Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern and Florence Goldsmith Levy: Two Sisters under One Roof

Like their brothers Eugene and Maurice, Rose (sometimes Rosa) and Florence Goldsmith lived together for much of their lives, including their adult lives even though both married. As we saw, Rose married Hans (Harry) Morgenstern in 1896, and Florence married Leo Levy in 1898, but in 1900, both daughters and their respective husbands were living with their parents Meyer and Helena and brothers Eugene, Maurice, and Samuel.

Meyer Goldsmith and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0780
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Thanks again to one of Meyer and Helena’s descendants, I have some lovely photographs of Rose and Florence and their husbands and, in Florence’s case, her children.

First, a photograph of Rose’s husband Hans Morgenstern taken on June 8, 1896, two months after his marriage to Rose:

Hans Morgenstern, June 8, 1896. Courtesy of the family

This photograph was taken in 1904 in Atlantic City of Florence and Leo, Rose, and Beatrice Stine, daughter of Bertha Hohenfels Stine, Helena Hohenfels Goldsmith’s sister:

Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern, Florence Goldsmith Levy, Leo Levy, and a cousin, Beatrice Stine. Courtesy of the family

Here is another photograph of Rose and Florence and their cousin Beatrice.

Florence Goldsmith Levy,  Beatrice Stine, and Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern. Courtesy of the family.

Rose and Hans were still living with her father Meyer and brothers Eugene and Maurice in 1910, but by that time Florence and Leo had moved to Queens where they were raising their three children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor, born between 1900 and 1908.

Meyer Goldsmith 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1028; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0739; FHL microfilm: 1375041
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Leo Levy and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Queens Ward 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T624_1068; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 1250; FHL microfilm: 1375081
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

But fate would bring Rose and Florence back under one roof again. Rose’s husband Hans died on June 1, 1914, at age 55.1 According to his death notice in the New York Times on June 3, 1914 (p. 13), he died suddenly. He left his entire estate to his “beloved wife, Rose G. Morgenstern.”

Last Will and Testament of Hans Morgenstern, Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923 (New York County); Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999

Rose did not have any children, and her parents were both deceased by 1914, so Rose moved to Queens to live with her younger sister Florence and her family; she is listed (as Morgan Stern) with them on the 1915 New York State census. Interestingly, both Rose and Leo are listed as merchants on this census record.

Leo Levy and family 1915 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 55; Assembly District: 03; City: New York; County: Queens; Page: 38
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915

Rose continued to live with Florence and Leo in Queens in 1920 (where Leo is once again described as a lawyer by occupation) along with their children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor. Richard was a student at Dartmouth College at the time, and Helen was at Wellesley.

Leo Levy and family 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Queens Assembly District 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T625_1236; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 378, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

During the 1920s, two of Florence and Leo’s children married. First, on February 7, 1924, Helen Levy married Herbert M. Harris in New York City.2 Herbert was born in Brooklyn on November 28, 1889, the son of Moses J. and Annie Harris, both of whom were first-generation Americans. Herbert’s father was a lawyer, and in 1920, Herbert was in the clothes manufacturing business.3 Helen and Herbert had one child born in 1925.

Then on March 26, 1928, Richard Goldsmith Levy married Malvene Frankel, who was born either in Austria or Czechoslovakia, depending on the record.4 She was the daughter of David Frankel and Helen Marks, both born in Hungary. David Frankel was a rabbi.5 Some records say Malvene was born in 1903, others say 1907. I am not sure which is correct.  According to a passport application filed by Malvene’s brother Arthur in 1920, the family arrived in 1910.6  A little over two months after marrying Malvene, Richard graduated from New York University Law School, following in his father Leo’s footsteps.7

In 1930, Florence and Leo were living with their daughter Eleanor and Florence’s sister Rose at 10 West 86th Street. Leo was practicing law and Eleanor was a law student. For a woman to be a law student in 1930 was quite unusual. A family member told me that Eleanor enjoyed the intellectual challenges of law and clerked for her father for a few years, but was not interested in law practice. I certainly can relate to that, having left law practice myself after just four years.

Leo Levy and family 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0448, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Florence and Leo’s daughter Helen and her family were living at 59 West 71st in New York City in 1930, and Helen’s husband Herbert Harris listed his occupation as dress manufacturer on the 1930 census. According to the family source, he and his brother made a line of moderately priced ready-to-wear clothing for working women that became quite popular and were known as Harris Classics.8

On the 1930 census, Richard Levy and his wife, now using the name Maureen, were living in the Panama Canal Zone, where Richard was an attorney and Maureen a legal stenographer in Panama City.9  One of the cases that Richard successfully litigated involved a criminal libel claim brought against his client, Nelson Rounsevell, the publisher of the Panama American, for referring to the commanding officer of Fort Clayton in the Canal Zone, Colonel J.V. Heidt, as Adolf Hitler for “brutally driving enlisted personnel in the tropics to suicide.”  The judge issued a directed verdict in favor of Richard’s client, concluding that there was insufficient evidence linking the newspaper article to Colonel Heidt. Richard also represented Standard Oil during his time in the Canal Zone, according to the family.10

From the family member I also learned that in 1932 or 1933, Eleanor Levy married David R. Climenko, son of Hyman Climenko and Rose Neborsky. David was born in New York City on August 28, 1906.11 His father was a well-regarded neurologist who died when David was only fourteen. His mother became an activist for widowed mothers, seeking support from President Roosevelt in 1934.12 The family member told me that David went to Dartmouth, where he met Eleanor’s brother Richard, who introduced them.

The New York Times, December 7, 1920, p. 17.

After graduating from Dartmouth, David went to the University of Edinburgh as a Carnegie Fellow, where he received both a Ph.D  and a medical degree by the time he was 24. David then received a teaching position at the University of Edmonton in Calgary, Canada, where he and Eleanor married and first lived.  Eleanor and David had three children, one of whom died when he was only four years old. His name was Peter Gregory Climenko; he was born March 10, 1935, and died September 5, 1939.13 Here is a photograph of Peter with his grandmother Florence Levy:

Florence Goldsmith Levy and grandson Peter Climenko c. 1936. Courtesy of the family.

And here is a photograph of Eleanor Levy Climenko with her parents, Leo and Florence (Goldsmith) Levy, her son Peter, and  a nephew, the son of Herbert and Helen (Levy) Harris. I was happy to see this photograph of Leo as he died on November 9, 1937, probably not that long after this picture was taken; he was only 66 years old.

Eleanor (Levy) Climenko, Peter Climenko, nephew, Leo Levy, Florence (Goldsmith) Levy. Courtesy of the family.

After her husband Leo died, Florence continued to live at 246 West End Avenue with her sister Rose. Rose died on May 25, 1941; she was 71.14  Florence and her oldest sibling Eugene were at that point the only children of Meyer and Helena Goldsmith still living.

In 1940, Helen and Herbert Harris and their child were still living at 59 West 71st Street, and Herbert was still in the dress manufacturing business.15 According to his World War II draft registration in 1942, they were then living at 91 Central Park West.  Herbert’s business was called Harris Dress Company.

Herbert Harris, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

According to his registration for the draft in World War II, Richard Goldsmith Levy was still living in the Panama Canal Zone with his wife Maureen, and he was employed as a Quartermaster Supply Officer at the General Depot in Corozal in the Canal Zone.

Richard G Levy, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 138
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

In 1940, Eleanor and David Climenko were living in Albany, New York, with their children, and David was working as a pharmacologist at a chemical plant, Behr Manning.16 He also taught at Albany Medical College, according to a family source. Prior to that he had worked at Cold Spring Harbor Lab and taught at Cornell Medical School. Numerous newspaper articles reported on David’s research in the pharmaceutical field. In 1939, there were articles reporting on David’s work on a drug for the treatment of tuberculosis (before the development of the vaccine),17 and in 1942, there were reports on his work on a non-addictive form of morphine. 18 Unfortunately, that medication, Demerol, eventually proved to be just as addictive as morphine.

From November 2, 1942, until January 23, 1946, David served as a captain in the medical corps of the US Army during World War II.19 Tragically, he died on October 9, 1947. David was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.20

Richard Goldsmith Levy made a name for himself in 1952 with the publication of his book, Why Women Should Rule the World (Vantage Press, 1952). Although his message was based in part on some sexist stereotypes of women, he was quite serious about his view that women would make better politicians and leaders of government and of business as well. There were several different articles about Richard and his book published in newspapers around the country.

For example, Inez Robb of INS wrote the following:21

“In those significant periods in history when women have ruled states, nations or empires, those political entities have enjoyed unparalleld periods of peace and prosperity,” Mr. Levy declared.

“Look to the times of Queen Elizabeth I of England, to Victoria, to Isabella of Spain, Catherine the Great of Russia, of Queen Margaret of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, or Hatshepsut of Egypt!” he commanded.

To hear him tell it, their countries never had it so good before or since these girls put their respective hands to the throttle. Most of the time these nations have been in trouble because masculine rulers have run them either into the ground or behind the eight ball.

What comes of a masculine ruled and dominated society? What comes, says Mr. Levy in his book and in person, is war, murder, bloodshed, strife, misery, unhappiness, destruction and taxes, taxes, taxes.

“Men are pugnacious, impractical, romantic and stupid,” Mr. Levy snapped.

“Women have a natural aptitude for governing,” he continued.  They are tidy and good housekeepers. Government, by large, is housekeeping on a big scale.

“Politics is woman’s natural forte. Men, as politicians, are hypocrites from head to toe.”

In another article, written by Dorothy Roe, women’s editor of Associated Press, there are similar quotes and assertions. Here are a few that shed further light on Richard Levy’s views:22

The way to accomplish this feminine utopia, says Levy, is for the girls to start a women’s party. The conventional political parties, he feels, are too hidebound ever to endorse petticoat rule. He feels this step should be taken right away—before the 1952 political conventions if possible. Says he:

“If women don’t take over this generation, there won’t be a next generation.”…

Asked who is going to cook, sweep and darn socks while Papa is out fighting duels or exploring wildernesses and Mamma is running the nation’s government and business, he says:

“This is the mechanical age. Housekeeping should be done by machinery. The modern mechanics of keeping house aren’t sufficient to employ even a fraction of the energy and intelligence of an average modern woman.”

He certainly was ahead of his time; I wonder what he would have thought of Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, and Golda Meir and of the 2016 US Presidential election and its aftermath.

Unfortunately, Richard did not live to see any of those women leaders. He was killed in a car accident in Mexico on January 6, 1954. He was 51 years old.

