A Special Photograph

While taking a short break from research, I want to share a few photographs and records I’ve received recently, but did not have a chance to post on the blog.

You may recall the series of blog posts I did about Amalia Hamberg and her family.  Amalia, born Malchen, was my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal’s first cousin:

corrected relationship isidore schoenthal to malchen hamberg

 

She acted as the administratrix of the estate of Charles Hamberg, the cousin who lived in South Carolina whose first wife had been murdered and whose son Samuel Hamberg ended up living with Henry Schoenthal in Washington, Pennsylvania after his father died as well.  Amalia had married Jacob Baer, with whom she had nine children, many of whom ended up working for the family jewelry business founded by the oldest brother, Maurice, in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Well, one of the descendants of Amalia and Jacob Baer found my blog and connected me with his siblings, one of whom graciously shared with me this wonderful photograph of Amalia Hamberg and Jacob Baer. Both Amalia and Jacob lived long lives.  Amalia lived from 1851 until 1931; Jacob from 1847 to 1932. Imagine all the changes they saw—starting in Germany in the middle of the 19th century and living through the Industrial Revolution, the first World War, and the Roaring Twenties.  They raised nine children in western Pennsylvania and must have seen Pittsburgh grow from a small fairly rural area to the home of steel manufacturing.  They lived to see the invention and development of cars and telephones, even airplanes.

amalia-hamberg-and-jacob-baer-from-celena-adler-watermarked

I don’t know when this photograph was taken.  Although Amalia and Jacob may look old because of their attire and Jacob’s seemingly gray hair, their faces have no wrinkles, and the style of dress does not look 20th century to me.  I would guess that they were in their 40s, so perhaps the picture was taken in the 1890s.  What do you think?

I am so excited to have this photograph. Thank you so much to the Adler siblings who shared this with me.

Attleboro Manufacturing Company: My Cousins, the Jewelers

As I mentioned in my last post, the oldest child of Amalia (Hamberg) and Jacob Baer, Maurice Jay Baer, founded a jewelry company in Attleboro, Massachusetts, in the late 1890s when he was in his twenties. The company was originally called Attleboro Manufacturing. The stories of four of Amalia and Jacob Baer’s children are integrally related to the history of Attleboro Manufacturing: two of their sons, Maurice and Lawrence, and two of their sons-in-law Samuel Stone, married to their daughter Tilda, and Jerome Grant, married to their daughter Elsie, were all involved in leadership roles in the company.

At one time, Attleboro, Massachusetts was known as the Jewelry Capital of the World due to the numerous jewelry manufacturers doing business there.  But like most of the manufacturing businesses in Massachusetts, jewelry businesses in Attleboro eventually moved elsewhere to save on labor and other costs.


Attleboro Manufacturing was one of the businesses that eventually moved out of the region; later known as Swank and Company, the company was in business in Attleboro until the closing of its plant there in 2000. Though no longer in Atttleboro, Swank, Inc. is still in business today as a division of Randa Accessories, designing and manufacturing men’s jewelry, belts, personal leather accessories, and gifts. (“Jewelry legacy takes another hit with Swank closing, ” The Sun Chronicle, March 17, 2000.)

The company was founded by Maurice Baer and Samuel Stone.  Samuel Stone was born Samuel Einstein in Laupheim, Germany, on February 25, 1872, the son of Moritz Einstein.  He immigrated to the US in 1885, according to his 1920 passport application, and settled in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  He was only thirteen years old at the time and seems to have come by himself.  According to his 1920 and 1923 passport applications, his father was still residing in Germany at those times.  Other sources indicate that his parents both died in Germany.  This source also concluded that he came by himself to the US.

Samuel Einstein is listed as a jewelry manufacturer as early as 1890 and 1892 in the Attleboro city directories for those years, that is, several years before he and Maurice Baer founded Attleboro Manufacturing together.  How did Maurice, who lived in western Pennsylvania, end up doing business with a young man living in Attleboro? Was there a family connection? Not that I have yet found.  Perhaps they just met through business, Maurice traveling to New England or Samuel traveling to Pennsylvania.

According to this source:

By chance, Einstein had been doing business for a number of years (presumably wholesale jewellery) with a Pittsburg, PA salesman named Maurice Baer. It probably helped that Baer’s parents were German immigrants and both men were also of a similar age so an apparently close bond developed between the two.

