The Legacy of Edwin Goldsmith: Inventiveness and Creativity

The 1920s had been a good decade for my cousin Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and his family, as we saw here. He patented six new inventions, continued to work for Friedberger-Aaron, and became active in the local politics of Longport, New Jersey, where his second home was located. His children were grown, and two were married.  He and his wife Jennie had three grandchildren by 1930, and another, Thomas Holmes Goldsmith, was born in 1931 to Henry and his wife Ida.1 In 1932, Edwin and Jennie’s youngest child, Edwin, Jr., married Helen R. Jacobs, another Philadelphia native;2 she was born October 23, 1909, to Henry and Annie Jacobs.3

Edwin, Sr. obtained four more patents between 1931 and 1933. In 1931 he received a patent for his design of a bathing suit that would dry quickly.4  The patent description is interesting in that it reveals a bit about life before the development of man-made fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex:

Bathing suits of all materials from which such suits are now made…require a considerable time for drying. The user of a privately owned bathing suit frequently is not even temporarily residing near the bathing beach or pool and has no facilities for drying the suit immediately, after use, but must transport it in a more or less wet condition. In public bathing houses the time required to dry bathing suits is a serious item of expense, since it necessitates the provision of a large supply, because at any given time a large proportion of suits is undergoing drying and is out of use.

My guess is that Edwin’s interest in this problem stemmed from his experiences at their summer home in Longport, New Jersey. And isn’t it interesting to learn that many people did not wear their own bathing suits but used those belonging to a bathing house?

Edwin’s invention for a faster drying bathing suit involved using a material that was water permeable and “coated or impregnated with a water-repellant material not necessarily different from that used in the treatment of so-called waterproof garments, e.g., raincoats, to render them substantially impermeable to water.” The suit would then have multiple openings to allow the water to flow in and out of the suit like an open mesh.  I am not sure how commercially successful this design would have been as it sounds quite uncomfortable!

Edwin’s other three patents between 1931 and 1933 related to more mundane matters involving the business of Friedberger-Aaron, e.g., buttonhole tape and a means of mounting and display of articles for sale.

But the 1930s soon turned more difficult for the Goldsmith family. On July 14, 1933, Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith, Edwin Sr.’s wife, died from coronary thrombosis; she was 67 years old.

Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 059001-062000 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

After Jennie’s death, Edwin seemed to lose interest in inventing new products as his last patent was issued on October 3, 1933.  In 1940 Edwin was retired and living in the Majestic Hotel in Philadelphia where his younger sister Estelle Goldsmith and brother-in-law Sidney Stern were also living.5 He also continued to spend time in the Atlantic City area or at least continued to be listed in their 1941 directory.6

His older son Henry founded and owned a nylon netting company called Thomas Holmes Manufacturing, presumably named for his son Thomas Holmes Goldsmith. (Holmes was Ida Stryker’s grandmother’s birth name) and perhaps inspired by his father’s bathing suit patent.7  In 1940, Henry and his wife Ida and son Thomas were living with Ida’s parents, George and Ella Stryker.8

Henry’s younger brother Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr. was also living in Philadelphia in 1940 with his wife Helen and her mother Annie Jacobs. Edwin was working as an industrial engineer.9 But by 1942, Edwin, Jr. and Helen had left Philadelphia and moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where Edwin was employed by M.M. Gottlieb, a clock manufacturing company. They are listed in the Allentown directories until 1945.10

Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. World War II draft registration
Draft Registration Cards for Pennsylvania, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947. 2,818 boxes. NAI: 5324575. Records of the Selective Service System, 1926–1975, Record Group 147. National Archives and Records Administration, St Louis, Missouri.

During this time Edwin, Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and obtained a patent. He was awarded the patent, which he assigned to his employer M.M. Gottlieb, for the invention of a “new and useful ‘numeral clock.’” As described in the patent, “[o]ne of the objects of the present invention is a numeral clock which will be more positive in action and less subject to disturbance by vibrations or accidental jarring, and which may be readily adjusted or “set” whenever necessary, and which may be manufactured and assembled readily and at low cost, and which may be conveniently installed in a casing or housing.”11 Perhaps this was a very early version of a so-called “digital” clock?

Edwin Jr. and Helen also had a child during this decade.

As for Henry and Edwin’s older sister Cecile Goldsmith and her husband Julian Stern Simsohn, I was unable to find them on the 1940 census, but according to Julian’s World War II registration, in 1942 they were living in Elkins Park, a suburb of Philadelphia, and Julian was working as a chemical engineer in his own firm.

Julian Simsohn, Sr, World War II draft registration
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951 U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Their son Julian, Jr., was living at home in Elkins Park in 1940, according to his World War II draft registration, and was working for Thomas Holmes Manufacturing in Philadelphia, the company owned by his uncle Henry. Julian, Jr. served as a corporal in the US Army Air Forces in the Fourth Reconnaissance Group during World War II, including twenty months served overseas.12 I assume that Marjorie, who was still a teenager in 1940, was also living at home.

Julian Simsohn Jr. 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: 2315
Source Information U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Cecile and Julian Simsohn’s older daughter Jean married Vincenzo Savarese on January 4, 1939, in Lenoir County, North Carolina. She was 21, he was 27. According to their marriage record, Vincenzo was born in Naples, Italy, and they were both residents of Philadelphia. In 1940 Jean and Vincenzo were living in Atlanta, Georgia, where Vincent was employed as a traveling salesman for a wholesale gift company.13

Marriage license of Jean Simsohn and Vincenzo Savarese,
Series: Marriage Licenses (1879 – 1961)
Source Information North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011.

Edwin M. Goldsmith, Sr. died on November 14, 1944, in Philadelphia; he was eighty years old.  According to his death certificate, he had suffered from cardiovascular disease for ten years—that is, dating from around the time that his wife Jennie died. Edwin died from cardiac failure.

Edwin M Goldsmith, Sr., death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 099801-102350 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Edwin’s daughter Cecile died on March 30, 1946, less than two years after her father; she was only 57 and died from ovarian cancer. According to her obituary she was a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls and Bryn Mawr College and had founded and directed a day camp for children; she had also been the treasurer and secretary of the Montgomery County branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom as well as the secretary of the Bamberger Seashore Home for Children in Longport, New Jersey. At the time of her death she was the president of Keneseth Israel Sisterhood. 14

Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 026851-029400 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Edwin, Sr., would likely have been pleased by the creative endeavors of his granddaughter Jean Simsohn Savarese, daughter of his daughter Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn, and her husband Vincenzo.  In 1950 Jean and Vincenzo (known also as Vincent) developed a line of “oven-to-table” pots and pans.  According to an article in the August 25, 1950, Philadelphia Inquirer, Vincent had studied art appreciation in Italy before emigrating and came up with the design and was helped by another man to bring the design into practice.15

Marcia Strousse, “Coppersmith Puts Art in Kitchenware,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1950, p. 17.

