Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern and Florence Goldsmith Levy: Two Sisters under One Roof

Like their brothers Eugene and Maurice, Rose (sometimes Rosa) and Florence Goldsmith lived together for much of their lives, including their adult lives even though both married. As we saw, Rose married Hans (Harry) Morgenstern in 1896, and Florence married Leo Levy in 1898, but in 1900, both daughters and their respective husbands were living with their parents Meyer and Helena and brothers Eugene, Maurice, and Samuel.

Meyer Goldsmith and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0780
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Thanks again to one of Meyer and Helena’s descendants, I have some lovely photographs of Rose and Florence and their husbands and, in Florence’s case, her children.

First, a photograph of Rose’s husband Hans Morgenstern taken on June 8, 1896, two months after his marriage to Rose:

Hans Morgenstern, June 8, 1896. Courtesy of the family

This photograph was taken in 1904 in Atlantic City of Florence and Leo, Rose, and Beatrice Stine, daughter of Bertha Hohenfels Stine, Helena Hohenfels Goldsmith’s sister:

Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern, Florence Goldsmith Levy, Leo Levy, and a cousin, Beatrice Stine. Courtesy of the family

Here is another photograph of Rose and Florence and their cousin Beatrice.

Florence Goldsmith Levy,  Beatrice Stine, and Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern. Courtesy of the family.

Rose and Hans were still living with her father Meyer and brothers Eugene and Maurice in 1910, but by that time Florence and Leo had moved to Queens where they were raising their three children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor, born between 1900 and 1908.

Meyer Goldsmith 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1028; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0739; FHL microfilm: 1375041
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Leo Levy and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Queens Ward 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T624_1068; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 1250; FHL microfilm: 1375081
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

But fate would bring Rose and Florence back under one roof again. Rose’s husband Hans died on June 1, 1914, at age 55.1 According to his death notice in the New York Times on June 3, 1914 (p. 13), he died suddenly. He left his entire estate to his “beloved wife, Rose G. Morgenstern.”

Last Will and Testament of Hans Morgenstern, Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923 (New York County); Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999

Rose did not have any children, and her parents were both deceased by 1914, so Rose moved to Queens to live with her younger sister Florence and her family; she is listed (as Morgan Stern) with them on the 1915 New York State census. Interestingly, both Rose and Leo are listed as merchants on this census record.

Leo Levy and family 1915 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 55; Assembly District: 03; City: New York; County: Queens; Page: 38
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915

Rose continued to live with Florence and Leo in Queens in 1920 (where Leo is once again described as a lawyer by occupation) along with their children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor. Richard was a student at Dartmouth College at the time, and Helen was at Wellesley.

Leo Levy and family 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Queens Assembly District 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T625_1236; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 378, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

During the 1920s, two of Florence and Leo’s children married. First, on February 7, 1924, Helen Levy married Herbert M. Harris in New York City.2 Herbert was born in Brooklyn on November 28, 1889, the son of Moses J. and Annie Harris, both of whom were first-generation Americans. Herbert’s father was a lawyer, and in 1920, Herbert was in the clothes manufacturing business.3 Helen and Herbert had one child born in 1925.

Then on March 26, 1928, Richard Goldsmith Levy married Malvene Frankel, who was born either in Austria or Czechoslovakia, depending on the record.4 She was the daughter of David Frankel and Helen Marks, both born in Hungary. David Frankel was a rabbi.5 Some records say Malvene was born in 1903, others say 1907. I am not sure which is correct.  According to a passport application filed by Malvene’s brother Arthur in 1920, the family arrived in 1910.6  A little over two months after marrying Malvene, Richard graduated from New York University Law School, following in his father Leo’s footsteps.7

In 1930, Florence and Leo were living with their daughter Eleanor and Florence’s sister Rose at 10 West 86th Street. Leo was practicing law and Eleanor was a law student. For a woman to be a law student in 1930 was quite unusual. A family member told me that Eleanor enjoyed the intellectual challenges of law and clerked for her father for a few years, but was not interested in law practice. I certainly can relate to that, having left law practice myself after just four years.

Leo Levy and family 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0448, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Florence and Leo’s daughter Helen and her family were living at 59 West 71st in New York City in 1930, and Helen’s husband Herbert Harris listed his occupation as dress manufacturer on the 1930 census. According to the family source, he and his brother made a line of moderately priced ready-to-wear clothing for working women that became quite popular and were known as Harris Classics.8

On the 1930 census, Richard Levy and his wife, now using the name Maureen, were living in the Panama Canal Zone, where Richard was an attorney and Maureen a legal stenographer in Panama City.9  One of the cases that Richard successfully litigated involved a criminal libel claim brought against his client, Nelson Rounsevell, the publisher of the Panama American, for referring to the commanding officer of Fort Clayton in the Canal Zone, Colonel J.V. Heidt, as Adolf Hitler for “brutally driving enlisted personnel in the tropics to suicide.”  The judge issued a directed verdict in favor of Richard’s client, concluding that there was insufficient evidence linking the newspaper article to Colonel Heidt. Richard also represented Standard Oil during his time in the Canal Zone, according to the family.10

From the family member I also learned that in 1932 or 1933, Eleanor Levy married David R. Climenko, son of Hyman Climenko and Rose Neborsky. David was born in New York City on August 28, 1906.11 His father was a well-regarded neurologist who died when David was only fourteen. His mother became an activist for widowed mothers, seeking support from President Roosevelt in 1934.12 The family member told me that David went to Dartmouth, where he met Eleanor’s brother Richard, who introduced them.