That article and several other sources report that in 1897 Samuel and Maurice started Attleboro Manufacturing Company.  Their first year brought an unexpected challenge.

The beginnings of Swank, Inc. can be traced to the year 1897, when Samuel M. Stone [originally Samuel Einstein] and Maurice J. Baer founded the Attleboro Manufacturing Company to produce and sell jewelry for women. The two men took over a building in Attleboro, Massachusetts, that had been constructed decades earlier as a forge to turn precious metals into jewelry.

Unfortunately, less than a year after Stone and Baer began production, one of the largest fires in the town’s history claimed an entire block of buildings, destroying their small enterprise. Many of the company’s employees helped fight the fire and were able to salvage a portion of the machinery and finished jewelry. Therefore, the Attleboro Manufacturing Company was able to resume its operations with the remaining equipment and material in another building nearby, which came to be the center of production for the next century.

Mill_Street,_Attleboro,_MA

The local Attleboro newspaper, the Sun Register, also reported on this history in its March 17, 2000, issue (“Jewelry legacy takes another hit with Swank closing, ” The Sun Chronicle, March 17, 2000) :

The company, starting with 10 employees, was located in a factory at Mill and Union streets. The fire of 1898 leveled a good portion of Attleboro’s jewelry plants, including the Attleboro Mfg. Co. However, volunteers managed to save the equipment of Attleboro Mfg. and within a day, the company was back in operation in the basement of a building adjacent to the present plant on Hazel Street.

Although both of these sources report the almost immediate re-opening of the business after the fire, Maurice Baer may not have yet relocated permanently to Attleboro, as he is listed as residing in Pittsburgh in the 1899 Pittsburgh city directory and on the 1900 census.  But soon the company was doing quite well, and in 1908 Maurice and another man named Eben Wilde started a separate division to expand from women’s jewelry to men’s jewelry:

Within ten years, the Attleboro Manufacturing Company was enjoying a good deal of success in producing women’s jewelry and decided to begin expanding into new markets. In 1908, [Maurice] Baer formed a new division, called Baer and Wilde, to oversee the production of men’s jewelry, while Stone remained in charge of Attleboro Manufacturing.

Downtown, about 1909

Downtown Attleboro, about 1909 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At some point, Maurice must have introduced his younger sister Tilda to his partner Samuel Einstein because by 1908 they were married and living in Attleboro where their first child Stephanie was born in June, 1908.  They would have three more children, Samuel, Jr. (1910), Harriet (1913), and Babette (or Betty, 1919).  In 1910, Samuel was still using the surname Einstein, as he was in 1920, so all four children were originally given the surname Einstein.

Samuel and Tilda Baer Einstein (Stone) 1920 US census Year: 1920; Census Place: Attleboro Ward 2, Bristol, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_681; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 9; Image: 794

Samuel and Tilda Baer Einstein (Stone)
1920 US census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Attleboro Ward 2, Bristol, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_681; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 9; Image: 794

The family was still using the name Einstein as late as 1923, as that is how Samuel is listed in the Attleboro directory for that year and also the name appearing on his 1923 passport application, but by 1927, they had switched to Stone, as can be seen in this ship manifest for a trip they all took to France that year.

Samuel and TIlda Baer Einstein/Stone and children from 1923 passport application National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 2295; Volume #: Roll 2295 - Certificates: 304850-305349, 08 Jun 1923-08 Jun 1923

Samuel and TIlda Baer Einstein/Stone and children from 1923 passport application
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 2295; Volume #: Roll 2295 – Certificates: 304850-305349, 08 Jun 1923-08 Jun 1923

Stone family on 1927 passenger manifest Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4125; Line: 1; Page Number: 28

Stone family on 1927 passenger manifest
Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4125; Line: 1; Page Number: 28

The third Baer child whose family was to become involved in the Attleboro Manufacturing Company was Elsie, the seventh child and youngest daughter.  In 1910 she was still living with her parents in Pittsburgh, working as a kindergarten teacher.  She was 24 years old.  Three years later she married Jerome Louis Grant in Philadelphia.  Jerome was born in Cortland, New York, in 1888, and in 1910 he had been living with his parents in Philadelphia where he and his father, Theodore Grant, were both working in the fur business.

Two years after marrying, Jerome and Elsie were living in New York City where Jerome was working as a salesman.