As described in the article, “Fashioned of solid copper lined with pure tin, the varied pieces are distinguished by their clean-cut articulate lines, a combination of old world charm and the effects of modern technology. Each is functionally designed with handles to aid in serving them right to the table.” Jean and Vincent called their company Jenzo, a combination of Jean and Enzo, Vincent’s nickname.  Based on the advertisements I found on, their products were sold all over the US during the 1950s. Here are just two examples.

Ad for Jenzo copperward at Hudson’s Department Store in Detroit
Detroit Free Press, December 14, 1951, p. 7.

Ad for Jenzo products, Bon Marche store, Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville Citizen, December 12, 1954, p. 40

In 1952 Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. joined his brother Henry at Thomas Holmes Manufacturing where he became vice president; he stayed there until his retirement in 1968.16

The 1960s brought some sad times for the family. Henry Goldsmith died from congestive heart failure on October 27, 1963; he was seventy years old. He was survived by his wife Ida and their son Thomas.

Henry F Goldsmith death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 100201-103050 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

His nephew Julian Stern Simsohn, Jr. followed less than  two years later on February 4, 1965; he was only 46 years old and predeceased his father, Julian, Sr., who outlived his son by six years.17 Julian, Jr. never married; his will created a trust, the income of which was to be paid to his father for life, then to be paid to his two sisters, Jean and Marjorie.18 Jean died in 1999, Marjorie in 2006.  Their uncle Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr. died in 1991.19

UPDATE: Thank you to my cousin Anthony who let me know that his grandparents Jean Simsohn and Vincent Savarese divorced in the 1960s and that Jean, who had converted to Catholicism, became a Poor Clare nun, living in a cloistered convent in Roswell, New Mexico for the rest of her life. Anthony also shared with me that Jean was able to have her marriage annulled; she took on the name Jane Frances after becoming a nun. Her ex-husband Anthony Savarese remarried, and his second wife was also named Jean, born Jean Gallagher. I had confused the two women in my research and had assigned the wrong birth and death dates to my cousin Jean Simsohn. I am so glad Anthony discovered my error and helped me set the record straight.

It was interesting to study Edwin Goldsmith Sr. and his family after studying his brother Milton and his family.  Two sons of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler with such different interests and careers—Milton, the author, and Edwin, the inventor.

It was also interesting to see how Edwin’s children and even grandchildren inherited some of his skills and interest in design and invention. Both sons became engineers, one started a nylon netting company where both ended up working. One son followed in his father’s footsteps and obtained a patent for his invention. Edwin’s son-in-law Julian Simsohn was also an engineer. Edwin’s granddaughter Jean and her husband Vincenzo Savarese designed and developed an improved method of making pots and pans. And more recently, another grandson applied for a patent in 2012 for a benefit payments method, showing that the creative impulses that run through the family DNA have continued to influence and inspire Edwin’s descendants.20

  1. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. 
  2. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141719. 
  3. U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Voter Registration Lists, Public Record Filings, Historical Residential Records, and Other Household Database Listings. 
  4. E.M. Goldsmith, Bathing suit, U.S. Patent No.1,828,989, November 3, 1931. 
  5. Edwin Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Source Information 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. 
  6.  Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1941. Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. “H.F. Goldsmith, Nylon Executive,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 29, 1963, p. 38. 
  8. Household of George Stryker, 1940 U.S. Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 51-2125. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. and family, 1940 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03754; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-2169. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10.  Allentown, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1942-1945. Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. E.M. Goldsmith, Jr., Clock, U.S. Patent No. 2,343,613, March 7, 1944. 
  12.  National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006. Original data: National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator
  13. Vincenzo and Jean Savarese, 1940 US census, Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia; Roll: m-t0627-00732; Page: 85A; Enumeration District: 160-219. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  14. “Mrs. Simsohn Dies, Long Ill,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 1946, p. 7/ 
  15. Marcia Strousse, “Coppersmith Puts Art in Kitchenware,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1950, p. 17. 
  16. “Edwin Goldsmith, Retired Engineer,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 6, 1991, p. 18. 
  17. Julian Simsohn, Jr.: Number: 164-14-9523; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. Julian Simsohn, Sr.: Number: 183-14-3189; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  18. “Trust Established In Area Man’s Will,” The Mercury (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), February 26, 1965, p. 3. 
  19.  Jean Simsohn aka Jane Frances Savarese death information from her grandson Anthony Savarese and obituary found at ; Marjorie Gerstle: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr.: Number: 186-01-0896; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
  20. Edwin M. Goldsmith, Marcia W. Goldsmith, and Louis M. Heidelberger, Benefit Payment Method and System, U.S. Patent Application No. 13279377, published December 27, 2012 (abandoned). 

Elkton, Maryland, The Wedding Capital of the East

As seen in my last post, in 1920 Edwin M. Goldsmith, Sr., was the secretary-treasurer of his uncle’s textile company, Friedberger-Aaron, and also the owner of thirteen US patents. He and his wife Jennie and their two sons, Henry and Edwin, Jr., were living together in Philadelphia. They also maintained a residence in Longport, New Jersey, near Atlantic City. Their daughter Cecile and her husband Julian Stern Simsohn and their two children were also living in Philadelphia, and Julian was working as a chemical engineer. Cecile and Julian had a third child, a daughter named Marjorie Goldsmith Simsohn, born on August 12, 1921, in Philadelphia.1

Edwin continued to be a successful inventor during the 1920s. He added six more patents to his portfolio between 1921 and 1930. His first was for the design for a stuffed doll encased in a removable cover so that it could be washed:2

In addition to patenting several inventions relating to the packaging, display, and sale of the textile fabrics made by Friedberger-Aaron where Edwin continued to work as secretary-treasurer, he also developed an invention for a hair curler “which may be operated to receive, confine and release the hair with the greatest possible facility”3  and a product that combined soap and towel into one article.4 The latter was described by Edwin as follows:

… a sheet of readily destructible material, such as paper tissue, of a size and having absorptive qualities enabling it to be used as a towel, the sheet being folded into flat form, and means connected to the sheet and forming a closed container or receptacle containing a quantity of soap, preferably in powder form.

During the 1920s, Edwin also held elective offices in Longport, New Jersey, where his second home was located:

Asbury Park Press, May 9, 1928, p. 2.

Edwin and Jennie’s son-in-law Julian Simsohn was very active as a chemical engineer in Philadelphia during the 1920s, as seen in numerous ads for his services in not just the Philadelphia newspapers but also papers in Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and  during those years. Here are two, one from the Philadelphia Evening Ledger and one I particularly liked which appeared in the Indianapolis Star:

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, September 20, 1928, p. 13.

Indianapolis Star, November 30, 1930, p. 25.

