Estelle Goldsmith: Woman of the World

The last child born to Abraham Goldsmith and his first wife Cecelia Adler before Cecelia’s untimely death in 1874 was their daughter Estelle. Estelle was born on January 20, 1870, in Philadelphia,1 and was only four when her mother died. Estelle was born in time to be listed on the 1870 census with her parents, her five older siblings, and her maternal grandparents, Samuel and Sarah Adler. (Her name is misspelled here as Estella.)

Abraham Goldsmith and Family 1870 census

And in 1880 she is listed with her father, her stepmother Frances Spanier, her four surviving full siblings (Milton, Edwin, Rose, and Emily) and her two younger half-siblings, Alfred and Bertha.

Abraham Goldsmith and family 1880 US census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Page: 60A; Enumeration District: 202
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

Estelle graduated from the Philadelphia Normal School in 1890.  On January 27, 1895, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Estelle had been selected to become the eighth grade teacher at the Madison School in Philadelphia. She remained there for 25 years.2

The Philadelphia newspapers, the social media of that era, published a number of articles in the 1890s in which Estelle is mentioned as one of many attending various social and cultural events in Philadelphia. The papers also reported on Estelle’s travels. In 1896, the Philadelphia Times reported that she and three other women were traveling to New England together,3 and in 1897, she traveled to Europe with one of those same three, Julia Friedberger, who was her brother Edwin’s sister-in-law.

The Philadelphia Times, June 27, p. 26.

The 1900 census reported that Estelle, who was working as a school teacher, continued to live in Philadelphia with her father, stepmother, and her four younger half-siblings, Alfred, Bertha, Alice, and Louis. Her older siblings were by that time all married.

Abraham Goldsmith and family 1900 census
Philadelphia Ward 12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Enumeration District: 0208
Description
Enumeration District: 0208; Description: Philadelphia City Pa, 12th Ward, 6th Division, bounded by Green, Chat ham, Buttonwood, 5th, Noble, 6th,
Source Information
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Estelle is not listed in the Philadelphia directories between 1900 and 1910, but the Philadelphia newspapers reported some of her activities, including her attendance at various social events and her trip in 1906 to visit her brother Milton in New York City.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 1906, p. 44.

In 1910, her parents now both deceased, Estelle was living with her older sister Rose and Rose’s husband Sidney Stern and their three sons. Estelle continued to be employed as a public school teacher. In June 1913, she traveled on a steamer to Plymouth, England, Cherbourg, France, and Bremen, Germany, with many others from Philadelphia.4 I wonder whether in her travels she visited Oberlistingen and the Goldschmidts who still lived there.

Estelle Goldsmith living with Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern and family, 1910 US census
Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1193; FHL microfilm: 1375426
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In February 1920 she and three other women traveled to Puerto Rico. One of those women, Carrie Teller Kuhn, was connected to Estelle in two different ways. First, she was the step-aunt of Gladys Fliegelman, the young woman who would marry Estelle’s nephew, Allan Goldsmith Stern, in 1929. Second, in 1930, Carrie Teller Kuhn was a lodger in the household of Sidney Goldsmith Rice, who was Estelle’s first cousin, once removed. Sidney was the grandson of Jacob Goldsmith, who was the brother of Estelle’s father Abraham.

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 7, 1920, p. 9.

In 1920, Estelle was still living with her sister Rose Goldsmith Stern and her family, but Estelle had changed careers.  She was now the director of a girl’s camp, which, according to her obituary, was Camp Woodmere for Girls in Paradox, New York, a camp that Estelle had co-founded in 1916.5

Estelle continued to travel in the 1920s.  In 1922 she traveled to China and Japan for several months with Carrie Teller Kuhn, as reported in the Philadelphia Evening Ledger on December 4, 1922. Here is her passport photograph from her passport application before that trip:

Estelle Goldsmith, 1922 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2040; Volume #: Roll 2040 – Certificates: 196350-196725, 23 Jun 1922-23 Jun 1922. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

And in 1925 she and Carrie again traveled together, this time to Le Havre, France; in 1928, they traveled to Naples, Italy.6

In 1930, Estelle continued to live with her sister Rose and brother-in-law Sidney Stern; now her occupation was recorded as director of a hosiery mill.  I was surprised by this change in career, given that Estelle was now sixty years old. Perhaps she was working for Thomas Holmes Manufacturing, the company founded by her nephew Henry Friedberger Goldsmith. Or perhaps this is a mistake and she was still the camp director, as her obituary seems to suggest.7

By 1940, Estelle’s situation had changed.  Her sister Rose Goldsmith Stern had died in 1931, and her sister-in-law Jennie, wife of Estelle’s brother Edwin, had died in 1933. In 1940, Estelle, her brother Edwin, and her brother-in-law Sidney Stern were all living at the Majestic Hotel in Philadelphia.

Estelle Goldsmith, Edwin Goldsmith, and Sidney Stern, 1940 US Census, Majestic Hotel, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

In March 1944, Estelle and her brother Edwin were among 400 hundred residents evacuated from the Majestic when a six-alarm fire broke out in the upper levels of the hotel.8 Edwin died just seven months later. (Sidney had died in 1942.) At that point Estelle had outlived four of her siblings: Hilda (who had died as a child), Emily (1917), Rose (1931), and Edwin (1944).

In fact, Estelle outlived all nine of her siblings, including her four younger half-siblings. She died on May 7, 1968, at age 98.9 According to her obituary she was at that time the oldest member of her synagogue, Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, an honorary vice-president of the Friends of the Deaf, and a member of the Council of Jewish Women.10

Estelle had lived a long life and a full life, a life that was not typical of women of her times. She had not married or had children, but instead had had two careers. She had been a teacher for 25 years, then a camp director for another 25 years.  She had traveled all over the world. She had lived from shortly after the Civil War, through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the upheaval and many social changes of the 1960s.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to sit down with Estelle and ask her about her life and her observations over nearly a century of living? What questions would you ask her?


I will be taking a short break from blogging over the next two weeks. When I return, I will be writing about Abraham Goldsmith’s four children with his second wife, Frances Spanier.  See you then!

 


  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VB13-5S4 : 9 March 2018), Estelle Goldsmith, 20 Jan 1870; citing bk 1870 p 231, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,312. 
  2. The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 27, 1895, p. 3; “Estelle Goldsmith Dies; Ex-Teacher, 98,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1968, p. 31. 
  3. The Philadelphia Times, July 19, 1896, p. 27. 
  4. The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 21, 1913, p. 3. 
  5. Estelle Goldsmith, 1920 Census,  Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1646; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1791. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.  “Estelle Goldsmith Dies; Ex-Teacher, 98,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1968, p. 31.  
  6.  Year: 1925; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3591; Line: 30; Page Number: 7; Year: 1928; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4398; Line: 24; Page Number: 48. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  7. Estelle Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0397. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  8. “Majestic Hotel Swept by Six-Alarm Fire,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1944, p. 1. 9. 
  9.  Number: 183-36-9987; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1962.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  10.  “Estelle Goldsmith Dies; Ex-Teacher, 98,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1968, p. 31.  

Emily Goldsmith, Author: “She opened her mouth in wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue.”

Emily Goldsmith was the fourth child of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler to live to adulthood. She was born in Philadelphia on April 30, 1868.1  Her mother died on November 8, 1874, when Emily was only six years old.

On January 28, 1892, Emily married Felix Napoleon Gerson, the son of Aron Gerson and Eva Goldsmith—who was not related to my Goldsmith family, as I wrote about here. According to his entry in Who’s Who in Pennsylvania, Felix went to Philadelphia public schools and then studied civil engineering; in the 1880s he served in the department of the Chief Clerk, Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, and then in 1891 he changed careers and became the managing editor of Chicago Israelite.  In 1892, Felix became the managing editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

Emily and Felix’s first child Cecelia was born on October 27, 1892.2  She must have been named for her grandmother, Emily’s mother Cecelia Adler Goldsmith. A second daughter, Dorothy, was born on June 2, 1897.3

I was delighted to discover that Emily, like her older brother Milton, was an author of children’s stories, books, and plays. Beginning in the 1890s, Emily contributed children’s stories regularly to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent where her husband Felix was the managing editor. I counted over twenty stories written by Emily that were published between 1895 and 1899.

For example, on April 17, 1896, (p. 5), the Jewish Exponent published Emily’s story, “Joseph’s Toy Theater,” about a little boy who received a toy theater as a gift and refuses to share it with his sister. When the puppets in the theater come to life at night, he hears them criticizing his selfishness and threatening to punish him. He then goes to his sister’s room and gives her one of the puppets from the theater. (The illustration below is by Alice B. Ewing and appeared when this story was republished in The Picture Screen, as discussed below.)

On October 9, 1896, (p. 5) the Jewish Exponent published “Helping Mother,” another of Emily’s short stories, this one about a little girl who helped her mother by playing on her own while her mother worked.

These and the other stories written by Emily Goldsmith Gerson and published in the Jewish Exponent are quite short and usually have some lesson teaching children about good behavior. In addition to her stories, Emily also wrote plays for children to perform for the Jewish holidays such as Purim and Hanukkah.4

In 1900, Emily, Felix, and their daughters were living in Philadelphia., and Felix was working as an editor. Emily did not report an occupation, but she continued to contribute her stories during the next decade.

Emily and Felix Gerson and family 1900 US Census
Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0433
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Emily not only continued to write short stories for the Jewish Exponent; she also published books and plays for children. Her earliest published book was The Picture Screen, published by George W. Jacoby & Co. in 1904. According to this brief description in the list of suggested Christmas books in Book News, the book is a “unique juvenile consisting of stories told about the pictures on a big picture screen. A little girl’s mother tells her and her brother the tales while the little girl lies helpless with a sprained ankle.”5

The book reached an audience far beyond Philadelphia, as seen in this review that appeared in the Buffalo Enquirer on July 9, 1904 (p. 2):

Buffalo Enquirer, July 9, 1904, p. 2.

I obtained a copy of the book, and it is as described in the reviews. Some of the stories the mother tells the children are stories Emily had previously published, including the one about Joseph and the toy theater that I described above. They all teach the children something about being a good person. The book was dedicated to Emily’s daughters, Cecelia and Dorothy.