Richard G Levy death record, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.; NAI Number: 302021; Record Group Title: General Records of the Department of State; Record Group Number: Record Group 59; Series Number: Publication A1 205; Box Number: 915; Box Description: 1950-1954 Mexico I – Mc

Florence Goldsmith Levy died on September 18, 1954, just eight months after her son Richard; she was 81 years old.23 She was survived by her daughters Helen and Eleanor and three grandchildren. Helen died in September 1970,24 her husband Herbert Harris had predeceased her in August, 1966.25 Eleanor died on December 18, 1975. She was buried with her husband David Climenko at Arlington National Cemetery.26

So like their brothers Eugene and Maurice, Rose and Florence Goldsmith shared a home and a life for many, many years. They weathered much heartbreak together, but also much joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate 17784. 
  2. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:247M-1BL : 10 February 2018), Herbert M. Harris and Helen C. Levy, 07 Feb 1924; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,643,076. 
  3. Herbert Harris World War II draft registration card, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Moses Harris and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 22, Kings, New York; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0353. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Herbert Harris, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 1, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1143; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 8. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WP-VL4 : 10 February 2018), Richard G. Levy and Malvene Frankel, 26 Mar 1928; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,341. 
  5. David Frankel and family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 6, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1195; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 485.Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  6. Arthur Frankel passport application,National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1101; Volume #: Roll 1101 – Certificates: 183126-183499, 11 Mar 1920-11 Mar 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. 
  7. “Degrees Conferred on 2,759 at N.Y. University,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 06 Jun 1928, Wed, Page 29. 
  8. Herbert M Harris and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0393. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  9. RIchard G. Levy, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Ancon, Balboa District, Panama Canal Zone; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0001. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  10. “Editor in Canal Zone Acquitted of Charge Brought by Army Officer,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Sep 1935, Fri, Page 4. 
  11.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, Certificate 42449. 
  12. “Homes for ‘Forgotten Mothers’ Urged on Roosevelt as Federal Project,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 22, 1934, p. 4. 
  13. Birth record of Peter Climenko, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017. Original data: New York City Department of Health. Certificate 6518. Death notices, New York Times, September 6, 1939. 
  14. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WRF-TGZ : 11 February 2018), Mayar Goldsmith in entry for Rose G. Morgenstern, 25 May 1941; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,130,231. 
  15. Herbert and Helen Harris, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02637; Page: 21B; Enumeration District: 31-599. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [ 
  16. David Climenko and family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Bethlehem, Albany, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02456; Page: 62B; Enumeration District: 1-6. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  17. “New Drug Tried in Tuberculosis,” The Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1939, p. 11. 
  18. “A Substitute for Morphine,” Des Moines Tribute, April 1, 1942, p. 2. 
  19.  Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. 
  20. Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. 
  21. Inez Robb, “Men Botch Job—Let Women Rule,” Omaha World Herald, April 27, 1952, p. 72. 
  22. Dorothy Roe, “Petticoat Party Urged to Strive for Nation’s Rule,” Stamford (CT) Daily Advocate, April 28, 1952, p.2. 
  23. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965. Certificate 19245. 
  24.  Number: 103-26-6470; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  25.  Number: 111-22-7525; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  26. Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/64537577 

Eugene and Maurice Goldsmith: Together at Home and at Work

In 1910 the two surviving sons of Meyer and Helena Goldsmith were living with their parents in New York City.  Eugene Goldsmith, 51, was in the import business, and his brother Maurice, 46, was working in a department store. They were both single and had lived together with their parents Helena (Hohenfels) and Meyer Goldsmith all their lives, first in Philadelphia and then in New York City. But with their mother’s death in 1910 and then their father’s in 1911, their lives changed.

Eugene and Maurice Goldsmith (possibly). Courtesy of the family.

Meyer Goldsmith 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1028; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0739; FHL microfilm: 1375041
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1913, Eugene married May Jacobs in Philadelphia.1 He was 54, she was 41. May was the daughter of Michael Jacobs and Alice Arnold, both of whom were born in Pennsylvania.2 May’s father died when she was just a young child, and she and her three sisters were all living together with their mother in Philadelphia in 1910.3 I’d love to know how May connected with Eugene, who had by that time been living in New York City for over twenty years.

In 1915 Eugene and May were living at 817 West End Avenue in New York City; Eugene was still in the import business, and May was doing housework. They were still living at 817 West End Avenue in 1920, and Eugene’s import business was now identified as umbrellas. They also had a servant living with them.

Eugene Goldsmith 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 17; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 28, Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915

As for Maurice, the 1915 New York State census lists him (now as Murry Goldsmith) in his own household at 256 West 97th Street in New York City, working as a clothing salesman.4  Despite finding him listed in both the 1920 and 1922 New York City directories and having addresses from both years, I was unable to find Maurice/Murry/Murray on the 1920 US census. But the 1920 directory revealed important information about both Murray and Eugene.5

I learned that by 1920 Eugene and Maurice were involved in a new business together. Eugene is listed as the president of a firm called Goldsmith-Dannenberg in the 1920 New York City directory, and Murray is listed as its treasurer. Barnard Dannenberg was the secretary, and their business was described as infants’ wear.

New York, New York, City Directory, 1920 (under Goldsmith)
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

New York Times, August 9, 1922, p.12

Unfortunately, this business soon ran into legal problems with a company that failed to take delivery and pay for a large order of goods from Goldsmith-Dannenberg.6 According to the complaint filed by their lawyer, Leo Levy (Eugene and Murray’s brother-in-law), on December 26, 1919, Berg Bros., Inc., contracted with Goldsmith-Dannenberg for the purchase of 373 dozen specially made hand-knit caps for infants for a total price of $5051.25, to be delivered in several separate installments over a several month period. Berg Bros. accepted the first installment, which was very small compared to the overall order (nine dozen caps), but refused to accept the last two installments of 182 dozen caps each. The purchaser had paid Goldsmith-Dannenberg only $141.25 of the $5051.25 purchase price.  Goldsmith-Dannenberg asserted that since the goods were specially made for this purchaser, they could not be resold and that therefore the company was entitled to the complete purchase price as damages.

In its answer, Berg Bros. denied the allegations in the complaint and also asserted two defenses: first, that the contract was not in writing and thus was unenforceable under the Statute of Frauds because it was for more than $50 worth of goods, and second, that the employee who entered into the contract with Goldsmith-Dannenberg did not have the authority to do so. The defendant also claimed that the goods were “standard” goods that could be easily resold by the plaintiff in order to mitigate its damages.

I was disappointed that I could not find out how the case was resolved—whether by a court or by a settlement between the parties. The only decision I could locate relating to the case was not on the merits of the underlying claim but rather on a procedural question involving the plaintiff’s request to take a deposition of some of the defendant’s employees.7 But given that the last advertisements and directory listings for Goldsmith-Dannenberg are dated 1922, it appears that the company did not recover from this litigation or otherwise ran into business trouble and went out of business.

In 1925, Eugene listed himself both in the New York State census and in the New York City directory as once again in his own umbrella importing business (I don’t know whether he had ever left this business even when involved in the baby clothes business).8 He and May were living at 500 West End Avenue. As for Maurice/Murray, the 1925 New York City directory lists him at 248 West 105th Street and as “treasurer,” but there is no indication as to where he was serving as treasurer. 9 Perhaps his brother’s umbrella company? Unfortunately I couldn’t find Murray on the 1925 New York State census, which might have provided more details.

The 1930 US census found Eugene and May still living at 500 West End Avenue and Eugene still in the umbrella importing business.10 Murray was still at 248 West 105th Street, where the 1930 census shows that he was one of a number of people boarding in the household of Joseph Mantzer. His occupation was given as salesman for an umbrella company, obviously that owned by Eugene.11

Maurice/Murray Goldsmith died at age seventy on April 21, 1933;12 his death notice in the New York Times stated that he died after a “short illness.” He was described as the “beloved son of the late Meyer and Helena Goldsmith and dear brother of Eugene J. Goldsmith, Rose G. Morgenstern and Florence G. Levy.” There was also a death notice posted by his Elks Lodge.

New York Times, April 23, 1933, p. 28.

In 1940, Eugene and May were living at 277 West End Avenue, and Eugene no longer was working.13 He died six years later on April 27, 1946. 14 He was 86 years old. His wife May died the following year on October 11, 1947.  She was 75.15 A family member shared with me that May had beautiful porcelain and lace dolls which she allowed this family member to play with when she was a young child.

Neither Eugene nor Maurice had any direct descendants and were survived by one of their sisters, Florence, and by their nieces and nephew. In so many ways, their stories are stories of the American dream—two sons of immigrant parents who created their own business, used the legal system to try and find justice, lost their business but started all over again, just as their father Meyer had after losing his business in Philadelphia and moving to New York City.

 

 

 

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951. Marriage License Number: 294169. 
  2. Michael Jacobs death certificate, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VK8M-GJF : 8 March 2018), Michael Jacobs, 07 Jan 1880; citing v A p 15, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,003,706. Alice Jacobs and family 1880 census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Page: 105B; Enumeration District: 205. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. Jay Jacobs death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 087501-090500. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. 
  3. Alice Jacobs and daughters, 1880 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1391; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0232; FHL microfilm: 1375404. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  4. Murry Goldsmith, 1915 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 12; Assembly District: 17; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 12. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  5. New York, New York, City Directory, 1920, 1922. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6. The legal papers connected with this case can be found here. They were filed in connection with an appeal with the New York Appellate Division of an order dated December 28, 1920, from the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York, Index No. 24707. 
  7. Goldsmith-Dannenberg v. Berg Bros., Inc., 196 A.D. 930 *; 1921 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6091 **; 187 N.Y.S. 935 (1921). 
  8. Eugene Goldsmith, 1925 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 52; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 5. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925. New York, New York, City Directory, 1925. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9.  New York, New York, City Directory, 1925. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Eugene and May Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0431. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  11. Murry Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0489. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  12.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate 9791. 
  13. Eugene and May Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02637; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 31-587A. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  14. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WY9-ZN3 : 10 February 2018), Eugene J Goldsmith, 27 Apr 1946; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,132,945. 
  15. New York Department of Health; Albany, NY; NY State Death Index; Certificate Number: 62459. Ancestry.com. New York, Death Index, 1880-1956 

Meyer Goldsmith Moves to New York: Weddings, Births, and Deaths 1891-1911

As seen in my last post, after immigrating from Oberlistingen, Germany, my three-times great-uncle Meyer Goldsmith became, like his older brothers Jacob, Abraham, and Levi, a clothing merchant in Philadelphia for many years. He and his wife, Helena Hohenfels, had six children born between 1859 and 1872, and as of 1888, he and his family were still living in Philadelphia at 705 Marshall Street.

