Milton’s Family Album, Part XIII: The Creative Talent of Milton Goldsmith Himself

Milton Goldsmith devoted the next three pages of his family album to himself and to his wife Sophie. The first page includes photographs and two biographies of Milton.

I wonder how they made this photograph of Milton taken from numerous angles—anyone know how they did this?

UPDATE! According to Ava Cohn, aka Sherlock Cohn the Photo Genealogist, these photographs were done with a folding mirror and were quite common. In fact, Ava shared another one as did another Facebook reader who saw my post.

I don’t know where this biography of Milton was published or when, though it was written no earlier than 1891 as it refers to the publication of his book, Rabbi and Priest, in that year. The biography also appears to have been written while he was still living and working in Philadelphia and before he moved to New York City and married Sophie Hyman in 1899. So it was written some time in the 1890s.

I would think that this photograph of Milton was taken about the same time as the publication of that biography, sometime in the 1890s when he was in his thirties:

This entry about him in Who’s Who was written many years later as it references some of his later publications, including his play, The Little Brother, which was published in 1918.

What I really love about this Who’s Who entry are the insights into Milton’s appearance and personality—that he had blue eyes, a fair complexion, and graying hair, that he was cheerful and optimistic, and that he was a moderate drinker and did not smoke. Most of the other biographical and professional information I had already gleaned from other sources. (There are a fair number of blog posts about Milton’s life and career, e.g., here, and here and here and here and here.)

Speaking of The Little Brother, the next page in Milton’s album is a copy of the program from a performance of that play in 1918:

I had previously written about this play and Tyrone Power’s starring role in it.

Finally, the third page compiled three reviews of a play (undated) in which Milton’s wife Sophie had an important role. The play, The Flight of the Duchess, by Henry Hanby Hay, was an adaptation of a “poetic romance” by Robert Browning and performed by the local Browning Society, a amateur group.

In the article on the left side of the page, the reviewer did not like either the play or the performers, but did praise Sophie’s acting, saying, “Mrs. Goldsmith’s reading of her lines was marked by a distinction and sense that had been welcomed in her associates….”

The second review, at the middle bottom of the page, was overall much kinder and also praised Sophie’s performance as “a striking piece of work.” And the third review, on the right side of the page, was more mixed, but again praised Sophie, saying that “The chief individual honors of performance fell to Mrs. Milton Goldsmith.”

These three pages about Milton and his wife Sophie are appropriate reminders of their many talents. Here is one final photograph of Milton, taken in 1941 when he was eighty years old:

This is Part XIII of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X, Part XI and Part XII at the links.

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XI: Tributes to His Father Abraham

This is Part X 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 IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX and Part X at the links.

The next two pages in Milton Goldsmith’s family album focus on his father Abraham. The first of those two pages consists of newspaper articles about Abraham.

Unfortunately I do not know the actual papers from which these articles were clipped, but this obituary was dated within the week after Abraham’s death on January 27, 1902, in Philadelphia:

Abraham was certainly active in his community.  How he had the time while raising all those children and earning a living is bewildering.

The next article that appears on this page relates to a tribute paid to Abraham by United Hebrew Charities at the time of his death:

The next article must have been published while Abraham was still alive. It relates to a resolution adopted by United Hebrew Charities to honor Abraham at the time he resigned from his position as secretary of that organization. Unfortunately the clipping is not in good condition and some of the words are not legible.

The second page of Milton’s tributes to his father Abraham has some items that are more personal.

This biography appears on that page. Again, Milton did not indicate where or when this was published:

This note written by Abraham when his wife Cecelia died seems almost journalistic in tone except for the opening and the last sentence:

My dear Cecilia died on Nov 8th 1874 after a short illness.

She complained of not feeling well on Monday evening the 2nd [?] but did not get [?] sick until the 5th in the PM. 

She was buried on Thursday the 12th November 11 o’clk am at Mount Sinai Cemetery.

Peace to her asked.

To the left and under Abraham’s note about his wife’s death, there is a poem by Milton written sometime in the 1890s, long after his mother died:

I assume this poem was somehow inspired by Milton’s experience losing his mother when he was just thirteen.

