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

Thank you to David Baron and Roger Cibella for sharing this photograph of Edwin Goldsmith and his family. From left to right, Cecile, Henry, Edwin, Jennie, and Edwin, Jr.:

EdwinMGoldsmith

Edwin Goldsmith and family, c. 1910

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. 

The 1896 Atlantic City Train Disaster

Shortly after 6:30 pm on July 30, 1896, a seven-car train of the West Jersey Railroad was proceeding west from Atlantic City, New Jersey, when the engineer of that train observed a Reading Railroad train approaching the crossing ahead of him. Because the signals indicated that it was safe for him to proceed through the crossing, the West Jersey engineer continued into the crossing.  He had almost cleared the crossing when the locomotive of the Reading Railroad train slammed into the first car of the West Jersey train.  The New York Times described the consequences of this collision:1

…[T]he locomotive of the Reading train…struck the first car full in the centre, throwing it far off the track into a nearby ditch, and completely submerging it. The second car of the West Jersey train was also carried into the ditch, the third and fourth cars begin [sic—being?] telescoped. The engine of the Reading train was thrown to the other side of the track, carrying with it the first coach.

A few minutes after the collision, to add to the horror of the situation, the boiler of the Reading locomotive exploded, scalding several to death and casting boiling spray over many of the injured passengers.

One of the sub-headlines to this article read, “Five Loaded Passenger Coaches Crushed into Kindling Wood,” a reminder that train cars were made from wood, not steel, in those days.

The article then described the horrifying scene when rescue efforts began:

It was a gruesome sight presented to onlookers as the mangled and burned forms of the dead were carried from the wreckage which bound them and laid side by side on the gravel bank near the track, with no other pall than the few newspapers gathered from the passengers.2

An investigation into the cause of the accident soon determined that it was the engineer of the Reading Railroad train, Edward Farr, who had been primarily at fault. There was evidence that the Reading train had been traveling at a speed of 45 miles per hour and that Farr had failed to heed the danger signal in time to avoid the collision with the West Jersey train.

However, there was apparently a practice in that area that gave express trains like the Reading train the right of way at crossings over smaller trains like the West Jersey. The tower man in control of the signals disregarded that practice by giving the danger signal to Reading and the go-ahead signal to West Jersey. There was also testimony that Farr was a man of good character and not reckless or careless. Farr himself was killed in the crash; The New York Times reported that when his wife was informed of his death, she collapsed in shock and also died, but The Philadelphia Inquirer in its coverage of Farr’s funeral reported that his his widow attended the funeral.

On August 8, 1896, the coroner’s jury returned a verdict holding Edward Farr primarily at fault for failing to heed the danger signal, but also found that the tower man and the West Jersey engineer had contributed to the tragedy.3

“Three Buried Here,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 3, 1896, p.4.

In the end, fifty people died in this horrific accident, including two of my Goldschmidt relatives, my cousin Phillip Goldsmith, son of Jacob and Fannie, and his wife Nellie Buxbaum.  Phillip was forty years old, and Nellie was 33; they left behind three sons, Sidney Byron, who was fourteen, Herbert Nathaniel, who was thirteen, and Joseph Jerome, who was only eight years old.

In its coverage of this disaster, The Philadelphia Times reported the following about Phillip and Nellie Goldsmith:

Both Mr. and Mrs. Goldsmith were said to be particularly cautious in respect to public travel and rarely ventured abroad except on business, and Mr. Goldsmith’s long-time employee, Henry Kirchoff, expressed great surprise this morning that the couple should have ventured on this excursion at all.4

The Tyrone Daily Herald of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, reported that Phillip and Nellie had died “hand in hand.”5  The Philadelphia Inquirer covered the funeral of Phillip and Nellie and included these sketches as well as details of the funeral and a list of those who attended, including Phillip’s mother Fannie and his siblings. The rabbi in his eulogy “paid high tribute to the departed, dwelling especially on the honorable career of Mr. Goldsmith and the sweet, charitable disposition of his wife.”6

“Three Buried Here,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 3, 1896, p.4.

“Three Buried Here,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 3, 1896, p.4.

 

All in all, this was one of those terrible tragedies where human error, not malice, was to blame. For the family of Phillip and Nellie Goldsmith, it must have been devastating.

Their three sons went to live with Nellie’s family; on the 1900 census they were living in Philadelphia in the household of Nellie’s widowed sister Hortense Buxbaum Strouse along with Nellie’s mother and other siblings.

Goldsmith sons with aunts and uncle 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1470; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0680; FHL microfilm: 1241470

By 1910, the three Goldsmith orphans were young men in their twenties. Herbert (26) and Jerome (21) (as he was known) were still living in Philadelphia with their aunt Hortense as well as her brother and three sisters, all of whom were unmarried. Herbert and Jerome and their uncle Herbert Buxbaum were all working in a lithography business:

Herbert and Jerome Goldsmith 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1402; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0634; FHL microfilm: 1375415

The oldest Goldsmith son, Sidney Byron (later known as Byron) was 27 in 1910 and was a physician in Philadelphia.7 He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.  Here he is in the 1905 yearbook of the university:

Sidney Byron Goldsmith 1905 UPenn yearbook
“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: The Record; Year: 1905
Year: 1905  Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Note the resemblance to his father. Byron married Mary Elizabeth Long on March 1, 1917.8

All three Goldsmith brothers registered for the World War I draft. Byron’s registration did not disclose any important additional information:

Sidney Byron Goldsmith World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907531; Draft Board: 06  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Herbert’s registration revealed that he was working in the tire manufacturing business:

# Herbert 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

 

According to Jerome’s registration, he was working as a sales manager for a company called Lindsay Brothers, Inc. He claimed an exemption from the draft based on the fact that he had “two maiden aunts” who were solely dependent on him for support. He also claimed disability based on vertigo, varicocele, and hemorrhoids. Varicocele is a condition of varicose veins on the testicles, sometimes leading to infertility.

