Milton Goldsmith’s Album, Part XVII: The Contrasting Lives of His Sisters Rose and Estella

In his family album, Milton devoted several pages to his sisters Rose and Estella. Their life stories show a contrast between the more traditional path of wife and mother taken by Rose and the untraditional path chosen by Estella and give us insights into how women lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Rose was five years younger than Milton, born in 1866. She married Sidney Morris Stern in 1892 and had three sons. Here is the page Milton dedicated to his sister Rose and her husband Sidney.

It includes a biography of Sidney written by Milton that fills in some background to Sidney’s life that I had not previously known.

There is also an obituary for Rose, who died in 1931 at the age of 64.

Here is a closer view of the biographical information in her obituary:

The Beth Israel Association of the Deaf honored Rose for her volunteer efforts on behalf of the deaf and presented a portrait to hang in her honor at their meeting place. It’s a shame that we don’t have a photograph of the portrait.

But my favorite part of this page is the photograph of Rose and Sidney, which I edited a bit to enhance the clarity of the photograph, as I have with several of the photographs below:


In one of the other albums, I found this lovely photograph of Rose on her graduation day:

Rose lived a comfortable and meaningful life, raising three sons and making a difference in the lives of many through her various volunteer activities.

As noted above, whereas Rose lived a fairly traditional life for a woman of her times, her younger sister Estella chose a road less traveled. Milton created two pages for his youngest full sister Estella (also known as Estelle and Stella). Here is the first:

Milton wrote a sweet biography of Stella that mentions not only her work as a teacher but also the camp she created for girls in the Adirondacks.

The page includes several photographs of the camp as well as two photographs of Stella, who does not look at all fat, despite Milton’s description in the biography.



The second page dedicated to Stella has a childhood photograph of her, a handwritten description of her 80th birthday celebration as well as a photograph of that celebration, and her obituary.


Here is the note describing the 80th birthday party and the photograph. I assume that is Milton reading a poem he wrote for his little sister and that sitting to his right is “Stella” herself.

Stella, Celebrated her 80th birthday, Jan’y 20, 1950. A large gathering (41) of relations, cousins, nieces, &c assembled at the Hotel Warwick in Phila to honor her. Speeches, toasts were given. At 80, Stella is well preserved and still active. Her hearing is bad, and she has difficulty in walking. She has a host of devoted friends. Milton, Rosalind & Mickey attended the festivities. She lives at the Majestic Hotel, Phila, and has a companion to look afer her.

Although Milton focused on Estelle’s career and volunteer activity, there was much, much more to tell about her life. I located an additional photograph of Estelle in one of the other albums and these clippings from a news article about her. You have to read that article. It belies the old myth that a single woman is an “old maid” to be pitied.


What an incredibly exciting and interesting life Estelle lived! She traveled all over the world, including to China, India, Egypt, and what was then Palestine, now Israel. She met the Pope, climbed mountains, rode an elephant and a camel, and observed Yom Kippur at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. She was a woman of many interests and with many friends. Hers was no ordinary life.

And finally, here is Stella’s obituary.

What is intriguing about the inclusion of this obituary is that Stella did not die until 1968, eleven years after Milton’s death in 1957. Who added this to the album? It had to be one of her many nieces and nephews and probably one of Milton’s daughters. But it is, as far as I can tell, the only thing added to the album after Milton’s death.

I am so grateful to my cousin Milton for preserving for posterity so much of the Goldsmith family history so that the stories of Rose and Estelle and the different choices they made can live on forever.

This is Part XVII of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X, Part XI, Part XII Part XIII , Part XIV , Part XV  and Part XVI at the links.



33 thoughts on “Milton Goldsmith’s Album, Part XVII: The Contrasting Lives of His Sisters Rose and Estella

  1. I also liked the portrait of Rose and her husband. From her photos, I am getting the impression of a determined, strong-willed but very kind woman, who accomplished a lot in her life in a time, when many women played a domestic role only. Her accomplishments are truly remarkable, Amy


    • Yes, I think all the Goldsmith siblings were quite strong as well as intelligent and successful. Rose may not have had a traditional career, but she added a lot to the lives of others.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was fascinated by the picture of Rose with the bouquet of flowers fastened above the stomach. The first time I saw a photo like that was yesterday! On Genealogy Just Ask page on Facebook, someone posted a picture of two couples and the women had those strangely placed bouquets. People were speculating on whether it was a wedding picture or what—since this one is a graduation, it must have been a (short-lived) custom for any kind of celebration! As to Stella–terrific life!
    Have you learned anything about the woman Stella started the camp with and the woman she traveled with? I can’t help wondering about those relationships.