Under the poem he pasted this note written by his father Abraham in 1877:

My son Milton left from New York for Europe on the City of Richmond on Saturday morning Sept [?] 11:25

I do wonder whether there is some connection between the poem and the note. Anyone have any ideas?

The remaining two notes are in German.  I turned to the German Genealogy group for help.

The first note is dated around the same time as the note about Milton’s trip to Europe, September 1877:

The members of the German Genealogy group transcribed this as follows, “Gott sei mit dir! Der liebe Gott behüte und beschütze dich und gebe dir seinen Segen. Amen”

And translated it as, “May God be with you! May the good God keep and protect you and give you His blessing. From your father, Abr(aham) Goldsmith.”

Alfred, Abraham’s first child with Francis, his second wife, was born on August 11, 1877, just 20 days before Abraham wrote this note. I assume this was a prayer for his newborn son. I wonder where it had been kept that Milton found it and preserved it for posterity.

And then finally there is this note:

This one was transcribed by a German Genealogy group member as, “Auf Alle deiner Wegen, bleib Tugendhaft und rein; dann wird der himmlische Segen, stets deine Begleiter sein. Dein Papa, Abr. Goldsmith”

That translates to, “In all your ways, remain virtuous and pure, then heavenly blessings will always be your companions. Your papa, Abr. Goldsmith.”

As this one is dated 1880, I think Abraham wrote this blessing for his daughter Alice, who was born on August 29, 1880.

I wonder whether Abraham wrote these notes of blessing for each of his many children and if so, why only these two have survived. And where did he keep them that Milton found them and preserved them so that they could be read on the internet almost 140 years later?

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part X: A Son’s Loving Tribute to His Mother

This is Part X 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 IIIPart IVPart VPart VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  and Part IX at the links.

This is by far the sweetest and saddest page in Milton Goldsmith’s album, a page dedicated to his beloved mother, Cecelia Adler Goldsmith, who died in 1874 when Milton was thirteen years old:

It reads:

Our beloved Mother, who alas, passed away too early and whose death brought not only sorrow, but all kinds of misfortune.

She was the only child of Samuel and Sarah Adler, was born in Germany, but arrived in Philadelphia at the age of one year.  She grew to womanhood, a very beautiful girl;- rather short in stature, round in figure, a head of brown ringlets, – a belle among the Jewesses of her day and circle. She had many admirers.  Father proposed to her over a plate of ice-cream on “Simchas Torah”, a Jewish holiday.  It was in every way a “Love-match” which was only terminated at her death.  She died of peritonitis, which to-day would be called Apendicitis [sic]. A perfect wife, – a wonderful mother, – A woman whose children call her blessed.

She died Nov. 8th 1874, at the age of 35 years. I was 13 at the time of her death, the oldest of six children.

It’s interesting to read what Milton thought was the cause of his mother’s death, which conflicts with her death certificate. According to the death certificate, she died from apoplexia nervosa:

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-69HW-K75?cc=1320976&wc=9F52-L29%3A1073307201 : 16 May 2014), 004010206 > image 874 of 1214; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

In the upper left corner, Milton inserted a piece of Cecelia’s wedding veil:

In the lower right corner, he inserted a piece of fabric from one of her ball gowns.

What a sweet and sentimental thing for a son to do. How devastated he and his father and siblings must have been when Cecelia died.

 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part IX: The Missing Babies

This is Part IX 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 IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII,  and Part VIII at the links.

After reading last week’s post about the birth records found in her grandfather’s family album and the speculation as to why only five of Abraham Goldsmith’s ten children were listed, my cousin Sue went back to the album and realized that she could remove the page with the birth records. On the back were not only birth records for Abraham’s other five children; there was also a sad entry for the death of his first wife Cecelia:

All of the birth entries again confirmed what I’d found in the official records, and once again Abraham entered not only the dates, but the times the babies were born.

For Estella, who often was referred to in records as Estelle, he introduced her as “our sixth baby.”

Then there is the heartbreaking entry for Cecelia:

My beloved wife Cecelia Goldsmith died on Sunday the 8th day of November 1874 at 6 o’clock PM after an illness of 6 days. Hebrew date [inserted in Hebrew]

May she rest in peace.