J Jerome 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

 

In 1920, Jerome and Herbert were still living with their aunt Hortense and her siblings; now both brothers were working in the tire business, as were two of their Buxbaum uncles.9

Their older brother Sidney Byron and his wife Elizabeth (as she was known) had a child on January 12, 1920,10 and were still living in Philadelphia where Byron was practicing medicine in 1920:

Sidney B Goldsmith and family 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 7, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1618; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 153

On November 6, 1929, Jerome Goldsmith married Berda Gans Marks,11 who was a Philadelphia native, daughter of Emanuel Marks and Carrie Gans. He was forty years old, and Berda was 37.  In 1930, they were living in Philadelphia, and Jerome was still working in the tire business as a salesman. Berda was working as a secretary in a medical practice—perhaps that of Jerome’s brother Byron?12

Byron and his family were also still living in Philadelphia in 1930, and Byron continued to practice medicine.13  Herbert, the middle brother, continued to live with his aunts and now listed himself as the proprietor of the tire business.

Herbert Goldsmith 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2112; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0674; FHL microfilm: 2341846

Ten years later, Herbert was still living with his aunts, but now was a broker in the wholesale jewelry business. Perhaps his tire business did not weather the Depression well. He was now 56 years old although the census reports that he was only 52.14

Byron continued to practice medicine and live with his family in Philadelphia in 1940,15 and Jerome and Berda were also living in Philadelphia where Berda continued to work as a medical secretary and Jerome was a salesman for retail tires and radios.16

All three brothers registered for the World War II draft. Byron was still practicing medicine.

S Byron Goldsmith 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

Herbert was the tallest of the brothers—six feet tall whereas the other two were both 5’ ” 6″ or so. Herbert noted that he had a “cast” in his right eye—a small brown spot. He was now working for a transit company.

Herbert Goldsmith 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

 

This time Jerome did not claim the same disabilities that he had in the earlier draft, but did note that he had had two fingers “cut” by an electric saw and tattoos on both arms:

Jerome Goldsmith 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

 

Five years later on April 16, 1947, Herbert Goldsmith passed away at the age of 63 from acute coronary thrombosis. His aunt Hortense Strouse, with whom he had lived since being orphaned as a young boy in 1896, was the informant on his death certificate.  The death certificate reports that he was a statistician, something that had not been at all evident from his draft or census records.

Herbert Goldsmith death certificate
Certificate Number Range: 036751-039300
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964 [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.

The two other Goldsmith brothers lived long lives. Jerome died at 86 on July 21, 1975. 17 His wife Berda lived to 97, dying on October 27, 1989. What her obituary revealed that had not been revealed by the official records was that she was an accomplished pianist and that she and her husband had been quite generous contributors to charitable organizations.  One other revelation: at some point after 1940 Jerome had gone into the food importing business.

Berda Marks Goldsmith obituary
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 Oct 1989, Mon, Main Edition, Page 31

 

Byron died just a few months after his brother Jerome on November 3, 1975; he was 93.18 His wife Elizabeth had predeceased him on May 28, 1973, when she was 85.  They were survived by their daughter and grandchildren, the only remaining descendants of Philip Goldsmith and Nellie Buxbaum.

The story of the three orphaned Goldsmith brothers is another story of human resilience. Having lost their parents in a horrendous tragedy when they were so young, it’s remarkable that these three boys seemed to have overcome those losses and survived. Perhaps the credit goes to their parents for whatever strength and love they gave them as children and to their aunt Hortense and their other aunts and uncles for raising them after they’d lost their parents in 1896.

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. “42 Killed, 80 Injured,” The New York Times, July 31, 1896 
  2.  Ibid. 
  3. See “42 Killed, 80 Injured,” The New York Times, July 31, 1896; “The Story of the Wreck,” The New York Times, August 1, 1896; “Farr, The Dead, Blamed,” The New York Times, August 5, 1896; “Three Meadow Wreck Verdicts,” The New York Times, August 8, 1896;“Three Buried Here,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 3, 1896, p.4. 
  4. “Bridgeton’s Dead,” The Philadelphia Times, August 1, 1896, p. 3. 
  5. “The Atlantic Horror,” Tyrone Daily Herald, August 3, 1896, p. 3. 
  6. “Three Buried Here,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 3, 1896, p.4. 
  7. Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 8, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1387; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1375400 
  8. Online publication – 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. 
  9. Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1632; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 885 
  10. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 for Dorothy Jane Goldsmith 
  11. Online publication – 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. 
  12. 1930 US Census for Jerome and Berda Goldsmith,Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2095;Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0275;FHL microfilm: 2341829 
  13. 1930 US Census for Byron Goldsmith and family; Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2136;Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 1075;FHL microfilm: 2341870 
  14. 1940 US Census for Herbert Goldsmith; Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03713; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 51-838 
  15. 1940 US Census for Byron Goldsmith and family; Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03753; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 51-2142 
  16. 1940 US Census for Jerome Goldsmith; Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03691; Page: 81B; Enumeration District: 51-125 
  17. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records 
  18. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 04 Nov 1975, Tue, Main Edition, Page 16 

One Mystery Laid to Rest: Baby Rose Schoenthal

One of the most frustrating brick walls I’ve encountered is the mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal.  I have written several blog posts about Baby Rose, and I have never had any success in finding this child. I stopped looking because I was troubled by the possibility that if I did find her or a descendant, I might be stirring up trouble for some unknowing person.