But as of 1889, they were no longer listed in the Philadelphia city directories. Their oldest daughter Heloise had married Simon Bernheim Hirsh in 1886 and was living with him and their children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the 1890s. But where was the rest of the family?

It appears that Meyer and Helena and their five other adult children had all relocated to New York City by around 1890. Meyer appears in the 1891 New York City directory as residing at 220 East 69th Street, and Meyer and his sons Eugene and Maurice appear as residing at that same address in the 1892 New York City directory. Meyer is listed as a clothier at 648 Broadway, Eugene as in the trimmings business at 236 Church Street, and Maurice as in the clothing business at 722 Broadway. Perhaps after the failure of Goldsmith & Bros. in 1887, the family decided to leave Philadelphia behind and take their chances on New York instead. 1

Thanks once again to Meyer and Helena’s descendant for this photograph, which we believe is a photograph of Meyer and Helena taken some years after the one I shared in my last post. What do you think?

Helena Hohenfels and Meyer Goldsmith possibly.  Courtesy of the family

In 1896, Meyer and Helena’s second oldest daughter Rose married Hans (sometimes Harry) Morgenstern.2 Hans was born on April 23, 1859; although some of the documents indicate that he was born in Austria, his 1904 passport application states that he was born in Beuthen, Prussia, Germany.3 According to this website, Beuthen is one of those towns that was once within the borders of Germany, once within the borders of Austria, and today is located in Poland and known at Bytom, located about 60 miles west of Krakow. In his 1904 passport application, Hans stated that he had arrived in the United States in 1892 and settled in New York City.

Two years after Rose’s wedding, Meyer and Helena’s youngest child, Florence, married Leo Levy on June 8, 1898, in New York City.4 Leo was born in Flushing, Queens, New York, on October 20, 1871. I was unable to find out any information about Leo’s family of origin until I located this wedding announcement from the June 9, 1898 issue of the New York Times (p. 7):

The New York Times, June 8, 1898, p. 7

Although the announcement did not reveal Leo’s parents’ names, it did reveal those of three of his siblings: Rosalie, Jacob, and Sidney. With that information, I was able to locate the family living in Flushing, Queens, on the 1880 US census and learned that Jacob’s parents were Simon Levy and Caroline Hirsch, both born in Baden, Germany; Simon had immigrated in 1857 as a teenager; Caroline had immigrated with her parents in about 1854. Leo’s father Simon was a clothing merchant.

Leo Levy 1880 US Census, Census Place: Queens, Queens, New York; Roll: 917; Page: 182D; Enumeration District: 263
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

From the wedding announcement I also learned that Leo was a lawyer practicing with the firm of Erdman, Levy and Mayer.

Thus, by 1900 all three of Meyer and Helena’s daughters were married. Nevertheless, the 1900 census shows that Meyer and Helena still had all three of their sons, two of the daughters, and two of their sons-in-law living with them as well as two servants. They were all living at 129 East 60th Street. Meyer’s occupation was salesman; Eugene was a merchant; Maurice was a traveling salesman; and Samuel, the youngest son, was a dentist. All three sons were single. Meyer’s son-in-law Hans Morgenstern was a “commission merchant,” and his son-in-law Leo Levy was a lawyer.

Meyer Goldsmith and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0780
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Here are photographs that we believe are Eugene, Maurice, and Samuel:

Eugene and Maurice Goldsmith (possibly). Courtesy of the family.

Samuel Goldsmith (possibly). Courtesy of the family.

By 1905, the two married daughters and their husbands had moved out. I was unable to locate either Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern or Florence Goldsmith Levy on the 1905 New York State census, but they were no longer living in the same household as their parents. Florence and Leo had had two children by 1905; their daughter Helen was born on October 14, 1900,5 and their son Richard was born on November 18, 1903, both in New York City.6

Another child was born to Florence and Leo on July 24, 1908, in Queens; birth records have her name as Edith Catherine,7 but no child with that name appears on the 1910 census or any later census. The 1910 census reports a third child named Eleanor, aged  one year, six months. At first I was quite confused, but one of Florence and Leo’s descendants explained that Florence and Leo decided that they preferred the name Eleanor to Edith after the baby was born and changed her name.

Leo Levy and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Queens Ward 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T624_1068; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 1250; FHL microfilm: 1375081
Description
Enumeration District: 1250
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Meanwhile, according to one 1905 New York State census record, all three sons of Meyer and Helena were still living with them at 229 West 97th Street in New York City in 1905. Meyer was a clothier, Eugene an importer, Morris (Maurice) a clothier partner, and Samuel a dentist.

Meyer Goldsmith and family 1905 NYS census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 21 E.D. 45; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 20
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Samuel, however, is also listed with his wife Helen on another page from the New York State 1905 census as residing at 113 East 60th Street in New York City. That he was listed twice on the 1905 New York State census is another example of census inaccuracies.

Samuel and Helen Goldsmith, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 29 E.D. 10; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 19
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Samuel Goldsmith had married Helen Rau on April 20, 1904, in New York.8 (That meant that there was one Helena, one Heloise, and two Helens now in the extended family.) Helen Rau was born on September 9, 1877, in Englewood, New Jersey, to John Rau and Clementine Kayser.9  On July 28, 1906, Helen gave birth to their daughter, Catherine Goldsmith, in Norwood Park, New Jersey.10

Tragically, Samuel died before Catherine was fourteen months old.  He died in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 25, 1907; he was only forty years old.11  According to his obituary in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent of September 27, 1907 (p.11), Samuel and his family had moved to St. Paul for his health on the advice of his doctor. Can anyone suggest why Minnesota would be good for one’s health? I’ve heard of people moving to drier or warmer climates for their health, but why Minnesota? Perhaps it was to be near the Mayo Clinic, which had opened in 1889 in Rochester, Minnesota? I did notice that Helen had a sister living in St. Paul at that time, so perhaps Helen was looking for support due to Samuel’s poor health.

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, September 27, 1907, p. 11

The obituary described Samuel as a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and as “one of the foremost dentists in New York.” Samuel provided in his will that “[a]ll of my property I give to my beloved wife, Helen Rau Goldsmith, absolutely and forever, appointing her sole Executrix.”

Samuel L. Goldsmith will, Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923 (New York County); Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York. Ancestry.com. New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999

Sadly, this was only the beginning of heartbreaking news for the family. The family suffered another loss on February 18, 1910, when Helena Hohenfels Goldsmith died at age 73. She was buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Hasting-on-Hudson, New York.12

When the 1910 census was taken two months after Helena’s death, Meyer was still living at 229 West 97th Street, with his two surviving sons, Eugene and Maurice, and his daughter Rose and her husband Hans Morgenstern (as well as two servants).  Meyer was no longer working. Eugene was still in the importing business, and Maurice was a department store salesman. Hans was also working for an import house, presumably with Eugene, his brother-in-law. Rose and Hans did not have children.13

In 1910, Florence and Leo Levy were living with their children, a servant, and a nurse in Queens, and Leo was practicing law.13 I was delighted to receive from Florence’s descendant this beautiful photograph of Florence and her three children, probably taken around 1910.

Helen Levy, Florence Goldsmith Levy, Eleanor Levy, and Richard Goldsmith Levy. Courtesy of the family.

Heloise and Simon Bernheim Hirsh continued to live with their two daughters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where Simon was a clothing merchant.14

I could not find Samuel Goldsmith’s widow Helen Rau Goldsmith or their daughter Catherine Goldsmith on the 1910 census, but I believe they may have been out of the country.  Helen’s sister Emma Rau had been living abroad beginning in 1904, and I have a hunch that Helen and Catherine might have been visiting her at the time of the 1910 census. From several passport applications starting in 1918, it appears that Helen and Catherine also lived abroad for many years.15

There was another tragedy in the family on January 9, 1911, when Meyer’s oldest daughter Heloise Goldsmith Hirsh died from acute dilatation of the heart and diabetes at age fifty. She was survived by her husband, my cousin Simon Bernheim Hirsh, and their two surviving daughters, my double cousins Irma and Dorothy Hirsh, as well as her father Meyer and her remaining siblings.

Death certificate of Heloise Goldsmith Hirsh, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 004931-008580. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

It was only a few months later that her father and my 3x-great-uncle Meyer also passed away. He died on May 26, 1911, when he was 76 years old and was buried with his wife Helena at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Perhaps losing a son, a wife, and a daughter in just a few years was too much for Meyer to bear.16

Although he had not lived in Philadelphia for about twenty years at the time of his death, the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent ran this obituary when Meyer died:

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, June 2, 1911, p.11

Thus, as of May 26, 1911, Meyer and Helena and two of their children, Heloise and Samuel, were deceased. Meyer and Helena were survived by two of their sons, Eugene and Maurice, and two of their daughters, Rose and Florence, all of whom were living in New York City. They were also survived by six grandchildren, Heloise’s two daughters Irma and Dorothy Hirsh, Samuel’s daughter Catherine Goldsmith, and Florence’s three children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor Levy. Their stories will follow.

 


  1.  New York, New York, City Directory, 1891, 1892. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate 6656. 
  3. Hans Morgenstern passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 647; Volume #: Roll 647 – 01 Apr 1904-11 Apr 1904. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  4. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate 9123 
  5. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WWV-ZK5 : 11 February 2018), Helen Coroline Levy, 14 Oct 1900; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 42281 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,953,853. 
  6. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WP-VL4 : 10 February 2018), Richard G. Levy and Malvene Frankel, 26 Mar 1928; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,341. 
  7. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:27YD-M2D : 11 February 2018), Edith Catherine Levy, 24 Jul 1908; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference v 9 cn 4359 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,022,365. 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate 13130 
  9. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. SSN: 071368415. 
  10. Catherine Goldsmith 1918 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 604; Volume #: Roll 0604 – Certificates: 39250-39499, 14 Oct 1918-15 Oct 1918. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  11.  Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FD8M-Z3K : 10 March 2018), Sam Goldsmith, 25 Sep 1907; citing St. Paul, Minnesota, reference ; FHL microfilm 2,117,569. 
  12.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:271F-D9G : 10 February 2018), Helena Goldsmith, 18 Feb 1910; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,323,239. 
  13. Leo Levy and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Queens Ward 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T624_1068; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 1250; FHL microfilm: 1375081. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  14. Simon Hirsh and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Lancaster Ward 2, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1354; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0062; FHL microfilm: 1375367. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  15. Emma Rau 1923 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2159; Volume #: Roll 2159 – Certificates: 240976-241349, 04 Jan 1922-05 Jan 1922. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. Also, e.g., Catherine Goldsmith 1918 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 604; Volume #: Roll 0604 – Certificates: 39250-39499, 14 Oct 1918-15 Oct 1918. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. More on Catherine in a post to come. 
  16.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMM-M68 : 10 February 2018), Meyer Goldsmith, 26 May 1911; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,323,280. 

