Hannah Goldsmith, Final Chapter: My Cousins the Scientists

This final post about the family of Hannah Goldsmith Benedict is about Hannah’s youngest son, C. Harry Benedict, and his two sons, Manson and William, and their lives after 1940. In an earlier post, we saw how both Manson and William went to Cornell and then on to MIT to get a Ph.D. in chemistry.

In the 1940 census, C. Harry Benedict was enumerated not in his longtime home, Lake Linden, Michigan, but in New York City, where he was, at least at the time of the census enumeration, living at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Since his occupation was listed as a metallurgist for a copper mining company and since I know he continued to work at Calumet and Hecla Mining Company for many years after 1940, I assume this was just a temporary residence while doing some work for the company in New York.1

Or perhaps he was just there visiting his sons, both of whom were working as research chemists in the New York City area in 1940, Manson for M.W. Kellogg Company2 and William for General Chemical Company.3

Both Manson and William changed jobs during World War II. In 1942 William moved to Washington, DC, to work for the Carnegie Institution as a theoretical spectroscopist. Spectroscopy is “the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation.” After the war William worked for the National Bureau of Standards for six years and then joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University as part of the “infrared group.” (I’ve no idea what that means.) He remained at Johns Hopkins for fifteen years. In 1967 he became a research professor at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland where he remained until his retirement in 1979.4

Meanwhile, his brother Manson left M.W. Kellogg in 1943 to work for Hydrocarbon Research, Inc. According to his obituary, “Dr. Benedict was well known for his pioneering role in nuclear engineering. He developed the gaseous diffusion method for separating the isotopes of uranium and supervised the engineering and process development of the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge, TN, where fissionable material for the atomic bomb was produced. He received many awards for his work on the Manhattan Project during WW II and for his later career as a scientist, educator and public servant, which focused on nuclear power and other peaceful uses of atomic energy.”5

After the war Manson stayed with Hydrocarbon Research until 1951 when he served for a year as the chief of the Operational Analysis Staff at the Atomic Energy Commission. Soon thereafter he returned to Massachusetts and joined the faculty of MIT as a professor of nuclear engineering. In 1972 he received the Enrico Fermi Award, which was described as follows on the Los Alamos website:

The Fermi Award is a Presidential award and is one of the oldest and most prestigious science and technology honors bestowed by the U.S. Government. The Enrico Fermi Award is given to encourage excellence in research in energy science and technology benefiting mankind; to recognize scientists, engineers, and science policymakers who have given unstintingly over their careers to advance energy science and technology; and to inspire people of all ages through the examples of Enrico Fermi, and the Fermi Award laureates who followed in his footsteps, to explore new scientific and technological horizons.

Manson remained at MIT until his retirement in 1973.6

Both Manson and William must have inherited or developed their love for science from their father C. Harry, who, like his sons, had gone to Cornell for his undergraduate training and then had spent his career devoted to science, in his case to metallurgy. Harry even wrote a book about his long-term employer, Calamet and Hecla, entitled Red Metal. It was published in 1952 by the University of Michigan Press.

After fifty years or so in Michigan, Harry and his wife Lena relocated to Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1961, presumably to be closer to their son Manson and his family.7 C. Harry died at the age of 86 in Brookline on April 3, 1963;8 his wife Lena followed just two years later on October 2, 1965.9 She and Harry are buried in Syracuse, New York, where Lena was born and raised and where she and Harry were married in 1902.10 They were survived by their two sons and three grandchildren.

William Benedict died suddenly at the age of seventy on January 10, 1980, in Washington, DC. He had had a serious heart attack a few years earlier.11 His wife Ruth died on October 2, 1993, in Washington. She was eighty years old. They were survived by their son and grandchildren.

Manson Benedict outlived his younger brother and his wife Marjorie. She died in Naples, Florida, on May 17, 1995; she was 85.12 Manson survived her by over ten years. He died on September 18, 2006, at the age of 98.13 Manson and Marjorie were survived by their two daughters and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I must admit that I have no real understanding of the work that C. Harry, Manson, and William did in their long and distinguished careers. Science has never been my strong suit, to say the least. But obviously each of these men left their marks on those with and for whom they worked and on the world.

That completes my research and writing about not only the children of Hannah Goldsmith Benedict, but also the entire family of Hannah’s father, Simon Goldschmidt/Goldsmith. Could Simon have ever imagined that after spending time in prison in Oberlistingen, Germany, and immigrating to America to start over in a new country, he would have grandchildren and great-grandchildren who would go to some of the most elite educational institutions in the country and become lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, musicians, business leaders, and scientists?  He may have had hopes that his descendants would rise above his own humble beginnings, but I doubt he could ever have imagined just how high above those humble beginnings his American-born descendants would go.

