I feel compelled to follow your example and write at least one article featuring a woman during the month of March. Luckily I have one who will fit into the theme I am currently working on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I sure do wish I had a picture of Adelaide—any picture. But I figured a photo of a wedding dress from that era would at least help visualize what she must have looked like.

      And it is sad but not a surprise that it is hard to find women in my family who made a splash in the public domain so I have decided, as I have in past years, to focus on the quiet lives so many of them led. Quiet in the sense that history has nothing to report, but not quiet in terms of the role they played in their homes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading the wedding write ups. “Her tulle veil was held in place with natural orange blossoms and she carried a shower bouquet of orchids and lilies of the valley” Are you using newspaper.com to find the wedding announcements? Is there a key to finding them? I can’t find a one yet using newspaper.com. Any hints would be so appreciated! I enjoyed the post Amy and was also struck my the lack of children with 2 sisters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do also! I use both newspapers.com and genealogybank.com as well as Chronicling America, Google, The New York Times search engine, and the Fulton History page to search for news articles—depending on where and for what time period. I absolutely love newspaper research.
      Thanks, Sharon!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Again I am fascinated by the amount of details you were able to dig up for your post, Amy. Surprising was the small detail of tiny electric lights decorating the table. Wow, and that in 1908! I am sure that this was quite an expensive wedding. Hope you are not affected by heavy snowfalls. It seems winter is not quite over yet in nook of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Peter! Yes, those wedding articles are precious. Newspapers covered so much of the social lives of our ancestors. I think of them as the Facebook of their day.

      No snow here in the valley, but lots of rain. Up in the hilltowns not too far from here, however, they are supposedly getting hammered. Stay safe and warm! And keep your gloves on. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Love the focus on the women! Imagine those tiny electric lights so long ago! I had no idea! I can’t help but wonder about Emma Goldsmith’s life. How old was she when they divorced? Past child-bearing? I forgot something else I wanted to mention and am on this darn iPad again. BRB

    Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, I didn’t have them either. I never would have thought of them. Those were much simpler days than now and, apparently, way back when. Makes me wonder so much more about that divorce, though, and why that old guy thought he needed a baby!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the presentation you used. There are many people and relationships involved. By telling the story embedded in the documents you covered the main events. Of course that news coverage about the wedding was a great addition. You could do an entire posting based on the clues and details it contains.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Keeping It In The Family 1920-1930 | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  7. orange blossoms and orchids and white satin with lace. A Sargent portrait. I remember your wedding- you were beautiful without the little lights! Love, Daddy

    Liked by 1 person

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