Kissing Cousins….

Remember how at the end of my last post I alluded to the 1920 and 1923 passports of Alice and Louis Goldsmith and how they helped me solve a different mystery? Well, this is it.

When I was researching Bertha Goldsmith Weinhandler/Wayne prior to delving into the research of her younger siblings, Alice and Louis, I discovered a marriage record for her in 1923.  According to the New York, New York, Marriage License Index database on Ancestry.com, Bertha Wayne married a man named Frederick Newman on May 21, 1923.1

I was surprised because after all, in 1920 she was still married to and living with Sampson Wayne.2  I thought perhaps Sampson had died, but I found him on the 1930 census in New York, which listed his marital status as divorced.

Sampson Wayne 1930 US Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 27A; Enumeration District: 0488
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

When had Bertha divorced Sampson? How had she married someone else so quickly?  Sampson died in 1931,3 but I could not find an obituary or any other news article or record that explained what had happened to him or his marriage to Bertha. And who was Frederick Newman, her new husband? I was mystified, but continued on with my research of Alice and Louis.

Then, when I could not find either Alice or Louis Goldsmith on the 1920 census, I looked more closely at their passport applications from 1920 and 1923, as noted in my last post. On Alice’s 1920 application, I saw that in addition to having her sister Bertha attest to her birth date on her passport application, there was a witness statement from Frederick Newman, who attested that he had known Alice for ten years.

Alice Goldsmith 1920 passport application, Volume: Roll 1270 – Certificates: 57750-58125, 23 Jun 1920-24 Jun 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

So Bertha’s second husband Frederick Newman had known Alice Goldsmith since 1910? When Alice was still living in Philadelphia? How could that be? Bertha was married to Sampson at that time. I wondered: Had Frederick Newman been an old friend who knew Alice? Had Alice introduced Bertha to Frederick?

It’s even weirder than that.

I started digging around to find out when Bertha and Sampson’s marriage had ended, and I located a passport application for Bertha Wayne in 1921 when she was still married to Sampson Wayne.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1643; Volume #: Roll 1643 – Certificates: 47626-47999, 06 Jun 1921-06 Jun 1921.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Then I saw a notice of Bertha and Sampson’s divorce decree in the Reno Evening Gazette of July 11, 1922. That meant Bertha married Frederick in May, 1923, less than a year after she divorced Sampson.

Reno Gazette. July 11, 1922, p. 8

Then, as I examined Bertha’s 1921 passport application more carefully, I noticed that the passport application was supported by two affidavits from none other than Frederick Newman, her future husband. First, an affidavit of identification:

I was taken aback when I realized that the second affidavit was a “Form of Affidavit for a Relative.” A relative?

 

The second affidavit signed by Frederick Newman stated that he was a cousin of Sampson Wayne, Bertha’s husband, and that “my mother was his mother’s sister.”

I went back to research Sampson and Frederick and discovered that Sampson’s mother Hattie Loewenthal was indeed the sister of Pauline Loewenthal, Frederick Newman’s mother.4

So Frederick Newman was Sampson Wayne’s first cousin, and he married Bertha less than a year after she divorced his cousin Sampson. I can only imagine what this did to the families of Frederick and Sampson.

A year after Bertha’s second marriage, her sister Alice Goldsmith married for the first time. She married Louis Margulies, who was born on December 29, 1881, in Iasi, Romania.4 Louis, the son of Sol and Pearl Margulies, had immigrated to the US with his parents on October 10, 1884, where they settled in New York City.5 In 1920, Louis was living with his siblings in New York City and working as a woolens salesman.6

Louis Margulies married Alice Goldsmith on June 11, 1924, in Manhattan.7 He was 42, she was 43 when they married. For the first time since 1900, Alice then appeared on a census in 1925. On the 1925 New York State census, she and her husband Louis were living at 535 West 113th Street. Louis had changed careers sometime between 1920 and 1925 and was now working in real estate.

Louis and Alice Margulies, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 44; Assembly District: 11; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 20 Description District: A·D· 11 E·D· 44 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

Bertha and her second husband Frederick also appeared on the 1925 New York State census. They were living at 309 West 99th Street, not too far from Alice. Bertha’s two teenaged children from her first marriage, Arthur and Frances, were living with them. Frederick was practicing medicine.8

Louis Goldsmith, who like his sister Alice had not appeared on a census since 1900, also does not appear on the 1925 New York census, but he seemed to be traveling very often, so that may explain his continuing ability to elude the census enumerator. But the census enumerator finally caught up with him in 1930 when he was living in the Plaza Hotel in New York City and working as an advertising executive.9 Louis was obviously quite successful in his career, living in a hotel and traveling very often. He was apparently known in the advertising field as a leader who “helped convert men to wear light summer clothing” and for promoting something called Palm Beach cloth,10 a “lightweight summer fabric of cotton warp and mohair filling.”

Alice and her husband Louis Margulies also appear on the 1930 US census; they were living at 300 Riverside Drive in 1930, and Louis continued to work in the real estate business.11

Although both Louis Goldsmith and Alice Goldsmith appeared on the 1930 census, this time their sister Bertha seems to have missed being counted. However, I did find Bertha and Frederick on a ship manifest for a trip from Southampton, England, to New York on October 11, 1930, which gave their address as 171 West 71st Street in New York City. (Reverse-searching did not find them at that address on the 1930 census.)12

Miraculously, all three Goldsmith siblings are recorded on the 1940 census. Bertha and Frederick Newman were now living on 57 East 88th Street in New York, and Frederick continued to practice medicine. Bertha’s two children had both married and moved on to their own households.13 Alice and Louis Margulies were living at 104 Park Avenue in New York; Louis was still engaged in the real estate business.14 And Louis Goldsmith, the youngest child of Abraham Goldsmith, was living at 21 West 58th Street, still working in the advertising field.15

By 1940, Bertha, Alice, and Louis had already lost two of their half-sisters: Emily (1917) and Rose (1931). Between 1940 and 1957, they would lose three more siblings: Edwin (1944), their full brother Alfred (1947), and Milton (1957).  I wonder how close Louis and Milton were, both advertising men living in New York City all those years, but 21 years apart in age.

Louis was the first of the three youngest siblings to die, and he passed away on July 28, 1958, just ten months after his older brother Milton; he was 75 years old. According to his obituary he died from a heart attack in front of his home at 21 West 58th Street.16

Louis Goldsmith’s death must have been particularly heartbreaking for his sister Alice, who had lost her husband Louis Margulies just three weeks earlier on July 8, 1958.17 Alice herself survived her brother and husband by less than seven months; she died on January 6, 1959. She was 78 years old.18

Neither Louis Goldsmith nor Alice Goldsmith had had children; they were survived by only their two remaining siblings, their sisters Bertha and Estelle. Bertha died on May 25, 1963, when she was 84. I could not find any information about when her husband Frederick Newman died, but since her death notice referred to him as “the late Dr. Frederick J. Newman,” he must have predeceased her.

When Bertha died, the only child of Abraham Goldsmith still living was his daughter Estelle from his first marriage, and as we saw, she died five years after Bertha on May 9, 1968, at age 98.

Thus ends the story of my three-times great-uncle Abraham Goldsmith and his ten children. What an incredibly interesting bunch they have been to research. Abraham came as a teenager to Philadelphia from Oberlistingen, Germany, became a successful businessman, lost one wife at a very young age and one daughter as a child, but raised nine other children, five from his first wife Cecelia and four with his second wife Frances. All nine lived interesting lives, some in Philadelphia, some in New York City. Some were talented with words, others with business, others with inventions. It was truly a pleasure to learn about them and to honor their memories.

Now I will move on to the next Goldschmidt sibling to come to America, Meyer.

 

 

 

 


  1. New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 6, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995 
  2. Bertha and Sampson Wayne, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 11, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1204; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 810. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Original data: Index to New York City Deaths 1862-1948. 
  4. Louis Margulies, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  5.  National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; ARC Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940  
  6. Louis Margulies, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1226; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 1489. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 7. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995 
  8. Bertha and Frederick Newman, 1925 NYS Census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 35; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 21. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 
  9. Louis Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0566. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  10. “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  11. Louis and Alice Margulies, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0486. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Frederick and Bertha Newman (and Frances Wayne) on 1930 ship manifest,Year: 1930; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4848; Line: 1; Page Number: 15, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  13. Bertha and Frederick Newman, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 31-1327.
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  14. Alice and Louis Margulies, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 31-1337. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  15. Louis Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02656; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 31-1382. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  16. “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  17. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 
  18. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 

Bertha, Alice and Louis: Eluding the Census

The three youngest children of my three-times great-uncle Abraham Goldsmith and his second wife Frances Spanier were Bertha, Alice, and Louis. I was going to write a separate post for each of them, but as their stories started to unfold, I realized that their lives were so intertwined that it made more sense to combine their three stories into two posts.  These three siblings were all close in age, and all three ended up in New York City, as had their oldest (half) brother Milton and older (full) brother Alfred.

Bertha was born on August 16, 1878,1 Alice on August 29, 1880,2 and Louis on November 4, 1882, all in Philadelphia.3 In 1900, they were all still living with their parents and older half-sister Estelle in Philadelphia.  Bertha was working as a “saleslady,” Alice as a milliner, and Louis was still in school. Their father Abraham died two years later on January 27, 1902, as we have seen.