Then in 1906, Emily published A Modern Esther and Other Stories for Jewish Children (Julius H. Greenstone, Philadelphia, 1906), another collection of short stories and two short plays; she dedicated the book to her father Abraham, who had died just a few years before. The title story is about a girl born somewhere in a shtetl in Europe, the daughter of the rabbi, who bravely goes to the local governor to stop the anti-Semitic attacks on her family and community. Many of the stories have a religious theme; for example, one is about a little girl discovering faith in God, and several are about God saving families from poverty or from illness. Often the stories are connected to a Jewish holiday. You can find this collection of Emily’s works online here.

The reviewer for the New York Times wrote that “the author’s object is not so much fiction as the encouragement of piety and the teaching of the simpler lessons of the faith to which she belongs, to show how pleasant and profitable it is—in the end—to do those things which are commanded, how faith and honest and kindness win their sure reward, and how wickedness is punished…..Naturally the stories are of extreme artlessness—-but all of us in our time have read stories of like artlessness not without eager ears and open eyes.”6

Emily also published several of her holiday plays for children, including Ten Years After, A Purim Play (1909), A Delayed Birthday, a play for Hanukkah published by Bloch Publishing Company in 1910, and The Purim Basket, another Purim play published by Bloch Publishing Company in 1914.

Emily’s daughter Dorothy seems to have enjoyed theater also. In March 1914, when she was sixteen, she appeared on stage in a production put on by the French department of Girls High School in Philadelphia.7 That is Dorothy on the far left.

Emily’s career as a children’s author was, however, cut short. She died from pancreatic and liver cancer on November 28, 1917.  She was only 49 years old and was survived by her husband Felix and her two daughters. She was also survived by her eight of her nine siblings, the other surviving children of Abraham Goldsmith.

Emily Goldsmith Gerson death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 121031-124420
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

But Emily was not forgotten. A camp for underprivileged Jewish girls was established in her memory, known as the Emily G. Gerson Farm.8  In 1920, her synagogue, Keneseth Israel in Philadlephia, dedicated a stained-glass window in her memory. In reporting on the dedication, the Dallas Jewish Monitor stated that Emily had been the first president of the Keneseth Israel Sisterhood and was “deeply interested in all things appertaining to the good and welfare of the Temple.”9

Stained glass window dedicated in memory of Emily Goldsmith Gerson in 1920 by Keneseth Israel Congregation as depicted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 2004, p. C04

The window still exists and was depicted in the Philadelphia Inquirer on December 5, 2004, when it was being being exhibited at Congregation Keneseth Israel’s Judaica museum in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.   The caption under the photograph of the window stated that it was presented with the inscription from Proverbs 31:26: “She opened her mouth in wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue.”10

The 1920 census reported that Emily’s widower Felix continued to work as a newspaper editor. Her daughters were also working. Cecelia, now 27, was a secretary in a doctor’s office, and Dorothy, 22, was a public school teacher.11

Later that year Cecelia married Malvin Herman Reinheimer in Philadelphia.12 Malvin was the son of Samuel Reinheimer and Julia Lebach and was born in Cameron, West Virginia, on January 26, 1891. His father was in the wholesale clothing business. Malvin graduated from Swarthmore College in 1912 where Cecelia had also been a student; perhaps she met him there. Malvin then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1915 and was practicing law in 1920 and living in Philadelphia with his father and sisters. He had served stateside in the US military during World War I.13

On November 29, 1921, Cecelia and Malvin had their first child, a daughter they named Emily Gerson Reinheimer in memory of Cecelia’s mother Emily Goldsmith Gerson.14   A second child was born a few years later.

Meanwhile, Dorothy revealed that she had some of her mother’s writing talents when she won a prize for best limerick in 1921:

“Clever Line for ‘Movie’ Lim’rick,” Philadelphia Evening Ledger, January 13, 1921, p. 1.

The 1930 census record for Felix and Dorothy is a complete mystery. First, it has Dorothy listed as Felix’s wife and says Felix was 38 when in fact Felix was 68.  It says Felix was 31 when they first married, and Dorothy was 26. Then it says Felix was a salesman in a dress shop, and it has no occupation listed for Dorothy.  There were also four men lodging with them. How much of this can I trust? Is this a different Dorothy and Felix Gerson? Not likely—they were still living at 3415 Race Street, the same place they were living in 1920.

Felix Gerson and Dorothy Gerson 1930 census, image modified
Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 27A; Enumeration District: 0397
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

There is no indication from any other records that Felix had left his newspaper career or that Dorothy had stopped working. In fact, the 1930 Philadelphia city directory lists Dorothy as an advertising manager for Oppeheim Collins & Company and Felix as the president-manager of the Jewish Exponent.15 That 1930 census record indicated that Dorothy was the person providing the information to the enumerator—would she have lied about her relationship with her father, his age, and their occupations? Or was the enumerator just sloppy? I don’t know.

Fortunately, there was no confusion in the 1930 census record for Cecelia Gerson and her husband Malvin Reinheimer and their children. They were all living in Philadelphia where Malvin continued to practice law.16

After almost twenty years of being a widower, Felix remarried at age 73.  On August 31, 1936, he married Emma Brylawski, who was also an editor and journalist at the Jewish Exponent.17

Not long afterwards, in about May, 1937, Felix’s daughter Dorothy Gerson moved to Middletown, Connecticut, where she was working as an advertising manager for Wrubel’s Department Store, according to the Jewish Exponent of February 25, 1938.

The 1940 census records for Felix and his daughters show that Felix and his second wife Emma were living in Philadelphia without any listed occupation,18 that Dorothy was an advertising manager living in Middletown, Connecticut,19 and that Cecelia and her family were living in Philadelphia where Malvin was still working as an attorney.20

Cecelia lost her husband Malvin to renal failure and other illnesses on October 24, 1944; he was only 54 years old.21 Then she and her sister Dorothy lost their father Felix a year later on December 31, 1945; Felix was 83 years old.22 Eleven years later on August 12, 1956, Cecelia died at age 63 from lung cancer. She was survived by her two children and by her sister, Dorothy.23 Dorothy died at age 80 in January 1978.24

Emily Goldsmith Gerson’s story is in many ways such a sad one. She lost her mother Cecelia Adler Goldsmith when she was only six years old. She named her first child Cecelia in memory of her mother. Then she herself died young, ending a promising career as a children’s writer and leaving behind her own daughters. Cecelia, the daughter named for Emily’s mother, then later named her first child for her own mother, Emily. The family’s alternating naming pattern reveals Emily’s sad story. But she left behind her works and her descendants, and I hope that by telling her story I have honored her memory.

 

 


  1. Emily Goldsmith Gerson, death certificate. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 121031-124420.
    Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 124162. 
  2.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 
  3.  Number: 161-05-1973; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. The Jewish Exponent, March 4, 1898, p. 8 (Purim play). The Jewish Exponent, December 8, 1899 p. 9 (Hanukkah play). 
  5. Book News (1905, Philadelphia), p. 361. 
  6. “For Jewish Children,” The New York Times, March 31, 1906, p. 21. 
  7. “High School Girls Give Merry Play,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 14, 1914, p.2. 
  8. “Emily G. Gerson Farm Dedicated,” The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, June 27, 1919, p. 2. 
  9. “Unveil Tribute to First President,” Dallas Jewish Monitor, June 25, 1920, p. 5. 
  10. “Hebrew Bible in Glass and Light,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 2004, p. C04. 
  11. Felix Gersons and daughters, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1627; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 688.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. Cecelia Gerson and Malvin Reinheimer marriage, 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. Marriage License Number: 432189. 
  13.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948; Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 091401-093950; Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935 (Swarthmore, 1912; University of Pennsylvania, 1915). 
  14. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. SSN: 180129263 
  15. Philadelphia City Directory, 1930, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  16. Malvin Reinheimer and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 1029. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  17.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate Number: 24190. 
  18. Felix and Emma Gerson, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03692; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 51-158. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  19. Dorothy Gerson, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut; Roll: m-t0627-00512; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 4-23. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  20. Malvin and Cecelia Reinheimer, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03754; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 51-2169. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  21. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 091401-093950. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 93778. 
  22.  Pennsylvania. Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 108301-110850. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 110070. 
  23. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 074701-077400. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 75270 
  24. Number: 161-05-1973; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Always Something New for Me to Learn: The “Hidden” Databases on FamilySearch

After writing about the two oldest sons of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecilia Adler, I am glad to be able to turn to their daughter Rose. Rose was born on October 19, 1866, in Philadelphia, and as I wrote here, she married Sidney Morris Stern on May 25, 1892, when she was 26. Sidney was born January 14, 1861, in Philadelphia, and was the son of Morris Stern and Matilda Bamberger, who were German-born immigrants. His father was in the retail clothing business.  Sidney was a jeweler.

(Am I the only one who finds it amusing that Sidney the jeweler married someone whose surname was Goldsmith?)

UPDATE: Thanks to a question asked by my cousin Jennifer about Sidney’s mother Matilda Bamberger, I discovered another twist in my crazy family tree. In looking to answer Jennifer’s question, I realized that I had two women named Matilda Bamberger on my tree, both married to Morris Stern. They were obviously duplicates.  Looking more closely, I realized that Matilda and Morris Stern’s daughter Clara Stern was the mother of Julian Simsohn, who married Edwin Goldsmith’s daughter Cecile. In another words, Cecile married the nephew of her Aunt Rose’s husband Sidney.

That earlier post also reported that Rose and Sidney’s first child, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern, was born on March 2, 1893. Two years later Rose gave birth to twin boys, Allan Goldsmith Stern and Howard Eugene Stern, on August 6, 1895. I could not find Rose and her family on the 1900 census despite having their address in 1899, 1900, and 1901, but based on listings in the Philadelphia directories for those years,1 I know that she was living in Philadelphia with her husband Sidney and their two younger sons, Allan and Howard. Sidney was in the jewelry business with his brother Eugene.

However, their oldest son Sylvan, who was seven at the time, was not living with them in 1900. He was living at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Philadelphia; according to the census record, he could not read, write or speak English at that time. From later records I learned that Sylvan was completely deaf.