The New York Times, December 7, 1920, p. 17.

After graduating from Dartmouth, David went to the University of Edinburgh as a Carnegie Fellow, where he received both a Ph.D  and a medical degree by the time he was 24. David then received a teaching position at the University of Edmonton in Calgary, Canada, where he and Eleanor married and first lived.  Eleanor and David had three children, one of whom died when he was only four years old. His name was Peter Gregory Climenko; he was born March 10, 1935, and died September 5, 1939.13 Here is a photograph of Peter with his grandmother Florence Levy:

Florence Goldsmith Levy and grandson Peter Climenko c. 1936. Courtesy of the family.

And here is a photograph of Eleanor Levy Climenko with her parents, Leo and Florence (Goldsmith) Levy, her son Peter, and  a nephew, the son of Herbert and Helen (Levy) Harris. I was happy to see this photograph of Leo as he died on November 9, 1937, probably not that long after this picture was taken; he was only 66 years old.

Eleanor (Levy) Climenko, Peter Climenko, nephew, Leo Levy, Florence (Goldsmith) Levy. Courtesy of the family.

After her husband Leo died, Florence continued to live at 246 West End Avenue with her sister Rose. Rose died on May 25, 1941; she was 71.14  Florence and her oldest sibling Eugene were at that point the only children of Meyer and Helena Goldsmith still living.

In 1940, Helen and Herbert Harris and their child were still living at 59 West 71st Street, and Herbert was still in the dress manufacturing business.15 According to his World War II draft registration in 1942, they were then living at 91 Central Park West.  Herbert’s business was called Harris Dress Company.

Herbert Harris, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

According to his registration for the draft in World War II, Richard Goldsmith Levy was still living in the Panama Canal Zone with his wife Maureen, and he was employed as a Quartermaster Supply Officer at the General Depot in Corozal in the Canal Zone.

Richard G Levy, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 138
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

In 1940, Eleanor and David Climenko were living in Albany, New York, with their children, and David was working as a pharmacologist at a chemical plant, Behr Manning.16 He also taught at Albany Medical College, according to a family source. Prior to that he had worked at Cold Spring Harbor Lab and taught at Cornell Medical School. Numerous newspaper articles reported on David’s research in the pharmaceutical field. In 1939, there were articles reporting on David’s work on a drug for the treatment of tuberculosis (before the development of the vaccine),17 and in 1942, there were reports on his work on a non-addictive form of morphine. 18 Unfortunately, that medication, Demerol, eventually proved to be just as addictive as morphine.

From November 2, 1942, until January 23, 1946, David served as a captain in the medical corps of the US Army during World War II.19 Tragically, he died on October 9, 1947. David was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.20

Richard Goldsmith Levy made a name for himself in 1952 with the publication of his book, Why Women Should Rule the World (Vantage Press, 1952). Although his message was based in part on some sexist stereotypes of women, he was quite serious about his view that women would make better politicians and leaders of government and of business as well. There were several different articles about Richard and his book published in newspapers around the country.

For example, Inez Robb of INS wrote the following:21

“In those significant periods in history when women have ruled states, nations or empires, those political entities have enjoyed unparalleld periods of peace and prosperity,” Mr. Levy declared.

“Look to the times of Queen Elizabeth I of England, to Victoria, to Isabella of Spain, Catherine the Great of Russia, of Queen Margaret of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, or Hatshepsut of Egypt!” he commanded.

To hear him tell it, their countries never had it so good before or since these girls put their respective hands to the throttle. Most of the time these nations have been in trouble because masculine rulers have run them either into the ground or behind the eight ball.

What comes of a masculine ruled and dominated society? What comes, says Mr. Levy in his book and in person, is war, murder, bloodshed, strife, misery, unhappiness, destruction and taxes, taxes, taxes.

“Men are pugnacious, impractical, romantic and stupid,” Mr. Levy snapped.

“Women have a natural aptitude for governing,” he continued.  They are tidy and good housekeepers. Government, by large, is housekeeping on a big scale.

“Politics is woman’s natural forte. Men, as politicians, are hypocrites from head to toe.”

In another article, written by Dorothy Roe, women’s editor of Associated Press, there are similar quotes and assertions. Here are a few that shed further light on Richard Levy’s views:22

The way to accomplish this feminine utopia, says Levy, is for the girls to start a women’s party. The conventional political parties, he feels, are too hidebound ever to endorse petticoat rule. He feels this step should be taken right away—before the 1952 political conventions if possible. Says he:

“If women don’t take over this generation, there won’t be a next generation.”…

Asked who is going to cook, sweep and darn socks while Papa is out fighting duels or exploring wildernesses and Mamma is running the nation’s government and business, he says:

“This is the mechanical age. Housekeeping should be done by machinery. The modern mechanics of keeping house aren’t sufficient to employ even a fraction of the energy and intelligence of an average modern woman.”