Abraham Goldsmith and family 1900 census
Philadelphia Ward 12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Enumeration District: 0208
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

In 1906, Bertha married Sampson Herbert Weinhandler, the son of Solomon Weinhandler and Hattie Loewenthal.4

Marriage license of Bertha Goldsmith and Sampson Weinhandler, FamilySearch database of Philadelphia marriage licenses

Sampson was born in New York on April 17, 1873,5 and grew up in New York City where his father, a Russian born immigrant, was the owner of a millinery store. Sampson’s mother Hattie was an immigrant from Germany.6  In 1905, Sampson was boarding in the household of others and was a practicing lawyer. He had graduated from City College of New York in 1893 and had received a law degree from Columbia University in 1896.7 A year after marrying Sampson, Bertha gave birth to their first child, Arthur, on May 22, 1907.8

Alfred, Bertha, Alice, and Louis Goldsmith lost their mother Frances the following year. She died on January 18, 1908, from a cerebral hemorrhage and apoplexy, i.e., a stroke.  She was only 52 years old.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 006001-010000
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

The 1910 census found Bertha and Sampson Weinhandler living at 531 West 112th Street in Manhattan with their son Arthur. Sampson was practicing law.9 On July 3, 1911, Bertha and Sampson’s second child was born; she was named Frances, presumably for Bertha’s recently deceased mother.10

Meanwhile, Bertha’s two younger siblings Alice and Louis were probably still in Philadelphia although I cannot find either Alice or Louis on the 1910 US census.  As we will see, these siblings had a way of eluding the census. There are three men named Louis Goldsmith in the 1911 Philadelphia directory, but I’ve no idea which one is my Louis or if any of them are. 11 According to his obituary, Louis was still in Philadelphia during this time period, working as sales and advertising director for the Snellenburg Clothing Company. 12

In February, 1914, Louis traveled from Naples, Italy, to New York, and listed his address as 1934 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia (an address I could not locate on the 1910 census);13 according to a passport application he filed in 1920, Louis spent several months living in France and Italy in 1913.14  In 1914 he founded his own advertising agency in Philadelphia, L.S. Goldsmith Advertising Agency.15

Louis Goldsmith 1920 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

 

For Alice, I have no records at all between 1900 and 1914. In August of 1914, she traveled to Europe to join her brother Louis, according to the passenger manifest, so Louis must have returned to Europe, but I cannot find him on a passenger manifest later that year.16 I have no address or occupation for Alice from 1900 until 1918 (see below).

Meanwhile, Bertha, apparently more census-compliant than her younger siblings (perhaps because Sampson was a lawyer), showed up on the 1915 New York State census.  She and her family were now living at 235 West 103rd Street in New York City, and Sampson continued to practice law.17

Louis moved to New York City in 1915, according to his obituary. 18 His draft registration for World War I dated September 12, 1918, states that he was then living at 140 West 69th Street in New York City and working in his own advertising business. He listed his sister Alice Goldsmith as his contact person and gave her address as 2131 Green Street, Philadelphia. I could not find Alice living at that address on the 1910 census, but her sister Emily and her family were living there, so perhaps Alice had moved in at some point after 1910. But by 1920, neither Alice nor Emily’s family (Emily having passed away in 1917) was living at that address.

Louis Goldsmith, World War I draft registration
Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1766147; Draft Board: 124
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

By 1920, Bertha’s husband Sampson Weinhandler had changed his name to Sampson Wayne, presumably to make it look either less Jewish or less German or perhaps both. In 1920 he and his family (also using the surname Wayne) were living at 235 West 103rd in Manhattan, and he was still practicing law.19

Once again, I had trouble finding either Alice or Louis on the 1920 census. But both applied for passports that year, and both listed their residential address as 140 West 69th Street, New York, New York, on their applications, which was the same address that Louis had listed as his address on his 1918 draft registration.20 (See Louis’ application above.) Alice was a witness for Louis on his application as to his birth (giving her address as 140 West 69th Street), and Bertha was a witness for Alice on her application as to her birth.

Louis Goldsmith, 1920 passport photo, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.

 

Alice Goldsmith passport application and photo,
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1270; Volume #: Roll 1270 – Certificates: 57750-58125, 23 Jun 1920-24 Jun 1920
Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Both Alice and Louis also applied for passports again in 1923. Again, both gave 140 West 69th Street as their residential address. Both indicated that they were planning to visit several countries in Europe, staying for many months.21

So I had an address for both Alice and Louis to use to find them on the 1920 census, and I turned to stevemorse.org to do a reverse census lookup.  But I had no luck. I found 140 West 69th Street on the 1920 census, but neither Louis nor Alice was listed as residing there. Nor can I find them elsewhere on the 1920 census.

Those passport applications thus did not help me find Alice or Louis on the 1920 census. But they did help me figure out something else. That is a story for my next post.

 


  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBT5-5R2 : 8 December 2014), Goldsmith, 16 Aug 1878; citing bk 1878 p 23, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,319. 
  2. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBR5-HSD : 8 December 2014), Goldsmith, 29 Aug 1880; citing bk 1880 p 26, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,320. 
  3. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1MW-53K : 8 December 2014), Louis Goldsmith, 04 Nov 1882; citing bk 1882 p 134, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,322. 
  4. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Index, 1885–1951.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia marriage license index, 1885-1951.” Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
  5.  Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1766376; Draft Board: 134; Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  6. Weinhandler family, 1880 US Census, 1880; Census Place: New York City, New York, New York; Roll: 873; Page: 228A; Enumeration District: 148; Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. Weinhandler family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0726; FHL microfilm: 1375040. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Also, Ancestry.com. New York City, Compiled Marriage Index, 1600s-1800s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Genealogical Research Library, comp. New York City, Marriages, 1600s-1800s. 
  7. Media posted on Ancestry Family Tree (“Our Harris Family Tree”); New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 19 E.D. 23; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 28.
    Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905. 
  8. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. 
  9. Bertha and Sampson Weinhandler, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 0726; FHL microfilm: 1375040. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  10.  Number: 090-32-7264; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1957-1958. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  11. 1911 Philadelphia City Directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  12.   “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. Another twist in my family tree: The Snellenburg Clothing Company was owned by the family of Caroline Snellenburg, who was married to my great-great-uncle Joseph Cohen. 
  13. Year: 1914; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2266; Line: 6; Page Number: 23. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  14.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  15. “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  16.  Year: 1914; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2364; Line: 1; Page Number: 145; Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  17. Weinhandler family, 1915 NYS Census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 03; Assembly District: 19; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 06. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  18.   “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  19.   Wayne family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 11, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1204; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 810.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  20. Louis Goldsmith 1920 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. 
  21. Alice Goldsmith 1923 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2273; Volume #: Roll 2273 – Certificates: 293850-294349, 23 May 1923-23 May 1923. Louis Goldsmith 1923 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2185; Volume #: Roll 2185 – Certificates: 250726-251099, 21 Feb 1923-23 Feb 1923. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

At the Sign of the Sparrow: The Legacy of Alfred Goldsmith

As I noted at the end of my last post, Joseph J. Felcone, the author of The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), helped me learn more about my cousin Alfred Goldsmith and his famous bookstore, At the Sign of the Sparrow. He also gave me permission to use some of the images from his book.  I am deeply grateful to Mr. Felcone for his generosity and all his help. With his permission, I can share this wonderful self-portrait that my cousin Alfred drew as his response to an invitation to dinner with the Old Book Table, the antiquarian book club to which he belonged:

Courtesy of Joseph J. Felcone, The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), p. 5.

From Mr. Felcone, I also learned about three other sources with information about Alfred Goldsmith, including accounts from two men who knew him personally, Walter Goldwater, a fellow bookseller,  and Edward Naumberg, Jr., a patron of the arts and book collector. The third source is a book published in 2003 by Marvin Mondlin and Roy Meader entitled Book Row: An Anecdotal and Pictorial History of the Antiquarian Book Trade (Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York, 2003).1

Although I still don’t have a photograph that I can post of Alfred’s store, the descriptions I found create a vivid picture. The New York Times provided this description in its obituary of Alfred:2

With its entrance a few steps below street level, the shop reflected the intimacy of its owner; it was small, laden with all kinds of books and enmeshed with cobwebs. A mecca for theatrical personalities, the shop specialized in books on the stage, pictures of famous actors and old programs.

Mondlin and Meader describe the store in similar terms in Book Row:3

The entrance to the small, quaint (as some said) shop at 42 Lexington Avenue required walking down steps from street level.….Inside, the shop presented a diverse congregation of books, rather jumbled, and a hint of age, cobwebs, benign neglect, and intimate charm. The faux Gothic ambiance fit the proprietor, who typically stood waiting, book in hand, smiling in welcome.

Edward Naumburg, Jr., who knew Alfred well, provided these details:4

Outside was a wobbly bookstand offering 10-cent and 25-cent bargains. The shop was dimly lighted, warmed by a gas stove, lined of course with bookshelves, and divided by a flimsy partition beyond which was the inner sanctum where rarities were kept.  The average customer was not invited to enter.

The store was allegedly the setting of two mystery books: Christopher Morley’s The Haunted Bookshop5 and Carolyn Wells’ Murder in the Bookshop. Carolyn Wells, as previously noted, was Alfred’s collaborator on works about Walt Whitman, and according to Naumburg, Alfred told him that Wells did in fact visualize his store as the setting for her novel.6 Perhaps then the illustration from the cover of her book conveys some sense of the appearance of the exterior of Alfred’s store.

Naumberg’s essay includes two photographs of Alfred inside the store, but I’ve been unable to find someone who can give me permission to use them; however, if you go to the link for his article here, you can see them.

I also found this old photograph of Lexington Avenue looking north from 24th Street, so although Alfred’s store is not in this photograph, it does depict the neighborhood where he worked and lived.

Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library. “Manhattan: Lexington Avenue – 24th Street (East)” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1931. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-4410-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

But what happened inside the store is more important than its appearance. Naumburg said it “was often the scene of quite wonderful arguments and discussions.” 7 Mondlin and Meader noted that “Customers, scouts, collectors, bibliographers, writers, and librarians … made the Sparrow a friendly hangout at the outer border of Book Row.”8   In addition, they observed that “[h]is shop became a theatrical oasis specializing in stage books and ephemera. Broadway enthusiasts and personalities browsed at the Sign of the Sparrow for books, theater programs, and pictures of actors.”9 Serious historians, book collectors, and theater fans all shopped together in the little store.

What I most enjoyed learning from these sources were the insights into Alfred’s personality. Walter Goldwater described him this way:10

Goldsmith never sat down; he always stood behind his little counter and made cute remarks to people who came in, usually the kind of things where you’d have to say, “When you say that, smile.” He always did smile, so nobody took it quite to heart….He said it in such a sweet way that nobody could really believe that he really meant those terrible things that he said.

Naumburg shared this humorous story, which exemplifies Goldwater’s comment:11

One of my favorite stories concerns the time a rather shabby man entered the shop and said, “Mr. Goldsmith, you are the Whitman expert.  I have here Whitman’s eyeglasses and his cane which I’m sure you’d like to buy.” Alfred didn’t reply.  He took a scissors from his desk drawer, reached down and clipped a few hairs from his pet dog, Chris, who was lying at his feet, handed them to the man, and said, “And here are clippings from Walt’s beard. They’ll go well with the eyeglasses.”