Jerome and Elsie Baer Grant and family 1915 NYS census New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 49; Assembly District: 23; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 60

Jerome and Elsie Baer Grant and family
1915 NYS census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 49; Assembly District: 23; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 60

Jerome Grant’s draft registration for World War I revealed for whom he was working as a salesman: Baer & Wilde, the division of Attleboro Manufacturing Company started by his brother-in-law Maurice Baer.  He was a salesman as well as the manager of their New York office.  The registration revealed something else: Elsie was pregnant.

Jerome Grant World War I draft registration Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786805; Draft Board: 147

Jerome Grant World War I draft registration
Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786805; Draft Board: 147

 

Elsie and Jerome’s first child was born in 1919, a daughter named Marjorie.  Their second daughter was born two years later and named Elinor.

Although the 1920 census reported that Jerome was a contractor in the building industry, the 1930 census reports that he was still in the jewelry manufacturing business.  Moreover, both the 1920 and the 1925 New York City directories list Jerome as associated with Baer & Wilde, so I believe that the 1920 census is not correct in its reporting of Jerome’s occupation at that time.

Jerome and Elsie Baer Grant 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Long Beach, Nassau, New York; Roll: 1461; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0137; Image: 104.0; FHL microfilm: 2341196

Jerome and Elsie Baer Grant 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Long Beach, Nassau, New York; Roll: 1461; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0137; Image: 104.0; FHL microfilm: 2341196

Finally, the other Baer sibling to get involved in the Attleboro business was the youngest child, Lawrence.  Even in 1910 when he was only 18, Lawrence was already involved in jewelry sales.  By 1917 when he registered for the draft for World War I, he was a part owner of Baer & Wilde and living in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  There was a notation on his draft registration saying, “This man employs from 150 to 175 people in jewelry business.”  Was this a basis for exempting him from the draft?

Lawrence Baer World War 1 draft registration Registration State: Massachusetts; Registration County: Bristol; Roll: 1684755; Draft Board: 40

Lawrence Baer World War 1 draft registration
Registration State: Massachusetts; Registration County: Bristol; Roll: 1684755; Draft Board: 40

The company did in fact participate in its own way in the war effort:

By the time the United States became involved in World War I, the Attleboro Manufacturing Company was large enough to handle the production of thousands of metal identification tags, better known as “dog tags,” for the military. While this was the company’s most notable contribution to the war effort, it also profited from the production of numerous other emblems for the U.S. government during those years.

But was that enough to keep a man exempt from the draft? Although it would certainly seem that Lawrence was not essential to the operations of the business, given the involvement of his brother Maurice as well as two of his brothers-in-law, he certainly had a major impact on the success of Baer & Wilde:

[Baer & Wilde} operated with marginal success until 1918, when [Maurice] Baer’s brother, Lawrence Baer, came to them with his newly invented Kum-A-Part “cuff button”. It was an immediate success, to the tune of some four million pairs per year. In 1923, with some improvements made to it by Wilde, the design was patented. Kum-A-Part items remained in production until 1931.

Kum-A-Part cufflinks

Kum-A-Part cufflinks

The tremendous success of the Kum-A-Part cufflinks had a major impact on the future of the company:

[After World War I, the demand for this cuff button was so great that the company stopped making women’s jewelry. By this time Baer & Wilde had absorbed the Attleboro Mfg. Co. facilities.

By the 1920s, Baer & Wilde was selling more than 4 million pairs of cuff buttons a year. The company started to grow with acquisitions and adding other lines such as belt and buckle.

Lawrence Baer’s invention thus changed the fortunes of the company founded by his brother Maurice and brother-in-law Samuel.

Lawrence married Donna Degen on October 20, 1919.  Donna was a Michigan native, and in 1910 she had been living with her parents and brother in Grand Rapids Michigan, where her father was a life insurance agent.

Engagement announcement of Lawrence Baer and Donna Degen, Pittsburgh Jewish Criterion, October 24, 1919

Marriage announcement of Lawrence Baer and Donna Degen,
Pittsburgh Jewish Criterion, October 24, 1919

After marrying, Lawrence and Donna were living in Attleboro in 1920; a year later their son John Degen Baer was born in Attleboro.  The family was still living in Attleboro in 1930, and Lawrence was listed as the owner of a jewelry manufacturing factory.

