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 

Alfred Goldsmith: Star-Crossed Lover?

Before my break, I wrote about the six children that my three-times great-uncle Abraham Goldsmith had with his first wife, Cecelia Adler, before she died from a stroke at age 35 in 1874: Milton, Hilda, Edwin, Rose, Emily, and Estelle. Two years after Cecelia’s death, Abraham married Frances Spanier, with whom he had another four children: Alfred (1877), Bertha (1878), Alice (1880), and Louis (1882). The age span from Abraham’s oldest child Milton, born in 1861, to his youngest child Louis was 21 years. The next set of posts will focus on the four children of Abraham and Frances. This first post tells the sad story of Alfred’s first marriage.

Abraham and Frances’ first child, Alfred Francis Goldsmith, was born on August 11, 1877, in Philadelphia.1 According to his obituary, he attended the University of Pennsylvania.2 In 1900, he was living with his parents in Philadelphia and working as a salesman.3

Five years later he married Beatrice R. Miller, who was also a Philadelphia native, born there to William Miller and Fannie Stein on March 29, 1882. Her parents were born in Pennsylvania, and her father was in the clothing business. 4 Alfred and Beatrice obtained their marriage license in Delaware on September 16, 1905, and Alfred’s occupation on the marriage register was listed as “wholesale.”5

Ancestry.com. Delaware, Marriage Records, 1806-1933

 

I then had trouble locating Alfred and Beatrice together on any subsequent record. I found an Alfred F. Goldsmith listed in the 1906 Camden, New Jersey, directory, but no occupation was given. Then in 1908, Alfred F. Goldsmith is listed in the Philadelphia directory, residing at 1437 Edgewood; again, no occupation was given. In 1911 there is an Alfred F. Goldsmith listed as a jeweler, living at 1521 N. 28th Street in Philadelphia. Despite having these two Philadelphia addresses, I could not find Alfred on the 1910 census. The first address was not on the census records at all, and the second did not have anyone named Goldsmith listed at that address. Alfred was not listed in the Philadelphia or Camden directories for 1907, 1909, or 1910.6

I was more than a bit perplexed, so I turned to newspapers.com to search for more information about Alfred and Beatrice, and what I found was a story of star-crossed lovers—or so it would appear.  Judge for yourself:

Wilmington, Delaware Evening Journal, November 22, 1905 p. 1

 

Love’s Sweet Dream Ended

Young Philadelphia Couple Married Here Recently

Now Wife Wants Divorce

Was A Romantic Elopement

 

Divorce is the sequel of the romantic elopement of Miss Beatrice R. Miller and Alfred F. Goldsmith of Philadelphia, to this city about nine weeks ago, when they were quietly wedded by the Rev. W.N. Sherwood at the residence of the Rev. G.L. Wolfe. After the couple were married they made the officiating minister promise them he would not divulge their marriage, and he refused at the time to talk about the elopement.

Coerced Into Marriage

In her petition for a divorce Mrs. Goldsmith alleges that she was coerced and intimidated into marrying her husband. She is 23 years of age and a daughter of William Miller, one of the lessees of the Girard Avenue and Forepaugh Theatres, and resides with her parents at No. 1712 North Eighteenth street, in Philadelphia.

Goldsmith is a tobacco and cigar dealer and resides at No. 3326 North Fifteenth street. He denies his wife’s allegations and contends that parental influence is keeping her from him. The full nature of her charges have not been disclosed.

The young couple’s elopement to Wilmington followed an alleged secret engagement of three years, during which time Goldsmith was not allowed to call at the Miller home. They corresponded regularly, however, and frequently met at the homes of mutual friends. In the meantime Miss Miller became engaged to another suitor, a friend of her father, but meeting Goldsmith at a friend’s house on September 16, they came to this city that afternoon, and were married by the Rev. Sherwood. They returned to Philadelphia immediately after the ceremony had been performed, and then went to Haddonfield, N.J., where they remained until the following Tuesday. They then went to the Miller home, but Goldsmith said he was ordered out by Mr. Miller, although the bride was permitted to remain. He has since had a short interview with his bride, but she would not leave her home and accompany him.

What do you think? Was Beatrice coerced into marrying Alfred, or were her parents just opposed to the marriage and determined to end it?