Here is a close up of the section in the cigar featuring Julian Simsohn:


Edwin and Jennie’s older son Henry, also a chemical engineer, had been working for a radiator manufacturer in 1920, and he continued to be listed with that company, G & O Mfg., in the 1921 and 1922 Philadelphia directories.5

I knew from the 1930 census that Henry married sometime before 1930, but I could not locate any record or other information about when he’d married until I found this list in the August 16, 1925 Philadelphia Inquirer of marriage licenses issued in one day in Elkton, Maryland:

“Elkton Marriages,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 16, 1925, p. 8.

Notice that it includes Henry F. Goldsmith and Ida P. Stryker of Longport, New Jersey, the town where Edwin’s family spent their summers. But why were so many people getting marriage licenses in one day from Elkton, Maryland? What was going on?

Well, according to this article by Marshall S. Berdan from the February 13, 2002 edition of the Washington Post, from about 1913 until 1938, Elkton, Maryland was a destination for those wishing to marry quickly. As the article explains:

It all started in 1913 when Delaware passed mandatory matrimonial waiting and public notification laws. Meanwhile Maryland — the “Free State” — imposed neither waiting period nor residency requirement. Those Delaware moralists should have just put up a sign reading “This Way to Elkton.”

As the most northeasterly county seat in Maryland, Elkton became the roadside chapel of choice for those who chose to marry in haste from throughout the Northeast. From just over 100 marriages per year at the turn of the century, tiny Elkton was soon cranking out well over 10,000 newlyweds a year — the vast majority from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — during the 1920s and ’30s. It became known as “America’s Gretna Green.”

This blog also sheds light on why Elkton became a wedding destination.

But why would Henry Goldsmith and Ida Stryker have been in such a rush to marry and in a place like Elkton?

Well, I have two theories.  First, Ida Stryker was born in Philadelphia on February 26, 1908.6 She was only seventeen in August 1925; Henry, who was born in 1893, was 32, almost twice her age. I can’t imagine that her parents would have been happy to see their teenage daughter marry a man in his thirties.

Second, Ida was not Jewish.  Her parents, George Holmes Stryker and Ella Williams, were Episcopalian.7  Perhaps her parents or Henry’s parents did not approve of the interfaith marriage. But Henry and Ida did marry, and in fact they stayed married until Henry’s death in 1963.  Ida, who lived to be 96, never remarried.

In 1930, Henry and Ida were living in Philadelphia, and Henry was working as an executive in a textile company—and I believe that company was Friedberger-Aaron. It is unnamed on the census,8 and the page where the Goldsmiths are listed in the 1930 Philadelphia directory on Ancestry is barely legible, but on the page with Goldsmiths listed, I can see two entries with Friedberger-Aaron after the names, so I assume those are the listings for Edwin and Henry Goldsmith.9 Perhaps that meant that at least Henry’s family was on good terms with Henry and Ida. Henry and Ida had one child together, a son Thomas Holmes Goldsmith, born in 1931.

Henry’s sister Cecile and her husband Julian Simsohn continued to live in Philadelphia with their three children in 1930, and Julian continued to work as an engineer.10

Edwin and Jennie’s youngest child, Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr., was just coming of age in the 1920s.  He had graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia and then graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1923 with a degree in industrial engineering. 11 On the 1930 census he was living with his parents Edwin, Sr., and Jennie, in Longport, New Jersey,  and according to the census record, he was a radio salesman. His father continued to list textile manufacturing as his occupation.12

The 1920s were thus a good decade for the family of Edwin and Jennie Goldsmith. Their children were grown, and Edwin continued to find success with his inventions. The 1930s brought some changes to the family of Edwin Goldsmith, some happy, some sad.


  1. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. SSN 169164752 
  2. E.M. Goldsmith, Doll, U.S. Patent No. 1,370,107, March 1, 1921. 
  3. E.M. Goldsmith, Hair Curler, U.S. Patent No. 1,493,195, May 6, 1924. 
  4. E.M. Goldsmith, Individual Washing and Drying Toilet Article, U.S. Patent No. 1,608,934, November 30, 1926 
  5.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1921, 1922. Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1910 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910. Series 11.89 (50 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Certificate No. 30149 
  7. Marriage record of George Stryker and Ella Williams, November 19, 1903, Philadelphia, PA.  Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Reel: 343. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 
  8. Henry and Ida Goldsmith, 1930 US census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 1029. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930. Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Cecile and Julian Simsohn, 1930 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 12A;Enumeration District: 1030. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  11.  Philadelphia Inquirer, obituary for EDWIN GOLDSMITH, RETIRED ENGINEER, ( : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  12. Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and family, 1930 US Census, Longport, Atlantic, New Jersey; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0056. 1930 United States Federal Census 

Edwin M Goldsmith, Inventor

Edwin M. Goldsmith, the second son and third child of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler, was born on April 10, 1864. 1 As we have seen, for many years he and his brother Milton worked together in their father’s clothing business in Philadelphia, A. Goldsmith & Sons. But in the 20th century and especially after their father died in 1902, their lives took separate and quite different directions.

Whereas Milton focused on his writing and worked in advertising in New York City, Edwin stayed in Philadelphia and became an inventor. Between 1900 and 1933 he was awarded 23 patents on a wide range of inventions. But like his brother Milton, he relied on a more conventional career for income, in his case working as an executive in a textile company.

As I wrote earlier, Edwin Goldsmith married Sarah Virginia “Jennie” Friedberger in 1891. Edwin and Jennie had their first child, Cecile Adler Goldsmith, on January 28, 1892; she was named for Edwin’s mother. A second child, Henry Friedberger Goldsmith, named for Jennie’s father, was born on September 8, 1893. In 1900 Edwin and Jennie and their children were living in Philadelphia where Edwin continued to be a clothing merchant. Their third and final child, Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr., was born on March 8, 1902, in Philadelphia.2

Edwin Goldsmith and family, 1900 US census
ear: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0486
Enumeration District: 0486; Description: Philadelphia City Pa, 22nd Ward, 10th Division, bounded by Hancock, Penn, Germantown Ave, Laurel, Bowman
Source Information 1900 United States Federal Census

It was also in this first decade of the 20th century that Edwin began to obtain patents on many of his inventions. Between 1900 and 1906, he was awarded eight patents. One of his first patents was awarded for the design of a pencil, which Edwin described as follows:3

My invention consists of a lead or other pencil formed of a telescopic or collapsible barrel and means for connecting a length or piece of lead or marking material therewith whereby as said lead or material is worn away it may be exposed to present a fresh portion by the reduction in the length of the barrel, said piece having one end movably guided in the tip of the pencil and its other end rigidly held in the opposite end of the barrel whereby it cannot be detached through said tip.

In other words—a retractable pencil!

Among his other early inventions were a method for holding a cylindrical cake of soap to maximize the use of the soap;4 a savings-bank coin-operated clock; 5 a pencil sharpener designed to prevent the breaking of the point of the pencil;6 a device for carrying a pocketbook or purse;7 and the design of memorandum or account or other books that facilitated turning pages to get to a new leaf. 8 Obviously Edwin was interested and skilled in creating a wide array of products.