The 1920s were years of rapid growth for the family’s jewelry business:

After production of the women’s jewelry line was halted, the company focused solely on the manufacture and marketing of its men’s items. Although its men’s products were already in high demand, the company pushed even harder to gain more market share through the implementation of a new marketing plan and increased advertising. The new marketing plan was originated by [Samuel Einstein] Stone in the late 1920s and dictated that the Attleboro Manufacturing Company employ seven wholesale dealers in different major cities throughout the United States to handle the sale and distribution of the men’s jewelry line. This action helped the company more easily distribute its products nationwide and also increased its advertising range.

Thus, by 1930, there were three Baer siblings living in Attleboro and involved in the leadership of the very successful family jewelry business: Maurice, Tilda, and Lawrence.  Another sibling, Elsie, was living in New York, where her husband Jerome was also working for the family’s jewelry business.

As seen in the last post, their three other surviving siblings had no connection to the jewelry business. Josephine was living in New York with her husband Morris Green, who was in the financial industry at that time.  Two of the Baer daughters were in Philadelphia: Amanda, whose husband Meyer Herman was in the clothing manufacturing business, and Flora, whose husband Julius Adler was a successful engineer.  Two of the nine children had died young: Hattie in 1910 and Alfred in 1923.

By 1930, Jacob and Amalia had thirteen grandchildren: Hattie’s two children, Justin and Richard Herman (raised by her sister Amanda, who had married Hattie’s widowed husband Meyer Herman); Josephine’s son Alan Baer Green; Flora’s three children, Stanley, Jerrold, and Amy Adler; Tilda’s four children, Stephanie, Samuel, Harriet, and Babette Stone; Elsie’s two daughters Marjorie and Elinor Grant; and Lawrence’s son John Degen Baer.

In my next series of posts I will describe what happened after 1930 to the seven surviving children and thirteen grandchildren of Jacob and Amalia (Hamberg) Baer and to Attleboro Manufacturing Company.

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.

Love That Dirty Water—Boston, You’re My Town: Great-great-uncle Felix

I lived in the Boston area for six years and still live just 90 miles to the west of the Hub; my older daughter went to college there; my younger daughter has lived there for almost ten years.  I have other family and friends in the area. And I’ve been a Boston Red Sox fan for over half my life.  So it gave me quite a smile to see that Felix Schoenthal, one of my great-grandfather’s brothers, ended up in the Boston area—Brookline, to be specific, a town that borders Boston and is known as the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy and the longtime center of the Boston Jewish community.

Felix and Margaret Schoenthal from 1919 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 - Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

Felix and Margaret Schoenthal from 1919 passport application,
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 – Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

But before he got to Boston, my great-great-uncle Felix had lived, like his siblings, in western Pennsylvania after immigrating from Sielen, Germany in 1872.  As I wrote earlier, Felix married Margaret or Maggie Swem in 1878; Margaret was born in West Newton, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John and Rachel Swem; her father was a blacksmith there.

UPDATE: Thanks to Diane Young Decker who commented on this post, I now know a bit more about the family of Margaret Swem.  Margaret’s father John was Diane’s great-great-great grandmother’s brother.  Margaret wrote the following about her great-great-great grandmother Abigail Swem Wilson: “[The family] was Baptist or another fairly straight-laced Protestant denomination. Life was very very different on the hardscrabble prairies of Iowa, which is where David and Abigail Swem Wilson settled and finished raising their family. They were desperately poor, particularly during the Civil War years, when four of their boys went to war, leaving David, who was only able to get around on crutches, Abigail and the young daughters to handle the farm. One of the boys, Eli Wilson, was killed in the war and another never returned to the home place for any length of time.” Diane would love to hear from anyone else with Swem relatives.

Felix and Margaret must have been an interesting couple: a fairly recently arrived German Jewish immigrant and a Baptist daughter of a blacksmith from western Pennsylvania.

Felix and Margaret had two daughters in the 1880s: Rachel (1881) and Yetta (1884).  I assume that Rachel was named for Margaret’s mother and that Yetta was named for Felix’s mother, my great-great-grandmother Henriette Hamberg Schoenthal, who had died in 1882.