Here’s my read of the situation, taking into consideration that I am a romantic and also that Alfred was my cousin, so I might be somewhat biased. I think Beatrice was intimidated by her parents into ending the marriage. After all, she was not a child; she was 23, not a particularly young age for women to marry at that time. They had been engaged for three years before the elopement. Obviously Alfred waited patiently and was not rushing her into marriage. And she continued to see him even after her parents had prohibited him from coming to their house. On September 16, she crossed a state line with him to get secretly married. There does not appear to be any claim that he forcibly took her to Wilmington, Delaware. After all, she agreed to meet him at a friend’s house, presumably for that purpose.

Of course, I don’t have all the facts, but that is my take on this story. And I can’t help but wonder why Beatrice’s parents were so vehemently opposed to her relationship with Alfred. This was not a case of an interfaith marriage; the Millers were Jewish as were the Goldsmiths. Alfred certainly came from a well-established family; his father had been a successful business owner in Philadelphia. So what was the problem? Did Beatrice’s family not approve of his livelihood?

I wondered whether the Millers were just overprotective and did not want their daughter leaving home at age 23. But their second daughter, Fay, was a year younger than Beatrice and married when she was 23 in 1906.7 Somehow that marriage survived—although I did notice that Fay and her husband moved to New York not too long after getting married.

I am also amazed that a personal story like this made the front page of the Wilmington newspaper in 1905. We complain today about our lack of privacy, but at least we can control some of what appears about us on social media. What was newsworthy about this sad story of a broken marriage? Sure, it’s a juicy story for selling newspapers, but these were private citizens, not celebrities or public figures.

What is even more peculiar about this story is that Beatrice and Alfred were not in fact divorced for another eight years. In June 1913, the Philadelphia newspapers ran this legal notice over the course of several weeks:

The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 1913, p. 13.

 

And then finally on December 16, 1913, their divorce was finalized.8 What was going on in those eight years? Had Beatrice ultimately defied her parents and stayed with Alfred? Or had her parents eventually relented and allowed her to reunite with her husband? Or had there just been a very long separation?

I can’t find either Alfred or Beatrice on the 1910 census or in any directories between 1905 and 1913 aside from those mentioned above (where Alfred is not listed with Beatrice, though that itself is not necessarily an indication that she was not living with him). They are not listed living with their parents or siblings either. They do not appear in any other newspaper articles that I can find. Had they run off and changed their names? Had they left the country? I don’t know, and I don’t know where else to look for clues. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Beatrice did eventually remarry, though not for quite a long time. I could not find her on the 1920 census, but in 1922 she was listed as Beatrice Miller in the Ocean City, New Jersey directory.9 By April 23, 1923, she was married to Harry F. Stanton, according to this ship manifest:

Beatrice Miller Stanton ship manifest

Ship manifest for Beatrice and Harry Stanton, lines 23 and 24, Year: 1923; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3276; Line: 1; Page Number: 29 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Harry had also been listed in the 1922 Ocean City, New Jersey directory.10 In 1910, he’d been living in Ocean City, working in the real estate business,11 and I located numerous real estate advertisements under Harry F. Stanton’s name in the Philadelphia newspapers. Harry was fourteen years older than Beatrice and had been married before; he does not appear to have been Jewish.  I wonder if Beatrice’s family was happier with this match. If Beatrice married Harry in about 1922-1923, she was about 40 and he was about 54 at the time. They remained married until Harry’s death in 1945.12

And what happened to Alfred after the divorce from Beatrice in 1913? His story will continue in my next post.

 

 

 


  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1MS-C1M : 10 March 2018), Alfred Goldsmith, 11 Aug 1877; citing bk 1877 p 157, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,318. 
  2. “A.F. Goldsmith, 66, Book Dealer, Dies,” The New York Times, July 30, 1947, p. 17. 
  3. Goldsmith family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Enumeration District: 0208. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. 
  4.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. SSN 198367783. 
  5.  Ancestry.com. Delaware, Marriage Records, 1806-1933; Collection and Roll: Register of Marriages – 3. 
  6. Philadelphia City Directories, 1907-1911; Camden City Directory, 1906; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  7. Marriage of Fay Miller and Irving Wolf, 1906, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951; Marriage License Number: 205685. 
  8. Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 1913, p. 11. 
  9. Ocean City, New Jersey City Directory, 1922, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  10. Ocean City, New Jersey City Directory, 1922, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. Harry Stanton, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Ocean City Ward 2, Cape May, New Jersey; Roll: T624_870; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL microfilm: 1374883.  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  12. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 054601-057000. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 56258. 