Sylvan Stern, 1900 US Census
Pennsylvania Institution for Deaf and Dumb, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 1043
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

By 1910, however, Sylvan was living at home and could now read and write and was in school. The family continued to live in Philadelphia and was joined by Rose’s younger sister Estelle, who was working as a schoolteacher. Sidney listed his occupation as wholesale jeweler. They also had two servants living in the home, one doing “chamber work” and the other a cook:

Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern and family, 1910 US census
Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1193; FHL microfilm: 1375426
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1915, when he was 22, Sylvan was living in Riverton, New Jersey, in a household with four other men: two men from Holland whom I presume were brothers, Peter and Anthony Hooydonk, a German immigrant named Ferdinand Frohlich, and a Pennsylvania native named John Peguesse.  All five men were in their early twenties and all were working in the florist business. Riverton is a small residential community about fifteen miles from Philadelphia across the Delaware River.

Sylvan Stern 1915 New Jersey census
New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-06; Film Number: 8
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1915

While Sylvan was working in Riverton in 1915, his two younger brothers were in college: Allan was a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania,2 and his twin Howard was a student at Cornell University.3

In 1917-1918, all three of Rose and Sidney’s sons registered for the World War I draft. Sylvan reported that he was living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia, but working as a nurseryman in Riverton, New Jersey, for Henry A. Dreer, Inc. He also reported that he was totally deaf.

Sylvan Stern, World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50 Description Draft Card: S Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Allan was living at the same address and reported that he was a college student, and Howard, also living at the same address, was employed as a farm laborer by Florex Gardens in North Wales, Pennsylvania, which is about 25 miles from Philadelphia. Allan served in the Army’s Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC, from March 15, 1918, until January 8, 1919, when he was honorably discharged.4  I did not find any record of military service for Sylvan or Howard.

Allan Stern World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Howard Stern, World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In 1920, the whole family was still living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia. Sidney was retired at age 59, but his three sons were all employed. Sylvan and Howard were both working as florists in their own business, and Allan was employed as an electrical engineer. Rose’s sister Estelle was still living with them, now working as the director of a girls’ camp. 5

All three Stern brothers were married in the 1920s. First, on May 26, 1921, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern married Beatrice A. Osserman, the daughter of Simon E. Osserman and Dora Kessner in New York City. According to a source I found, Beatrice was, like Sylvan, deaf; she was born in New York City on October 30, 1899.  Her parents were immigrants from Russia/Latvia, and her father was in the real estate business in 1920.6  This news item from the Philadelphia Evening Ledger reported that one of the bridesmaids was Dorothy G. Gerson, Sylvan’s first cousin and the daughter of his mother’s sister, Emily Goldsmith Gerson.

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, May 23, 1921, p. 11

Sylvan and Beatrice had two children during the 1920s.

Howard Stern was the second son of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern to marry; in 1926 he married Madeline Kind Kohn,7 another Philadelphia native; she was born on June 3, 1898, the daughter of Joseph Kohn and Clara Kind.8 Madeline’s father was a shirt manufacturer. Here is Madeline’s high school yearbook picture from 1916:

Madeline Kind Kohn,
U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Record Book of William Penn High School for Girls June Class, 1916; Year: 1916
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Howard and Madeline would have two children.

The last son to marry was Allan Stern, and his wife’s story is quite tragic. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marriage Index on Ancestry reports that Allan married Gladys Fliegelman,9 daughter of Harry Fliegelman and Gussye Fridenberg, in 1928, but I learned an important lesson about that index while researching their marriage. More below.

Gladys was born on April 23, 1904, in Philadelphia.10  Two years later on June 30, 1906, her mother Gussye suffered complications after giving birth to a second child and died six weeks later on July 17, 1906, from parenchymatous nephritis or kidney disease.

Gussye Fliegeman death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 065461-068420
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Thus, Gladys lost her mother when she was just a toddler. Harry Fliegelman remarried in 1910, and in 1920, they were all living together in Philadelphia, where Harry was a furniture merchant.11

In 1924, Gladys graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women; her photograph appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer with some of her classmates. She is in the middle of the photograph on the right.

Gladys Fliegelman School of Design graduation,
The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 1924, p, 17

And then I thought that Allan and Gladys were married in 1928, as the Ancestry.com database indicated. But I was confused when I found this will that she wrote on January 30, 1929:

Gladys Fliegelman Stern will
Probate Records (District of Columbia), 1801-1930; Author: District of Columbia. Register of Wills; Probate Place: District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.

Gladys refers to herself as “a single woman, at present, and entering into a marriage with Allan G. Stern of Washington, District of Columbia, on January 31, 1929.” Since the Ancestry database of Philadelphia marriages indicated that they were married in 1928, why did she describe herself as single on January 30, 1929?

And this is where I learned something new. In discussing something completely different on the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page, a member there named Sharon Roth pointed out that FamilySearch has images of the Philadelphia marriage licenses and certificates.  They are not indexed for searching, but once you know the marriage license number from the index on Ancestry or FamilySearch, you can find the underlying documents by searching through the database of images by date and number.

This was a database that I could not find when I searched the FamilySearch records listings, so I am not sure how I would have found it without Sharon’s help. You can find the two databases here and here. Thank you to Sharon and to Amberly of The Genealogy Girl for showing me how to find these databases through the catalog on FamilySearch so that I now can find all these “hidden” databases. Amberly had actually blogged about this over a year ago, but I’d forgotten about her tips.  You can learn more from her blog here.

With this new information, I was able to find the license and the rabbi’s certificate of marriage for Allan and Gladys.  Now I know that although their marriage license was issued on December 31, 1928, they were not in fact married until January 31, 1929, the day after Gladys drew up her will.

Marriage record of Allan G. Stern and Gladys Fliegelmen, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, marriage records, Marriages, 568600-568799, 1928, pp. 358-359. FamilySearch.org

Returning to the will, its contents strike me as somewhat odd. Gladys bequeathed all her property and income to any issue she might have at the time of her death; that is, whereas one might assume that her husband would inherit before her children, Gladys wanted her estate to go directly to her children. Moreover, her will provides that if she died without issue, her sister would inherit all her personal possessions. Allan would only inherit 25% of her income and only for as long as he did not remarry. Gladys’ sister and brother would receive the other 75% of her income and the principal when Allan died.

Now call me a romantic, but this seems like a rather unromantic way to start a marriage—leaving your husband such a limited part of your estate.

Tragically, this will took on far more significance not long after Allan and Gladys married.  On February 6, 1930, a week after their first anniversary, Gladys took her own life by jumping from the seventh floor of Emergency Hospital in Washington; she had been a patient in the hospital for six months after an earlier suicide attempt when she had jumped from the fourth floor of the apartment building where she and Allan had been living. In its article about this tragedy, the Philadelphia Inquirer described her as a poetess.12  An article from a different paper reported that she had been “despondent because of poor health.”13

Thus, the new decade began on a heartbreaking note for the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern and their sons, especially for their son Allan.

I was not surprised that I could not find Allan on the 1930 census, although he is listed in the 1930 Washington, D.C., directory as an engineer for Fred S. Gichner, residing at 3100 Connecticut Avenue; in the 1931 directory he was still working at Fred S. Gichner, but now residing at 3405 Woodley Road.  On the 1930 census, I found a Gichner family living at 3405 Woodley Road so it would appear that Allan may have moved in with his employer’s family after his wife’s death, although he was not listed at either address on the 1930 census.14

The rest of the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern all continued to live in Philadelphia in 1930.  Sidney was retired,15 Sylvan was now working as a packer in a sporting goods business,16 and Howard was practicing law.17

Sadly, my cousin Rose Goldsmith Stern died less than a year after her daughter-in-law Gladys. Rose was 64 when she died on January 24, 1931, from heart disease: hypertension and arteriosclerosis leading to myocarditis and angina pectoris. Her obituary reported that she died from a heart attack. It also stated that Rose had been the manager of the Beth Israel Association for the Deaf and the national chairwoman of the Council of Jewish Women.18

Rose Goldsmith Stern death certificate,
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 001001-004000.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Rose was survived by her husband Sidney and her three sons and four grandchildren as well as seven of her siblings. Her husband Sidney continued to live in Philadelphia. In 1940 he was living in the Majestic Hotel where his sister-in-law Estelle Goldsmith and brother-in-law Edwin M. Goldsmith were also living.19 Sidney died on October 19, 1942, also of heart disease.20

Sylvan Stern and his family continued to live in Philadelphia in 1940, and Sylvan was still working as a packer in a sporting goods store at that time.21 According to his 1942 draft registration, his employer was Edward K. Tryon Company.22 Sylvan died on December 21, 1960.  He was 67 years old. He was survived by his wife and children and his two brothers.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Allan Goldsmith Stern remarried several years after the death of his first wife Gladys.  In 1940 he and his second wife Margaret were living in Washington, D.C., where Allan was an engineer for an ornamental iron company, which his draft registration revealed was still Fred S. Gichner Iron Works.23  I could not find any other information about Margaret, but in 1956 Allan married for a third time; his third wife was Alma Hollander.24

Allan Stern died on June 9, 1964, from cancer, according to his obituary in the Washington Evening Star. The obituary reported that in addition to his long career at Fred S. Gichner, Allan had been a founding member of the Beth El Congregation of Maryland and had helped establish the Kaufman Camp for Underprivileged Children on Chesapeake Bay. He was survived by his wife Alma and his brother Howard.25

Howard Stern was the only of Rose Goldsmith’s sons to live beyond his 60s. In 1940 he was living with his family in Philadelphia and practicing law, which his draft registration in 1942 revealed was his own practice.26 Howard died on July 10, 1989, just a few weeks short of his 94th birthday. He was survived by his children.27

The family of Rose Goldsmith Stern certainly faced a number of challenges. But overall, they appear to have been a family that overcame those challenges, found professional success, and gave back to society in many ways.

Thank you once again to Sharon and to Amberly for their help!