Some background for those who may not remember the story. On the 1930 census, my grandmother’s first cousin Jacob Schoenthal and his wife Florence are listed with a 15 month old daughter named Rose, living in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

But that there is not one whit of evidence to support the existence of that child aside from that census entry. I have searched for birth records, death records, marriage records. Nothing. I found Jacob’s will—no mention of a daughter. There was no daughter buried with Jacob and Florence. She would have been only eleven in 1940, but she does not appear on the 1940 census.

I had decided that either (1) she never existed or (2) she’d been given up for adoption or (3) she had been a foster child returned to her own parents.

Then in March 2017,  a Schoenthal cousin found me through the blog.  Barbara wrote that she was the granddaughter of Estella Schoenthal, who was my grandmother Eva Schoenthal’s first cousin and Jacob Schoenthal’s sister. Barbara and I are third cousins.

We exchanged information, and she filled me in on the names and dates of the descendants of Estella Schoenthal and Leon Klein. But perhaps most importantly, she gave me closure on that nagging question: Did Estella’s brother Jacob Schoenthal and his wife Florence Truempy have a daughter named Rose born in 1928 or 1929?

Barbara asked her mother, who said without hesitation that Jacob and Florence never had children. Could she be wrong? Of course.  Barbara’s mother might not have been born in 1930 and she definitely was not yet married to Barbara’s father in 1930, and so it’s entirely possible that IF Jacob and Florence had a child who was given up for adoption or only lived with them for a brief period, Barbara’s mother would never have known.

But I have chosen to believe that Barbara’s mother is right. I have chosen to believe that Baby Rose never existed. It never made sense to me that she’d been given up for adoption because she was already 15 months old (if she existed) in 1930, and there’s no reason to think her parents would have given her up at that point: they were mature adults and married, living comfortably, and had plenty of family around for support.

Also, the child’s name was Rose Maxine or Maime (it’s hard to read). Jacob’s mother’s name was Rose Mansbach Schoenthal. She had died in May, 1929, four months after the supposed birth of the child Rose in February, 1929. It seemed very unlikely that Jacob would have named a child for his mother before she died.

Rose Mansbach Schoenthal
courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

I also didn’t buy that “Rose” had been a foster child. It seems quite an unlikely coincidence that a foster child would have the same name and middle initial as the mother of the man acting as her foster father.

So with the statement by Barbara’s mother that Jacob and Florence never had children, I am willing to close the door on the mystery of Baby Rose M Schoenthal. I think the census enumerator made a mistake. My working theory? That the enumerator was told that a Rose M had lived in the household until fifteen months before, and somehow the enumerator recorded that as meaning a fifteen month old child named Rose M was currently living in the household.

In addition to helping me with that mystery, Barbara also provided me with this handsome photograph of Sidney Schoenthal, her great-uncle and my grandmother’s first cousin.

Sidney Schoenthal

I see a resemblance to my grandmother (first photo below) and to my father (second photo below)—what do you think?

Eva Schoenthal and John Cohen, Sr. 1923

Florence and John Cohen, Jr., 1951

I am very grateful to Barbara for helping me get closure on Baby Rose. And for sharing this photograph of my cousin Sidney Schoenthal.

The Family of Amalia Hamberg Baer, the Administratrix

Back in May, I wrote about the sad saga of Charles Hamberg and his son Samuel Hamberg.  Charles, my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal’s first cousin, had lost two wives—one was murdered, one died quite young.  He had then committed suicide, leaving his nine year old son Samuel an orphan.  Charles’ estate was administered by another cousin, Amalia Hamberg Baer, who at the time was living in western Pennsylvania where my great-grandfather and many other Hamberg relatives were then living.

In fact, Amalia (born Malchen) was a first cousin to Isidore Schoenthal, my great-grandfather:

corrected relationship isidore schoenthal to malchen hamberg

 

She had come to the US from Breuna, Germany, in 1871, and had married Jacob Baer in 1873, according to the 1900 census. (For more on how I linked Amalia Hamberg to Jacob Baer, see my earlier post.)  Jacob was born in the Rhein Pfalz[1] region of Germany in about 1851 and had immigrated to the US in 1867, according to several census records.  From entries in the Pittsburgh city directories, he appears to have settled in the Pittsburgh area.

In 1880, Jacob and Amalia were living in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh), and Jacob was working as a clerk in a shoe store.  They already had four children: Maurice Jay (1874), Hattie (1876), Josephine (1878), Amanda (1880).

Jacob and Amalia Hamberg Baer 1880 US census Year: 1880; Census Place: Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1086; Family History Film: 1255086; Page: 198D; Enumeration District: 008; Image: 0402

Jacob and Amalia Hamberg Baer 1880 US census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1086; Family History Film: 1255086; Page: 198D; Enumeration District: 008; Image: 0402

 

Between 1880 and 1891, they would have five more children: Flora (1882), Tilda (1884), Elsie Victoria (1886), Alfred (1889), and Lawrence (1891). (The birth years for the daughters as reported in various records are all over the place as they kept making themselves younger as the years went on, so I am relying on the 1880 and 1900 census records when they were still probably young enough not to lie about their ages.)  During those years, Jacob was listed as a salesman in the Pittsburgh city directories.