In 1880, Felix was working as a bookkeeper for the paper mill in West Newton. Then in 1883, the mill was shut down.  This news article sheds interesting light on both the ways of business back then and the character of Felix Schoenthal:

"Why They Shut Down," The Indiana (PA) Democrat, June 14, 1883, p. 7

“Why They Shut Down,” The Indiana (PA) Democrat, June 14, 1883, p. 7

If I understood this correctly, the owner of the mill wanted employees, including Felix, to sign affidavits that falsely stated the cost of manufacturing paper.  I assume he was trying to justify his prices.  When Felix refused to do so, he was assaulted by the mill owner; other employees were fired for refusing to sign the affidavit.  As a result of the unrest, the mill was shut down.

Felix and Margaret relocated to Pittsburgh, where Felix continued to work as a bookkeeper according to directory listings in 1883; his listings in the 1884 and 1888 Pittsburgh directories are the same—bookkeeper.

Then in April, 1889, Felix opened a women’s clothing store.

Felix Schoenthal 1889 new store

Pittsburgh Daily Post, April 9, 1889, p. 3

Although this article only refers to “Mr. Schoenthal,” this listing in the 1889 Pittsburgh directory for “F. Schoenthal—Ladies’ Fine Furnishings” provides a home address, 144 Jackson Avenue, that matches the home address given for Felix Schoenthal in the 1888 Pittsburgh directory and earlier.

But it appears that the store venture did not last too long.  These ads in the October 19, 1889 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggest that Felix was already closing down the store six months later:

F Schoenthal store closeout october 1889

And in the 1890 Pittsburgh city directory, he listed his occupation as an accountant, not a merchant. In 1892, the Pittsburgh directory lists Felix as a cashier, and in 1896, he was an advertising manager. Then in 1897 he was again a bookkeeper.

It might have seemed like Felix was struggling to find his niche, but in fact Felix had developed quite a reputation.  According to Felix’s obituary, “Henry M. Whitney of Boston came to know of Mr. Schoenthal’s skilled operations in accountancy and interested him in association with New England Gas & Coke Company and Dominion Coal Company and Dominion Iron & Steel Company of Canada, for which vast enterprise he was general auditor.” Boston Herald, August 26, 1926., p. 6.  Felix took the job and moved to Boston, where he was listed in the 1898 and 1899 city directories as an auditor.

On the 1900 census, Felix and his wife Maggie and their two daughters, now 19 and 16, were living at 8 Kenwood Street in Brookline.  Felix was still working as an auditor for the coke and coal companies.

From September 23, 1901, until April 24, 1904, Felix and his family lived in Montreal, Canada, according to his 1919 passport application. I assume he continued to work for the same company since it had a Canadian division.

Felix Schoenthal passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 - Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

Felix Schoenthal 1919 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 – Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

 

This news item in the September 8, 1901, Boston Herald announced the family’s upcoming move:

Felix Schoenthal move to Montreal 1901

 

After over three years in Montreal, they returned to Brookline and moved to 26 Kenwood Street (a different house from their prior home, which was at 8 Kenwood Street), according to the 1905 Brookline directory. Here is a photo of the house, which according to Zillow was built in 1905, so it was new when my relatives moved in.

 

26 Kenwood Street, Brookline, Massachusetts

26 Kenwood Street, Brookline, Massachusetts

At that point, Felix was still working as an auditor, but the following year’s directory lists Felix’s occupation as “typewriter,” and that is the occupation given in every Brookline directory thereafter.[1]

What was Felix doing with typewriters? According to an article written in the Boston Herald on July 13, 1924, Felix Schoenthal was the founder of the Model Typewriter Company in Boston.  The article described how Felix transformed the typewriter business not only for this company but nationally:

Felix Schoenthal typewriter story part 1

Felix Schoenthal Typewriter story part 2

Boston Herald, July 13, 1924, p. 31

Thus, Felix took a risk leaving his job as the auditor for the coke and coal corporations, a risk that seemed to pay off.  His innovation—refurbishing typewriters rather than selling them in need of repairs—is something that today has become part of many business models, whether it’s computers, cars, electronic equipment, or appliances.

Meanwhile, Felix and Margaret’s daughters had grown up.  In 1910, Rachel (also known as Ray) was 29, and Yetta was 25.  Both were still living at home and not working outside the home.   In the Boston Herald of May 28, 1911,  Felix and Margaret announced the engagement of their daughter Yetta to David Edward Moeser.