Estelle Goldsmith: Woman of the World

The last child born to Abraham Goldsmith and his first wife Cecelia Adler before Cecelia’s untimely death in 1874 was their daughter Estelle. Estelle was born on January 20, 1870, in Philadelphia,1 and was only four when her mother died. Estelle was born in time to be listed on the 1870 census with her parents, her five older siblings, and her maternal grandparents, Samuel and Sarah Adler. (Her name is misspelled here as Estella.)

Abraham Goldsmith and Family 1870 census

And in 1880 she is listed with her father, her stepmother Frances Spanier, her four surviving full siblings (Milton, Edwin, Rose, and Emily) and her two younger half-siblings, Alfred and Bertha.

Abraham Goldsmith and family 1880 US census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Page: 60A; Enumeration District: 202
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

Estelle graduated from the Philadelphia Normal School in 1890.  On January 27, 1895, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Estelle had been selected to become the eighth grade teacher at the Madison School in Philadelphia. She remained there for 25 years.2

The Philadelphia newspapers, the social media of that era, published a number of articles in the 1890s in which Estelle is mentioned as one of many attending various social and cultural events in Philadelphia. The papers also reported on Estelle’s travels. In 1896, the Philadelphia Times reported that she and three other women were traveling to New England together,3 and in 1897, she traveled to Europe with one of those same three, Julia Friedberger, who was her brother Edwin’s sister-in-law.

The Philadelphia Times, June 27, p. 26.

The 1900 census reported that Estelle, who was working as a school teacher, continued to live in Philadelphia with her father, stepmother, and her four younger half-siblings, Alfred, Bertha, Alice, and Louis. Her older siblings were by that time all married.

Abraham Goldsmith and family 1900 census
Philadelphia Ward 12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Enumeration District: 0208
Description
Enumeration District: 0208; Description: Philadelphia City Pa, 12th Ward, 6th Division, bounded by Green, Chat ham, Buttonwood, 5th, Noble, 6th,
Source Information
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Estelle is not listed in the Philadelphia directories between 1900 and 1910, but the Philadelphia newspapers reported some of her activities, including her attendance at various social events and her trip in 1906 to visit her brother Milton in New York City.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 1906, p. 44.

In 1910, her parents now both deceased, Estelle was living with her older sister Rose and Rose’s husband Sidney Stern and their three sons. Estelle continued to be employed as a public school teacher. In June 1913, she traveled on a steamer to Plymouth, England, Cherbourg, France, and Bremen, Germany, with many others from Philadelphia.4 I wonder whether in her travels she visited Oberlistingen and the Goldschmidts who still lived there.

Estelle Goldsmith living with Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern and family, 1910 US census
Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1193; FHL microfilm: 1375426
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In February 1920 she and three other women traveled to Puerto Rico. One of those women, Carrie Teller Kuhn, was connected to Estelle in two different ways. First, she was the step-aunt of Gladys Fliegelman, the young woman who would marry Estelle’s nephew, Allan Goldsmith Stern, in 1929. Second, in 1930, Carrie Teller Kuhn was a lodger in the household of Sidney Goldsmith Rice, who was Estelle’s first cousin, once removed. Sidney was the grandson of Jacob Goldsmith, who was the brother of Estelle’s father Abraham.

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 7, 1920, p. 9.

In 1920, Estelle was still living with her sister Rose Goldsmith Stern and her family, but Estelle had changed careers.  She was now the director of a girl’s camp, which, according to her obituary, was Camp Woodmere for Girls in Paradox, New York, a camp that Estelle had co-founded in 1916.5

Estelle continued to travel in the 1920s.  In 1922 she traveled to China and Japan for several months with Carrie Teller Kuhn, as reported in the Philadelphia Evening Ledger on December 4, 1922. Here is her passport photograph from her passport application before that trip:

Estelle Goldsmith, 1922 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2040; Volume #: Roll 2040 – Certificates: 196350-196725, 23 Jun 1922-23 Jun 1922. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

And in 1925 she and Carrie again traveled together, this time to Le Havre, France; in 1928, they traveled to Naples, Italy.6

In 1930, Estelle continued to live with her sister Rose and brother-in-law Sidney Stern; now her occupation was recorded as director of a hosiery mill.  I was surprised by this change in career, given that Estelle was now sixty years old. Perhaps she was working for Thomas Holmes Manufacturing, the company founded by her nephew Henry Friedberger Goldsmith. Or perhaps this is a mistake and she was still the camp director, as her obituary seems to suggest.7

By 1940, Estelle’s situation had changed.  Her sister Rose Goldsmith Stern had died in 1931, and her sister-in-law Jennie, wife of Estelle’s brother Edwin, had died in 1933. In 1940, Estelle, her brother Edwin, and her brother-in-law Sidney Stern were all living at the Majestic Hotel in Philadelphia.