Next—a number of updates on other matters before I turn to Meyer Goldschmidt, another brother of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt.

 


  1. C Harry Benedict, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02657; Page: 84B; Enumeration District: 31-1406,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. I don’t know where Harry’s wife Lena was as she was not listed with Harry in New York nor was she enumerated back in Michigan, but I know that she and Harry remained married for the rest of their lives, so perhaps Harry just forgot to tell the enumerator that she was with him in New York. 
  2. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  3. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  4. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  5. Naples Daily News, obit for Manson Benedict, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/1143FE1BF2CFFAF8-1143FE1BF2CFFAF8 : accessed 5 May 2019). For more information about Manson’s work on the Manhattan Project as well as the rest of his life and career, please see the wonderful oral history interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  6. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  7. “Harry Benedict of C & H Dead,” Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe, 04 Apr 1963, p. 15 
  8. Number: 369-03-5832; Issue State: Michigan; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Obituary, The (Syracuse, NY) Post-Standard, 04 Oct 1965, p. 23 
  10. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/107277978 
  11.  Number: 143-01-8383; Issue State: New Jersey; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  12. Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 
  13. SSN: 122057823, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 

Hannah Goldsmith Part III: Her Grandsons

We saw that as of 1920, Hannah Goldsmith Benedict was a widow, having lost her husband Joseph in 1917. She was living with her son C. Harry Benedict and his wife Lena and two sons, Manson (13) and William (11), in Lake Linden, Michigan. Harry was a metallurgist for a copper mining corporation.

Hannah’s other two sons were living in Pittsburgh, and both had been affected by Prohibition. Herschel, who’d owned a liquor distribution business, was without an occupation at the time of the 1920 census; he was living with his wife, Mary. Jacob, who had worked in the liquor industry in Kentucky and then in Pittsburgh, was now working in the food business, and he was a widower after losing his wife Clara in 1917. In 1920 Jacob was living with his two daughters, Helen (13) and Marian (12).

The 1920s saw Hannah’s four grandchildren become young adults and pursue higher education. Her two grandsons, Manson and William, achieved academic success in chemistry. Manson Benedict attended the Shady Side Academy, where the 1924 yearbook included this portrayal of him at sixteen:

Manson Benedict, Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Year: 1924,Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

After graduating from Shady Side, Manson attended Cornell University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1928. He was listed a faculty member there the following year.1 In 1930, he was working as a chemist for National Aniline and Chemical Company in Buffalo, New York.2

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1928, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Meanwhile, his brother William was following a similar path. He also attended Shady Side Academy:

William Benedict, Shady Side Academy, 1925, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Year: 1925
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

As noted in that yearbook biography, he was planning to attend Cornell like his older brother and their father, and in fact he graduated from Cornell a year after his brother and was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. And like his brother Manson, William was also a chemist.

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1929
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

In 1930 William was back in Michigan, living with his parents and grandmother Hannah, and had no occupation listed. His father continued to work as a metallurgist.3

Both Manson and William continued their studies in the 1930s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where both received Ph.Ds. William actually received his first—in 1933—and wrote his dissertation on the structure of nitrogen dioxide, a paper that became the basis of a “landmark paper.”4 Manson completed his Ph.D. two years after his younger brother, having spent some time working and then studying philosophy at the University of Chicago. His area of specialization was physical chemistry.5

The brothers then went in different geographic directions. Manson stayed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he became a National Research Council Fellow and a research associate in geophysics. While studying at MIT, he met a fellow Ph.D. student, Marjorie Oliver Allen, whom he married in 1935.6 Marjorie, the daughter of Ivan J Allen and Lucy M Oliver, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 24, 1909.7 She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1931 and then, like her husband Manson, received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from MIT.8 Manson and Marjorie had two children in the 1930s.

Manson’s brother William headed south to Princeton University after completing his doctorate at MIT and became a research fellow there from 1933 until 1935 when he then left academia to become a research chemist at the General Chemical Company in New York.9 He married Ruth Boschwitz on December 24, 1936, in New York City.10 Ruth was born in Berlin, Germany, on July 15, 1913,11 and immigrated to the US on November 24, 1920.12 She and her parents, Carl Boschwitz and Sophie Philipp, settled in New York City, where in 1930, her father was a bank executive.13 Ruth was a student at NYU Medical School when she married William Benedict.14 In 1940, Ruth and William were living with Ruth’s mother in New York City where William continued to work as a chemist in the chemical industry and Ruth was a doctor at a hospital.15 They would have one child born in the 1940s.