While working on these inventions, Edwin continued to work as a clothier, as seen in the 1905 Philadelphia city directory.9 But by 1910, he had changed occupations and reported on the 1910 census that he was a manufacturer of braids and lace. In the 1910 and 1911 Philadelphia directories10 (and in many thereafter), he was listed as the secretary-treasurer of Friedberger-Aaron Manufacturing Company, a textile company incorporated by Edwin’s uncle Simon Friedberger and his partner Max Aaron in 1899.11

Edwin Goldsmith and family, 1910 US Census,
Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1395; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0403; FHL microfilm: 1375408 1910 United States Federal Census

From that point on, some of his patented inventions were assigned to Friedberger-Aaron and many related to the display and/or sale of merchandise in their business. For example, in 1916, Edwin received a patent for a ribbon reel, which he described as follows:12

The object of my invention is to provide a reel for ribbons that may be readily manipulated to effect or facilitate the winding upon, or unwinding from, the reel of the ribbon, and to construct the same so inexpensively that it will be practicable to give the same away with the ribbon as an inducement for the latter’s purchase.

Some of his other inventions relating to the business of Friedberger-Aaron included a box for displaying and selling fabric so that the purchaser could see the fabric both before and after purchasing;13 a travel container for toiletries designed to use space efficiently;14 and a holder for containing and displaying silk and other fabrics.15

Beginning in about 1909, Edwin and his family started spending extended periods in the Atlantic City area. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on June 13, 1909, that Edwin Goldsmith and his family were beginning an extended stay at the Hotel Rudolph in Atlantic City, a hotel opened in 1895 and located on the Boardwalk.16

In 1911, Edwin is listed in the Atlantic City directory in its Longport section.17 In 1915 he and his family were listed in the New Jersey census in Longport. The census was dated June 16, 1915, suggesting that Edwin’s family was in Longport for the summer.  Living with them were also a cook and a maid:

Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and family, 1915 NJ Census
New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-13; Film Number: 2
Township: Buena Vista – Weymouth New Jersey, State Census, 1915

But their principal residence remained Philadelphia.  They are listed in several Philadelphia directories during the 1910s.18

Thank you to David Baron and Roger Cibella for sharing this photograph of Edwin Goldsmith and his family. From left to right, Cecile, Henry, Edwin, Jennie, and Edwin, Jr.:


Edwin Goldsmith and family, c. 1910

Edwin and Jennie’s older son Henry graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1914 and then from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1917, according to his obituary. 19 On June 15, 1917, Henry registered for the World War I draft:

Henry F. Goldsmith World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907644; Draft Board: 24. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

At that time Henry was employed by Midvale Steel Company and Worth Business Company as a chemical engineer doing expert work in their munitions departments. He later enlisted in the Navy Reserve Force on April 2, 1918, and was on active duty until March 8, 1919, in the Third Naval District in New York City. He was discharged on September 10, 1921 after an additional eighteen months of inactive duty.20

After the war, life returned to normal for the Goldsmith family. On July 23, 1920, the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger reported that Edwin and his family were “passing the summer at their bungalow, in Longport, N.J.” 21 On the 1920 census, Edwin, Jennie, and their two sons Henry and Edwin, Jr., were listed as living in Philadelphia.  Strangely, Edwin was now listed as a chocolate manufacturer. But that must be an enumerator error, as the 1921 Philadelphia directory continued to list Edwin as the secretary-treasurer of Friedberger-Aaron.

That same directory lists Henry Goldsmith as a manager at G & O Manufacturing, a company that manufactured automobile radiators; the 1920 census listed Henry as a radiator salesman.22 Edwin, Jr. must have still been in school as he is listed without an occupation; he was eighteen in 1920.

Edwin Goldsmith and family 1920 US Census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1632; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 885. 1920 United States Federal Census

Edwin and Jennie’s daughter Cecile was not living with them in 1920 because she had married Julian Stern Simsohn in 1916.23 Julian was born on January 19, 1890, in Philadelphia, and was the son of Joseph S Simsohn, a physician born in 1852 in either Romania or Germany (the records conflict) who immigrated to the United States in 1873. Julian’s mother Clara Stern was a native Philadelphian. 24 Julian had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1911 with a degree in chemistry and is listed in their 1917 alumni directory as a consultant on water purification and boiler treatment and an inventor of photographic apparatus. Edwin must have been pleased to have a son-in-law who was also an inventor.25

UPDATE: It turns out that Julian was related by marriage to Cecile. His mother Clara had a brother Sidney who was married to Edwin’s sister Rose.  See more here.

From Julian’s registration for the draft in World War I we can see a clue as to how Cecile met Julian.  It appears that, like Cecile’s brother Henry, Julian was also working as a munitions expert for Midvale Steel Company:

Julian Stern Simsohn World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907616; Draft Board: 13. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Cecile and Julian’s first child was born on November 19, 1917, a daughter named Jean Claire Simsohn. Two years later on December 10, 1918, their son Julian Stern Simsohn, Jr., was born. On the 1920 census they were all living in Philadelphia, and Julian Sr. was working as a chemical engineer.

Julian and Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn, 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1632; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 886

Thus, by 1920 Edwin Goldsmith and his family were all doing well in Philadelphia. He had continued his work as an inventor, and he had a son Henry and a son-in-law Julian who were both chemical engineers.  Edwin and Jennie had two young grandchildren.  They all seemed to be living comfortably.

What would the next decade bring them?

To be continued.

  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 004198957 > image 126 of 604; Department of Records. Their second child Hilda had died as a child, as discussed here. 
  2. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2288; Volume #: Roll 2288 – Certificates: 301350-301849, 01 Jun 1923-02 Jun 1923. Source Information U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925  
  3. E.M. Goldsmith, Lead or other pencil, U.S. Patent 659,026, October 2,1900. 
  4. E.M. Goldsmith, Soap and soap-holder, U.S. Patent 757397, April 12, 1904. 
  5. E. M. Goldsmith, Clock, U.S. Patent 822,598, June 5, 1906. 
  6. E.M. Goldsmith, Pencil-sharpener, U.S. Patent 755,480, March 22, 1904. 
  7. E.M. Goldsmith, Carrying device for pocket-books, etc., U.S. Patent 667,083, January 29, 1901. 
  8. E.M Goldsmith, Memorandum, order, diary, account, sample, or similar book, U.S. Patent 803,480, June 5, 1906. 
  9. 1905 Philadelphia Directory, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  10. 1910 and 1911 Philadelphia directories, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  11. Legal Notices, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 27, 1899, p. 11. 
  12. E.M. Goldsmith, Ribbon Reel, U.S. Patent 1,187,986, June 20 1916. 
  13. E.M. Goldsmith, Combined braid-holder and bodkin-carrier, U.S. Patent 1,054,763, March 4, 1913. 
  14. E.M. Goldsmith, Container for toilet preparations, U.S. Patent 1,289,440, December 31, 1918. 
  15. E.M. Goldsmith, Holder for elastic and similar goods, U.S. Patent 1,183,003, May 16, 1915. 
  16. The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 13, 1909, p. 47. 
  17. Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1911, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  18. E.g. Philadelphia city directories, 1911, 1914, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  19. “H.F. Goldsmith, Nylon Executive,” The Phladelphia Inquirer, October 29, 1963, p. 38. 
  20. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 
  21. Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, July 23, 1920, p. 9. 
  22. Philadelphia city directory, 1921, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  23. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data:”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. License No. 350555 
  24. E.g.,Julian Simsohn and parents, 1910 US Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1394; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0334; FHL microfilm: 1375407. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  25. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. 