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Philadelphia city directories, 1899, 1900, 1901, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  2. University of Pennsylvania Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: The Record; Year: 1915. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  3. Cornell Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1916. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  4.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania. “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  5.   Family of Sidney Stern, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1646; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1791. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  6. Simon Osserman and family, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 21, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1224; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 1445. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Marriage of Howard Stern and Madeline Kind Kohn, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  8. Madeline Kind Kuhn Passport Application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1494; Volume #: Roll 1494 – Certificates: 141500-141875, 12 Feb 1921-15 Feb 1921. 
  9. Marriage of Allan Stern and Gladys Fliegelman, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  10.  District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1961,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F7TK-SXY : accessed 1 May 2018), Gladys Stern, 06 Feb 1930, District of Columbia, United States; citing reference ID 325790, District Records Center, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 2,116,108. 
  11. Harry Fliegelman and family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1065. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. “Poetess Dies in Plunge,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 1930, p. 7. 
  13. “Woman Ends Life Because of Illness,” The Dayton Herald,” February 6, 1930, p. 33. 
  14. Washington, DC, City Directories, 1930, 1931, 1929, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  15. Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0397. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16. Sylvan Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1077. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  17. Howard Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 1029.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  18. “Mrs. Rose Goldsmith Stern,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 1931, p. 17. 
  19. Sidney Stern, 1940 US Census,  Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  20. Sidney Stern, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 085451-088100. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 86311 
  21. Sylvan Stern and family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 51-2119. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  22. Sidney Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  23. Allan and Margaret Stern, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: m-t0627-00563; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 1-307, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census.  Allan Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1939. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  24. “Alma Stern,” Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, September 23, 1979, p. 49. 
  25.  “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  26. Howard Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  27. Number: 167-32-5823; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1956-1958. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.  

The Legacy of Edwin Goldsmith: Inventiveness and Creativity

The 1920s had been a good decade for my cousin Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and his family, as we saw here. He patented six new inventions, continued to work for Friedberger-Aaron, and became active in the local politics of Longport, New Jersey, where his second home was located. His children were grown, and two were married.  He and his wife Jennie had three grandchildren by 1930, and another, Thomas Holmes Goldsmith, was born in 1931 to Henry and his wife Ida.1 In 1932, Edwin and Jennie’s youngest child, Edwin, Jr., married Helen R. Jacobs, another Philadelphia native;2 she was born October 23, 1909, to Henry and Annie Jacobs.3

Edwin, Sr. obtained four more patents between 1931 and 1933. In 1931 he received a patent for his design of a bathing suit that would dry quickly.4  The patent description is interesting in that it reveals a bit about life before the development of man-made fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex:

Bathing suits of all materials from which such suits are now made…require a considerable time for drying. The user of a privately owned bathing suit frequently is not even temporarily residing near the bathing beach or pool and has no facilities for drying the suit immediately, after use, but must transport it in a more or less wet condition. In public bathing houses the time required to dry bathing suits is a serious item of expense, since it necessitates the provision of a large supply, because at any given time a large proportion of suits is undergoing drying and is out of use.

My guess is that Edwin’s interest in this problem stemmed from his experiences at their summer home in Longport, New Jersey. And isn’t it interesting to learn that many people did not wear their own bathing suits but used those belonging to a bathing house?

Edwin’s invention for a faster drying bathing suit involved using a material that was water permeable and “coated or impregnated with a water-repellant material not necessarily different from that used in the treatment of so-called waterproof garments, e.g., raincoats, to render them substantially impermeable to water.” The suit would then have multiple openings to allow the water to flow in and out of the suit like an open mesh.  I am not sure how commercially successful this design would have been as it sounds quite uncomfortable!

Edwin’s other three patents between 1931 and 1933 related to more mundane matters involving the business of Friedberger-Aaron, e.g., buttonhole tape and a means of mounting and display of articles for sale.

But the 1930s soon turned more difficult for the Goldsmith family. On July 14, 1933, Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith, Edwin Sr.’s wife, died from coronary thrombosis; she was 67 years old.

Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 059001-062000
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

After Jennie’s death, Edwin seemed to lose interest in inventing new products as his last patent was issued on October 3, 1933.  In 1940 Edwin was retired and living in the Majestic Hotel in Philadelphia where his younger sister Estelle Goldsmith and brother-in-law Sidney Stern were also living.5 He also continued to spend time in the Atlantic City area or at least continued to be listed in their 1941 directory.6

His older son Henry founded and owned a nylon netting company called Thomas Holmes Manufacturing, presumably named for his son Thomas Holmes Goldsmith. (Holmes was Ida Stryker’s grandmother’s birth name) and perhaps inspired by his father’s bathing suit patent.7  In 1940, Henry and his wife Ida and son Thomas were living with Ida’s parents, George and Ella Stryker.8

Henry’s younger brother Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr. was also living in Philadelphia in 1940 with his wife Helen and her mother Annie Jacobs. Edwin was working as an industrial engineer.9 But by 1942, Edwin, Jr. and Helen had left Philadelphia and moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where Edwin was employed by M.M. Gottlieb, a clock manufacturing company. They are listed in the Allentown directories until 1945.10

Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. World War II draft registration
Draft Registration Cards for Pennsylvania, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947. 2,818 boxes. NAI: 5324575. Records of the Selective Service System, 1926–1975, Record Group 147. National Archives and Records Administration, St Louis, Missouri.

During this time Edwin, Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and obtained a patent. He was awarded the patent, which he assigned to his employer M.M. Gottlieb, for the invention of a “new and useful ‘numeral clock.’” As described in the patent, “[o]ne of the objects of the present invention is a numeral clock which will be more positive in action and less subject to disturbance by vibrations or accidental jarring, and which may be readily adjusted or “set” whenever necessary, and which may be manufactured and assembled readily and at low cost, and which may be conveniently installed in a casing or housing.”11 Perhaps this was a very early version of a so-called “digital” clock?

Edwin Jr. and Helen also had a child during this decade.

As for Henry and Edwin’s older sister Cecile Goldsmith and her husband Julian Stern Simsohn, I was unable to find them on the 1940 census, but according to Julian’s World War II registration, in 1942 they were living in Elkins Park, a suburb of Philadelphia, and Julian was working as a chemical engineer in his own firm.

Julian Simsohn, Sr, World War II draft registration
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Their son Julian, Jr., was living at home in Elkins Park in 1940, according to his World War II draft registration, and was working for Thomas Holmes Manufacturing in Philadelphia, the company owned by his uncle Henry. Julian, Jr. served as a corporal in the US Army Air Forces in the Fourth Reconnaissance Group during World War II, including twenty months served overseas.12 I assume that Marjorie, who was still a teenager in 1940, was also living at home.

Julian Simsohn Jr. 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: 2315
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Cecile and Julian Simsohn’s older daughter Jean married Vincenzo Savarese on January 4, 1939, in Lenoir County, North Carolina. She was 21, he was 27. According to their marriage record, Vincenzo was born in Naples, Italy, and they were both residents of Philadelphia. In 1940 Jean and Vincenzo were living in Atlanta, Georgia, where Vincent was employed as a traveling salesman for a wholesale gift company.13

Marriage license of Jean Simsohn and Vincenzo Savarese,
Series: Marriage Licenses (1879 – 1961)
Source Information
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011.

Edwin M. Goldsmith, Sr. died on November 14, 1944, in Philadelphia; he was eighty years old.  According to his death certificate, he had suffered from cardiovascular disease for ten years—that is, dating from around the time that his wife Jennie died. Edwin died from cardiac failure.

Edwin M Goldsmith, Sr., death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 099801-102350
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Edwin’s daughter Cecile died on March 30, 1946, less than two years after her father; she was only 57 and died from ovarian cancer. According to her obituary she was a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls and Bryn Mawr College and had founded and directed a day camp for children; she had also been the treasurer and secretary of the Montgomery County branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom as well as the secretary of the Bamberger Seashore Home for Children in Longport, New Jersey. At the time of her death she was the president of Keneseth Israel Sisterhood. 14

Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 026851-029400
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Edwin, Sr., would likely have been pleased by the creative endeavors of his granddaughter Jean Simsohn Savarese, daughter of his daughter Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn, and her husband Vincenzo.  In 1950 Jean and Vincenzo (known also as Vincent) developed a line of “oven-to-table” pots and pans.  According to an article in the August 25, 1950, Philadelphia Inquirer, Vincent had studied art appreciation in Italy before emigrating and came up with the design and was helped by another man to bring the design into practice.15

Marcia Strousse, “Coppersmith Puts Art in Kitchenware,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1950, p. 17.

As described in the article, “Fashioned of solid copper lined with pure tin, the varied pieces are distinguished by their clean-cut articulate lines, a combination of old world charm and the effects of modern technology. Each is functionally designed with handles to aid in serving them right to the table.” Jean and Vincent called their company Jenzo, a combination of Jean and Enzo, Vincent’s nickname.  Based on the advertisements I found on newspapers.com, their products were sold all over the US during the 1950s. Here are just two examples.

Ad for Jenzo copperward at Hudson’s Department Store in Detroit
Detroit Free Press, December 14, 1951, p. 7.

Ad for Jenzo products, Bon Marche store, Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville Citizen, December 12, 1954, p. 40

In 1952 Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. joined his brother Henry at Thomas Holmes Manufacturing where he became vice president; he stayed there until his retirement in 1968.16

The 1960s brought some sad times for the family. Henry Goldsmith died from congestive heart failure on October 27, 1963; he was seventy years old. He was survived by his wife Ida and their son Thomas.

Henry F Goldsmith death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 100201-103050
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

His nephew Julian Stern Simsohn, Jr. followed less than  two years later on February 4, 1965; he was only 46 years old and predeceased his father, Julian, Sr., who outlived his son by six years.17 Julian, Jr. never married; his will created a trust, the income of which was to be paid to his father for life, then to be paid to his two sisters, Jean and Marjorie.18 Jean died in 1984, Marjorie in 2006.  Their uncle Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr. died in 1991.19

It was interesting to study Edwin Goldsmith Sr. and his family after studying his brother Milton and his family.  Two sons of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler with such different interests and careers—Milton, the author, and Edwin, the inventor.