Manson Benedict also left academia in the late 1930s. In 1937, he returned to National Aniline and Chemical Company in Buffalo, New York, and worked there as a research chemist until 1938 when he joined the M.W. Kellogg Company in Jersey City, New Jersey, as a research chemist. He remained there for five years.16 Unfortunately, I could not find Manson and Marjorie on the 1940 census despite having their exact address in Radburn, New Jersey.

Manson and William both went on to have distinguished careers in their fields. More on that in a post to come.

 


  1. “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1929,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  2. Manson Benedict, 1930 US census, Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Page: 37B; Enumeration District: 0025; FHL microfilm: 2341158, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  3. C.Harry Benedict and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Torch Lake, Houghton, Michigan; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0040; FHL microfilm: 2340729, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  4. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  5. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  6. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  7. SSN: 017369908, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Marjorie Allen, 1934 Mt Holyoke College yearbook, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Llamarada_Yearbook; Year: 1934, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  9. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  10. License Number: 30940, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 13, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  11. SSN: 578387103, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12.  Year: 1920; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2879; Line: 4; Page Number: 126, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  13. Carl Boschwitz and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0542; FHL microfilm: 2341301,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  14. Ruth Boschwitz, 1936 NYU Medical School yearbook, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Medical Violet; Year: 1936, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  15. William Benedict, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 31-1337, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  16. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 

Hannah Goldsmith Benedict, 1848-1900: Litigation and Fires Beleaguer The Family

The youngest of Simon Goldsmith’s children was his daughter Hannah; she was born to Simon’s second wife, Fradchen Schoenthal, my three-times great-aunt, making Hannah, like her brother Henry, my double cousin. Hannah was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 5, 1848. Since I have not written about Hannah in quite a while, let me recap what I’ve already written about her.

In 1850, Simon and Fradchen were living in Pittsburgh with Henry and Hannah as well Simon’s two daughters from his first marriage, Lena and Eva. Fradchen died later that year, leaving Hannah motherless when she was just two years old.

Simon Goldsmith and family, 1850 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_745; Page: 135A; Image: 274 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census

Simon then moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, to live with his oldest child Jacob, presumably so that he would have support to raise his two youngest children.

Simon Goldsmith and family 1860 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Image: 627; Family History Library Film: 805192

In 1867, Hannah married Joseph Benedict. She was only nineteen, and he was 33. Joseph was born July 3, 1834, in Germany and had immigrated in 1857, according to the 1900 census. Hannah and Joseph settled in Pittsburgh after marrying. The 1870 Pittsburgh directory lists Joseph as a junk dealer. By the time the 1870 census was enumerated Joseph and Hannah had a five-month-old son named Jacob, born January 24, 1870, in Pittsburgh. Also living with them in 1870 were Hannah’s father, Simon Goldsmith, now a retired tailor, and Amelia Schoenthal, who was Hannah’s first cousin, her mother Fradchen’s niece and the older sister of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal.

Joseph and Hannah Benedict, 1870 US census, ensus Place: Pittsburgh Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1295; Page: 567A; Family History Library Film: 552794
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

On June 6, 1871, Hannah gave birth to a second child, Herschel Newton Benedict, in Pittsburgh. Five years later, Hannah gave birth to her third son, Centennial Harry Benedict, born on September 24, 1876, in Pittsburgh (named for the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence).1 Hannah and her husband Joseph Benedict continued to live in Pittsburgh where Joseph is listed on the 1880 census as a rag dealer.

Joseph and Hannah Benedict and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1092; Page: 508D; Enumeration District: 122,  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

Unfortunately, the 1880s presented some difficult issues for Joseph Benedict and thus his family. In 1882 he became embroiled in litigation against the Antietam Paper Company. Joseph sold this company $813.03 worth of rags for which they had refused to pay, alleging that the rags were infected with the smallpox virus. The company argued that as a result of the infected rags, many people both in the paper company’s employ and in the surrounding area became ill and even died, causing the company to shut down its operations. The lower court rejected the paper company’s defense, and judgment in favor of Joseph was upheld on appeal.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5 Sep 1882, Tue, Page 1

[To my former Contracts students—why do you think Joseph won this case?]

Just two years later in September 1884, the warehouse where Joseph’s rag and paper business was located was severely damaged by fire. Not only was there serious property damage, two firefighters were injured while trying to control the fire. The newspaper reports differed on their coverage of the fire. The Pittsburgh Daily Post wrote:

Pittsburgh Daily Post, 10 Sep 1884, Page 4

According to this article, the owners of the building were fully insured for the $5000 loss, though the aggregate loss (including the property of the tenants) was more like $40,000.