Henry Schoenthal: His Final Years and His Legacy

Although I have completed as best I can the stories of five of the children of my great-great-grandparents Levi and Henriette (Hamberg) Schoenthal (Hannah, Amalie, Felix, Julius and Nathan), I still need to complete the stories of Henry, Simon, and, of course, my great-grandfather Isidore.[1]  In addition, there were two siblings living in Germany whose stories I’ve yet to tell, Jakob and Rosalie.  First, I want to return to Henry, the brother who led the way for the others.

As I wrote here, after living for over 40 years in Washington, Pennsylvania, Henry Schoenthal moved with his wife Helen (nee Lilienfeld) to New York City in 1909 to be closer to their son Lionel. Lionel had moved to NYC to work as a china buyer, first working for one enterprise, but eventually working for Gimbels department store.  Lionel was married to Irma (nee Silverman), and they had a daughter Florence, born on March 22, 1905.

In 1910, Henry and Helen’s other son Meyer had married Mary McKinnie, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist from Colorado. Meyer and Mary had met while Mary was a student at a girl’s boarding school, Washington Seminary, in Washington, Pennsylvania.  After marrying, they were living in Los Angeles, and Meyer was working for an investment company.

Hilda Schoenthal, Henry and Helen’s daughter, was working as a stenographer in Washington, DC, in 1911. She was living on the same street as her uncle Julius Schoenthal and cousin Leo Schoenthal, the 900 block of Westminster Avenue.


1911 directory for Washington, DC U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

1911 directory for Washington, DC U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

According to her obituary (see below), Hilda moved to DC to work for a patent attorney.    In 1914, she was working as a bookkeeper for Karl P. McElroy, who appears to have been the patent attorney, as her brother Meyer later worked for him as well, as noted below in his obituary.

1914 directory for Washington, DC U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

1914 directory for Washington, DC U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

In 1915, Henry and Helen were still living with Lionel (called Lee on this census, as he often was in other documents and news articles), Irma, and Florence on Riverside Drive in New York City.  Lee was still working as a buyer, and no one else was employed outside the home.  Lee’s draft registration for World War II shows that in 1918 he was still working for Gimbels, living on Riverside Drive.

Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal World War I draft registration Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786675; Draft Board: 141

Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal World War I draft registration
Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786675; Draft Board: 141


Thanks to the assistance of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, I was able to obtain a copy of a letter that Henry Schoenthal wrote to his granddaughter Florence in December, 1918, when she was almost fourteen years old:

Henry letter to Florence 1918 1

Henry letter to Florence 1918 2



My darling Florence, I told you yesterday that I was mad at you, but I aint. Beg pardon, I mean I am not. I love you just as much as ever, but I would have been so happy if you had stayed a few days with us.  Of course I will have to send word to President Wilson that you went home and that you could not come to see him.  Maybe after a while when we have a home of our own here you will come and stay with us for quite a while.  We will show you that Washington, for natural beauty, beats any city you saw in the many foreign countries you have visited. Will you write me a little letter? Lovingly yours, Grandpa.

I love the teasing tone of this sweet letter to his granddaughter; it shows yet another facet of this interesting great-great-uncle of mine.  His diaries from his early years in Washington were all very serious, and the speech he gave on a return trip to Washington, PA, in 1912 revealed his spiritual and sentimental side.  Here we get to see some of his sense of humor and the affection he felt for his only grandchild, Florence, who probably like most teenagers was anxious to get home to her friends rather than spend more time with her grandparents.

I was at first a bit confused as to where Henry was living when he wrote this letter.  He refers to the natural beauty of Washington, but it’s not clear whether he is referring to Washington, PA, or Washington, DC.  I concluded, however, that he meant DC because his daughter Hilda was living there and perhaps he and Helen were planning to relocate there.  Also, the reference to seeing President Wilson makes no sense unless he and Helen were in DC.

Not long after the writing of this letter, the Schoenthal family suffered a sad loss. Henry’s son Meyer was living with his wife Mary in Blythe, California, working as a lumber merchant, when he registered for the draft on September 12, 1918.  Just three months later, Mary died on December 24, 1918.  She was only 31 years old.  They had been married for just eight years.  There were no children.


On the 1920 census, Meyer is listed as a widow, living alone, and still working in the lumber business. He had moved from Blythe to Palo Verde, California.

If Henry and Helen Schoenthal did move to DC for a period of time, by 1920 they had returned to NYC and were again living with their son Lee and his family on Riverside Drive, according to the 1920 census record.  Lee was still working as a buyer.  Hilda Schoenthal, their daughter, was still living in Washington DC, but was now working as a law clerk for the patent attorneys, according to the 1920 census.

On October 19, 1921, Meyer L. Schoenthal married for a second time.  His second wife was Caroline S. Holgate (sometimes spelled Carolyn).  By that time Meyer was considered a “prominent lumber dealer” and was president of the Blythe, California, chamber of commerce; his new bride was also “prominent socially” and had been president of the Sunshine Society in Blythe.

Riverside Daily Press article - Meyer Schoenthal 2d marriage 1921-page-001

Riverside Daily Press, October 20, 1921, p. 8


Caroline was also apparently a talented soprano, as I found numerous articles referring to her performances at various social events.  Here’s just one example.

Riverside Daily Press article -Mrs Meyer Schoenthal soprano-page-002

Riverside Daily Press article -Mrs Meyer Schoenthal soprano-page-003

Riverside Daily Press, January 28, 1924, p. 9


Perhaps she also sang at the celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary  of her new in-laws, Henry and Helen Schoenthal, which took place on May 8, 1922, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, although they were not among the guests listed in this news item.

Henry Helen SChoenthal 50th anniversary celebration 1922

Washington DC Evening Star, May 7, 1922, p.31

For that occasion,  Lionel/Lee Schoenthal wrote these very loving lines of verse in honor of his parents:


Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal 1922

Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal 1922 passport photograph National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 1829; Volume #: Roll 1829 – Certificates: 117226-117599, 09 Feb 1922-10 Feb 1922


(I haven’t transcribed the poem or translated the German lines here, but you can always click and zoom if you want to read it.)