It was also interesting to see how Edwin’s children and even grandchildren inherited some of his skills and interest in design and invention. Both sons became engineers, one started a nylon netting company where both ended up working. One son followed in his father’s footsteps and obtained a patent for his invention. Edwin’s son-in-law Julian Simsohn was also an engineer. Edwin’s granddaughter Jean and her husband Vincenzo Savarese designed and developed an improved method of making pots and pans. And more recently, another grandson applied for a patent in 2012 for a benefit payments method, showing that the creative impulses that run through the family DNA have continued to influence and inspire Edwin’s descendants.20

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. 
  2.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141719. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Voter Registration Lists, Public Record Filings, Historical Residential Records, and Other Household Database Listings. 
  4. E.M. Goldsmith, Bathing suit, U.S. Patent No.1,828,989, November 3, 1931. 
  5. Edwin Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. 
  6.  Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1941. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. “H.F. Goldsmith, Nylon Executive,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 29, 1963, p. 38. 
  8. Household of George Stryker, 1940 U.S. Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 51-2125. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. and family, 1940 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03754; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-2169. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10.  Allentown, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1942-1945. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. E.M. Goldsmith, Jr., Clock, U.S. Patent No. 2,343,613, March 7, 1944. 
  12.  National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006. Original data: National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator
  13. Vincenzo and Jean Savarese, 1940 US census, Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia; Roll: m-t0627-00732; Page: 85A; Enumeration District: 160-219. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  14. “Mrs. Simsohn Dies, Long Ill,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 1946, p. 7/ 
  15. Marcia Strousse, “Coppersmith Puts Art in Kitchenware,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1950, p. 17. 
  16. “Edwin Goldsmith, Retired Engineer,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 6, 1991, p. 18. 
  17. Julian Simsohn, Jr.: Number: 164-14-9523; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. Julian Simsohn, Sr.: Number: 183-14-3189; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  18. “Trust Established In Area Man’s Will,” The Mercury (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), February 26, 1965, p. 3. 
  19. Jean Savarese: Number: 161-01-9564; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. Marjorie Gerstle: Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr.: Number: 186-01-0896; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  20. Edwin M. Goldsmith, Marcia W. Goldsmith, and Louis M. Heidelberger, Benefit Payment Method and System, U.S. Patent Application No. 13279377, published December 27, 2012 (abandoned). 

Elkton, Maryland, The Wedding Capital of the East

As seen in my last post, in 1920 Edwin M. Goldsmith, Sr., was the secretary-treasurer of his uncle’s textile company, Friedberger-Aaron, and also the owner of thirteen US patents. He and his wife Jennie and their two sons, Henry and Edwin, Jr., were living together in Philadelphia. They also maintained a residence in Longport, New Jersey, near Atlantic City. Their daughter Cecile and her husband Julian Stern Simsohn and their two children were also living in Philadelphia, and Julian was working as a chemical engineer. Cecile and Julian had a third child, a daughter named Marjorie Goldsmith Simsohn, born on August 12, 1921, in Philadelphia.1

Edwin continued to be a successful inventor during the 1920s. He added six more patents to his portfolio between 1921 and 1930. His first was for the design for a stuffed doll encased in a removable cover so that it could be washed:2

In addition to patenting several inventions relating to the packaging, display, and sale of the textile fabrics made by Friedberger-Aaron where Edwin continued to work as secretary-treasurer, he also developed an invention for a hair curler “which may be operated to receive, confine and release the hair with the greatest possible facility”3  and a product that combined soap and towel into one article.4 The latter was described by Edwin as follows:

… a sheet of readily destructible material, such as paper tissue, of a size and having absorptive qualities enabling it to be used as a towel, the sheet being folded into flat form, and means connected to the sheet and forming a closed container or receptacle containing a quantity of soap, preferably in powder form.

During the 1920s, Edwin also held elective offices in Longport, New Jersey, where his second home was located:

Asbury Park Press, May 9, 1928, p. 2.

Edwin and Jennie’s son-in-law Julian Simsohn was very active as a chemical engineer in Philadelphia during the 1920s, as seen in numerous ads for his services in not just the Philadelphia newspapers but also papers in Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and  during those years. Here are two, one from the Philadelphia Evening Ledger and one I particularly liked which appeared in the Indianapolis Star:

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, September 20, 1928, p. 13.

Indianapolis Star, November 30, 1930, p. 25.

Here is a close up of the section in the cigar featuring Julian Simsohn:

 

Edwin and Jennie’s older son Henry, also a chemical engineer, had been working for a radiator manufacturer in 1920, and he continued to be listed with that company, G & O Mfg., in the 1921 and 1922 Philadelphia directories.5

I knew from the 1930 census that Henry married sometime before 1930, but I could not locate any record or other information about when he’d married until I found this list in the August 16, 1925 Philadelphia Inquirer of marriage licenses issued in one day in Elkton, Maryland:

“Elkton Marriages,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 16, 1925, p. 8.

Notice that it includes Henry F. Goldsmith and Ida P. Stryker of Longport, New Jersey, the town where Edwin’s family spent their summers. But why were so many people getting marriage licenses in one day from Elkton, Maryland? What was going on?

Well, according to this article by Marshall S. Berdan from the February 13, 2002 edition of the Washington Post, from about 1913 until 1938, Elkton, Maryland was a destination for those wishing to marry quickly. As the article explains:

It all started in 1913 when Delaware passed mandatory matrimonial waiting and public notification laws. Meanwhile Maryland — the “Free State” — imposed neither waiting period nor residency requirement. Those Delaware moralists should have just put up a sign reading “This Way to Elkton.”

As the most northeasterly county seat in Maryland, Elkton became the roadside chapel of choice for those who chose to marry in haste from throughout the Northeast. From just over 100 marriages per year at the turn of the century, tiny Elkton was soon cranking out well over 10,000 newlyweds a year — the vast majority from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — during the 1920s and ’30s. It became known as “America’s Gretna Green.”

This blog also sheds light on why Elkton became a wedding destination.

But why would Henry Goldsmith and Ida Stryker have been in such a rush to marry and in a place like Elkton?

Well, I have two theories.  First, Ida Stryker was born in Philadelphia on February 26, 1908.6 She was only seventeen in August 1925; Henry, who was born in 1893, was 32, almost twice her age. I can’t imagine that her parents would have been happy to see their teenage daughter marry a man in his thirties.

Second, Ida was not Jewish.  Her parents, George Holmes Stryker and Ella Williams, were Episcopalian.7  Perhaps her parents or Henry’s parents did not approve of the interfaith marriage. But Henry and Ida did marry, and in fact they stayed married until Henry’s death in 1963.  Ida, who lived to be 96, never remarried.

In 1930, Henry and Ida were living in Philadelphia, and Henry was working as an executive in a textile company—and I believe that company was Friedberger-Aaron. It is unnamed on the census,8 and the page where the Goldsmiths are listed in the 1930 Philadelphia directory on Ancestry is barely legible, but on the page with Goldsmiths listed, I can see two entries with Friedberger-Aaron after the names, so I assume those are the listings for Edwin and Henry Goldsmith.9 Perhaps that meant that at least Henry’s family was on good terms with Henry and Ida. Henry and Ida had one child together, a son Thomas Holmes Goldsmith, born in 1931.

Henry’s sister Cecile and her husband Julian Simsohn continued to live in Philadelphia with their three children in 1930, and Julian continued to work as an engineer.10

Edwin and Jennie’s youngest child, Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr., was just coming of age in the 1920s.  He had graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia and then graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1923 with a degree in industrial engineering. 11 On the 1930 census he was living with his parents Edwin, Sr., and Jennie, in Longport, New Jersey,  and according to the census record, he was a radio salesman. His father continued to list textile manufacturing as his occupation.12

The 1920s were thus a good decade for the family of Edwin and Jennie Goldsmith. Their children were grown, and Edwin continued to find success with his inventions. The 1930s brought some changes to the family of Edwin Goldsmith, some happy, some sad.

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. SSN 169164752 
  2. E.M. Goldsmith, Doll, U.S. Patent No. 1,370,107, March 1, 1921. 
  3. E.M. Goldsmith, Hair Curler, U.S. Patent No. 1,493,195, May 6, 1924. 
  4. E.M. Goldsmith, Individual Washing and Drying Toilet Article, U.S. Patent No. 1,608,934, November 30, 1926 
  5.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1921, 1922. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1910 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910. Series 11.89 (50 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Certificate No. 30149 
  7. Marriage record of George Stryker and Ella Williams, November 19, 1903, Philadelphia, PA.  Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Reel: 343. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 
  8. Henry and Ida Goldsmith, 1930 US census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 1029.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Cecile and Julian Simsohn, 1930 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 12A;Enumeration District: 1030. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  11.  Philadelphia Inquirer, obituary for EDWIN GOLDSMITH, RETIRED ENGINEER, (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0FBAE6E80E61F93B-0FBAE6E80E61F93B : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  12. Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and family, 1930 US Census, Longport, Atlantic, New Jersey; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0056. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 

Edwin M Goldsmith, Inventor

Edwin M. Goldsmith, the second son and third child of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler, was born on April 10, 1864. 1 As we have seen, for many years he and his brother Milton worked together in their father’s clothing business in Philadelphia, A. Goldsmith & Sons. But in the 20th century and especially after their father died in 1902, their lives took separate and quite different directions.

Whereas Milton focused on his writing and worked in advertising in New York City, Edwin stayed in Philadelphia and became an inventor. Between 1900 and 1933 he was awarded 23 patents on a wide range of inventions. But like his brother Milton, he relied on a more conventional career for income, in his case working as an executive in a textile company.

As I wrote earlier, Edwin Goldsmith married Sarah Virginia “Jennie” Friedberger in 1891. Edwin and Jennie had their first child, Cecile Adler Goldsmith, on January 28, 1892; she was named for Edwin’s mother. A second child, Henry Friedberger Goldsmith, named for Jennie’s father, was born on September 8, 1893. In 1900 Edwin and Jennie and their children were living in Philadelphia where Edwin continued to be a clothing merchant. Their third and final child, Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr., was born on March 8, 1902, in Philadelphia.2

Edwin Goldsmith and family, 1900 US census
ear: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0486
Description
Enumeration District: 0486; Description: Philadelphia City Pa, 22nd Ward, 10th Division, bounded by Hancock, Penn, Germantown Ave, Laurel, Bowman
Source Information
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

It was also in this first decade of the 20th century that Edwin began to obtain patents on many of his inventions. Between 1900 and 1906, he was awarded eight patents. One of his first patents was awarded for the design of a pencil, which Edwin described as follows:3

My invention consists of a lead or other pencil formed of a telescopic or collapsible barrel and means for connecting a length or piece of lead or marking material therewith whereby as said lead or material is worn away it may be exposed to present a fresh portion by the reduction in the length of the barrel, said piece having one end movably guided in the tip of the pencil and its other end rigidly held in the opposite end of the barrel whereby it cannot be detached through said tip.

In other words—a retractable pencil!

Among his other early inventions were a method for holding a cylindrical cake of soap to maximize the use of the soap;4 a savings-bank coin-operated clock; 5 a pencil sharpener designed to prevent the breaking of the point of the pencil;6 a device for carrying a pocketbook or purse;7 and the design of memorandum or account or other books that facilitated turning pages to get to a new leaf. 8 Obviously Edwin was interested and skilled in creating a wide array of products.