In 1900, Jacob and Amalia were still living in Allegheny with all nine of their children.  Jacob continued to work as a salesman, as did their son Maurice (Morris here, now 26).  Hattie (24) and Josephine (Josie here, now 21) were working as stenographers.  The rest of the children were not employed.

Amalia Baer 1900 census p 1

Jacob and Amalia Hamberg Baer 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1356; Enumeration District: 0050; FHL microfilm: 1241356

Jacob and Amalia Hamberg Baer 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1356; Enumeration District: 0050; FHL microfilm: 1241356

 

In the next decade many of the children began to move on to their own lives.  In fact, even before 1900, Maurice, the oldest child, had ventured quite far from Pittsburgh.  As I will write about in a post to follow this one, Maurice moved to Attleboro, Massachusetts,[2] and established a very successful jewelry business in which four of the siblings’ families would be involved, that is, Maurice, Tilda, Elsie, and Lawrence.  This post will focus on the other five siblings—Hattie, Josephine, Flora, Amanda, and Alfred—and their parents, Amalia and Jacob.

On July 17, 1905, Hattie Baer, the second child who was then 29, married Meyer Herman, a clothing salesman living in Philadelphia who was born in Manchester, England.

Marriage record of Hattie Baer and Meyer Herman Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-21130-27078-9?cc=1589502 : accessed 12 May 2016), 004264779 > image 383 of 454; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.

Marriage record of Hattie Baer and Meyer Herman
Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-21130-27078-9?cc=1589502 : accessed 12 May 2016), 004264779 > image 383 of 454; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.

They settled in Philadelphia, where they had two sons, Justin Baer Herman, born in April, 1907, and Richard B. Herman, born in July, 1910.  Then tragically, Hattie died on October 15, 1910, of a perforated bowel and peritonitis.  She was only 33 years old when she died, and she left behind a three year old toddler and a two and a half month old infant son.

Hattie Baer Herman death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [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.

Hattie Baer Herman death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [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.

Five years later in 1915, Hattie’s younger sister Amanda married her brother-in-law Meyer Herman in Philadelphia and took on the responsibility for raising her two nephews, Justin and Richard, then just eight and five years old.  In 1920, Meyer was still a clothing salesman, and the family continued to live in Philadelphia.

Meyer and Amanda Baer Herman 1920 census Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1623; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 591; Image: 961

Meyer and Amanda Baer Herman 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1623; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 591; Image: 961

Ten years later in 1930, Meyer had moved from being a salesman to being the owner of a clothing manufacturing business.  The two sons were also working; Justin, now 23, was a newspaper editor, and Richard, now 19, was selling real estate.  Both were still living at home with Meyer and Amanda in Philadelphia.

Herman and Amanda Baer Herman 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2104; Page: 23A; Enumeration District: 0627; Image: 902.0; FHL microfilm: 2341838

Herman and Amanda Baer Herman 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2104; Page: 23A; Enumeration District: 0627; Image: 902.0; FHL microfilm: 2341838

Meanwhile, the third child of Amalia and Jacob Baer, Josephine, had married Morris Alon Green on January 2, 1906.  Morris was a Pittsburgh native, born there on February 17, 1875, the son of Abraham Green, an immigrant from Holland, and Jeanette Bloomberg, born in Germany.  In 1900, Morris was living with his parents in Pittsburgh and working as a bookkeeper.

Marriage record of Morris Green and Josephine Baer Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-20622-18713-16?cc=1589502 : accessed 10 June 2016), 004811570 > image 334 of 449; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.

Marriage record of Morris Green and Josephine Baer
Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-20622-18713-16?cc=1589502 : accessed 10 June 2016), 004811570 > image 334 of 449; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.

Josephine and Morris settled in Pittsburgh where their son Alan Baer Green was born on October 30, 1906.  In 1910, the Greens were living in Pittsburgh as boarders in the household of another family, and Morris was working as a claims agent.

Morris and Josephine Baer Green on 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 8, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1301; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0379; FHL microfilm: 1375314

Morris and Josephine Baer Green on 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 8, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1301; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0379; FHL microfilm: 1375314

The next several years must have been successful ones for Morris because by 1918, he was the general agent and executive of the Crucible Steel Company and by 1920 he and Josephine and their son Alan were living in their own (rented) home with a nurse and servant residing with them.

Morris A Green, World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909239; Draft Board: 11

Morris A Green, World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909239; Draft Board: 11

By 1925, Josephine and Morris had left western Pennsylvania for New York City, where they were living at the Hotel Alexander at 150 West 103rd Street.  Their son Alan is not listed as living with them; perhaps he was away at college as he would have been nineteen at that time.  In 1930, Alan was living with his parents in Manhattan, working in advertising.  His father Morris listed his occupation/industry as “financial.”

Morris and Josephine Baer Green and Alan Baer Green, 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1556; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 0443; Image: 762.0; FHL microfilm: 2341291

Morris and Josephine Baer Green and Alan Baer Green, 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1556; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 0443; Image: 762.0; FHL microfilm: 2341291

The fifth child of Amalia and Jacob was Flora.  In 1907, she is listed in the Pittsburgh city directory as a teacher, residing in Bellevue, a town near Pittsburgh. In 1910, when she was 28 (although listed as 24 on the 1910 census), she was still single and living with her parents and not employed outside the home.