He certainly was ahead of his time; I wonder what he would have thought of Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, and Golda Meir and of the 2016 US Presidential election and its aftermath.

Unfortunately, Richard did not live to see any of those women leaders. He was killed in a car accident in Mexico on January 6, 1954. He was 51 years old.

Richard G Levy death record, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.; NAI Number: 302021; Record Group Title: General Records of the Department of State; Record Group Number: Record Group 59; Series Number: Publication A1 205; Box Number: 915; Box Description: 1950-1954 Mexico I – Mc

Florence Goldsmith Levy died on September 18, 1954, just eight months after her son Richard; she was 81 years old.23 She was survived by her daughters Helen and Eleanor and three grandchildren. Helen died in September 1970,24 her husband Herbert Harris had predeceased her in August, 1966.25 Eleanor died on December 18, 1975. She was buried with her husband David Climenko at Arlington National Cemetery.26

So like their brothers Eugene and Maurice, Rose and Florence Goldsmith shared a home and a life for many, many years. They weathered much heartbreak together, but also much joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate 17784. 
  2. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:247M-1BL : 10 February 2018), Herbert M. Harris and Helen C. Levy, 07 Feb 1924; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,643,076. 
  3. Herbert Harris World War II draft registration card, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Moses Harris and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 22, Kings, New York; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0353. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Herbert Harris, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 1, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1143; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 8. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WP-VL4 : 10 February 2018), Richard G. Levy and Malvene Frankel, 26 Mar 1928; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,341. 
  5. David Frankel and family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 6, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1195; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 485.Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  6. Arthur Frankel passport application,National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1101; Volume #: Roll 1101 – Certificates: 183126-183499, 11 Mar 1920-11 Mar 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. 
  7. “Degrees Conferred on 2,759 at N.Y. University,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 06 Jun 1928, Wed, Page 29. 
  8. Herbert M Harris and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0393. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  9. RIchard G. Levy, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Ancon, Balboa District, Panama Canal Zone; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0001. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  10. “Editor in Canal Zone Acquitted of Charge Brought by Army Officer,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Sep 1935, Fri, Page 4. 
  11.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, Certificate 42449. 
  12. “Homes for ‘Forgotten Mothers’ Urged on Roosevelt as Federal Project,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 22, 1934, p. 4. 
  13. Birth record of Peter Climenko, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017. Original data: New York City Department of Health. Certificate 6518. Death notices, New York Times, September 6, 1939. 
  14. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WRF-TGZ : 11 February 2018), Mayar Goldsmith in entry for Rose G. Morgenstern, 25 May 1941; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,130,231. 
  15. Herbert and Helen Harris, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02637; Page: 21B; Enumeration District: 31-599. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [ 
  16. David Climenko and family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Bethlehem, Albany, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02456; Page: 62B; Enumeration District: 1-6. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  17. “New Drug Tried in Tuberculosis,” The Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1939, p. 11. 
  18. “A Substitute for Morphine,” Des Moines Tribute, April 1, 1942, p. 2. 
  19.  Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. 
  20. Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. 
  21. Inez Robb, “Men Botch Job—Let Women Rule,” Omaha World Herald, April 27, 1952, p. 72. 
  22. Dorothy Roe, “Petticoat Party Urged to Strive for Nation’s Rule,” Stamford (CT) Daily Advocate, April 28, 1952, p.2. 
  23. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965. Certificate 19245. 
  24.  Number: 103-26-6470; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  25.  Number: 111-22-7525; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  26. Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/64537577 

16 thoughts on “Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern and Florence Goldsmith Levy: Two Sisters under One Roof

  1. I still love this branch of your family. I love that she went to law school. I cannot imagine living in the Panama Canal Zone in those days. It would have been so hot! But such history. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The photo taken in Atlantic City of Florence, Rose, Beatrice and Leo made me smile…those hots are fantastic! Peter’s passing must have brought such sadness. The smile on Florence’s face holding him radiates pure love. I love Richard Levy – his book could be a best seller today! I may have to locate and order this one too. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am tempted to write a comment about Richard Goldsmith’s book “Why women should rule the world”. But to keep things short, I would like to state that he would have truly been delighted to see so many women succeed in the world of politics and power in our present era.
    I was delighted to see the outstanding portraits of your family. In contrast to other old family photos the persons appear relaxed and even smiling. The three graces above are a visual treat, Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love those photos also, Peter—thank you! I am so grateful that my newly found cousin shared them with me. I’d love to read Richard’s whole book to see just how he backed up his assertions! I am also curious what made him write it in the first place. Thanks as always for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can appreciate Rose and Florence living together. Two of my great-grandfather’s siblings (a brother and sister) never married and lived in their parents’ old home until they each passed away. It seems it was a very practical option and preferable to living alone.

    Liked by 1 person

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