But an article from the same date published by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a very different report on the insurance coverage for damages:

“Rags and Tea,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
10 Sep 1884, Page 2

So did the owners have insurance or not? Which paper had a more accurate report of the facts?

Joseph’s loss was partially covered by insurance, at least according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he nevertheless suffered a very significant loss. The Post-Gazette account noted that the fire was presumed to have started by spontaneous combustion of Joseph’s rags.

That was not the last time Joseph’s business was damaged by fire. In 1892, Joseph was now the owner of the building that housed his rag and paper business. A fire started when a gas stove overheated in the space in his building that was being used by a cigar business. Joseph’s business suffered only minor damage, according to the paper, because the fire did not reach the cellar where his business was located and thus only suffered water damage. The paper noted, however, that this was the third fire at this building within eighteen months.

“Fire in Allegheny,” The Pittsburgh Press – 23 Nov 1892 – Page 1

But Joseph was still operating his paper business at that location in 1894.2

Meanwhile, Hannah and Joseph’s sons were growing up in these years. In 1889, Jacob, the oldest son who was then nineteen, was working as a bookkeeper. The following year both Jacob and his brother Herschel were listed as bookkeepers in the Pittsburgh directory. Both were still listed as bookkeepers in 1898.3

At that time the youngest brother, C. Harry Benedict, was a student at Cornell University.

U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012; Yearbook Title: Cornell Class Book; Year: 1897
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

In 1900, Hannah and Joseph and their two older sons were living in Pittsburgh, where Joseph, now 65, was retired, Jacob was working as a bookkeeper, and Herschel was a salesman.

Joseph Benedict, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1241359
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

C. Harry was living in Lake Linden, Michigan in 1900, working as a mechanical engineer, according to the census record. But “chemical” was crossed out, and later records indicate that Harry was a metallurgical engineer, so I think either the enumerator or the person reporting to the enumerator was confused.

C Harry Benedict, 1900 US census, Census Place: Schoolcraft, Houghton, Michigan; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0196; FHL microfilm: 1240715, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Thus, by 1900, all three of Hannah and Joseph Benedict’s sons were adults, and their father had retired from his fire-prone business.  Soon there would be weddings and grandchildren.

 

 

 

 


  1. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1894, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1889, 1890, 1898, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 

Henry Goldsmith’s Grandsons: College Men

Before I left for England, I had been writing about Henry Goldsmith, my double cousin, related to me both as a Goldsmith and as a Schoenthal. Henry and his wife Sarah Jaffa had ten children, eight of whom were still living in 1920, all in western Pennsylvania. Sarah died in 1907, and Henry died in 1923. By then, six of their eight surviving children were married, and there were numerous grandchildren.

Two of their sons (JW and Benjamin) were in business together as merchants, one (Milton) was a doctor, one (Walter) a dentist, and two (SR and Oliver) were lawyers. Their two daughters also were quite accomplished, one (Florence) as a musician, the other (Helen) a teacher until she married and had a family. But we saw that after Henry’s death, there’d been some changes in the sons’ careers and that Oliver had moved away and married in Florida.

In the 1920s, not only were Henry Goldsmith’s sons making changes, his grandsons were as well. Three of his grandsons went away to college in the 1920s.

Norman, Milton and Luba Goldsmith’s older son, graduated from Cornell University in 1927.  Here is his photograph (left) from the 1927 Cornell yearbook:

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1927
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

During the summer after his graduation from Cornell, Norman took a writing course with his mother Luba at the University of Pittsburgh, as reported in detail in the July 28, 1927 Pittsburgh Press..  Here is just a short excerpt from the article, which mostly focuses on Luba’s writing interests and background:

“Pitt’s First Co-Ed and Son Studying in Same Class,” The Pittsburgh Press, July 28, 1927, p. 4

Again the doctor looks at literature. Dr. Luba Robin Goldsmith, practicing physician for 21 years, is a student of composition in the University of Pittsburgh summer school. Attending some of her classes is her son, Norman R. Goldsmith, aged 20, a graduate of the 1927 class of Cornell university, who will enter the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. ….

Beside her in Prof. Maulsby’s class in journalism each morning is her son, Norman R. Goldsmith, who, like his two parents will be a medical doctor. He is tall, attractive with his mother’s blue eyes and open countenance.  When questioned as to his correlation of medicine and writing, he said:

“Medicine I want to make my vocation; literature my avocation, if possible. I like to write. I think that’s about all.” He wants to write fiction, chiefly short stories.  He has already written a book, “Liebestraum,” printed privately in a small edition. In the Goldsmith home in Squirrel Hill is Albert, aged 12, whose career has not yet been determined. He is sturdy and athletic, likes music and writes a little.