Sadly, three years later, the Schoenthal family lost both Henry and his son Lionel.  Henry died on October 22, 1925, from heart and kidney disease.  He was 82 years old and had lived a good and long life for a man of his generation.  After training as a Jewish teacher and scholar in Germany, he had immigrated from Sielen, Germany, to Washington, Pennsylvania,the first of his siblings to do so .  Later, he had brought his young bride Helen Lilienfeld from Gudensberg, Germany, to Pennsylvania, and they had raised three children together after losing one as a baby.  In Washington, PA, he’d been a successful businessman and respected citizen.  When his son Lionel moved to New York City, Henry and his wife Helen moved there also to be near his son and his only grandchild, Florence.  He had lived there for the last sixteen years of his life, working for some of that time as an insurance salesman, as indicated on his death certificate.  He was buried at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, less than fifteen miles from where my parents are living. Perhaps one day I will pay him a visit.

Schoenthal, Henry death page 1


The family must have been in complete shock when Lee Schoenthal died of pneumonia on December 5, 1925,  just six weeks after his father had died; Lee was only 48 years old, and his daughter Florence was only 20 years old when he died.

Schoenthal, Lee death page 1


Here is part of a long and detailed obituary from the December 10, 1925 issue of The Pottery, Glass, and Brass Salesman (p. 153):


I will transcribe some of the content:

Lee Schoenthal, supervisor of the china, glassware and allied departments of Gimbel Brothers’ associated stores, passed away at his home in New York City early on Saturday morning, December 5, following an acute illness of two weeks.  [There is then a detailed description of Lee’s poor health, referring to his dedication to his job and overwork as contributing factors to his death.] …

Lee Schoenthal was born in Washington, Pa., April 12, 1877.  His father and mother, who were born in Germany, had come to this country some years before and Henry Schoenthal—Lee’s father—had built up a nice retail business in Washington.  Lee attended the schools of his native town and then his parents, themselves highly cultured, made the effort to give their son a collegiate training, sending him to Washington and Jefferson College, located in Washington.  During his college career he stood well in his classes and was particularly noted for his musical accomplishments, being leader of the college orchestra for several years.  As a matter of fact, it is entirely possible that if he had devoted himself wholeheartedly to music instead of to commerce he might have become a musical celebrity.  …

Some twenty years ago Mr. Schoenthal came to New York to “seek his fortune.” [Then follows a detailed description of Lee’s business career, first with the Siegel-Cooper Company and then with Gimbels.]…

Mr. Schoenthal, for a man of his comparative youth, probably developed more men as successful buyers of china and glassware than anyone else in the country.  He had that rare gift of imparting knowledge and that quality of the really big man of business that he never feared to impart all information he could to those who worked with him.  Modest to a degree, he could not help being conscious of his compelling influence and ability, so the thought never entered his mind that he might be jeopardizing his own position by teaching others all they could absorb from his store of knowledge and wisdom.

[The obituary then describes Lee’s interests outside of work, in particular his love of music, but also art and architecture.] Himself a deeply religious Jew of the modernist type, he could talk more familiarly of the history of the Catholic cathedrals and their adornments than many men of the Christian faith.

[Finally, the obituary described his family life: his happy marriage, his talented daughter, and his devotion to his parents, for whom he had provided a home for many years.]

The obituary thus focused not only on Lee’s distinguished business career, but also on his broad intellectual and cultural interests, his musical talents, and his religious and personal life.  It described him as a “deeply religious Jew of the modernist type” and as a man devoted to his family.  His family must have been very proud of him.

Both deaths were noted in Meyer Schoenthal’s home paper in Riverside, California:

Lionel Schoenthal death re Meyer 1925


Two years later on October 19, 1927, Florence Schoenthal, the grandchild of Henry and Helen Schoenthal and daughter of Lee Schoenthal, married Verner Bickart Callomon in New York City.  Verner Callomon was the son of a German Jewish immigrant, Bernhardt Callomon, who had settled in Pittsburgh and worked for Rodef Shalom synagogue there, the same synagogue to which Henry Schoenthal had once belonged.  Verner was a doctor, and his career was described as follows by the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh:

Verner Callomon (1892-1977) graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1915 with a degree in medicine. He served as a junior lieutenant in World War I and returned to Pittsburgh to practice internal medicine. He was a pulmonary disease specialist and researcher at Allegheny General Hospital and Montefiore Hospital for nearly 60 years and was the chief of medicine at both institutions at different times during his long career. His research contributed to changes in the treatment of pneumonia. He was known both for his professionalism and for his compassion. In order to visit weather-bound patients, he rowed down Liberty Avenue during the 1936 St. Patrick’s Day flood and secured an Army jeep during the November 1950 snowstorm.

As far as I can tell, Florence and Verner settled in Pittsburgh after they married since that is where Verner is listed in the 1929 directory for Pittsburgh and also were their first child was born in 1929.

(The Rauh website also includes links to several articles about the Callomon family.  Of particular interest to me was the oral history interview with Jane Callomon, one of the children of Florence (Schoenthal) and Verner Callomon, on file at the University of Pittsburgh Library (“Pittsburgh and Beyond: The Experience of the Jewish Community,” National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, Oral History Collection at the University of Pittsburgh).)

In 1927, following her husband’s death, Helen Lilienfeld Schoenthal moved to Washington, DC, from NYC to live with her daughter Hilda.  They were living at 3532 Connecticut Avenue NW in 1927, and Hilda was still working for K.P. McElroy, now as a bookkeeper and notary public.

Meyer Schoenthal continued to prosper in California and was elected a vice-president of the California Association of Commercial Secretaries in 1928 (“Fresno Chosen Next Meeting Place California Commercial Secretaries,” Riverside Daily Press, January 14, 1928, p, 2) ; in 1929 he and his wife Caroline took an eleven-week trip to the East Coast, visiting not only his sister and mother in Washington, DC, but also his birthplace, Washington, PA, and many other locations.

Riverside Daily Press, August 5, 1929, p. 4

Riverside Daily Press, August 5, 1929, p. 4

Riverside Daily Press article - Meyer Schoenthal road trip 1929-page-003

Although Meyer and Caroline were still living in Riverside, California, on April 2, 1930, when the census was taken, by September, 1930, they had moved east permanently:

Riverside Daily Press, September 8, 1930, p. 7

Riverside Daily Press, September 8, 1930, p. 7


Note that Meyer was going to work for the same business that had long employed his sister Hilda, K.P. McElroy.

