Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part V: A Love Letter

This is Part V of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV at the links.

As promised, today I am sharing a letter that Samuel Adler wrote to his beloved fiancée, Sarah Kargau, shortly before their marriage in 1837.

Once again, I am indebted to Matthias Steinke for his generous help in transcribing this letter:

Würzburg, den 6ten November 1837

Meine Geliebte!
Voll unbeschreiblicher Sehnsucht zähle ich mit dir jede Stunde. Ja, mit heisser Sehnsucht sehe auch ich dem heiligen Momente unserer Einsegnung, unserer ewigen Verbindung entgegen. Nur noch wenige Tage und wir haben das Ziel unserer Wünsche erreicht. O, wie freue ich mich darauf! Schneller durchströmt bei diesem Gedanken das Blut meine Adern, heftiger schlägt bei diesen Gefühlen mein Herz. Ja, dieses Blättchen würde nicht hinreichen, die alle meine dieshaltigen(?) Gefühle zu schildern, und ich will daher davon abbrechen. Ich habe nun noch eine Bitte: Wir werden nämlich an unserem Hochzeitstage nur eine Vase (Chaise?) mit nach Fürth bringen,

The letter must have continued on the back of the page, as Sue could see there was writing on the reverse side. But she did not want to risk damaging this 182-year-old letter by trying to remove it from the album, so we don’t know how Samuel closed out the letter.

Using Google Translate and my rudimentary knowledge of German, I was able to translate the letter as follows:

Würzburg, November 6, 1837

My beloved! Full indescribable longing I count with you every hour. Yes, with a hot longing I too see the holy moments of our consecration, our eternal connection. Only a few days left and we have reached the goal of our wishes. Oh, how happy I am! The blood rushes through my veins faster at this thought, my heart beats harder with these feelings. Yes, this leaflet would not suffice to describe all of my heartfelt (?) Feelings, and I therefore want to stop it. I have one more request: we will bring only one vase (chaise?) to Fürth on our wedding day,

What a passionate letter! This was no marriage of convenience arranged by parents or a matchmaker. This was a true affair of the heart. I admit to being surprised by the ardor expressed so openly in this letter—the desire is palpable. Samuel was certainly a man in love (or at least in lust). But what was the vase or chaise reference all about? I guess some things are best left to the imagination.

Samuel Adler

 

 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part IV: His Mother’s Parents

This is Part IV of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, and Part III at the links.

In addition to the biographies of his father Abraham and paternal grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt, Milton Goldsmith wrote about his mother’s family. His mother was Cecelia Adler, Abraham’s first wife, and she was the daughter of Samuel Adler and Sarah Kargau. Although Cecelia’s family is only related to mine through her marriage to Abraham, it is nevertheless fascinating to read about her parents.

Here is Milton’s page about his maternal grandfather, Samuel Adler:

Samuel Adler,–my grandfather, was born in Biebergau, Germany in 1814. He had the usual school education, but was never much of a scholar.  He was a stout, benevolent looking gentleman, hearty and genial, with a host of friends.  He married Sarah Kargau, and we have letters from him to her, also their marriage settlement. A year after my mother was born, they came to American in a sailing vessel, and settled in Philadelphia. For a while he manufactured Mantillas, but was not over-successful. He was one of the founders of the first Reform Temple, the Rodef Scholom in Philada, and became its president. Later, he was one of the founders of the Keneseth Israel Congregation, to which he belonged for the rest of his life.

After the marriage of his daughter, to my father, he came to live with them, until he died of ptomaine poisoning in 1886 at the age of 72. During the later years of his life, he went into the haberdashery business, but it was not successful, my father helping him along and providing for his needs.  Neither he nor my grandmother ever mastered the English language properly, which proved a great handicap. His sister, Mrs. Greenbaum, lived in Burlington, Ia. and died at 90 years of age.

I was left with the impression that Samuel was a wonderful man and well-loved by his family and his community, but not much of a businessman. Certainly he did not measure up to Abraham’s success in business in Milton’s eyes, but this is nevertheless a very loving tribute to his grandfather.

Milton also included this photograph of his grandfather Samuel.

Samuel Adler

But is the man depicted on the lower left side of the page supposed to be Samuel looking like a young George Washington? Or someone else? Any ideas?

As for his maternal grandmother and her family, Milton provided this page:

From looking at this page, I realized that some of the decorative art in this album was probably supplied by whoever manufactured the album. The inserted article at the top overlaps some of that decoration. It is a short biography of Mendel Kargau, Cecelia Adler’s maternal grandmother and Milton’s maternal great-grandmother:

This short biography (taken from the Jewish Encyclopedia, according to Milton) shows that unlike her father Samuel Adler, Cecelia’s maternal grandfather was quite scholarly. In his essay about Mendel Kargau and his daughter Sarah Kargau Adler, Milton wrote:

Mendel Kargau, as the attached biography taken from the Jewish Encyclopedia shows, was an eminent Rabbi in Fuerth, Bavaria. I was named for him, Milton being the English equivalent of Mendel.  He lived and died in Europe.

His only daughter, SARAH, was my maternal grandmother. She emigrated to America about two years after her marriage with SAMUEL ADLER, my grandfather. My mother, Cecelia Adler was a baby when they sailed, and during their sixty day voyage in a sailing vessel, she learned to walk. There were several brothers, one of them Moritz, was still living in Fuerth a few years ago. A nephew, Emanuel Kargau, is a dentist in Chicago. Grandma Adler, was a unique person. She was small in stature and not good looking, but must have been very sprightly in her youth. She was witty, and read a great deal. Her preference was for spicy books.  She lived with us for many years, later in life when the family grew too large, she lived near-by. She outlived her husband by many years, died in 1907 at advanced age of 93, retaining her faculties to the end, although she was always hard of hearing. After mother died, she helped to raise our family of 6 children.

When I researched Milton’s family, I noted that after his mother Cecelia died, his maternal grandparents Samuel and Sarah Adler lived with the family, and I’d assumed that Sarah had taken on part of the responsibility of caring for her daughter’s motherless children. Milton’s essay confirmed that assumption and painted a picture of a grandmother who was lively, interesting, and, his words, unique. I found it amusing that he said she wasn’t good looking. Maybe at 93 she wasn’t or even in her fifties when Milton was a child. Like most children, he probably just saw his grandma as an old lady.

I love this photograph of his grandmother. I have zoomed in on it here so that we can see Sarah Kargau Adler more clearly. I bet she was attractive as a young woman when she swept Samuel Adler off his feet. The letter he wrote before their wedding certainly reveals a man deeply in love. I will save that for my next post.