Jacob and Amalia Schoenthal Baer and family 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1304; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0468; FHL microfilm: 1375317

Jacob and Amalia Schoenthal Baer and family 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1304; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0468; FHL microfilm: 1375317

 

In 1915, she married Julius Adler.  Julius was the son of Simon Adler, a German immigrant who in 1880 was living in Memphis, Tennessee, working in a shoe store.  Julius’ mother Elizabeth was a native of Missouri; she married Simon in 1881, and they had four children born in Memphis between 1882 and 1887, when their youngest son Julius was born.  By 1900, the family had relocated to Philadelphia.

According to his obituary, Julius graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in engineering in 1908.  In 1910, he was teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle.  But by 1915 he had returned to Philadelphia, where he married Flora Baer.  In 1917, they were living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Julius was working as a civil engineer for the state highway department.  They would have three children, Stanley, Jerrold, and Amy, born between 1917 and 1920.

Julius Adler, World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Dauphin; Roll: 1893237; Draft Board: 3

Julius Adler, World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Dauphin; Roll: 1893237; Draft Board: 3

In 1920, the family had returned to Philadelphia, where Julius was now employed as a technical engineer for an oil company.  According to his obituary, during the 1920s, Julius was working as the deputy chief of the Philadelphia highway department and was involved in supervising the construction of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the bridge that spans the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia to Camden, New Jersey (originally called the Delaware River Bridge).  In 1930, Julius and Flora and their two sons continued to live in Philadelphia, Julius working as a civil engineer.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge linking Camden, NJ wi...

Benjamin Franklin Bridge linking Camden, NJ with Philadelphia, PA – Taken from the 22nd floor of Waterfront Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alfred, the second youngest child of Amalia and Jacob, was the only other child not involved with the Attleboro jewelry business.  In 1900, he was living with his family in Pittsburgh, but he is not listed with them in 1910, when he would have been 21 years old.  There is an Alfred H. Baer listed in the 1907 Pittsburgh directory, working as a clerk, but I am not sure that that is the same person.  According to his registration for the draft in World War I, Alfred was living in a sanitarium and “mentally incapacitated for work of any kind.”

Alfred Baer ww1 draft reg

Alfred Baer, World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907636; Draft Board: 17

Five years later, at age 34, Alfred died on December 13, 1923.  He was buried where his sister Hattie was buried and where later his parents, his sister Flora, and his brother Maurice would be buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia. I was unable to locate a death certificate, so I do not know the cause of death.  According to his burial record, he was residing in Stamford, Connecticut, at the time of his death.

Thus, by 1930, Amalia (Hamberg) and Jacob Baer had lost two of their children, Hattie and Alfred. Their other children were doing quite well.  Amanda and Flora had moved to Philadelphia with their husbands and children, and Josephine was living in New York City with her husband and son.  The other four children were also living away from Pittsburgh, as we will see in the next post.

Even Jacob and Amalia had left Pittsburgh by that time.  In fact, sometime between 1918 and 1922, they had moved to Atlantic City.  In 1922, they were listed in the Atlantic City directory, living at The Amsterdam in Atlantic City.  The following year on March 27, 1923, their children honored their parents on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary with a dinner at the Esplanade Hotel in New York City.

Jacob and Amalia Baer anniversary party

 

In 1930 Jacob and Amalia, now 83 and 79 (although the 1930 census says 77), were living at 250 West 103rd Street in New York City, with Jacob listed as the head of household for what appears to be a small hotel; there are 28 guests listed as living with them.  Their daughter Josephine was living not too far away at 666 West End Avenue.

Amalia Baer, born Malchen Hamberg in Breuna, Germany, died on April 23, 1931, in New York City.  She was 80 years old.  She was buried in Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia where the two children who predeceased her, Hattie and Alfred, were buried.  A year later her husband Jacob died on September 1, 1932.  He was 85 years old, and he was buried with his wife and children in Mt. Sinai cemetery.  His death notice ran in the September 3, 1932 issue of The New York Times:

NY Times, September 3, 1932

NY Times, September 3, 1932

In my next post, I will write about the four children of Amalia and Jacob who were involved in the jewelry business in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  Then in a subsequent post I will report on what later happened to the children and the grandchildren of Jacob and Amalia (Hamberg) Baer.

 

 

 

[1] Thank you to Michael Palmer and Cathy Meder-Dempsey of the German Genealogy group on Facebook for helping me decipher Jacob’s birthplace.

[2] I am not sure why Maurice is listed as living in Pittsburgh on the 1900 census as several reports indicate he had established the business in Attleboro before then.  Perhaps he was still traveling back and forth between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts at that time.

Update: Baby Rose Schoenthal—Did She Ever Exist? Do I Stop Looking for Her?

I need your advice.  I’ve hit a brick wall, and this time, I am not sure I should try and go further.  Please let me know what you think.

Some of you may recall the mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal, the daughter of Jacob Schoenthal and his wife Florence who appeared on the 1930 census in Atlantic City as their fifteen month old child, but then disappeared.  She was not on the 1940 census; there was no death record for her in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, and she was not buried with Jacob and Florence or with her grandparents.  She was not named as a survivor in Jacob’s will.

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

I was left concluding that either she had been adopted and thus had taken on a new name or had never even existed.  I haven’t yet tried searching for adoption records because it does not appear that I have legal standing to do that, given that I am not Rose, her child, her parents, or any other close relative. I also am not sure where I should search: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or any of the other states in the country where a child might have been adopted. And even more to the point, petitions to unseal adoption records are intended to reveal the birth name of an adoptee.  I can’t find any way to search for records of a birth child who was adopted if I don’t know the adoptive name.