In 1930, Hilda and her mother were living in the Broadmoor Apartments at 3601 Connecticut Avenue. By 1932, Meyer and his wife had moved in with them, as listed in the 1932 directory for Washington, DC, and he and his wife were still living there with them in 1937.   Both Hilda and Meyer were working for K.P. McElroy, Hilda as his personal secretary, Meyer as the office manager. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

In April 1930, Florence Schoenthal Callomon appeared in a production of C.B. Fernald’s “The Mask and the Face” at the Y Playhouse in New York City; a noted Shakespearean actor led the cast, B. Iden Payne.  Florence was a woman of many talents, it appears.  She also was an artist who had worked as an advertising illustrator for Gimbels before she married. I cannot find Verner or Florence on the 1930 census in either Pittsburgh or NYC, but regardless of where she was living, I am not sure how she pulled off appearing in this production since she had a one year old child at the time.


On October 10, 1937, the family matriarch Helen Lilienfeld Schoenthal died.  She was almost 89 years old (despite the headline on her obituary, she was one month short of her 90th year).  She was buried with her husband at Westchester Hills Cemetery:

Washington Evening Star, October 11, 1937, p. 12

Washington Evening Star, October 11, 1937, p. 12


Riverside Daily Press, October 18, 1937, p. 3

Riverside Daily Press, October 18, 1937, p. 3

From the second obituary in the Riverside Daily Press, it appears that Meyer and Caroline Schoenthal had by October 1937 moved to their own place at 2700 Rodman Road in DC.

By 1940, Meyer and Caroline were living as lodgers in a home with thirteen other residents at 2700 Quebec Street; Meyer, 56 years old, was still working for the patent firm.  His sister Hilda, now 65, was also still working at the patent firm and still living at 3601 Connecticut Avenue.

Florence Schoenthal Callomon and her husband Verner Callomon were living in Pittsburgh in 1940; Verner was a doctor in private practice.  They now had two children.

Hilda Schoenthal died on June 6, 1962.  She was 87 years old.

Washington Evening Star, June 6, 1962, p. 41

Washington Evening Star, June 6, 1962, p. 41


According to her obituary, sometime after 1940 she had left K.P. McElroy, her longtime employer, to work for Gulf Oil in their patent department.  If times had been different, I have a feeling that Hilda would have become a patent lawyer herself. On the personal side, she seems to have had an active social life with many friends and relatives with whom she traveled and socialized, according to several news items from the society pages of the Washington Evening Star.  Hilda was buried at Westchester Hills Cemetery, where her parents were interred.

Less than a year later, on February  16, 1963, the last remaining child of Henry and Helen Schoenthal,  Meyer Lilienfeld Schoenthal, died.  He was 79.

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24


He died from a heart attack; unlike his sister Hilda and his parents, he was buried in Massachusetts, where his wife Carolyn/Caroline was born.  She outlived him by 20 years, dying in January, 1983, when she was 84.

The obituary revealed a few things that I otherwise would not have known about Meyer: that he had helped build a “noted nature trail” in the Southwest and that he was a philatelist (stamp collector).  It is interesting that, like his sister Hilda, he had gone to work at Gulf Oil Corporation after working for many years for K.P. McElroy.

The only surviving descendants of Henry Schoenthal after 1963 were his granddaughter Florence Schoenthal Callomon and her children.  Florence died in 1994 when she was 89 years old.  According to the Rauh Archives, she had been “a member and officer of many Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania organizations, including the Western Pennsylvania Women’s Golf Association, the Women’s Committee of The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Symphony Association and the Rodef Shalom Sisterhood, among others.” From the oral history interview their daughter Jane referenced above, it is clear that both Florence and Verner were involved in many aspects of the Pittsburgh community.

Thus, Henry and Helen Schoenthal left quite a legacy.  Their three children all were successful in their careers and ventured far beyond little Washington, PA, where they’d been born: Hilda to DC, Lionel/Lee to NYC, and Meyer to California and then to DC.  Things came almost full circle when Florence Schoenthal Callomon, their granddaughter, returned to western Pennsylvania where her German immigrant grandparents had settled and where her father and aunt and uncle had been born and raised.  Pittsburgh is where Florence and her husband Verner raised their children and where those children stayed as even as adults.

I’d imagine that my great-great-uncle Henry would have been very proud of his three children and his granddaughter for all that they accomplished.  Even in 1912 he knew how blessed he had been in his life when he addressed his friends in Washington, PA, and told them:

I gratefully acknowledge that God has been very gracious unto me and that he has blessed me beyond my merits.

I feel very blessed to have been able to learn so much about my great-great-uncle Henry and his family, and I hope someday to be able to connect with his descendants.









[1]   Two of twelve children of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg did not survive to adulthood.  Of the other ten, eight immigrated to the United States, including my great-grandfather.  One of the siblings remained in Germany, Jakob, and Rosalie returned to Germany to marry after a few years in the US.

The Mystery of the Philadelphia Lawyer: Part I

I am taking a short break this week from the Schoenthal story to return to a mystery I discovered in the Nusbaum family line. Back in April I wrote about the strange disappearance of Celina Nusbaum, my second cousin, three times removed.  Celina was the granddaughter of Ernst Nusbaum, brother of my 3x-great-grandfather John Nusbaum.  Her life story was intriguing, and I was frustrated that I could not find some closure to her story.

Here’s what I knew: Celina was born in November 1881 in Philadelphia, daughter of Edgar Nusbaum and Viola Barritt.  She had married Hamilton Hall Treager Glessner in 1904, and their daughter Marian Glessner was born in 1906.  But by 1910, the marriage was over, and Celina had returned with her daughter to her parents’ home.  Celina was working as a dress designer, according to the 1910 census.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Abington, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1377; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1375390

Year: 1910; Census Place: Abington, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1377; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1375390

Celina remarried in August 1912.  Her second husband, Inglis E.D. Cameron, was a lawyer who had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1909.  He must have been somewhat well-regarded there because he was selected as toastmaster for the class banquet:

Inglis Cameron from UPenn 1909 yearbook

Penn Law 1909 Cameron

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin March 15, 1909

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin March 15, 1909


Celina and Inglis had a son, Edward James Cameron, born in June, 1915.  On the 1920 census, Inglis, Celina (Selena on the census record), Marian, and Edward (called James there) were living in Philadelphia, and Inglis listed his occupation as a lawyer for a manufacturer. (His name was really butchered by the census enumerator, but this is definitely his family.)

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1624; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 617; Image: 269

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1624; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 617; Image: 269

I was able to find Inglis in the 1925 NYC directory as a lawyer in midtown Manhattan, but residing in Philadelphia.

Title : New York, New York, City Directory, 1925 Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line].

Title : New York, New York, City Directory, 1925
Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line].

I found one brief news item in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Inglis Cameron as a lawyer, dated April 17, 1924:

Inglis Cameron atty april 17 1924 p 12

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1924, p. 12

I am not quite sure what to make of this article.  It appears that Inglis was representing a client whose identity he would not or could not reveal, but that the newspaper believed was the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, a New York bus company that was seeking to establish business in Philadelphia.

After that, I could not find any trace of any of them; Celina, Inglis, Marian, and Edward James Cameron all seemed to have vanished.  I could not find them in any directory nor on either the 1930 or 1940 census.