 

Yetta Schoenthal engagement
David Moeser was a year younger than Yetta and was born in Montreal in 1885.  He immigrated to Boston around 1904 or 1905, soon after Felix Schoenthal and his family had returned to Boston from Montreal.  David would have been only 19 when he left Canada for Boston.  Call me a crazy romantic, but I think David must have followed Yetta to Boston—a teenage love affair.  Or alternatively, Felix was a friend of his family and offered to help David get started on a career in Boston.  I like the first version better.

In 1905 David was working as a cashier, and in 1906 he was an accountant, leading some credence to the second alternative, that Felix, an accountant, was helping him start his career. He was also living in Brookline, less than two miles from the Schoenthals.  In 1910 his directory listing description is as a financial manager, still living in Brookline.

After marrying on August 11, 1911, David and Yetta lived with Felix, Margaret, and Rachel at 26 Kenwood.  In 1918, when David registered for the World War I draft, they were still living at 26 Kenwood.

David Moeser World War I draft registration Registration State: Massachusetts; Registration County: Norfolk; Roll: 1685068

David Moeser World War I draft registration
Registration State: Massachusetts; Registration County: Norfolk; Roll: 1685068

David was by then a naturalized citizen and the treasurer and general manager of Conrad and Company, Incorporated, a women’s clothing store that grew into a department store on Winter Street in Boston.

 

Boston Herald, January 4, 1928, p. 10

Boston Herald, January 4, 1928, p. 10

By 1921, David had established himself sufficiently as a knowledgeable business person that he was quoted in the Boston Post on the issue of whether or not a sales tax should be instituted to raise revenue:

David Moeser on sales tax 1921

 

Yetta and David were still living at 26 Kenwood Street in 1920 with Felix and Margaret Schoenthal, according to the 1920 census.  Rachel, however, was no longer living there.  In 1915 she had married Samuel Kronberg, who was almost twenty years older than Rachel and a widower.  His first wife, Nannie, an opera singer, had died in 1907.

Samuel was born in about 1862 in Russia-Poland (records conflict), the son of Marcus/Max and Tobie Kronberg, who had immigrated to Boston where Max was a merchant.  According to his obituary (see below), Samuel was a music student from an early age and studied in Europe for several years.  He then taught music and was the director of the Knickerbocker Opera Company in New York before returning to Boston where he became a successful music impresario.

Samuel was perhaps best known for producing a performance of Richard Wagner’s opera Siegfried at Harvard Stadium in 1915, the year Samuel Kronberg married Rachel Schoenthal.

Springfield Sunday Republican, May 9, 1915, p. 18

Siegfried part 2

Springfield Sunday Republican, May 9, 1915, p. 18

(I was tickled to see that one of the performers was Alma Gluck, who,  according to family lore, knew my maternal grandfather Isadore Goldschlager.)

Samuel’s younger brother Louis Kronberg was also well-known in the arts.  He was a painter whose work was supported by Isabella Stewart Gardner, the famed Boston patron of the arts, and many of his works are in her collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; Kronberg also has paintings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and elsewhere.

La Gitano by Louis Kronberg, about 1920, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

La Gitano by Louis Kronberg, about 1920, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston http://www.gardnermuseum.org/collection/browse?filter=artist:3297

In 1920, Samuel and Rachel were living at 1742 Commonwealth Avenue in the Brighton section of Boston, an area I know well since my younger daughter lived about half a mile away from that building when she first moved to Boston.  Unfortunately, Rachel’s marriage to Samuel was not long-lived as he died two years later on February 3, 1922, less than seven years after marrying Rachel.

Samuel Kronberg obituary

Rachel was only 41 years old when her husband died; she never remarried.  In 1926 she was living with her parents at 341 St. Paul Street in Brookline, another familiar address as my daughter lived on St. Paul Street for several years before moving to her current apartment.

Four years later the family suffered another loss when my great-great-uncle Felix Schoenthal died on August 26, 1926.  He was 69 years old.

Boston Herald, August 26, 1926., p. 6

Felix Schoenthal obit Boston Herald 8 26 1926 p 6

Boston Herald, August 26, 1926., p. 6

 

His widowed wife and widowed daughter Rachel moved in together and in 1930 were living at 4 Chiswick Street in Boston; neither was employed outside the home.  Yetta and her husband David Moeser had also moved out of the house at 26 Kenwood Street; in 1930 they were living at 20 Chapel Street/Longwood Towers in Brookline; David was still working for Conrad and Company.  He and Yetta had no children.