Estelle Goldsmith, Edwin Goldsmith, and Sidney Stern, 1940 US Census, Majestic Hotel, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

In March 1944, Estelle and her brother Edwin were among 400 hundred residents evacuated from the Majestic when a six-alarm fire broke out in the upper levels of the hotel.8 Edwin died just seven months later. (Sidney had died in 1942.) At that point Estelle had outlived four of her siblings: Hilda (who had died as a child), Emily (1917), Rose (1931), and Edwin (1944).

In fact, Estelle outlived all nine of her siblings, including her four younger half-siblings. She died on May 7, 1968, at age 98.9 According to her obituary she was at that time the oldest member of her synagogue, Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, an honorary vice-president of the Friends of the Deaf, and a member of the Council of Jewish Women.10

Estelle had lived a long life and a full life, a life that was not typical of women of her times. She had not married or had children, but instead had had two careers. She had been a teacher for 25 years, then a camp director for another 25 years.  She had traveled all over the world. She had lived from shortly after the Civil War, through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the upheaval and many social changes of the 1960s.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to sit down with Estelle and ask her about her life and her observations over nearly a century of living? What questions would you ask her?


I will be taking a short break from blogging over the next two weeks. When I return, I will be writing about Abraham Goldsmith’s four children with his second wife, Frances Spanier.  See you then!

 


  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VB13-5S4 : 9 March 2018), Estelle Goldsmith, 20 Jan 1870; citing bk 1870 p 231, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,312. 
  2. The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 27, 1895, p. 3; “Estelle Goldsmith Dies; Ex-Teacher, 98,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1968, p. 31. 
  3. The Philadelphia Times, July 19, 1896, p. 27. 
  4. The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 21, 1913, p. 3. 
  5. Estelle Goldsmith, 1920 Census,  Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1646; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1791. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.  “Estelle Goldsmith Dies; Ex-Teacher, 98,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1968, p. 31.  
  6.  Year: 1925; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3591; Line: 30; Page Number: 7; Year: 1928; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4398; Line: 24; Page Number: 48. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  7. Estelle Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0397. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  8. “Majestic Hotel Swept by Six-Alarm Fire,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1944, p. 1. 9. 
  9.  Number: 183-36-9987; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1962.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  10.  “Estelle Goldsmith Dies; Ex-Teacher, 98,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1968, p. 31.  

Emily Goldsmith, Author: “She opened her mouth in wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue.”

Emily Goldsmith was the fourth child of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler to live to adulthood. She was born in Philadelphia on April 30, 1868.1  Her mother died on November 8, 1874, when Emily was only six years old.

On January 28, 1892, Emily married Felix Napoleon Gerson, the son of Aron Gerson and Eva Goldsmith—who was not related to my Goldsmith family, as I wrote about here. According to his entry in Who’s Who in Pennsylvania, Felix went to Philadelphia public schools and then studied civil engineering; in the 1880s he served in the department of the Chief Clerk, Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, and then in 1891 he changed careers and became the managing editor of Chicago Israelite.  In 1892, Felix became the managing editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

Emily and Felix’s first child Cecelia was born on October 27, 1892.2  She must have been named for her grandmother, Emily’s mother Cecelia Adler Goldsmith. A second daughter, Dorothy, was born on June 2, 1897.3

I was delighted to discover that Emily, like her older brother Milton, was an author of children’s stories, books, and plays. Beginning in the 1890s, Emily contributed children’s stories regularly to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent where her husband Felix was the managing editor. I counted over twenty stories written by Emily that were published between 1895 and 1899.