I did, however, request a search of New Jersey’s birth records for 1928 and 1929, hoping that a birth certificate for a Rose Schoenthal would appear.  I now have received the report back from New Jersey, and they had no birth certificate for a Rose Schoenthal born between January 1, 1928, and December 31, 1929.  What does that mean? Well, it means either Rose was never born and the census report is just wrong.  Or it means she was adopted and the birth certificate was changed to her adoptive name.

Which seems more likely? Since the census record is so specific—says she was 1 and 3/12, born in New Jersey, and gives her full name, Rose Maxine Schoenthal—I am inclined to think it was accurate (unless Jacob and Florence had an imaginary child a la Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?).

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

So that brings me back to the adoption possibility.  Now I need to figure out how to search for an adoption when you know the birth name but not the adoptive name.  I also have to consider whether I should try to find an adoption record. Rose could very well still be alive; she’d only be 86 or so.  It feels inappropriate for me to invade her privacy, if she is in fact alive.  I am inclined to let this one go.

What do you think? Should I leave well enough alone? Or should I pursue this further?

Blog Update: The Mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal of Atlantic City

Before I move on from the Schoenthal family line, I have a few updates to write about, including some newly discovered cousins and some wonderful photos.  But first an update to one mystery.   Unfortunately an update but not a solution.

Remember the mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal, the daughter of Jacob Schoenthal and Florence Truempy? She had appeared on the 1930 census as a fifteen month old child living with her parents in Atlantic City.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Then she disappears.  She does not appear on the 1940 census with her parents or elsewhere as far as I can tell, and there is no death record for her in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania, no obituary for her, no news articles that mention her.  Nothing at all.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

And she wasn’t buried with her parents.  Nor was she buried with her grandparents.  She just seemed to disappear.

Many people gave me suggestions on where else to look.  Some people thought Rose had been given up for adoption or sent to live elsewhere or institutionalized.  Others thought she was just omitted from the 1940 census and that she might have married and changed her name sometime later.  But I haven’t found any records with her birth name or her parents’ names to link her to a different name, whether she was adopted, institutionalized, or married.

Someone suggested I see if Rose was mentioned in Florence or Jacob’s will or obituary.  I wrote to the Atlantic City public library and asked them to do an obituary search.  Neither obituary mentioned a child.

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

 

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

 

Then I searched the online land records for Atlantic County, and found a record for a May, 1976 transfer of land owned by Jacob Schoenthal.  The transfer had been handled by the executrix of Jacob’s estate, who was not his daughter Rose, but his sister, Hettie Schoenthal Stein.   That meant that Jacob had had a will.

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-001

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-002

Transfer of Deed of Land Belonging to Jacob Schoenthal

 

 

I decided to request a copy of his will from the Atlantic County Surrogate’s Court.  That will, seen below though not easily read as reproduced, named the following people as his heirs at law and next of kin: his sister Hettie Schoenthal Stein, his sister Estella Schoenthal Klein, and his brother Sidney Schoenthal.  According to the will, there were no other surviving heirs or next of kin.  There was no mention of Rose or any other child.  (All of Jacob’s other siblings and his wife Florence had already died as of the time of his death in February, 1976.)

Jacob Schoenthal will Jacob will p 2

jacob will p 3

jacob will 4

 

Thus, Jacob’s daughter Rose either was no longer alive at the time of his death or she had been given up for adoption and thus was no longer his legal kin.  Unfortunately, I don’t know which is the case.  Next step is to check for adoption records.  I’ve contacted the appropriate office and am waiting to see if I am even eligible to request such records.  I frankly think it’s a real long shot, and I think this will remain one of those unsolved mysteries.

But I remain open to other suggestions.

 

Honoring Women: Rose Mansbach Schoenthal

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and the month of March is Women’s History Month, according to Congress, and my genealogy blogger Janice Webster Brown of Cow Hampshire blog has encouraged her fellow genealogy bloggers to tell the story of at least one woman this month in honor of that occasion.  Although the theme this year for the national Women’s History Month is women who were active in government or public service, I’ve decided to highlight a woman whose life was more typical of her times, a woman who did not necessarily do anything historic or that would be remembered by anyone other than the members of her own family, but a woman who nevertheless is worth remembering and honoring more broadly.  This post is for all those women who lived lives that did not make headlines but who made their mark in quiet, unheralded ways that made a difference for their families and thus for all of us who followed.

It may not surprise those of you who have been reading my recent posts to know that I have chosen Rose Mansbach Schoenthal, the wife of Simon Schoenthal, my great-great-uncle.  Like most of the women I’ve researched, Rose did not leave behind much in terms of actual records or documents.  She did not have a career outside her home; she did not serve in the military.  There are no news articles reporting on her life.  All I really know about her is when she was born, who she married, where she lived, who her children were, and when she died.  The rest is all conjecture on my part and interpretation and extrapolation from those facts.

Rose Mansbach Schoenthal

Rose Mansbach Schoenthal

 

Rose was reportedly born in  Gudensberg, Germany, on March 12, 1850, according to her family.  I have not yet been able to find a birth record for her in that town, however, nor do I have any information about her parents.  I did, however, find a passenger manifest for a sixteen-year old girl named Rose Mansbach who immigrated to Pennsylvania from Germany and who listed her occupation as a servant.  That ship, the D.H. Wagen, arrived in New York on September 23, 1867.

 

Rose Mansbach on the DH Wagen, line 446 Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957. Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls. NAI: 300346. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Rose Mansbach on the DH Wagen, line 446
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957. Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls. NAI: 300346. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Guess who was also on that ship? Rose’s future husband, Simon Schoenthal, then just seventeen.  Did they know each other before they boarded, or did they meet on the ship?  I don’t know.