In 1940, Margaret Schoenthal and her daughter Rachel Schoenthal Kronberg were still living together on Chiswick Street; Margaret was now 80 years old, Rachel was 58.  Neither was employed.  Felix’s success in the typewriter business and Samuel’s success as an impresario must have been keeping them secure.

By 1940, David and Yetta (Schoenthal) Moeser had moved to 534 Beacon Street in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston where my younger daughter lives now.  David’s World War II draft registration indicates that he was still working for Conrad and Company in 1942.

David Moeser World War II draft regisration The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts; State Headquarters: Massachusetts; Microfilm Series: M2090; Microfilm Roll: 107

David Moeser World War II draft regisration
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts; State Headquarters: Massachusetts; Microfilm Series: M2090; Microfilm Roll: 107

 

I have been unable to find a death record for Margaret Swem Schoenthal; the last document I have for her is the 1948 Boston directory which lists her residing still at 4 Chiswick Road in Boston.  In 1951, only her daughter Rachel is listed at that address, so I assume that Margaret had died sometime between 1948 and 1951.  She would have been at least 89 years old.  Her daughter Rachel died on June 4, 1953, according to the Boston city directory for that year.  She was 72 years old.

By 1953 David Moeser was the president and treasurer of Conrad and Company, and he and Yetta were back in Brookline, living in the Longwood Towers on Chapel Street, according to the city directory for that year.

David Moeser Boston Daily Record, November 4, 1955, p. 53

David Moeser
Boston Daily Record, November 4, 1955, p. 53

 

In 1968, David Moeser was chairman of the board and treasurer of Conrad & Chandler, the company produced when Conrad and Company merged with another department store, Chandler and Company, in 1957.  David Moeser had been instrumental in that merger, which changed the face of shopping in Boston, according to this article.

David Moeser died on July 12, 1969; he was 84 years old and had been quite a prominent businessman in Boston.

David E. Moeser obituary

David E. Moeser obituary Boston Herald, July 14, 1969, p. 22

Just one month later almost to the day, on August 11, 1969, his wife Yetta also died.  She was 85 when she died. She and David had known each other probably since they were teenagers and had been married for 58 years.

 

Yetta Schoenthal death notice

 

Since neither Rachel nor Yetta had had children, Yetta’s death ended Felix Schoenthal’s line in the family. That is a real shame; they were an interesting group of people.  Felix was obviously a very smart and creative entrepreneur.  He started as an immigrant coming to the US as a teenager and rose to own a very successful business in Boston.  His two sons-in-law were also creative and successful; Samuel Kronberg was a dedicated and well-known impresario, and David Moeser for many years oversaw one of the best known department stores in Boston .

I love having an old Boston family to claim as my own.  Not exactly the Cabots and Lodges, but a more recent and more ethnic version of the Boston elite.  When I think of Felix and his family living in Boston, I wonder whether he took his family to the newly-opened Fenway Park in 1912, whether he cheered for the Red Sox, and whether he ever saw Babe Ruth play for the Sox before he was traded to the Yankees in 1920.

1918 Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park

1918 Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Did Felix take his family to the Museum of Fine Arts, which opened the building at its current location on Huntington Avenue in 1909? Did they stroll down the streets in Back Bay and downtown Boston to go shopping? Did they picnic in the Boston Public Garden and ride the swan boats, which had been there since 1877?

I am sure they visited David Moeser’s Conrad’s store on Winter Street and listened to Samuel Kronberg’s musical performances at Copley Plaza.  They likely also visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in order to see the paintings of Samuel’s brother Louis.
Copley Plaza, Boston, with Boston Public Libra...

Copley Plaza, Boston, with Boston Public Library at left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know these streets, and I know these places.  Unlike when I write about my relatives in places like Pittsburgh or Santa Fe or Philadelphia or even New York City, I really can envision my Schoenthal relatives living in in Boston and Brookline.  The next time I am there, I will think of them and smile.

English: Boston skyline at night, as seen from...

English: Boston skyline at night, as seen from Cambridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

[1] For some reason the 1910 census states that he was a clothing merchant, but that was clearly an error.  Perhaps a neighbor gave the information, just another example of how unreliable census information can be.