Abr.Goldsmith

Abraham’s signature here confirmed my hunch that he was the one who wrote all these entries (except the dates of death that occurred after his own death).

The next entry is for Alfred, who was Abraham’s first child with his second wife, Frances Spanier, But there is no break in the record to reflect that Alfred had a different mother from the first six children. He is introduced as “Our seventh boy” [emphasis added], despite the fact that he is the first child of Frances. You may notice that Alfred is the only one on this page who has a date of death.  That’s because those dates were entered by Milton, and the other four on this page—Estella, Bertha, Alice, and Louis—all outlived Milton.

Similarly Bertha is introduced as “Our Baby Bertha.” Then Abraham records the birth of “Baby Alice,” and finally the last child, Louis Seligman. At the end of the entry for Louis, Abraham wrote, “Louis Spanier his [?].”

Can anyone decipher what that says? From a later page in the album I learned who Louis Spanier was—Frances Spanier’s uncle—so Louis Goldsmith’s great-uncle. But that does not say “great-uncle” or “namesake” as far as I can tell.

And I got quite a kick out of the last word on this page: Finished. I don’t know whether Abraham wrote that to indicate the records were now completed or to emphasize that he was ready to be done having children after Number 10!

 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part VIII: Birth Records

This is Part VIII 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 IIIPart IVPart VPart VI and Part VII at the links.

This record of the births of five of the children of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler touched my heart.

I love the florid old script.  Who wrote these entries? Was it Abraham or Cecelia? I wasn’t sure at first, but I was reassured by this record that all the dates I had for the births (and deaths) of these five children were correct.  I loved that the writer added the time of birth, giving a personal touch to the facts.

For the first two entries, there are also Hebrew inscriptions. Thank you to Tracing the Tribe for helping me with these.  For Milton, it says “Mendel Goldsmith born 12 Sivan  5621.” Milton had mentioned on an earlier page that Mendel was his Hebrew name given to him in memory of his maternal grandfather.

The second entry is for Hildegard or Hilda, as she was called on the records I found. How sweet to see the formal name her parents gave her. Hilda died two months before her fourteenth birthday, as I wrote here and as noted on this record. Looking at this entry more carefully, I noted that whoever wrote the entry for her death had also written the entry for her birth.  It is the same handwriting.  And since her mother Cecelia had died in 1874, two years before Hilda died on June 7, 1876, that means that Abraham wrote this entry and all the other birth entries on this record.

No one on Tracing the Tribe was able to translate the Hebrew inscription for Hildegard except to say that it also states her birth date. Her Hebrew name was not legible. I guess Abraham’s Hebrew writing had deteriorated between Milton’s birth and Hilda’s. And the fact that he did not include any Hebrew for the next three children’s birth records may be a sign of his assimilation into secular American society.

It’s also interesting to see how Abraham introduced these entries.  Milton was “our boy.”  Hildegard was “our daughter.” Edwin has no descriptive introduction, nor does Emily, but Rosalinda is “our fourth baby.” (I also never knew that Rose was formally named Rosalinda—what a beautiful name!) I wonder whether Abraham wrote each of these at the time the baby was born or all at once. Since some of these have introductions and others do not, I think each was done separately when each baby was born.

For the last three entries—for Edwin, Rosalinda, and Emily—someone other than Abraham inscribed the information about their deaths. I assume Milton added this information as he outlived all three of those siblings. And there is no death date added to the entry made for Milton.

What is perhaps most perplexing about this page from Milton’s album is the absence of an entry for Abraham and Cecelia’s sixth child, Estelle. Estelle was born on January 20, 1870. Had Abraham lost interest in recording his children’s births by the time his sixth child was born? Or was there a second page that included Estelle (and perhaps Abraham’s four children with his second wife Frances Spanier) that somehow was lost and thus not included in Milton’s album?

 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part VII: Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler Get Married

This is Part VII 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, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI at the links.

On the page following the photographs of his parents Abraham and Cecelia, Milton included a letter written by his mother on November 5, 1857, which, according to Milton, was shortly before their engagement.