 

Simon Schoenthal and Amalie Schoenthal 1867 ship manifest, lines 230 and 231 Year: 1867; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 286; Line: 1; List Number: 1004

Simon Schoenthal and Amalie Schoenthal 1867 ship manifest, lines 230 and 231
Year: 1867; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 286; Line: 1; List Number: 1004

 

Unfortunately, I can’t find Rose Mansbach on the 1870 census nor can I find a record of her marriage to Simon, but the 1900 census reported that they had married in 1872.  That seems correct since their first children, the twins Harry and Ida, were born in 1873.

From there Rose went on to have eight more children—eight more pregnancies, eight more labors and deliveries.  Her last child, Sidney, was born in 1891, eighteen years after her first.  In between Rose had lost her first daughter, the twin Ida, in 1887 when Ida was just thirteen.  The family had moved from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and then not long after Sidney was born, they moved again to Atlantic City.

In 1904, Rose lost her husband Simon.  She was only 54 years old, and her children ranged in age at that point from Harry, who was 31, down to Sidney, who was 13.  Somehow she and her children pulled together and survived the death of Simon.

 

The nine surviving children of Simon and Rose (Mansbach) Schoenthal Photo courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

The nine surviving children of Simon and Rose (Mansbach) Schoenthal
Photo courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

 

Soon after Simon’s death, her children began to disperse.  In fact, Rose’s daughter Gertrude had already moved to Tucson, Arizona with her husband Jacob Miller before Simon died. Harry had moved not too far away in Philadelphia. A few years later, Martin and Maurice moved to Chicago, and Louis and then Sidney moved to California.  Hettie also left for Arizona, leaving only two of the surviving children, Jacob and Estelle, back in Atlantic City with Rose.  Rose had raised children who were as independent and courageous as she must have been when she boarded that ship when she was just sixteen.

And then Rose herself, already in her 60s, left for Tucson in the mid-1910s along with her daughter Estelle.  I can only imagine what Rose must have felt and experienced in the frontier country of Arizona with the coyotes and rattlesnakes that her daughter Hettie described in her memoirs.  When I look at this photograph of Rose looking so citified and civilized, it is hard to imagine her in the wild west of those times.

Rose Schoenthal -1916

By 1920 Rose and Estelle had returned to Atlantic City, and her other two daughters soon followed them back to the East Coast.  Harry, Martin, and Jacob also ended up living in Atlantic City.  Thus, for the last decade of her life, Rose had all but three of her nine children as well as most of her grandchildren living relatively close by.  Rose must have instilled in her children not only a love for their mother but for each other and for family generally.

Up until last week, all of this was pure speculation on my part.  Rose had no actual voice—just government records and a few photographs told me what I knew about her.  But then Sharon Lippincott, her great-granddaughter-in-law, found a letter written by Rose to her daughter Hettie on August 25, 1927, on the occasion of Hettie’s eighteenth wedding anniversary.  In just a few short lines, I learned more about Rose than I had from any of those records and census reports I’d found:

 

Rose Schoenthal s last letter August 24 1927-page-001

Rose Schoenthal s last letter August 24 1927-page-002

Congratulation

Dear Hatte, Hanry and Children
Excuses lat [light?] pensil
writing, it is the best for
me, as yur dear Anneverses [Anniversary]
is soon. I Vish you al
the best of luck, and every
thing you want

I mus stob writing

with love and
kisses  I remain
your lovly. Mother
and Gramdma

Every time I read this letter, my eyes well up with tears.  When she wrote this letter, Rose was 77 years old and had been in the US for most of her life, almost sixty years.  English, however, was still difficult for her.  Yet despite the obstacles she faced writing in English, in these few words she expressed herself so clearly.  “With love and kisses”—not the stereotype I have of German Jewish grandmothers nor the words I would expect from Rose, having seen photographs of her where she appears rather stern.  With these few simple words she expressed so much love and affection for her daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren.

 

Rose Mansbach Schoenthal courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

Rose Mansbach Schoenthal
courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

 

Rose Mansbach Schoenthal died on May 16, 1929.  She was 79 years old.  Had she done anything notable in her life, anything that would make the history books or even a newspaper? Not really.  But think of what she had done.  She had ventured across the ocean at age 16 by herself.  She had raised ten children, nine to adulthood, all of whom seemed to have stayed close to her and to each other.  She had moved from Germany to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to Atlantic City to Arizona and back to Atlantic City.  She had persevered even after her husband died, leaving her with three children who were still teenagers.  Rose had created a family, a family she raised and a family she loved.

Rose Schoenthal and her granddaughter Blanche Stein, 1916

Rose Schoenthal and her granddaughter Blanche Stein, 1916

When I think about all that she did do in the quiet, unreported way that most women of those times lived their lives, I know that she deserves to be honored during Women’s History Month even if she never worked outside the home, ran for office, wrote a song or a poem, or carried a weapon in war.

Hettie’s Spirit Lives On: Her Children Walter and Blanche

In my last two posts about Hettie Schoenthal, I was very fortunate because Hettie and her son Walter had written down their own memories and stories, making their lives so much more vivid and authentic than I could have ever done myself.  The wonderful photographs that their family provided also helped me tell the story of Hettie Schoenthal, her husband Henry Stein, and their two children, Walter and Blanche.

Hettie Schoenthal, 1906 Courtesy of her family

Hettie Schoenthal, 1906
Courtesy of her family

It was a reminder of how important it is for all of us to write about our own lives and to take and preserve photographs so that someday our descendants will benefit from these shared words.  My newly discovered cousin Sharon Lippincott, daughter-in-law of Blanche Stein Lippincott, writes  about the art of writing memoirs at her blog, The Heart and Craft of Life Writing, and has also published books on that subject.