Walt Whitman, 1872.
By Photographer: G. Frank E. Pearsall (1860-1899) (NYPL Digital Gallery) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mondlin and Meader wrote that “his knowledge, amiability, probity, humor, and punctilio made him such a congenial square shooter that he elevated the hospitality tone of Book Row all by himself.” 12

The one characteristic that all the sources commented on was Alfred’s lack of entrepreneurial drive. Mondin and Meader said that he was “more interested in having a leisurely talk about books than a chance for monetary gain.”13 Goldwater commented:14

Most of us knew that, at some price or another, Goldsmith would buy a book. How in the world he could do it, since it didn’t seem to us he ever sold anything and he certainly was very cheap in price, we never could understand. But he always would buy a book at some price or other. If we were broke during those early thirties, we would go to Goldsmith and be able to get fifty cents or a dollar, because he would buy.

Goldwater said that Alfred was known for coining the statement that “the book business is a very pleasant way of making a very little money.”15 Mondlin and Meader quote book collector John T. Winterich, who wrote this about Alfred:16

How Alfred Goldsmith contrived to convert the mutually effacing principles of buying high and selling low into anything resembling the profit motive is beyond my economic comprehension.  But I am sure he had a good time in the process….And although he lived by selling books, he was about the poorest—or possibly the best—bookseller of my acquaintance. He never talked up a book.  He never priced up a book.

His financial burdens were amusingly depicted in this cartoon he drew:

Courtesy of Joseph J. Felcone, from The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), p. 5.

In addition to his book collecting and selling activities, Alfred was active in the Old Book Table from its earliest days in the 1930s. His financial challenges were described in his tongue-in-cheek comments and in a cartoon he drew in March 1933, humorously depicting his intended means of raising three dollars, the charge for attending the monthly club dinner:16

Today I made a neat little barrow holding a small oil stove and a tin tray and tomorrow I start out at 7 A.M. selling hot hamburger sandwiches at 5 cents each. If I do not make three dollars at this, I will pawn a first edition of Leaves of Grass to make up the difference….

Joseph J. Felcone, The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), p. 7

According to Naumburg, in addition to his drawings, Alfred was also known for the short poems he often read at the Old Book Table meetings.17

Here is the one photograph I have of Alfred that I can share on this page, thanks to the generosity of Joseph Felcone. Alfred is standing, fourth from our right.

Alfred F. Goldsmith (fourth from right) and other members of the Old Book Table. Courtesy of Joseph J. Felcone, from The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), p. 15.

Alfred’s wife Ray joined him in his work in the Sparrow; the 1940 US census lists her occupation as “saleswoman, bookstore.” (Alfred himself was identified as “storekeeper, bookstore.”)18 Goldwater and Naumburg had conflicting views on her role in the store and her personality. Goldwater’s assessment was rather harsh: “His wife was an Englishwoman who was Cerberus sitting at the door, hating everybody who came in and trying to keep them for fear they might bother her husband.”19

Naumburg was much kinder in his view of Ray:20

Alfred’s wife, Ray, was almost always present.  She was British with a charming London accent and a shrewd, intuitive sense for sizing up browsers. On first acquaintance she seemed a bit aloof; later one found her warm and understanding. Ray was a splendid cook, and her own collection of cookbooks was an appropriate hobby for the wife of an antiquarian bookseller.

Alfred Francis Goldsmith died on July 28, 1947.21 Goldwater recalled seeing him “grimacing in pain” from what Alfred believed was sciatica, but what was in fact cancer. 22 According to Alfred’s obituary in The New York Times, the day after he died was “the first time since it was opened [that] At the Sign of the Sparrow was closed to its frequenters.”23

Mondlin and Meader wrote that after Alfred’s death, his widow Ray asked a friend, Frederick Lightfoot, if he wanted to take over the store, but Lightfoot declined because he did not think it would be financially viable. Ray kept the store open for a few months, “But without Alfred Goldsmith, the spirit of the store was gone.” The store closed, and the inventory was sold to Swann Auction Galleries.24 According to Walter Goldwater, that inventory proved to be less valuable than expected, as Alfred did not in fact own as many valuable books as had been assumed.25

Alfred was only 66 when he died and was survived by his wife Ray and four of his siblings: his younger siblings Bertha, Alice, and Louis, and his oldest (half) brother, Milton Goldsmith. He certainly lived an interesting life and made his mark on the book world. He is another Goldsmith I wish I could invite to dinner.  Not only would I enjoy his humor and his intelligence, I would love to hear the stories he had about his family and his life.

Thank you again to Joe Felcone for his invaluable assistance and generosity.

 

 


  1. “Book Row” refers to section of New York City on and near Fourth Avenue south of Fourteenth Street which was once the location of numerous stores selling secondhand and rare books. Although Alfred’s store, which was located about ten blocks north of Fourteenth Street, was outside the section known as Book Row, his role as a bookseller was so well-known and so well-regarded that he and his store are included in Mondlin and Meader’s book.  Mondlin and Meader’s book will be referred to hereinafter as Mondlin and Meader. 
  2. “A.F. Goldsmith, 66, Book Dealer, Dies,” The New York Times, July 30, 1947, p. 17. 
  3. Mondlin and Meader, p. 52. 
  4.  Edward J. Naumburg, Jr., “My Favorite Bookseller,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, Volume 48, No. 2, Winter 1987, p. 183. Hereinafter referred to as Naumburg. 
  5. Ralph Dumain, The Autodidact Project: “New York City Bookshops in the 1930s and 1940s: The Recollections of Walter Goldwater,” (audiotape interview with Walter Goldwater by unnamed interviewer), p. 144,  found at http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/goldwat1.html  Hereinafter referred to as Goldwater, p. 144. 
  6. Naumburg, p, 181. 
  7. Naumburg, p, 186. 
  8. Mondlin and Meader, p. 51. 
  9. Mondlin and Meader, p. 54. 
  10. Goldwater, p. 144. 
  11. Naumburg, p. 185. 
  12. Mondlin and Meader, p. 50 
  13. Mondlin and Meader, p. 51 
  14. Goldwater, p. 144. 
  15. Goldwater, p. 144. 
  16. Joseph J. Felcone, The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), p. 7. 
  17. Naumburg, p.187. 
  18. Alfred and Ray Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02649; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 31-1066. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  19. Goldwater, p. 144. 
  20. Naumburg, p. 183. 
  21.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WPP-8JB : 10 February 2018), Alfred Goldsmith, 28 Jul 1947; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,133,778. 
  22. Goldwater, p. 144 
  23.  “A.F. Goldsmith, 66, Book Dealer, Dies,” The New York Times, July 30, 1947, p. 17. 
  24. Mondlin and Meader, p.55-56. 
  25. Goldwater, p. 144. 

Alfred Goldsmith, Book Lover

As seen in my last post, Alfred Goldsmith’s ill-fated 1905 marriage to Beatrice Miller ended in divorce in 1913, and I was unable to find anything about the eight years in between. But what happened to Alfred after 1913?

The first record I have for Alfred after his 1913 divorce was a record of his second marriage on July 24, 1918, to Ray Solomons in Troy, New York.1 Ray was the daughter of Myer Solomons and Caroline Weinberg. Myer was originally from Warsaw, Poland, and Caroline from Austria. They had both immigrated to England, where Ray was born in 1891. The family immigrated to the US in 1910 when Ray was nineteen. On the 1915 New York State census, her father listed his occupation as a dyer; later records show he was in the fur business. Ray was employed as a bookkeeper in 1915. She was living with her family in the Bronx. 2

Solomons family 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 06; Assembly District: 34; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 34
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915

So why did Ray and Alfred marry in Troy, New York, a city about 150 miles north of New York City? At first I worried that this was another elopement, and perhaps it was. But happily for Ray and Alfred, this marriage lasted. Ray was 27 when they married, Alfred was forty. They stayed together until Alfred’s death. It does not appear that they ever had children.

Like his half-siblings Milton and Emily, Alfred loved books. He had a life-long interest in literature and in particular authors: Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allen Poe, and especially Walt Whitman. According to his obituary in The New York Times, Alfred “was only twelve when he became captivated by Whitman’s poetry and started to collect rare Whitman editions.” 3 That interest in Whitman stayed with him throughout adulthood.

When Alfred registered for the draft on September 12, 1918, six months after their wedding, he and Ray were living at 2593 Eighth Avenue in New York City, and his occupation was “bookseller” at 42 Lexington Avenue. That would remain his place of business for the rest of his life. Alfred’s bookstore, known as At the Sign of the Sparrow, became very well-known, as we will see.

Alfred Goldsmith, World War I draft registration,
Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786673; Draft Board: 140
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In 1920, Alfred and Ray were living at 304 Second Avenue in New York City, and Alfred listed his occupation on the census as “Books” in his own business.4 The 1922 New York directory also has his occupation simply as “books,” and the 1925 New York State census lists his occupation as “bookseller.”5

In 1922, Alfred and Carolyn Wells, the author of over 170 books for adults and children, collaborated on The Concise Bibliography of the Works of Walt Whitman (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1922), which was “affectionately dedicated to Ray S. Goldsmith.” The book is, as the title indicates, a bibliography of all the books written by Walt Whitman and all the books written about Walt Whitman. It was for many years considered one of the authoritative works of scholarship about Whitman.6

Alfred Goldsmith and Carolyn Wells also collaborated on another project, editing a collection of Whitman’s essays entitled Rivulets of Prose (Greenberg, Publishers, Inc., 1928). That also was dedicated to Alfred’s wife Ray: “With Affection to Ray S. Goldsmith for Her Sympathetic Assistance.” It is evident from the foreword to this collection that Alfred and his co-editor had quite a scholarly approach to Whitman and his work.

In addition, Alfred organized a major exhibit at the New York Public Library about Walt Whitman in 1925. He collected from many private collectors Whitman’s manuscripts and books and other materials and prepared them for the exhibit. According to the November 8, 1925 Brooklyn Daily Eagle (p. 11), interest in “Whitmanania” was so intense that the price of these materials had risen sharply and were mostly in the hands of private collectors; the purpose of the exhibit was thus to give the public a chance to see these materials.

Alfred was very active in book auctions, buying and selling first and other editions of books on his own behalf and for collectors. The Harrisburg Telegraph reported this amusing story about Alfred’s experiences at one book auction:7

It will cost you money if you arrange signals with a bookseller at an auction and then forget those signals. The idea is Alfred F. Goldsmith’s, a bookseller, and it grew out of this incident.

At one of the numerous book auctions (New York has dozens of them each month) a wealthy collector authorized Goldsmith to purchase a certain volume for him. “I’ll pay as much as $125,” he instructed the seller, who was to do the bidding for him.