While working on these inventions, Edwin continued to work as a clothier, as seen in the 1905 Philadelphia city directory.9 But by 1910, he had changed occupations and reported on the 1910 census that he was a manufacturer of braids and lace. In the 1910 and 1911 Philadelphia directories10 (and in many thereafter), he was listed as the secretary-treasurer of Friedberger-Aaron Manufacturing Company, a textile company incorporated by Edwin’s uncle Simon Friedberger and his partner Max Aaron in 1899.11

Edwin Goldsmith and family, 1910 US Census,
Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1395; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0403; FHL microfilm: 1375408
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

From that point on, some of his patented inventions were assigned to Friedberger-Aaron and many related to the display and/or sale of merchandise in their business. For example, in 1916, Edwin received a patent for a ribbon reel, which he described as follows:12

The object of my invention is to provide a reel for ribbons that may be readily manipulated to effect or facilitate the winding upon, or unwinding from, the reel of the ribbon, and to construct the same so inexpensively that it will be practicable to give the same away with the ribbon as an inducement for the latter’s purchase.

Some of his other inventions relating to the business of Friedberger-Aaron included a box for displaying and selling fabric so that the purchaser could see the fabric both before and after purchasing;13 a travel container for toiletries designed to use space efficiently;14 and a holder for containing and displaying silk and other fabrics.15

Beginning in about 1909, Edwin and his family started spending extended periods in the Atlantic City area. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on June 13, 1909, that Edwin Goldsmith and his family were beginning an extended stay at the Hotel Rudolph in Atlantic City, a hotel opened in 1895 and located on the Boardwalk.16

In 1911, Edwin is listed in the Atlantic City directory in its Longport section.17 In 1915 he and his family were listed in the New Jersey census in Longport. The census was dated June 16, 1915, suggesting that Edwin’s family was in Longport for the summer.  Living with them were also a cook and a maid:

Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and family, 1915 NJ Census
New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-13; Film Number: 2
Township: Buena Vista – Weymouth
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1915

But their principal residence remained Philadelphia.  They are listed in several Philadelphia directories during the 1910s.18

Edwin and Jennie’s older son Henry graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1914 and then from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1917, according to his obituary. 19 On June 15, 1917, Henry registered for the World War I draft:

Henry F. Goldsmith World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907644; Draft Board: 24.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

At that time Henry was employed by Midvale Steel Company and Worth Business Company as a chemical engineer doing expert work in their munitions departments. He later enlisted in the Navy Reserve Force on April 2, 1918, and was on active duty until March 8, 1919, in the Third Naval District in New York City. He was discharged on September 10, 1921 after an additional eighteen months of inactive duty.20

After the war, life returned to normal for the Goldsmith family. On July 23, 1920, the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger reported that Edwin and his family were “passing the summer at their bungalow, in Longport, N.J.” 21 On the 1920 census, Edwin, Jennie, and their two sons Henry and Edwin, Jr., were listed as living in Philadelphia.  Strangely, Edwin was now listed as a chocolate manufacturer. But that must be an enumerator error, as the 1921 Philadelphia directory continued to list Edwin as the secretary-treasurer of Friedberger-Aaron.

That same directory lists Henry Goldsmith as a manager at G & O Manufacturing, a company that manufactured automobile radiators; the 1920 census listed Henry as a radiator salesman.22 Edwin, Jr. must have still been in school as he is listed without an occupation; he was eighteen in 1920.

Edwin Goldsmith and family 1920 US Census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1632; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 885. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Edwin and Jennie’s daughter Cecile was not living with them in 1920 because she had married Julian Stern Simsohn in 1916.23 Julian was born on January 19, 1890, in Philadelphia, and was the son of Joseph S Simsohn, a physician born in 1852 in either Romania or Germany (the records conflict) who immigrated to the United States in 1873. Julian’s mother Clara Stern was a native Philadelphian. 24 Julian had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1911 with a degree in chemistry and is listed in their 1917 alumni directory as a consultant on water purification and boiler treatment and an inventor of photographic apparatus. Edwin must have been pleased to have a son-in-law who was also an inventor.25

UPDATE: It turns out that Julian was related by marriage to Cecile. His mother Clara had a brother Sidney who was married to Edwin’s sister Rose.  See more here.

From Julian’s registration for the draft in World War I we can see a clue as to how Cecile met Julian.  It appears that, like Cecile’s brother Henry, Julian was also working as a munitions expert for Midvale Steel Company:

Julian Stern Simsohn World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907616; Draft Board: 13.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Cecile and Julian’s first child was born on August 9, 1916, a daughter named Jean Claire Simsohn. Two years later on December 10, 1918, their son Julian Stern Simsohn, Jr., was born. On the 1920 census they were all living in Philadelphia, and Julian Sr. was working as a chemical engineer.

Julian and Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn, 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1632; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 886

Thus, by 1920 Edwin Goldsmith and his family were all doing well in Philadelphia. He had continued his work as an inventor, and he had a son Henry and a son-in-law Julian who were both chemical engineers.  Edwin and Jennie had two young grandchildren.  They all seemed to be living comfortably.

What would the next decade bring them?

To be continued.


  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6FXJ-86?cc=1951739&wc=M61X-4PF%3A251391701 : 21 May 2014), 004198957 > image 126 of 604; Department of Records. Their second child Hilda had died as a child, as discussed here. 
  2. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2288; Volume #: Roll 2288 – Certificates: 301350-301849, 01 Jun 1923-02 Jun 1923. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925  
  3. E.M. Goldsmith, Lead or other pencil, U.S. Patent 659,026, October 2,1900. 
  4. E.M. Goldsmith, Soap and soap-holder, U.S. Patent 757397, April 12, 1904. 
  5. E. M. Goldsmith, Clock, U.S. Patent 822,598, June 5, 1906. 
  6. E.M. Goldsmith, Pencil-sharpener, U.S. Patent 755,480, March 22, 1904. 
  7. E.M. Goldsmith, Carrying device for pocket-books, etc., U.S. Patent 667,083, January 29, 1901. 
  8. E.M Goldsmith, Memorandum, order, diary, account, sample, or similar book, U.S. Patent 803,480, June 5, 1906. 
  9. 1905 Philadelphia Directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  10. 1910 and 1911 Philadelphia directories, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  11. Legal Notices, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 27, 1899, p. 11. 
  12. E.M. Goldsmith, Ribbon Reel, U.S. Patent 1,187,986, June 20 1916. 
  13. E.M. Goldsmith, Combined braid-holder and bodkin-carrier, U.S. Patent 1,054,763, March 4, 1913. 
  14. E.M. Goldsmith, Container for toilet preparations, U.S. Patent 1,289,440, December 31, 1918. 
  15. E.M. Goldsmith, Holder for elastic and similar goods, U.S. Patent 1,183,003, May 16, 1915. 
  16. The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 13, 1909, p. 47. 
  17. Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1911, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  18. E.g. Philadelphia city directories, 1911, 1914, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  19. “H.F. Goldsmith, Nylon Executive,” The Phladelphia Inquirer, October 29, 1963, p. 38. 
  20.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 
  21. Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, July 23, 1920, p. 9. 
  22. Philadelphia city directory, 1921, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  23.  Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 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 No. 350555 
  24. E.g.,Julian Simsohn and parents, 1910 US Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1394; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0334; FHL microfilm: 1375407. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  25. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. 

Milton Goldsmith: Final Chapter

In 1940, Milton Goldsmith turned 79 years old. He appears to have retired by then, although a few of his books were re-released in the 1940s. As seen in my last post, his younger daughter Madeleine had married Charles A. Jacobson, Jr., on September 29, 1933, and his older daughter Rosalind married Michael Zale on October 25, 1940.

Rosalind was a commercial artist; and as we saw, illustrated one of her father’s books. I do not know what her husband Michael did for a living. I also could not find any military record for Michael Zale during World War II. Given that Michael would have been 26 when the US entered World War II in December 1941, I find it odd that there is no military record for him. I searched for him as Michael Zale, Michael Zalefsky, Metre Zale, Metre Zalefsky, and other wildcard and Soundex possibilities, but nothing came up.

According to her obituary,1 Milton’s younger daughter Madeleine worked as a dietician. Her husband Charles listed his occupation as a banker on the 1940 census.2 Charles served in the US military during World War II, but I could not find any details about his service. He was 37 when he enlisted in 1942.3

After World War II, Charles and Madeleine moved to Larchmont, New York, a suburb of New York City.  According to several city directories, Charles was at least for some time the treasurer of Voland & Sons, a company that his brother James had purchased in the 1940s that manufactured balance scales.4

A Voland & Sons balance scale

Michael and Rosalind Zale stayed in New York City at least until 1960 according to directory listings, but again, I have no information about Michael’s occupation.5

Milton Goldsmith died on September 21, 1957, at the age of 96. According to his obituary in The New York Times, he had lived in Larchmont with his daughter Madeleine before going to a nursing home in New Rochelle. He was described in the obituary as the author of 24 books and as having been in the advertising business until his retirement 25 years earlier. The only book specifically mentioned in the obituary was Rabbi and Priest and the play that was based upon it, The Little Brother.6 Interestingly, Milton was not buried in New York where he’d lived since 1905, but back in Pennsylvania at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Trevose, Pennsylvania, about twenty miles from Philadelphia where Milton was born.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION:  Thank you to Marla Oxenburg Roth of Huggin’ My Cousins!  for investigating the burial of Milton Goldsmith. I was puzzled that FindAGrave had a listing saying that he was buried near Philadelphia after living in New York for over fifty years, and Marla volunteered to go to Roosevelt Memorial Park to find his grave. Sure enough, there was no marker for Milton Goldsmith there, and when I followed up with a call to the cemetery, they had no record of a Milton Goldsmith buried there. Obviously, the FindAGrave memorial I relied on was incorrect, and I have notified the contributor of the memorial.  I am hoping the contributor will remove the memorial so others are not confused. This is the first time I’ve found such a mistake on FindAGrave. Thank you, Marla!

Marla also found a death notice for Milton from the Philadelphia Inquirer that stated that he had been cremated. So perhaps he is not buried anywhere.

Milton Goldsmith death notice Phil Inq

I learned even more about Milton from his obituary in The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent:

The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, October 4, 1957, p.43.