Norman then began his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania, following in the footsteps of his mother and father, who were both doctors.1

Norman’s cousin, J. Edison, who was one year younger than Norman and the son of JW and Jennie Goldsmith, followed his cousin to Cornell, but completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He then went to the Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia.2

Finally, the third cousin, Jack Goldsmith, son of SR and Rae Goldsmith, was a year younger than J.Edison. Like his father, Jack went to the University of Michigan, from which he graduated in 1931. He chose law as his profession, following in his father’s footsteps; he attended Harvard Law School for a year and then transferred to the law school at the University of Southern California.3

And then tragedy struck. Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, the only son of SR Goldsmith and his wife Rae, died on March 21, 1933 at the age of 24. Excerpts from the full obituary are transcribed below:

“Funeral Service for Jack Goldsmith Thursday Afternoon,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 22, 1933, p. 5.

The funeral service for Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, whose death occurred yesterday morning in New York, will be held at 2:30 o’clock Thursday afternoon at the residence in Wills road. ….

A heart condition, which followed a severe attack of arthritis in December, caused death at 9:50 o’clock Tuesday morning at the apartment of Jack’s aunts, Misses Anne and Martha Tumpson. He was 24 years old.

The young man, a son of Attorney Samuel R. and Rae Tumpson Goldsmith of this city, was completing a law course at the University of Southern California when his illness began. In recent weeks his health failed rapidly, but many friends were unaware of the seriousness of his condition and his death created a profound shock.

Jack Goldsmith was widely known in Connellsville and other places. He made friends readily and was rather widely traveled. He was a brilliant student and made scholastic records at the institutions which he attended. Although equipping himself for the practice of law he was keenly interested in journalism and writing of short stories and poems. He frequently submitted articles to publishers, some of them being accepted.  During a summer vacation, he was employed on the reportorial staff of The Courier.  It being his desire to further acquaint himself with journalistic work through actual experience.

Born on January 28, 1909, in Connellsville, Jack attended the public schools here.  After two years in the Connellsvillle High School he entered Staunton Military Academy, where he was graduated with honors. While there he was a member of the school band and very active in student affairs. He next entered the University of Michigan, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1931.

At Michigan he was a member of the editorial staff of the school paper and was able to give wide scope to his desire for journalistic effort. He also became a member of the college gymnasium team, the first ever to represent the university in intercollegiate competition. He was awarded a letter for his success in that department. He was also a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.

Upon completion of his course there he entered Harvard Law School, spending one year at that place. Then he felt he might like to locate, upon graduation, in California, and in order to better reach a decision he transferred his study of law to the University of Southern California last year.

It was while his parents were on a visit with him during the Christmas holiday that he suffered an acute attack of arthritis.  It was quite severe on December 27. He was taken to the Cedar of Lebanon Hospital at Los Angeles, where he spent three weeks. The illness left him with a heart condition.

On February 22 he journed across the continent by train, going to the apartment of his aunts in New York. There he was confined to his bed for three weeks. His mother was constantly with him and his father spent the major portion of the past three weeks in New York also. Both were at his bedside when death occurred.

One of the best friends Jack Goldsmith had made in Connellsville was Rev. E. H. Stevens, pastor of the First Baptist Church. Despite the great difference in their ages, they would often spend hours together in the discussion of philosophy. With much in common, especially the ideas the younger generation are now confronting, they became very close to one another. Rev. Stevens has been invited by the family to take part in the funeral service.

What a terrible loss to the family and to the community. I was puzzled by the connection between arthritis and a heart condition, but after a little research, I believe that Jack suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, not the arthritis most of us association with joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with damage to the heart.

I also was puzzled by the reference to the “college gymnasium team,” but found references to this terminology in some older sources referring to some kind of athletic team, though I am not sure exactly which sport. It might be gymnastics.

Jack Goldsmith is buried in Glendale, California. As we will see in the next post, among his other legacies, Jack may have inspired many in his extended family to leave Pennsylvania for the California dream.

 

 

 


  1. “Get Penn Degrees,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 1931, p. 6. 
  2. The Connellsville Daily Courier, April 2, 1927, p. 6; The Connellsville Daily Courier, December 22, 1928, p. 6; The Connellsville Daily Courier, June 13, 1965, p. 2. 
  3. “Funeral Service for Jack Goldsmith Thursday Afternoon,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 22, 1933, p. 5.