“But,” explained Goldsmith, “It would be a crime to let the purchase fall through if it could be effected for a few extra dollars.”

“Then,” said the client, “keep bidding until I stop you.  I’ll be there watching the sale.  When you see me remove my glasses, drop out; that will be the signal.”

Thus agreed, both arrived at the auction. But Goldsmith soon found himself several rows removed from his client and unable to keep in oral connection. It didn’t take the book long to climb. In a trice, it was up to $125, the agreed sum. Goldsmith dropped out, for just at that moment his client casually removed his glasses.

The bidding soared. Soon it had reached $325, and Goldsmith, glancing toward his client, saw that gentleman nod and refit his glasses. Just as he launched a bid, however, off came the glasses. Then the client hastily put them on again.  Reassured, Goldsmith then began to bid in earnest, finally winning for $375.

“Congratulations,” called Goldsmith to his client, “you got it.”

“Got what?” asked the client, not comprehending.

“Why, the book,” said Goldsmith.

“Didn’t I tell you,” gasped the fellow—“to stop at $125?” Goldsmith then reminded him of the signal by glasses.

“You know,” he said sheepishly, “I’d forgotten all about that.” Then he wrote out his check for $375 and went out to his limousine, smiling at himself.

A newspapers.com search turned up numerous articles about Alfred’s success at book auctions. For example, in March 1936, Alfred bid successfully for a rare book written by Lewis Carroll, one of his other favorite authors. The Central New Jersey Home News wrote:8

The magic name of Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice in Wonderland,” made book collectors bid frantically for a little known, privately printed book at a sale here. When the hammer banged, its price was announced at $310. The purchaser was Alfred F. Goldsmith, Carroll expert.

According to one inflation calculator, $310 in 1936 would be worth about $5,500 today.

The Reading (Pennsylvania) Times reported on Alfred’s acquisition and sale of a rare book of Edgar Allen Poe’s poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems, in April 1938; it described the book as “the scarcest and most valuable book of poetry ever published in America.” Poe, as noted above, was another of Alfred’s favorite authors.

Reading PA Times, April 18, 1938, p. 19

These are just two of the many articles I found reporting on Alfred’s purchases of rare books at auctions.

But Alfred was probably best known for his bookstore, At the Sign of the Sparrow, which was a well-known landmark in New York City. In my search to find a photograph of the store, I landed on the website of The Old Book Table, “a social club composed of antiquarian booksellers and those engaged in professions related to antiquarian bookselling.” According to the website, it is the oldest such club in the world, founded in 1931 in New York City.

Alfred was one of the early members of the club, and the history page on the club’s website had both a photograph of Alfred and one of his drawings. The history page was excerpted from a book by Joseph J. Felcone: The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006).  Through the magic of the Internet I was able to contact Mr. Felcone and, with his help, learn a great deal more about my cousin Alfred. That merits a whole separate post.

 

 

 


  1. Rensselaer County, New York, Marriage Index, 1908-1935,  Volume 2, Number 9954. 
  2. The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Class: HO 334; Piece: 25; Ancestry.com. UK, Naturalisation Certificates and Declarations, 1870-1916. Passenger manifest, Year: 1910; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 1583; Line: 4; Page Number: 60. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. 
  3.  “A.F. Goldsmith, 66, Book Dealer, Dies,” The New York Times, July 30, 1947, p. 17. 
  4. Alfred F. and Ray Goldsmith, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 12, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1206; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 854. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  5. New York, New York City Directories 1922, 1925, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  6. Edward J. Naumburg, Jr., “My Favorite Bookseller,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, Volume 48, No. 2, Winter 1987, p. 185. 
  7. George Tucker, ” ‘Round About New York,” Harrisburg Telegraph, April 9, 1935, p. 8. 
  8. “Poem by Carroll Boosts Price of Book to $310,” Central New Jersey Home News, March 27, 1936, p. 27. 

Yet Another Small World Story

You know by now that I believe we are all somehow connected—that there truly are only six degrees of separation between any two people. I’ve encountered it many times while doing family history research—my cousins who end up being close friends with either my own friends or with my husband’s cousins, a cousin who once worked at the same JCC where I’ve belonged for over 30 years, cousins with children or grandchildren living in the same town where I now live, and so on.

So here’s another small world story, and although this one does not involve any of my own ancestors or cousins, it nevertheless is more evidence of our interconnectedness.

Back in the fall of 2013, I ordered from a third-party seller on Amazon a book entitled Streets: A Memoir of the Lower East Side by Bella Cohen Spewack (Feminist Press at CUNY, 1995). I purchased the book to learn more about life on the Lower East Side in the first two decades of the 20th century when my grandmother, Gussie Brotman, was growing up there. The memoir gave a detailed and, in many ways, harrowing portrayal of Bella Spewack’s life as a child in the Lower East Side.  Despite her poverty-stricken and difficult start in life, she grew up to become a successful journalist and writer, best known for the play and Broadway hit, Kiss Me Kate, which she wrote with her husband Sam Spewack. I devoted three blog posts to summarizing and commenting on what I had learned about the Lower East Side from reading Bella Spewack’s book.

In a footnote to my last post about Spewack’s book, I wrote about the mysterious handwritten note that had been tucked inside the book when I received it.  The note was written to people named Sheila and Alan and read,

At last we have received copies of Bella’s memoirs. We thought they would never come.  This one is for you.  I hope you enjoy it.  I’ll talk to you this weekend.  On to Turkey! Love, Arthur and Lois.

When I found the note in the book, I had wondered whether Sheila and Alan, the addressees, had ever seen it and whether they had meant to leave it in the book when they gave away or sold the book. I also wondered who Arthur and Lois and Sheila and Alan were. I thought about trying to return the note, but without last names I had no way to do that.

I had one clue: there was an afterward to Bella Spewack’s book by a woman named Lois Raeder Elias, who wrote that she had been a longtime friend of Bella Spewack. I wondered whether the note was written by Lois Raeder Elias since it certainly seemed from the content of the note that the person sending it had participated in some way in the publication of Spewack’s book.

So I mentioned the note in my last blog post about Spewack’s book, hoping that Lois Raeder Elias or someone who knew her might somehow find my post and contact me. That was in December of 2013, almost four and half years ago.

Fast forward about two years later to November of 2015. I was now in the process of researching my Schoenthal ancestors and their lives in Washington, Pennsylvania. While researching the history of Jewish life in so-called “Little Washington,” I connected with Marilyn A. Posner, a past president of Beth Israel synagogue in Little Washington as well as the author of the centennial history of the synagogue, The House of Israel, A Home in Washington: 100 Years of Beth Israel Congregation, 1891-1991 / 5652-5752 (1991, Congregation Beth Israel, Washington, Pennsylvania). Marilyn was extremely helpful to me in my research, and I relied on her research and her book extensively in writing about Little Washington’s Jewish history on my blog. We also developed an email friendship and found other areas of common interest.

House of Nathan Samuels in Washiington PA where Beth Israel congregants first met
Photo courtesy of Marilyn Posner from her book, “The House of Israel, A Home in Washington: 100 Years of Beth Israel Congregation, 1891-1991 / 5652-5752

So how do these two things relate? How does a note in a book by Bella Spewack about the Lower East Side of New York City connect to a woman who lives in Washington, Pennsylvania?

Well, fast forward another two and half years to April 2018, about a week ago. Out of the blue I received an email from Marilyn that I had to read several times to absorb and understand completely.  But here’s the essence: Marilyn’s first cousin, once removed, a man named Arthur Elias, had died on April 12, 2018, at age 92.  Marilyn’s son, in Googling his cousin Arthur’s name for information about his life, somehow fell upon the footnote to my blog post from December 15, 2013, and sent it along to his mother, Marilyn.

Marilyn with her great-aunt Bertha Elias, mother of Arthur Elias, 1948

Marilyn immediately recognized my blog and contacted me to share this small world story: Lois Raeder Elias, who had written the afterward to Bella Spewack’s memoirs, was the wife of Marilyn’s recently deceased cousin Arthur Elias. Arthur and Lois were very close friends of Bella Spewack and in fact had inherited the rights to her works when she died, including the rights to Kiss Me Kate, which had been revived and brought back to Broadway in 1999 with the support of Arthur and Lois Raeder Elias.

 

Marilyn also solved the mystery of the handwritten note I’d found inside the book. She assumed it must have been written by her cousin Arthur and his wife Lois to Arthur’s sister Sheila and her husband Alan.

Marilyn then connected me to her cousin Sheila, who was very excited to hear that I had the note and the book. The next day I mailed the book and the note to Sheila, and she received it last Friday. She was thrilled and so grateful, and I was more than delighted that I could reunite Sheila and Alan with the book and the note that Arthur and Lois had sent to them over twenty years before.

Siblings Sheila and Arthur

 

I had long ago forgotten about the footnote that I’d left on my blog and never expected at this point to hear from anyone about that handwritten note. And then the forces of six degrees of separation came through, and someone with whom I’d connected almost two years after writing that blog footnote and over two and a half years ago turned out to be the cousin of the author and of the recipient of the note.

How is that for a small world story?!

 

Milton Goldsmith: Final Chapter

In 1940, Milton Goldsmith turned 79 years old. He appears to have retired by then, although a few of his books were re-released in the 1940s. As seen in my last post, his younger daughter Madeleine had married Charles A. Jacobson, Jr., on September 29, 1933, and his older daughter Rosalind married Michael Zale on October 25, 1940.

Rosalind was a commercial artist; and as we saw, illustrated one of her father’s books. I do not know what her husband Michael did for a living. I also could not find any military record for Michael Zale during World War II. Given that Michael would have been 26 when the US entered World War II in December 1941, I find it odd that there is no military record for him. I searched for him as Michael Zale, Michael Zalefsky, Metre Zale, Metre Zalefsky, and other wildcard and Soundex possibilities, but nothing came up.