For example, from this obituary I learned that Milton could remember when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated although he was not even four years old in April 1865 when Lincoln was shot. The obituary also revealed that Milton had entertained the troops during World War I with his skills as an amateur magician. Another hobby was “medieval wood carvings”—did he make them or collect them? I assume the latter. And not surprisingly, he enjoyed math and word puzzles.

Michael Zale died eleven years after his father-in-law in November 1968.7 As the death notice below indicates, Michael was cremated, and the family asked that donations be made to the New York Association for the Blind. I mention this because several of Michael’s siblings made similar requests—that donations be made to some organization for the blind. It makes me wonder whether a member of the family—perhaps Michael himself—was blind. That might explain why I cannot find any records of his military service or his occupation. Michael was 53 when he died.

UPDATE: Michael Zale was in fact blind at least as a child.  Heather Paxton once again found the answer! She located a news article about a camp for blind children in New Jersey that included this quote:

Snip from Michael Zale article

“Blind Find Zest in Normal Recreation at Camp Lighthouse on Barnegat Bay,” Asbury Park Press, July 22, 1945, p. 3.

New York Times, November 5, 1968.

Rosalind died eleven years after her husband Michael in May 1979.8 She was 78 years old. According to her death notice,9 her family asked that contributions be made to the Vacation Camp and Community Center for the Blind in New York City, another indication that blindness may have afflicted someone in the family. A listing on FindAGrave indicates that Rosalind donated her body to Columbia University for medical research and was later buried in 1981 at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn at a site purchased by Columbia to honor those who had dedicated their bodies to science.

Charles Jacobson, Jr. died in November, 1983. I could not find a death notice or obituary for him, only the entry in the Social Security Index. According to that record, his last residence was in Larchmont, New York. He was 78 years old.10

Madeleine Goldsmith Jacobson far outlived her husband, sister, and brother-in-law. Like her father, she lived into her nineties, dying on August 21, 2001, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  She was 97 years old. According to her obituary, she had worked as a dietician for many years after college and had been active in many charitable and other organizations while living in Larchmont. The obituary reported that “she and her husband always welcomed friends, relatives and sometimes foreign students into their home for as long as they wanted to stay. She will be remembered for her hospitality and as someone who was always helping people and working for organizations that tried to make the community and/or the world a better place.”11

It has been very rewarding and interesting to learn about my cousin Milton Goldsmith and his family; I enjoyed having the opportunity to read some of his books and to understand more about his life and his views through those books. Because of my own interest in and love of reading and writing, those family members who contributed to the world through their published works all hold a special place in my heart.

 


  1. Deaths, The New York Times, September 30, 2001, found at https://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/30/classified/paid-notice-deaths-jacobson-madeleine-madge-g.html 
  2. Charles and Madeleine Jacobson, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02626; Page: 70A; Enumeration District: 31-51; Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  3. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. Original data: National Archives and Records Administration. Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A 
  4. E.g., 1952 New Rochelle, New York, City Directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  5. Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1960, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  6. “Milton Goldsmith,” The New York Times, September 23, 1957, found at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1957/09/23/84764059.pdf 
  7.  Number: 114-01-4400; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951; Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  8.  Number: 058-38-2229; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1963. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  9. Deaths, The New York Times, May 14, 1979, found at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1979/05/14/111025254.pdf 
  10.  Number: 063-09-1238; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  11.   Deaths, The New York Times, September 30, 2001, found at https://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/30/classified/paid-notice-deaths-jacobson-madeleine-madge-g.html 

The Mysterious Son-in-Law

As of 1930, Milton Goldsmith and his wife Sophie and daughters Rosalind and Madeleine were all still living together in New York City.  All that would change in the next decade.

On September 29, 1933, Milton’s younger daughter Madeleine married Charles A. Jacobson, Jr. in New York City.1 Charles was a native New Yorker, born on February 8, 1905 to Charles A. Jacobson, Sr., and Emily Metzger.2 His father was a linen merchant. In 1930 Charles, Jr. was living with his parents and brother James in Lawrence, New York, on Long Island. His father was now retired, and Charles was a stockbroker.  His brother James was a book publisher.3 According to the engagement announcement in The New York Times, Charles was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard. Madeleine was a graduate of Columbia University.

“Miss Goldsmith Plights Her Troth,” The New York Times, September 5, 1933.

Milton’s wife Sophie Hyman Goldsmith died less than a year after Madeleine’s marriage.  She died on June 18, 1934, in New York City. She was 67 years old.4

In 1940, Milton was living with his daughter Rosalind in New York City at 136 West 75th Street.  He was now 78, and she was 38. Neither listed an occupation on the census. 5 Madeleine and her husband Charles were also living in New York City; Charles was now working as a banker.6 They would have one child in the 1940s.

Later that year, Rosalind married Michael Zale on October 25, 1940, in New York City. 7 From 1942 until 1960, Michael Zale is listed in the New York City telephone directories at 136 West 75th Street, so I assume he moved into the apartment where  Rosalind had been living with her father prior to her marriage.

But I was having no luck learning anything else about Michael Zale.  The only records I could find were the listing in the NYC Marriage License Index cited above and those telephone directory listings. There was a Michael Zale in the Social Security Death Index who died in November 1968,8 but I wasn’t convinced it was the same person since that Michael Zale was born on October 15, 1915, making him fourteen years younger than Rosalind and 25 when he married her in 1940 when she was 39. Rosalind’s obituary9 also mentioned that she was the widow of Michael Zale. But that was it. I couldn’t find one other record or mention of a Michael Zale anywhere.

I searched Ancestry and FamilySearch using all the wildcards and variations I could think of. I searched the various newspaper databases—the New York Times, GenealogyBank.com, newspapers.com, and FultonHistory.com. I tried Google. Nada. Nothing. I was completely stumped.

So I turned to the genealogy village for help. And Heather in the Tracing the Tribe Facebook group came to my rescue. She found a death notice for Michael Zale in the November 5, 1968, New York Times that broke down the brick wall.

The New York Times, November 5, 1968.

I asked her how she’d found it since I had searched the Times database numerous ways numerous times. She said that she had gone through the obituary listings day by day in November 1968, hoping that the Michael Zale in the SSDI was the right person. And he was. Why hadn’t I done that? Now I have learned another important lesson. (Heather said she also had gotten no hits when searching by his name. Very odd.)

Now we knew that Michael’s father was named John, but nothing more. And I couldn’t find a John Zale either. But again Heather found what she hoped was Michael’s family on the 1940 US census: John and Olga Zalefsky in Brooklyn living with two children: Karl, 16, and Dorothy, 4. John and Olga were both born in Russia, John was an alien and Olga was naturalized. John was working as a bottler in a dairy.10  But was this in fact Michael Zale’s family?

From that point, I started searching for John and Olga Zalefsky and found them (as Zalifsky) on the 1930 US census,11 where they were living with four children: a six year old son Karl, a ten year old son Roosevelt, and a fourteen year old son whose name appears to be Metre. Could this be Michael Zale? The age was right (Michael would have been fourteen going on fifteen when the census was taken in 1930), and the name started with M. Perhaps John and Olga had given him a more Russian name that he later Americanized. John and Olga had immigrated in 1914, according to the census, and were still aliens. John was a laborer in a dairy.

Moving backwards, I then found them on the 1925 New York State census as John and Olga Silefsky with three children, Carl (one), Roosevelt (5), and a daughter named Metra, age nine.12 Was this a mistake? Was the oldest child a girl, not a boy as indicated on the 1930 census? Was this not the right family at all?

I wasn’t sure.  And so far I’ve had no luck finding them on the 1920 census or the 1915 census. And although I found birth records for Karl and Dorothy, I have none for Metra/Metre or Roosevelt.

Meanwhile, Heather found a great deal of information about John and Olga’s other children and found some living relatives. I have written to them and hope that they can tell me whether the Michael Zale who married Rosalind Goldsmith was the son of John and Olga Zalefsky.  For now, I can’t be sure, but I am hoping they respond and can help to clarify the conflict between the 1925 and 1930 census and tell me more about Michael Zale. In the meantime, I will continue to search for more information about the Zalefsky family.

Thank you so much, Heather, for all your help!

One final post on Milton and his family to come.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Original data: Index to New York City Marriages, 1866-1937. 
  2. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, 1878-1909 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Index to New York City births, 1878-1909. 
  3. Charles Jacobson and family 1930 Census; Year: 1930; Census Place: Lawrence, Nassau, New York; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0053; Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census  
  4.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Index to New York City Deaths 1862-1948. 
  5. Milton Goldsmith and daughter, 1940 US Census; Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02636; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 31-572; Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Charles and Madeleine Jacobson, Jr., 1940 US Census; Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02626; Page: 70A; Enumeration District: 31-51; Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 8; Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995 
  8. Number: 114-01-4400; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951; Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. New York Times, May 14, 1979. 
  10. John Zalefsky and family, 1940 US Census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02551; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 24-219.  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. John Zalifsky and family, 1930 US Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 1857. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. John Sliefsky and family, 1925 NYS Census; New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 43; Assembly District: 02; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 72. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 

Abie’s Irish Rose: One for My Copyright Students

After the very productive first two decades of the 20th century when Milton Goldsmith published at least ten books and had a play produced on Broadway, his output seemed to drop off after 1920. Although he published some puzzle books for children during the 1920s, he did not publish another novel or non-fiction book until 1930.

Milton Goldsmith, The Book of Anagrams, (Whitman Publishing Company, 1930).

The 1925 New York State census record is a bit of a mess so it’s hard to know how reliable it is. I think the enumerator was a bit confused. For example, for Milton he first wrote that he was born in Russia, as was the case for the person in the line above his entry. Then he crossed that out and correctly entered “US.” However, he left the entry that Milton was an alien, not a citizen. So can I trust the listing for Milton’s occupation as a store manager? I don’t think so.

Especially since the line below for Milton’s wife Sophie says she was in advertising and the line below that for Rosalind (spelled “Roseline” here) said “housewife” and was then crossed out and replaced with commercial artist (which she was). So I think that the enumerator had all the occupations off by a line and that Milton was still, as he had been since 1910, in advertising. And I’ve no idea why the enumerator completely crossed out Madeleine (“Madline”) and the servant living in the home.