For example, on April 17, 1896, (p. 5), the Jewish Exponent published Emily’s story, “Joseph’s Toy Theater,” about a little boy who received a toy theater as a gift and refuses to share it with his sister. When the puppets in the theater come to life at night, he hears them criticizing his selfishness and threatening to punish him. He then goes to his sister’s room and gives her one of the puppets from the theater. (The illustration below is by Alice B. Ewing and appeared when this story was republished in The Picture Screen, as discussed below.)

On October 9, 1896, (p. 5) the Jewish Exponent published “Helping Mother,” another of Emily’s short stories, this one about a little girl who helped her mother by playing on her own while her mother worked.

These and the other stories written by Emily Goldsmith Gerson and published in the Jewish Exponent are quite short and usually have some lesson teaching children about good behavior. In addition to her stories, Emily also wrote plays for children to perform for the Jewish holidays such as Purim and Hanukkah.4

In 1900, Emily, Felix, and their daughters were living in Philadelphia., and Felix was working as an editor. Emily did not report an occupation, but she continued to contribute her stories during the next decade.

Emily and Felix Gerson and family 1900 US Census
Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0433
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Emily not only continued to write short stories for the Jewish Exponent; she also published books and plays for children. Her earliest published book was The Picture Screen, published by George W. Jacoby & Co. in 1904. According to this brief description in the list of suggested Christmas books in Book News, the book is a “unique juvenile consisting of stories told about the pictures on a big picture screen. A little girl’s mother tells her and her brother the tales while the little girl lies helpless with a sprained ankle.”5

The book reached an audience far beyond Philadelphia, as seen in this review that appeared in the Buffalo Enquirer on July 9, 1904 (p. 2):

Buffalo Enquirer, July 9, 1904, p. 2.

I obtained a copy of the book, and it is as described in the reviews. Some of the stories the mother tells the children are stories Emily had previously published, including the one about Joseph and the toy theater that I described above. They all teach the children something about being a good person. The book was dedicated to Emily’s daughters, Cecelia and Dorothy.

Then in 1906, Emily published A Modern Esther and Other Stories for Jewish Children (Julius H. Greenstone, Philadelphia, 1906), another collection of short stories and two short plays; she dedicated the book to her father Abraham, who had died just a few years before. The title story is about a girl born somewhere in a shtetl in Europe, the daughter of the rabbi, who bravely goes to the local governor to stop the anti-Semitic attacks on her family and community. Many of the stories have a religious theme; for example, one is about a little girl discovering faith in God, and several are about God saving families from poverty or from illness. Often the stories are connected to a Jewish holiday. You can find this collection of Emily’s works online here.

The reviewer for the New York Times wrote that “the author’s object is not so much fiction as the encouragement of piety and the teaching of the simpler lessons of the faith to which she belongs, to show how pleasant and profitable it is—in the end—to do those things which are commanded, how faith and honest and kindness win their sure reward, and how wickedness is punished…..Naturally the stories are of extreme artlessness—-but all of us in our time have read stories of like artlessness not without eager ears and open eyes.”6

Emily also published several of her holiday plays for children, including Ten Years After, A Purim Play (1909), A Delayed Birthday, a play for Hanukkah published by Bloch Publishing Company in 1910, and The Purim Basket, another Purim play published by Bloch Publishing Company in 1914.

Emily’s daughter Dorothy seems to have enjoyed theater also. In March 1914, when she was sixteen, she appeared on stage in a production put on by the French department of Girls High School in Philadelphia.7 That is Dorothy on the far left.

Emily’s career as a children’s author was, however, cut short. She died from pancreatic and liver cancer on November 28, 1917.  She was only 49 years old and was survived by her husband Felix and her two daughters. She was also survived by her eight of her nine siblings, the other surviving children of Abraham Goldsmith.

Emily Goldsmith Gerson death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 121031-124420
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

But Emily was not forgotten. A camp for underprivileged Jewish girls was established in her memory, known as the Emily G. Gerson Farm.8  In 1920, her synagogue, Keneseth Israel in Philadlephia, dedicated a stained-glass window in her memory. In reporting on the dedication, the Dallas Jewish Monitor stated that Emily had been the first president of the Keneseth Israel Sisterhood and was “deeply interested in all things appertaining to the good and welfare of the Temple.”9

Stained glass window dedicated in memory of Emily Goldsmith Gerson in 1920 by Keneseth Israel Congregation as depicted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 2004, p. C04