In this post, I hope to convey how Hettie’s optimistic and energetic personality left its mark on her two children, both of whom also lived long and happy lives and were well-loved by many.  All photos are courtesy of their family.

Hettie and Henry had moved east from Arizona to Philadelphia in 1924, and a few years later their son Walter left home and moved to Atlantic City to work in his aunt’s hotel there, as seen on the 1930 census.  Walter remained in the Atlantic City area for the rest of his life, working in a restaurant and as a salesman over the years.  He married Ruth Levaur in 1938, and they had one daughter.

His sister Blanche also married in the 1930s, marrying Ezra Parvin Lippincott in 1937.  Ezra was a New Jersey native and a graduate of Rutgers University, and he worked as a banker and in the insurance business. They lived in New Jersey and had two children, a son and a daughter.  Sadly, Ezra died in 1969, leaving Blanche as a widow at only 57.

Blanche Stein Lippincott, 1938

Blanche Stein Lippincott, 1938

 

Blanche Stein Lippincott 1962

Blanche Stein Lippincott 1962

 

I don’t have a lot of “official” records about Walter or Blanche after 1940, but I don’t need them to convey the character and personality of these two people. Other people have already written about them both.

Both Walter and Blanche must have inherited their mother’s gene for longevity.  Walter died in 2007 at age 96, and Blanche died in 2013 when she was 101 years old.

Walter Stein in Atlantic City, 1987 courtesy of the family

Walter Stein in Atlantic City, 1987
courtesy of the family

Walter’s obituary from the Press of Atlantic City gives a vivid portrait of the man who spent his childhood with burros and snakes in Ray, Arizona:

Walter was born in Tucson, Territory of Arizona on October 9, 1910. He was recognized as a pioneer. He spent his childhood in Ray, Arizona in a mining camp and took pleasure in saying that his boyhood was what every boy dreams of. The family moved to Philadelphia in 1923, where Walter graduated from high school. In 1929 he went to Atlantic City for a vacation and never left the area except for four years. He met and married Ruth Levaur in 1938. They recently celebrated their 68th anniversary.

Walter was a fine fisherman, a championship bowler and a prize-winning marksman. He served on many boards, but his favorite was the 23 years he served on the Board of Friends of the (PAC) Performing Arts Center of Stockton College. Walter had a deep love of the theater. Some of his happiest moments were spent with Ruth and friends at the Metropolitan Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Ballet, the theater and museums. He was Vice President of Atlantic Beverage for 35 years. ….

Walter was loved and respected by all who knew him. His sense of humor, his positive spirit and generous nature placed him in a class by himself. He was often referred to as a man of all seasons, and he truly was.

 

Walter and Ruth Stein, 2002 at Blanche's 90th birthday celebration

Walter and Ruth Stein, 2002 at Blanche’s 90th birthday celebration

 

Blanche also seems to have inherited her mother’s optimistic and adventurous spirit; her daughter-in-law Sharon wrote this about her on her blog on the occasion of Blanche’s 100th birthday:

Blanche was born 100 years ago in Tucson, in the newly admitted state of Arizona. Her family soon moved to Ray, Arizona, a now deserted copper mining community, where they lived until she was about twelve. When the copper industry declined, her parents, along with a few aunts and uncles, decided to move back to Philadelphia.  ….

If you asked her, she’d tell you she has had a rather ordinary life, and so it may seem to some. She’s never done anything truly flamboyant. She hasn’t set records, started a business, or written a best-seller. But she has tackled life with gusto, always open to new adventures and experiences. ….

Perhaps her  most important attribute is her devotion to family, friends and community. ….  No family member or friend ever has to ask for help – things are taken care of, often before the need is recognized. She always has something good to say about anyone she speaks of, and she excels at showing gratitude and appreciation. …

I could not ask for a sweeter, more supportive and helpful mother-in-law, nor is anyone prouder than she of her two children and their spouses, her five grandchildren and their spouses, and her six great-grandchildren. She is the most optimistic person I know, and should I live to be 100, I hope I’ll be as vital and involved as she continues to be.

Blanche Stein Lippincott, 1984

Blanche Stein Lippincott, 1984

 

Blanche Stein Lippincott with her great-granddaughter 1996

Blanche Stein Lippincott with her great-granddaughter 1996

You can read the rest of Sharon’s tribute to her mother-in-law Blanche at her blog here. 

I feel very privileged to be even distantly related to Hettie and her children, who were, respectively, my first cousin, twice removed (my grandmother’s first cousin) and my second cousins, once removed (my father’s second cousins).  It’s just too bad that I missed the opportunity to know them in person, given how long and how close by they all lived.

Blanche and Walter, August 9, 2006 courtesy of the family

Blanche and Walter, August 9, 2006
courtesy of the family

 

Blanche, Hettie, and Walter Stein

Blanche, Hettie, and Walter Stein

This post completes my research of the family of Simon Schoenthal and Rose Mansbach and their many children.  This has been a line of the family that has been a joy to research.  Although there were a few sad stories, this was a family of people who lived long lives and seemed to enjoy those lives.   They stayed close to one another even though at times they were separated by long distances.  And most of them spent much of their lives close to their childhood hometown of Atlantic City, New Jersey, once called the World’s Playground.

Unfortunately, the next chapter—the story of Simon’s brother Jakob and his family—is not as joyful.