Milton Goldsmith and family 1925 NYS census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 51; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 30
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

Despite these confusing entries on the census, I think it’s safe to assume that Milton was still working in advertising and that his wife and daughters were still living with him at 353 West 85th Street in New York City. Both daughters were now in their twenties. I was not able to learn much else about their lives in the 1920s; there were no news articles of interest or directory listings or other records that shed any light on how they spent that decade.

There was, however, one mention of Milton in a news story that was of particular interest to me as a former teacher of copyright law. One of my favorite cases to teach was Nichols v. Universal Pictures,1 an opinion written in 1930 by the renowned jurist, Learned Hand, of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The case was brought by Anne Nichols, the author and copyright owner of the play, “Abie’s Irish Rose,” which was a hit on Broadway in the 1920s.  She claimed that Universal Pictures had infringed her copyright with its movie, “The Cohens and the Kellys.”

Both works involved a story of an interfaith marriage between a Jew and a Catholic and the conflict it creates for their parents, who don’t approve of the marriage. There were a number of differences between the stories (which my copyright students better remember in detail, but aren’t relevant here), and both the trial court2 and the appellate court3 ruled in favor of the defendant movie studio, concluding that the theme of star-crossed lovers, one Jewish, one Catholic, was something in the public domain and not protected by copyright law.

How did Milton Goldsmith become entangled in this dispute? He was a witness for Universal Pictures at the trial in 1929, giving testimony about his own work, Rabbi and Priest and the play based upon it, The Little Brother. Although his testimony was not described in detail in the New York Times article that covered the trial, I imagine it was used to support the defendant’s argument that conflict between Jews and Catholics is a common theme used in many works, including Rabbi and Priest, and not original to Anne Nichols play, Abie’s Irish Rose.

“Abie” Not Unique, Professor Finds,” The New York Times, January 5, 1929.

It would have been fun to mention this family connection to the case when I was teaching, but alas—I knew nothing about my cousin Milton at the time.

Although Milton released updated versions of some of his earlier books in the 1930s and 1940s, his last new book, first published in 1930, was Old Mother Earth and Her Family, a geography book for young people.4 His daughter Rosalind did the illustrations for this book.

Milton Goldsmith, Old Mother Earth and Her Family (G. Sully & Company, Inc., 1930).

I was unable to find Milton or any of his family on the 1930 census, but I was able to find  Milton, Sophie, Rosalind and Madeleine on several ship manifests in 1930 and 1931 that showed that their home address was still 353 West 85th Street in New York City.5 I used stevemorse.org to search by that address in the 1930 census, but no members of Milton’s family were listed at that address. I wonder whether the whole family was traveling or living abroad when the 1930 census was taken.

The next decade would bring some more changes for Milton and his family.

 


  1. Nichols v. Universal Pictures, 45 F.2d 119 (2d Cir. 1930). 
  2. Nichols v. Universal Pictures, 34 F.2d 145 (S.D.N.Y. 1929) 
  3. Nichols v. Universal Pictures, 45 F.2d 119 (2d Cir. 1930). 
  4. Milton Goldsmith, Old Mother Earth and Her Family (G. Sully & Company, 1930) 
  5.  Year: 1930; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4663; Line: 1; Page Number: 11; Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. Ancestry.com. UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 (Departure from Southampton, England, September 6, 1930, Lancastria).  Also, Year: 1931; Arrival: New York, New York;Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957;Microfilm Roll: Roll 4903; Line: 1; Page Number: 75; Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. Year: 1930; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4822; Line: 1; Page Number: 13. Description
    Ship or Roll Number: Roll 4822. Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. 

Milton Goldsmith, Children’s Author and More

My father remembers Milton Goldsmith as an author of children’s books so I was not surprised to learn that Milton had in fact written a number of works for children after moving to New York City in about 1905.

In 1905, Milton, Sophie, and their two young daughters were living at 1125 Madison Avenue in New York City, but Milton was still working as a merchant, according to the 1905 New York State census.

Milton Goldsmith 1905 NYS census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 29 E.D. 20; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 30
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

However, by 1906, Milton was listed in Who’s Who in America as an art publisher and author.1 The listing stated that he was the president of Goldsmith-Leving Company, a company engaged in the embossing of art, calendars, pictures, and the like.  It further described him as a contributor of many short stories to magazines and local and Jewish newspapers and of “several hundred poems” to magazines such as Puck, Judge, Life, and Cosmopolitan. In addition, Milton’s musical and dramatic works were mentioned in the listing and, of course, his books.

In 1908 Milton published his first children’s books. So far I have found three of them published in that year alone. The Adventure of Walter and The Rabbits,2 is a story about a boy named Walter who follows a rabbit into a hole in a tree and observes the rabbit family; he learns never to be cruel to animals based on his observations.  It is a sweet story and one with a lesson all children should learn.  Its innocence and simplicity seem quite refreshing in contrast with some of the cloying Berenstain Bear books I’ve lately had to read to my three year old grandson. I assume that Milton wrote this book with his two young daughters in mind.

I was unable to locate online versions of the other two children’s books published by Milton Goldsmith in 1908; I wish that I could spend the money to buy copies of all his works, but alas, that is not feasible. But I was able to find images of the covers of the books online.

One was entitled Dorothy’s Dolls:3

The third book published by Milton Goldsmith in 1908, also a children’s book, was The Magic Doll. 4

I imagine that Milton’s two young daughters Rosalind and Madeleine were the inspiration for all three books. From this point forward in his writing career, almost all his books were written for an audience of children.

By 1910, Milton seems to have left the art embossing business and gone into advertising, for that is the occupation listed for him on the 1910 census.  At that time he and Sophie were living at 783 Madison Avenue with Sophie’s mother and her two sisters as well as her sisters’ husbands. I was puzzled that neither of Milton and Sophie’s daughters was listed in the household; Rosalind would have been nine, Madeleine six. Where could they have been? Since I could not find them anywhere else on the 1910 census, I believe that this was just an enumeration mistake.

Milton Goldsmith 1910 US Census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 19, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1043; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 1161; FHL microfilm: 1375056
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

According to one source, Milton spent 1910 and 1911 in Berlin and Paris, translating German and French plays into English for the American stage.

By 1915, they were all listed together (though Rosalind was here listed as Ralph and as a son), living at 353 West 85th Street in New York, and Milton continued to work in advertising, now at his own agency.

Milton Goldsmith 1915 NYS census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 25; Assembly District: 15; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 18
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915

Meanwhile, his writing career continued. As his daughters grew from young children to schoolgirls and teenagers, his works also targeted somewhat older audiences than the fairy tales he’d written in 1908. In 1916, he published Practical Things with Simple Tools: A Book for Young Mechanics.5

Interestingly, and a sign of its times, this book was specifically targeted for boys. Here is part of the introduction to the book:

The book consists of instructions and illustrations for how to make a long list of things intended for boys:

Milton Goldsmith also wrote two books under the pseudonym Astra Cielo during these years.  The first, published in 1917, Fortunes and Dreams, is a “practical manual of fortune telling, divination, and the interpretation of dreams, signs, and omens.”6 The second Astra Cielo book is similar. Published in 1918, Signs, Omens and Superstitions covers, as you’d expect, signs, omens and superstitions.7

It’s hard to imagine the same author who expressed quite modern views of religion and skepticism about superstition in A Victim of Conscience and Rabbi and Priest endorsing these practices, but perhaps that’s why he wrote under a pseudonym.  Although both books express doubts about believing in or relying on these practices, the books go into great detail about these subjects and thus create a sense that these are legitimate practices and beliefs.

After these works of “non-fiction,” Milton published a novel for older children, The Strange Adventures of Prince Charming: A Story for Young & Old. 8  This work is a full length novel and tells about the adventures of a young prince as he makes his journey in the “real world.” It has elements of satire and more advanced vocabulary than the earlier children’s books. (I confess I did not read the entire book; perhaps my older grandson would appreciate it, however.)

Milton ended the decade with another work of children’s non-fiction, I Wonder Why: The How, When and Wherefore of Many Things.9 I was very happy to see that he dedicated this book to his daughters, “Rosalind and Madeleine, whose many questions inspired the writing of this book.” At least this time he recognized that girls also have curiosity and a need to know about practical matters.

The book is written in narrative form based on a fictional family, the Palmers, with five children, three boys and (yay!) two girls. Their father is an engineer, and the book consists of chapters on different topics where the father (sigh) answers the children’s questions about a wide variety of scientific issues.  Here is just a portion of the table of contents:

In addition to publishing all these books, Milton, along with Bennett James, adapted his first novel Rabbi and Priest into a play, The Little Brother, which was performed in London and then on Broadway in 1918 with a cast that included Tyrone Power, Sr. Despite positive reviews for its treatment of interfaith conflict and prejudices, it closed after 120 performances in March, 1919.

Thus, by 1920, Milton had published a number of books and had had a play produced in London and on Broadway. However, his principal occupation, as listed on the 1920 census, was  still advertising.  10

What would the next decade and those to follow bring for my cousin Milton and his family?


  1. John William Leonard, ed., Who’s Who in America, Vols. 2-4 (A. N. Marquis & Co., 1906), pp. 694-695. 
  2. Milton Goldsmith, The Adventure of Walter and The Rabbits (The Ullman Mfg. Co., 1903). 
  3. Milton Goldsmith, Dorothy’s Dolls: A Nursery Tale (Cupples & Leon Company, 1908). 
  4. Milton Goldsmith, The Magic Doll: A Fairy Tale (The Goldsmith Publishing Company, 1908). I wonder if for some time Milton had his own publishing company or if this was a family member or just a coincidence. 
  5. Milton Goldsmith, Practical Things with Simple Tools: A Book for Young Mechanics (Sully and Kleinteich, 1916). 
  6. Astra Cielo (pseud. Milton Goldsmith), Fortunes and Dreams (George Sully & Company, 1917). 
  7. Astra Cielo (pseud. Milton Goldsmith), Signs, Omens and Superstitions (George Sully & Company, 1918). 
  8. Milton Goldsmith, The Strange Adventures of Prince Charming: A Story for Young & Old (McCloughlin Bros. Inc,, 1919). 
  9. Milton Goldsmith,  I Wonder Why: The How, When and Wherefore of Many Things (George Sully and Company, 1920). In 1938, Milton published an updated edition of this book entitled I Wonder How: The Why, When and Wherefore of Many Things (Platt & Munk Company, 1938). 
  10. Milton Goldsmith and family, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 9, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1202; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 704, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census