The window still exists and was depicted in the Philadelphia Inquirer on December 5, 2004, when it was being being exhibited at Congregation Keneseth Israel’s Judaica museum in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.   The caption under the photograph of the window stated that it was presented with the inscription from Proverbs 31:26: “She opened her mouth in wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue.”10

The 1920 census reported that Emily’s widower Felix continued to work as a newspaper editor. Her daughters were also working. Cecelia, now 27, was a secretary in a doctor’s office, and Dorothy, 22, was a public school teacher.11

Later that year Cecelia married Malvin Herman Reinheimer in Philadelphia.12 Malvin was the son of Samuel Reinheimer and Julia Lebach and was born in Cameron, West Virginia, on January 26, 1891. His father was in the wholesale clothing business. Malvin graduated from Swarthmore College in 1912 where Cecelia had also been a student; perhaps she met him there. Malvin then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1915 and was practicing law in 1920 and living in Philadelphia with his father and sisters. He had served stateside in the US military during World War I.13

On November 29, 1921, Cecelia and Malvin had their first child, a daughter they named Emily Gerson Reinheimer in memory of Cecelia’s mother Emily Goldsmith Gerson.14   A second child was born a few years later.

Meanwhile, Dorothy revealed that she had some of her mother’s writing talents when she won a prize for best limerick in 1921:

“Clever Line for ‘Movie’ Lim’rick,” Philadelphia Evening Ledger, January 13, 1921, p. 1.

The 1930 census record for Felix and Dorothy is a complete mystery. First, it has Dorothy listed as Felix’s wife and says Felix was 38 when in fact Felix was 68.  It says Felix was 31 when they first married, and Dorothy was 26. Then it says Felix was a salesman in a dress shop, and it has no occupation listed for Dorothy.  There were also four men lodging with them. How much of this can I trust? Is this a different Dorothy and Felix Gerson? Not likely—they were still living at 3415 Race Street, the same place they were living in 1920.

Felix Gerson and Dorothy Gerson 1930 census, image modified
Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 27A; Enumeration District: 0397
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

There is no indication from any other records that Felix had left his newspaper career or that Dorothy had stopped working. In fact, the 1930 Philadelphia city directory lists Dorothy as an advertising manager for Oppeheim Collins & Company and Felix as the president-manager of the Jewish Exponent.15 That 1930 census record indicated that Dorothy was the person providing the information to the enumerator—would she have lied about her relationship with her father, his age, and their occupations? Or was the enumerator just sloppy? I don’t know.

Fortunately, there was no confusion in the 1930 census record for Cecelia Gerson and her husband Malvin Reinheimer and their children. They were all living in Philadelphia where Malvin continued to practice law.16

After almost twenty years of being a widower, Felix remarried at age 73.  On August 31, 1936, he married Emma Brylawski, who was also an editor and journalist at the Jewish Exponent.17

Not long afterwards, in about May, 1937, Felix’s daughter Dorothy Gerson moved to Middletown, Connecticut, where she was working as an advertising manager for Wrubel’s Department Store, according to the Jewish Exponent of February 25, 1938.

The 1940 census records for Felix and his daughters show that Felix and his second wife Emma were living in Philadelphia without any listed occupation,18 that Dorothy was an advertising manager living in Middletown, Connecticut,19 and that Cecelia and her family were living in Philadelphia where Malvin was still working as an attorney.20

Cecelia lost her husband Malvin to renal failure and other illnesses on October 24, 1944; he was only 54 years old.21 Then she and her sister Dorothy lost their father Felix a year later on December 31, 1945; Felix was 83 years old.22 Eleven years later on August 12, 1956, Cecelia died at age 63 from lung cancer. She was survived by her two children and by her sister, Dorothy.23 Dorothy died at age 80 in January 1978.24

Emily Goldsmith Gerson’s story is in many ways such a sad one. She lost her mother Cecelia Adler Goldsmith when she was only six years old. She named her first child Cecelia in memory of her mother. Then she herself died young, ending a promising career as a children’s writer and leaving behind her own daughters. Cecelia, the daughter named for Emily’s mother, then later named her first child for her own mother, Emily. The family’s alternating naming pattern reveals Emily’s sad story. But she left behind her works and her descendants, and I hope that by telling her story I have honored her memory.