But a woman named Sally Carnes with a husband named Donald Carnes and a son named E. J. Carnes surfaced in Texas, in the 1940s.  Why is that relevant? Because this death certificate made it very clear to me that Sally Carnes was the same woman as Celina Nusbaum Glessner Cameron: Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

Her parents were Edgar Nusbaum and Viola Barritt, and the informant was her daughter from her first marriage, Marian (using her married name Pattinson).  This had to be Celina.  When I then searched for Carnes in Houston, it led me to the death certificate of Donald Carnes, who had a son named E.J. Carnes: Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah.

The initials E.J. for E.J. Carnes?  To me that had to be Edward James Cameron using a different surname, that of the man I assumed was Celina/Sally’s third husband, Donald Carnes.  But I had no further record for Inglis Cameron, no earlier records for Donald Carnes, and no marriage record for Sally and Donald Carnes.  There are further details of my search described here in my earlier post, but the bottom line is that I had no definite answers as to what happened to Inglis or how Celina became Sally Carnes and ended up in Houston.  Even searching for descendants of Marian Glessner Pattinson led me nowhere.

Enter Tracy Carnes, who left a comment on my blog in October. Tracy wrote that she was the daughter of Edward James Carnes, who was the son of Donald Carnes and Lena Claire Nusbaum (Celina was sometimes identified as Lena), also known as Sally Carnes.  That is, Tracy is my fourth cousin, once removed. And she had some answers to my questions and some fascinating information about her grandmother, Sally Carnes, who had once been Celina Nusbaum:

Tracy wrote:

My grandmother, Lena Claire Nusbaum (as listed on my father’s death certificate) or Sally Carnes, was a dressmaker. She had a knack for making fat women look thin and thin women look shapely. I stayed with her in Houston one summer for about a week, and she had dress forms, patterns she was making, and wedding dresses in the works. Mother (Margaret Hannah Barnes Carnes) told us that Sally had the patent on the metal slider that adjusts bra straps. She also designed a slip for Babe Didrikson Zaharias for golfing, called the “super-stride.” Mom and dad said that Sally Carnes had a line of clothing called, “Sally Smart” and four dress factories in Philadelphia lost during the depression. Sally also owned a Russian Tea Room. We don’t have any documentation to support these stories.

So I set out to find some documentation.  I thought the easiest story to validate was the one about the patent on a bra strap slider so I used Google Patents to try and locate such a patent.  Although I did not find one for that specific invention, I did find three patents that were issued to Celina Cameron.  The first, Patent No. 1709337, was filed July 12, 1926, and was issued on April 16, 1929.  That patent was for a garment combining a skirt and bodice.  In her application, Celina wrote:

This invention relates to women’s garments, more particularly garments combining a bodice and skirt. In connection with garments embodying the general characteristics mentioned, I seek to retain all the advantages of the skirt as considered from the esthetic standpoint, and yet afford the wearer the utmost comfort with regard to freedom of leg movement 0 without entailing exposure within the confines of the skirt.

Celina Cameron patent 2-page-001 Celina Cameron patent 2-page-002 Celina Cameron patent 2-page-003


A second patent, No. 1797714, filed May 17, 1929, and granted on March 24, 1931, was also for a garment, this one for a negligee, as described in the application:

This invention relates to garments of the negligee class and of a type intended more particularly for women.  The object of my invention is to provide a slip-on garment of the kind referred to which is simple in design, yet highly attractive in appearance; which is easily and quickly put on or taken ‘off and which ordinarily affords complete protection, but when desired permits the back of the wearer to be exposed for sun or heat treatment to the exclusion of all other parts of the body.

Celina Cameron patent 1-page-002 Celina Cameron patent 1-page-003 Celina Cameron patent 1-page-004

Perhaps this was the slip designed for Babe Didrikson Zacharias?

The third patent issued to Celina Cameron, No. 1834331, was for a modification to the first invention so that it could be reversible.  That patent application was filed on February 19, 1930, and the patent issued on December 1, 1931.

So although I did not find a patent for a bra strap slider, there certainly was truth to the family story that Celina had patented some of her clothing designs.  And from the dates on these patents, I knew that at least until 1930 when she applied for the third patent, Celina was still using the name Celina Cameron.

As for the four dress factories, I found two possible companies.  The first was Cameo Dress Company, which Inglis listed as his company on his World War I draft registration in September, 1918.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907636; Draft Board: 17

When I Googled this company, however, I found that the company had been incorporated on February 27, 1918, by Edgar Nusbaum, Celina’s father. Edgar had for many years worked as a clerk for the railroad, not as a manufacturer.  I assume that he incorporated this business for his daughter Celina, who had listed her occupation in 1910 as a dress designer.  Although Inglis had been working as a lawyer as of the taking of the 1920 census, in the 1921 Philadelphia directory his listing simply says Cameo Dress Company.

But Cameo Dress Company ran into some bad luck.  The company fell victim to thieves at least twice in the spring of 1921, and then suffered a devastating fire in 1922.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 9. 1921, p 3

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 9. 1921, p 3

And then just two months later, there was a second theft:

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 25, 1921, p 3

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 25, 1921, p 3

This article made reference to a theft ten days earlier, so it seems that Cameo Dress was subjected to (at least) three thefts in the spring of 1921.

Then, in February 1922, there was a devastating fire:

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 22, 1922, p. 3

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 22, 1922, p. 3


Was this really all just bad luck? The article about the fire notes that it “started beneath a stairway from an undetermined origin.”  Was someone targeting Cameo Dress Company?

Because almost all of the databases of online newspapers do not include any Philadelphia newspapers after 1922, I could not find out what happened to Cameo Dress Company after the fire.  But there had been an earlier fire that also seemed to involve the Cameron family.  Reginald on the Philadelphia Genealogy group on Facebook found a listing from the Philadelphia fire department’s annual report for 1914:

I then found this news article:

Mayfair fire

Mayfair fire 2

Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9, 1914, p. 5

Although I have not yet found anything else about Mayfair Manufacturing Company, I did find it rather strange that another company owned by Inglis Cameron had been damaged by a fire.  As with Cameo Dress, it was a company occupying the third floor of a building.  That time the fire department had opined that it could have been spontaneous combustion—dirty rags, I suppose.

(Of course, I am very glad that they saved the kitten.)

I did not find any documenation for a Sally Smart line of clothing or for a Russian tea room owned by Celina, the last two stories Tracy had shared in her comment about her grandmother .

But what Tracy and I were really interested in was why her grandmother Celina and her father Edward James had moved to Texas and changed their names to Cameron.  Tracy said that her father, Edward James Cameron/Carnes, had died in 1984 and that she had known that he had died with a secret, but not what it was.  Then about 20 years ago, Tracy and her brother received a phone call from an old friend of their father who shared what he knew.  Tracy sent me the notes she and her brother had saved from that phone conversation.  That led me down yet another research path.

To be continued….