According to her obituary,1 Milton’s younger daughter Madeleine worked as a dietician. Her husband Charles listed his occupation as a banker on the 1940 census.2 Charles served in the US military during World War II, but I could not find any details about his service. He was 37 when he enlisted in 1942.3

After World War II, Charles and Madeleine moved to Larchmont, New York, a suburb of New York City.  According to several city directories, Charles was at least for some time the treasurer of Voland & Sons, a company that his brother James had purchased in the 1940s that manufactured balance scales.4

A Voland & Sons balance scale

Michael and Rosalind Zale stayed in New York City at least until 1960 according to directory listings, but again, I have no information about Michael’s occupation.5

Milton Goldsmith died on September 21, 1957, at the age of 96. According to his obituary in The New York Times, he had lived in Larchmont with his daughter Madeleine before going to a nursing home in New Rochelle. He was described in the obituary as the author of 24 books and as having been in the advertising business until his retirement 25 years earlier. The only book specifically mentioned in the obituary was Rabbi and Priest and the play that was based upon it, The Little Brother.6 Interestingly, Milton was not buried in New York where he’d lived since 1905, but back in Pennsylvania at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Trevose, Pennsylvania, about twenty miles from Philadelphia where Milton was born.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION:  Thank you to Marla Oxenburg Roth of Huggin’ My Cousins!  for investigating the burial of Milton Goldsmith. I was puzzled that FindAGrave had a listing saying that he was buried near Philadelphia after living in New York for over fifty years, and Marla volunteered to go to Roosevelt Memorial Park to find his grave. Sure enough, there was no marker for Milton Goldsmith there, and when I followed up with a call to the cemetery, they had no record of a Milton Goldsmith buried there. Obviously, the FindAGrave memorial I relied on was incorrect, and I have notified the contributor of the memorial.  I am hoping the contributor will remove the memorial so others are not confused. This is the first time I’ve found such a mistake on FindAGrave. Thank you, Marla!

Marla also found a death notice for Milton from the Philadelphia Inquirer that stated that he had been cremated. So perhaps he is not buried anywhere.

Milton Goldsmith death notice Phil Inq

I learned even more about Milton from his obituary in The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent:

The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, October 4, 1957, p.43.

For example, from this obituary I learned that Milton could remember when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated although he was not even four years old in April 1865 when Lincoln was shot. The obituary also revealed that Milton had entertained the troops during World War I with his skills as an amateur magician. Another hobby was “medieval wood carvings”—did he make them or collect them? I assume the latter. And not surprisingly, he enjoyed math and word puzzles.

Michael Zale died eleven years after his father-in-law in November 1968.7 As the death notice below indicates, Michael was cremated, and the family asked that donations be made to the New York Association for the Blind. I mention this because several of Michael’s siblings made similar requests—that donations be made to some organization for the blind. It makes me wonder whether a member of the family—perhaps Michael himself—was blind. That might explain why I cannot find any records of his military service or his occupation. Michael was 53 when he died.

UPDATE: Michael Zale was in fact blind at least as a child.  Heather Paxton once again found the answer! She located a news article about a camp for blind children in New Jersey that included this quote:

Snip from Michael Zale article

“Blind Find Zest in Normal Recreation at Camp Lighthouse on Barnegat Bay,” Asbury Park Press, July 22, 1945, p. 3.

New York Times, November 5, 1968.

Rosalind died eleven years after her husband Michael in May 1979.8 She was 78 years old. According to her death notice,9 her family asked that contributions be made to the Vacation Camp and Community Center for the Blind in New York City, another indication that blindness may have afflicted someone in the family. A listing on FindAGrave indicates that Rosalind donated her body to Columbia University for medical research and was later buried in 1981 at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn at a site purchased by Columbia to honor those who had dedicated their bodies to science.

Charles Jacobson, Jr. died in November, 1983. I could not find a death notice or obituary for him, only the entry in the Social Security Index. According to that record, his last residence was in Larchmont, New York. He was 78 years old.10

Madeleine Goldsmith Jacobson far outlived her husband, sister, and brother-in-law. Like her father, she lived into her nineties, dying on August 21, 2001, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  She was 97 years old. According to her obituary, she had worked as a dietician for many years after college and had been active in many charitable and other organizations while living in Larchmont. The obituary reported that “she and her husband always welcomed friends, relatives and sometimes foreign students into their home for as long as they wanted to stay. She will be remembered for her hospitality and as someone who was always helping people and working for organizations that tried to make the community and/or the world a better place.”11

It has been very rewarding and interesting to learn about my cousin Milton Goldsmith and his family; I enjoyed having the opportunity to read some of his books and to understand more about his life and his views through those books. Because of my own interest in and love of reading and writing, those family members who contributed to the world through their published works all hold a special place in my heart.

 


  1. Deaths, The New York Times, September 30, 2001, found at https://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/30/classified/paid-notice-deaths-jacobson-madeleine-madge-g.html 
  2. Charles and Madeleine Jacobson, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02626; Page: 70A; Enumeration District: 31-51; Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  3. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. Original data: National Archives and Records Administration. Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A 
  4. E.g., 1952 New Rochelle, New York, City Directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  5. Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1960, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  6. “Milton Goldsmith,” The New York Times, September 23, 1957, found at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1957/09/23/84764059.pdf 
  7.  Number: 114-01-4400; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951; Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  8.  Number: 058-38-2229; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1963. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  9. Deaths, The New York Times, May 14, 1979, found at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1979/05/14/111025254.pdf 
  10.  Number: 063-09-1238; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  11.   Deaths, The New York Times, September 30, 2001, found at https://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/30/classified/paid-notice-deaths-jacobson-madeleine-madge-g.html 

The Mysterious Son-in-Law

As of 1930, Milton Goldsmith and his wife Sophie and daughters Rosalind and Madeleine were all still living together in New York City.  All that would change in the next decade.

On September 29, 1933, Milton’s younger daughter Madeleine married Charles A. Jacobson, Jr. in New York City.1 Charles was a native New Yorker, born on February 8, 1905 to Charles A. Jacobson, Sr., and Emily Metzger.2 His father was a linen merchant. In 1930 Charles, Jr. was living with his parents and brother James in Lawrence, New York, on Long Island. His father was now retired, and Charles was a stockbroker.  His brother James was a book publisher.3 According to the engagement announcement in The New York Times, Charles was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard. Madeleine was a graduate of Columbia University.

“Miss Goldsmith Plights Her Troth,” The New York Times, September 5, 1933.

Milton’s wife Sophie Hyman Goldsmith died less than a year after Madeleine’s marriage.  She died on June 18, 1934, in New York City. She was 67 years old.4

In 1940, Milton was living with his daughter Rosalind in New York City at 136 West 75th Street.  He was now 78, and she was 38. Neither listed an occupation on the census. 5 Madeleine and her husband Charles were also living in New York City; Charles was now working as a banker.6 They would have one child in the 1940s.

Later that year, Rosalind married Michael Zale on October 25, 1940, in New York City. 7 From 1942 until 1960, Michael Zale is listed in the New York City telephone directories at 136 West 75th Street, so I assume he moved into the apartment where  Rosalind had been living with her father prior to her marriage.

But I was having no luck learning anything else about Michael Zale.  The only records I could find were the listing in the NYC Marriage License Index cited above and those telephone directory listings. There was a Michael Zale in the Social Security Death Index who died in November 1968,8 but I wasn’t convinced it was the same person since that Michael Zale was born on October 15, 1915, making him fourteen years younger than Rosalind and 25 when he married her in 1940 when she was 39. Rosalind’s obituary9 also mentioned that she was the widow of Michael Zale. But that was it. I couldn’t find one other record or mention of a Michael Zale anywhere.

I searched Ancestry and FamilySearch using all the wildcards and variations I could think of. I searched the various newspaper databases—the New York Times, GenealogyBank.com, newspapers.com, and FultonHistory.com. I tried Google. Nada. Nothing. I was completely stumped.

So I turned to the genealogy village for help. And Heather in the Tracing the Tribe Facebook group came to my rescue. She found a death notice for Michael Zale in the November 5, 1968, New York Times that broke down the brick wall.

The New York Times, November 5, 1968.

I asked her how she’d found it since I had searched the Times database numerous ways numerous times. She said that she had gone through the obituary listings day by day in November 1968, hoping that the Michael Zale in the SSDI was the right person. And he was. Why hadn’t I done that? Now I have learned another important lesson. (Heather said she also had gotten no hits when searching by his name. Very odd.)

Now we knew that Michael’s father was named John, but nothing more. And I couldn’t find a John Zale either. But again Heather found what she hoped was Michael’s family on the 1940 US census: John and Olga Zalefsky in Brooklyn living with two children: Karl, 16, and Dorothy, 4. John and Olga were both born in Russia, John was an alien and Olga was naturalized. John was working as a bottler in a dairy.10  But was this in fact Michael Zale’s family?

From that point, I started searching for John and Olga Zalefsky and found them (as Zalifsky) on the 1930 US census,11 where they were living with four children: a six year old son Karl, a ten year old son Roosevelt, and a fourteen year old son whose name appears to be Metre. Could this be Michael Zale? The age was right (Michael would have been fourteen going on fifteen when the census was taken in 1930), and the name started with M. Perhaps John and Olga had given him a more Russian name that he later Americanized. John and Olga had immigrated in 1914, according to the census, and were still aliens. John was a laborer in a dairy.

Moving backwards, I then found them on the 1925 New York State census as John and Olga Silefsky with three children, Carl (one), Roosevelt (5), and a daughter named Metra, age nine.12 Was this a mistake? Was the oldest child a girl, not a boy as indicated on the 1930 census? Was this not the right family at all?

I wasn’t sure.  And so far I’ve had no luck finding them on the 1920 census or the 1915 census. And although I found birth records for Karl and Dorothy, I have none for Metra/Metre or Roosevelt.

Meanwhile, Heather found a great deal of information about John and Olga’s other children and found some living relatives. I have written to them and hope that they can tell me whether the Michael Zale who married Rosalind Goldsmith was the son of John and Olga Zalefsky.  For now, I can’t be sure, but I am hoping they respond and can help to clarify the conflict between the 1925 and 1930 census and tell me more about Michael Zale. In the meantime, I will continue to search for more information about the Zalefsky family.

Thank you so much, Heather, for all your help!

One final post on Milton and his family to come.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Original data: Index to New York City Marriages, 1866-1937. 
  2. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, 1878-1909 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Index to New York City births, 1878-1909. 
  3. Charles Jacobson and family 1930 Census; Year: 1930; Census Place: Lawrence, Nassau, New York; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0053; Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census  
  4.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Index to New York City Deaths 1862-1948. 
  5. Milton Goldsmith and daughter, 1940 US Census; Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02636; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 31-572; Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Charles and Madeleine Jacobson, Jr., 1940 US Census; Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02626; Page: 70A; Enumeration District: 31-51; Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 8; Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995 
  8. Number: 114-01-4400; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951; Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. New York Times, May 14, 1979. 
  10. John Zalefsky and family, 1940 US Census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02551; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 24-219.  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. John Zalifsky and family, 1930 US Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 1857. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. John Sliefsky and family, 1925 NYS Census; New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 43; Assembly District: 02; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 72. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925