 

 


  1. Emily Goldsmith Gerson, death certificate. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 121031-124420.
    Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 124162. 
  2.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 
  3.  Number: 161-05-1973; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. The Jewish Exponent, March 4, 1898, p. 8 (Purim play). The Jewish Exponent, December 8, 1899 p. 9 (Hanukkah play). 
  5. Book News (1905, Philadelphia), p. 361. 
  6. “For Jewish Children,” The New York Times, March 31, 1906, p. 21. 
  7. “High School Girls Give Merry Play,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 14, 1914, p.2. 
  8. “Emily G. Gerson Farm Dedicated,” The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, June 27, 1919, p. 2. 
  9. “Unveil Tribute to First President,” Dallas Jewish Monitor, June 25, 1920, p. 5. 
  10. “Hebrew Bible in Glass and Light,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 2004, p. C04. 
  11. Felix Gersons and daughters, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1627; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 688.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. Cecelia Gerson and Malvin Reinheimer marriage, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951. 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. Marriage License Number: 432189. 
  13.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948; Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 091401-093950; Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935 (Swarthmore, 1912; University of Pennsylvania, 1915). 
  14. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. SSN: 180129263 
  15. Philadelphia City Directory, 1930, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  16. Malvin Reinheimer and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 1029. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  17.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate Number: 24190. 
  18. Felix and Emma Gerson, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03692; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 51-158. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  19. Dorothy Gerson, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut; Roll: m-t0627-00512; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 4-23. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  20. Malvin and Cecelia Reinheimer, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03754; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 51-2169. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  21. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 091401-093950. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 93778. 
  22.  Pennsylvania. Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 108301-110850. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 110070. 
  23. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 074701-077400. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 75270 
  24. Number: 161-05-1973; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Always Something New for Me to Learn: The “Hidden” Databases on FamilySearch

After writing about the two oldest sons of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecilia Adler, I am glad to be able to turn to their daughter Rose. Rose was born on October 19, 1866, in Philadelphia, and as I wrote here, she married Sidney Morris Stern on May 25, 1892, when she was 26. Sidney was born January 14, 1861, in Philadelphia, and was the son of Morris Stern and Matilda Bamberger, who were German-born immigrants. His father was in the retail clothing business.  Sidney was a jeweler.

(Am I the only one who finds it amusing that Sidney the jeweler married someone whose surname was Goldsmith?)

UPDATE: Thanks to a question asked by my cousin Jennifer about Sidney’s mother Matilda Bamberger, I discovered another twist in my crazy family tree. In looking to answer Jennifer’s question, I realized that I had two women named Matilda Bamberger on my tree, both married to Morris Stern. They were obviously duplicates.  Looking more closely, I realized that Matilda and Morris Stern’s daughter Clara Stern was the mother of Julian Simsohn, who married Edwin Goldsmith’s daughter Cecile. In another words, Cecile married the nephew of her Aunt Rose’s husband Sidney.

That earlier post also reported that Rose and Sidney’s first child, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern, was born on March 2, 1893. Two years later Rose gave birth to twin boys, Allan Goldsmith Stern and Howard Eugene Stern, on August 6, 1895. I could not find Rose and her family on the 1900 census despite having their address in 1899, 1900, and 1901, but based on listings in the Philadelphia directories for those years,1 I know that she was living in Philadelphia with her husband Sidney and their two younger sons, Allan and Howard. Sidney was in the jewelry business with his brother Eugene.

However, their oldest son Sylvan, who was seven at the time, was not living with them in 1900. He was living at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Philadelphia; according to the census record, he could not read, write or speak English at that time. From later records I learned that Sylvan was completely deaf.

Sylvan Stern, 1900 US Census
Pennsylvania Institution for Deaf and Dumb, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 1043
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

By 1910, however, Sylvan was living at home and could now read and write and was in school. The family continued to live in Philadelphia and was joined by Rose’s younger sister Estelle, who was working as a schoolteacher. Sidney listed his occupation as wholesale jeweler. They also had two servants living in the home, one doing “chamber work” and the other a cook:

Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern and family, 1910 US census
Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1193; FHL microfilm: 1375426
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1915, when he was 22, Sylvan was living in Riverton, New Jersey, in a household with four other men: two men from Holland whom I presume were brothers, Peter and Anthony Hooydonk, a German immigrant named Ferdinand Frohlich, and a Pennsylvania native named John Peguesse.  All five men were in their early twenties and all were working in the florist business. Riverton is a small residential community about fifteen miles from Philadelphia across the Delaware River.