Reading this reminded me of what it was like before cheap phone calls and email made handwritten letters obsolete. When my husband and I were dating the year before our engagement, we also wrote letters back and forth. Of course, we were living several hundred miles apart (but still tried to see each other every weekend) whereas Abraham and Cecelia both were living in Philadelphia. But perhaps letters were the only places they had any ability to communicate privately.

Here is Cecelia’s letter:

Some words were cut off on the right margin and at the bottom, but I have tried to transcribe it as best I can and added some punctuation and capitalization for purposes of clarity. Cecelia was a few weeks short of her nineteenth birthday when she wrote this letter, and Abraham was twenty-five.

 

                                                                                                         Phil. Nov. 5th

Dear Ab,

The few lines you have written to me give me a great deal of pleasure, for informing me of your health & good night’s rest. I passed an excellent night as[?] my cold is a great deal better though I am rather hoarse yet.  My Dear, I forgot to give you Henrietta’s [?] shawl last night, but it will and[?] as well tonight. I would send over the boy with it, but I am afraid he can not find the place. I am obliged for sending me the book & will look through it as soon as possible. Come early this evening, if you can.

I remain yours forever,

                                                                                                         Cely

If you hear of any thing important & have time, write me a note this [?].

 

If anyone can read it any better than I did, please let me know.

Appropriately, Milton placed the invitation to his parents’ wedding on the page that followed:

Note that the invitation is dated January 1, 1858, for a wedding to take place on January 27, 1858—less than four weeks later. Today it seems that wedding invitations arrive at least two months in advance (often preceded by Save the Date cards). Also, the wedding was to take place at Cecelia’s parents’ home at 440 North Second Street in Philadelphia, not in a fancy catering hall or hotel or resort, as many are these days. Life was so much simpler back then.

But life was also so much harder. Cecelia died less than seventeen years later on November 8, 1874, from apoplexia nervosa, or a stroke. She was only 35 and left behind her husband Abraham and six children ranging in age from Estelle, who was four, to Milton, who was thirteen.

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part VI: His Parents, Abraham and Cecelia

This is Part VI 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, Part IV and Part V at the links.

Now that we have seen the pages Milton devoted to his maternal and paternal grandparents, we can turn our attention to those devoted to his parents, Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler.

First, there is this page:Although they are not labeled, the paired photographs at the bottom must be Cecelia Adler and Abraham Goldsmith. I know this because the photograph on the upper right is one I’ve seen before—I received it from my cousin Julian Reinheimer over a year ago,  labeled as Julian’s great-grandfather, Abraham Goldsmith. So I know that the upper photograph is Abraham, and he is certainly the same man as the man in the photograph at the lower right.

Abraham Goldsmith, courtesy of Julian Reinheimer

I also know that the woman on the left is Cecelia because Julian also sent me this photograph of his great-grandmother Cecelia, and she is the same woman as the woman on the left in the photograph above:

Cecelia Adler, courtesy of Julian Reinheimer

Could the two framed photographs be their wedding photographs?

Cecelia was only nineteen in 1858 when they married, Abraham was six years older or twenty-five. Somehow they look older than that in these photographs, but I am terrible at determining age in these old photographs when people dressed so formally and posed so stiffly without smiling. It’s obvious, however, that these two photographs were taken at the same studio and likely at the same time, given that the same table appears in both. I wonder if there was a date on the reverse, but it is not worth trying to remove the photograph from the album to check.

According to Milton, his grandfather Samuel Adler was not successful in business, but Cecelia certainly is dressed very well in this photograph and is wearing what appears to be a large cameo pendant, similar or perhaps the same as the one in the photograph I received from Julian, seen above. Was this taken after she married Abraham, who was in fact very successful in business? Which photograph appears to be earlier?

Cecelia Adler Goldsmith, courtesy of Sue Jacobson

Finally, there is the photograph labeled “The Homestead in Oberlistingen.” This must have been the house where Abraham and his family lived before he and almost all his siblings immigrated to the United States beginning in the 1840s. So who is the woman standing on the stairs in front of the house? My first hope was that this was Hinka Alexander Goldschmidt, my three-times great-grandmother and Abraham Goldsmith’s mother, Milton’s paternal grandmother.