    • I have never seen that kind of bouqet either—but it looked beautiful on Rose. I love that photograph.

      As for Stella’s companions, I did see what I could learn about them, but nothing popped out of great interest. Her regular travel companion was a woman named Carrie Teller Kuhn, who was related by marriage to Rose Goldsmith Stern’s son (his wife’s aunt). I don’t know whether she was the companion living with Estelle at the time of her 80th birthday in 1950. Carrie died a few years after that. I don’t know whether their relationship was more than a good friendship. People were obviously very secretive about such things back then.


  3. Both of these woman Rose and Estelle lived remarkable lives. With my two deaf great grandparents I was struck by the work Estelle did within the deaf community both here and abroad. Again, Milton’s album, the fact it survived, and shared with you – one of the most precious gifts I have had the opportunity to view. Loved all the pictures, everything about this posting

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sharon. There were a number of people in Milton’s extended family who did work for the deaf, and one of his daughters married a man who was hearing impaired. And I agree—it is a precious gift.


  4. Hi Amy, what a delight it must have been for you reading Milton’s carefully documented album of his sister’s lives. More people should do this and write it all down! Estella was very much ahead of her time with travel, and driven to help people within the deaf organisations. What an admirable and fulfilling life she led.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right—-we should all be keeping notes and making albums for our families. I focus only on my long-dead relatives and neglect those who are still here. And I agree—Estella was a woman far ahead of her times. Thanks, Shirley!


  5. Wow, fabulous info! Rose had such beautiful eyes–what a pretty girl. Stella, what a life she led! It does always make me wonder though what prompted a woman NOT to marry in those days since the default position was marriage. How did one come to that decision, if one did, and then go about sticking with it. If that makes any sense . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your cousin Milton created a special gift by carefully curating all of that information. I love the picture of Rose and Sidney and the one of Estella as a child. I was curious about the work Stella did for the deaf and whether anything or anyone in particular inspired her, but I see from your other response that it was something in which many of the family members were involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does seem to have been a concern that several family members became involved with, and I’ve wondered what inspired them. Perhaps a relative or friend who was hearing impaired.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy, Thank you so much for sharing this. I can confirm that the man standing and reading a poem at Aunt Stella’s 80th birthday was my grandfather, Milton Goldsmith.

    The two buildings at Camp Woodmere pictured in the album were still there when I went to camp Woodmere in the late 1950s and when my kids went to camp there many many years later although by the time they went they went it had a new name and was co-ed. I think that as long as Aunt Stella ran Camp Woodmere each of her nieces was given one free summer at camp. By the time I went Aunt Stella and Miss Kuhn no longer owned the camp but it was still Camp Woodmere and it was still wonderful.

    I have a very small painting of Paradox Lake that Aunt Ros (Rosalind Goldsmith) did when she was there.

    If any Goldsmith relative are reading this blog I would love to hear from you and if you went to Camp Woodmere please share your memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, thank you for sharing that information, and I hope someone finds the post and can share memories with you. I know that camp was a huge part of my childhood and adolescence. Do you know what is there now? Also, someone asked about the camp that was created in memory of Emily Goldsmith in PA. I wrote to the town and asked for information, but got no response.


      • It is still a summer camp now Southwoods.

        This link will take you to Camp Woodmere shortly after I went there.The director Mrs Lester Steppacher who everyone called “Aunt Dolly” and was not a Goldsmith relative ran the camp with “Aunt Minna.”

        This next link is Camp Woodmere many years later when Aunt Dolly’s daughter ran the camp.

        Unfortunately when Mrs. Bonwit, “Aunt Mickey” retired her daughter did not want to take over. It was sold and is now


        Both of my kids went to Southwoods so they were the third generation of Goldsmith descendents to go to camp there. The owners added a lot more cabins and the camp is much bigger and is now co-ed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing these! I love reading about camps, and seeing the changes from the early brochure to the current website is fascinating. I assume they no longer have to wear uniforms and I saw no mention of the “short, impressive religious services on Saturday mornings.” It also seems to have almost three times the campers it once had.

        Do you know anything about the camp that was established in memory of Milton’s sister Emily in Pennsylvania? I wrote to the town where it was located for information, but never heard back.


  8. I was also fascinated by the placement of the bouquet. I’m going to keep my eyes open for that in the future. I’m so glad someone added the items to the album after Milton’s death.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: The Things You Can’t Learn from Genealogy Records Alone: Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XVIII | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  10. Pingback: Friday's Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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