But then I realized this could not be Hinka. She died in 1860. This looks like a casual snapshop, and thus not something that could have been taken in those early days of photography. In fact, according to the Smithsonian:

Photography emerged in the early 19th century, but well into the 1880s it was a difficult, ponderous thing to do. The reigning forms of photography recorded onto chemically treated plates and paper. Taking a picture required the subjects to sit still for a half minute or more—“torture,” as the social critic Walter Benjamin recalled. Families trooped into studios to get portraits taken, but they were a study in stiffness: everyone sitting ramrod straight, afraid to move—or even to change their expression—for fear of blurring the photo.….Things changed dramatically in 1888 when George Eastman introduced the Kodak camera. A small hand-held box, it cost only $25—about the price of a higher-end iPad in today’s money, which put it in the range of the well-off middle class. And it offered simplicity…

So much to my disappointment, I concluded that this was not Hinka, but some other woman posing on the front steps of what had been the Goldschmidt home in Oberlistingen.

Milton did not write much about Hinka, mentioning her only to say that several girls in the family were named for her (including my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal, who was the daughter of Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein and granddaughter of Hinka Alexander Goldschmidt). Milton obviously never met his grandmother Hinka, who never left Germany and died a year before Milton was born. And unlike the heroic war stories passed down about his grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt, there were likely no such stories shared about his grandmother. Like women of those times, her life was not in the public sphere, but in the home. So all we know about her is when she was born, who she married, what children were born to her and raised by her, and when she died.

It’s thus not surprising that my heart wanted that to be a photograph of Hinka standing in front of her home, but alas, my brain knew otherwise. I do, however, have this photograph or drawing of Hinka, provided by David Baron and Roger Cibella, who is also her descendant:

Hinka Alexander Goldschmidt. Courtesy of David Baron and Roger Cibella

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.

 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part II: Loving Tributes to His Grandfather and Father

Last week I introduced the precious gift that my cousin Sue shared with me—her grandfather Milton Goldsmith’s family album. Today I will share the second and third pages in that album.

The second page of Milton Goldsmith’s family album tells about his grandfather and my three-times great grandfather, Seligmann Goldschmidt:

Milton wrote this about his grandfather:

My father’s father, was Seligman Goldschmidt. He was born and lived for the greater part of his life in Oberlistingen, near Hessen Kassel. He was a dealer in spices and general goods. At that epoch Jews could not engage in the higher professions. When Napoleon over-ran Europe, he was drafted into the army, and served under Blucher at the Battle of Waterloo, where he acquitted himself with such bravery that a memorial tablet bearing his name and that of two other Jews of Oberlistingen was erected in one of the public halls. His wife was named Hinka, after whom the several girls named Hildah in our family were called.

How wonderful to learn about Seligmann’s occupation and his brave service in the Battle of Waterloo, facts that were not revealed in any records I’d found.

At the bottom of this page and over to the next page in the album is Milton’s outline of the children of his father’s parents, Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hinka Alexander:

As I noted last time, I found this report reassuring in part because it backed up the research I had done on Seligmann and Hinka and their children.

There is also a loving tribute to Milton’s father Abraham on this page. Milton wrote:

Our father, Abraham, came to America at the age of 17 and married at the age of 24. He was a very clever, well educated man, with a thorough knowledge of both German and English, and an omiverous reader of good books. He was successful as a merchant, but failed whenever he undertook any venture outside of his legitimate business. He was at the head of many civic organizations, and highly esteemed by a great circle of friends. In 1878, in consequence of a depression, he retired from the cloth business, and was worth a quarter of a million dollars. Most of this was eventually lost. His declining years were very unhappy, and he lingered for 12 years with an incurable malady. He died at the age of 72.

My blog posts about Abraham mention his business successes and failures, the stroke in 1890 that left him disabled for the last twelve years of his life, and his impressive library of books. But having his son Milton’s affectionate and admiring words adds another layer to the story of this man, my 3x-great-uncle.

But perhaps the most helpful part of this page in Milton’s album was the sentence about his father’s sister, Betty:

BETTY: married to Jacob Goldschmidt, (a cousin,) with several children, all of whom except Hettie Steele lived in Germany.

Who was Hettie Steele? She was not on my family tree. This little sentence led me to a very fruitful and uplifting search.  I will save that for my next post about Milton’s album.