Sylvan Stern 1915 New Jersey census
New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-06; Film Number: 8
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1915

While Sylvan was working in Riverton in 1915, his two younger brothers were in college: Allan was a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania,2 and his twin Howard was a student at Cornell University.3

In 1917-1918, all three of Rose and Sidney’s sons registered for the World War I draft. Sylvan reported that he was living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia, but working as a nurseryman in Riverton, New Jersey, for Henry A. Dreer, Inc. He also reported that he was totally deaf.

Sylvan Stern, World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50 Description Draft Card: S Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Allan was living at the same address and reported that he was a college student, and Howard, also living at the same address, was employed as a farm laborer by Florex Gardens in North Wales, Pennsylvania, which is about 25 miles from Philadelphia. Allan served in the Army’s Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC, from March 15, 1918, until January 8, 1919, when he was honorably discharged.4  I did not find any record of military service for Sylvan or Howard.

Allan Stern World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Howard Stern, World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In 1920, the whole family was still living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia. Sidney was retired at age 59, but his three sons were all employed. Sylvan and Howard were both working as florists in their own business, and Allan was employed as an electrical engineer. Rose’s sister Estelle was still living with them, now working as the director of a girls’ camp. 5

All three Stern brothers were married in the 1920s. First, on May 26, 1921, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern married Beatrice A. Osserman, the daughter of Simon E. Osserman and Dora Kessner in New York City. According to a source I found, Beatrice was, like Sylvan, deaf; she was born in New York City on October 30, 1899.  Her parents were immigrants from Russia/Latvia, and her father was in the real estate business in 1920.6  This news item from the Philadelphia Evening Ledger reported that one of the bridesmaids was Dorothy G. Gerson, Sylvan’s first cousin and the daughter of his mother’s sister, Emily Goldsmith Gerson.

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, May 23, 1921, p. 11

Sylvan and Beatrice had two children during the 1920s.

Howard Stern was the second son of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern to marry; in 1926 he married Madeline Kind Kohn,7 another Philadelphia native; she was born on June 3, 1898, the daughter of Joseph Kohn and Clara Kind.8 Madeline’s father was a shirt manufacturer. Here is Madeline’s high school yearbook picture from 1916:

Madeline Kind Kohn,
U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Record Book of William Penn High School for Girls June Class, 1916; Year: 1916
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Howard and Madeline would have two children.

The last son to marry was Allan Stern, and his wife’s story is quite tragic. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marriage Index on Ancestry reports that Allan married Gladys Fliegelman,9 daughter of Harry Fliegelman and Gussye Fridenberg, in 1928, but I learned an important lesson about that index while researching their marriage. More below.

Gladys was born on April 23, 1904, in Philadelphia.10  Two years later on June 30, 1906, her mother Gussye suffered complications after giving birth to a second child and died six weeks later on July 17, 1906, from parenchymatous nephritis or kidney disease.

Gussye Fliegeman death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 065461-068420
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Thus, Gladys lost her mother when she was just a toddler. Harry Fliegelman remarried in 1910, and in 1920, they were all living together in Philadelphia, where Harry was a furniture merchant.11

In 1924, Gladys graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women; her photograph appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer with some of her classmates. She is in the middle of the photograph on the right.

Gladys Fliegelman School of Design graduation,
The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 1924, p, 17

And then I thought that Allan and Gladys were married in 1928, as the Ancestry.com database indicated. But I was confused when I found this will that she wrote on January 30, 1929:

Gladys Fliegelman Stern will
Probate Records (District of Columbia), 1801-1930; Author: District of Columbia. Register of Wills; Probate Place: District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.

Gladys refers to herself as “a single woman, at present, and entering into a marriage with Allan G. Stern of Washington, District of Columbia, on January 31, 1929.” Since the Ancestry database of Philadelphia marriages indicated that they were married in 1928, why did she describe herself as single on January 30, 1929?

And this is where I learned something new. In discussing something completely different on the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page, a member there named Sharon Roth pointed out that FamilySearch has images of the Philadelphia marriage licenses and certificates.  They are not indexed for searching, but once you know the marriage license number from the index on Ancestry or FamilySearch, you can find the underlying documents by searching through the database of images by date and number.

This was a database that I could not find when I searched the FamilySearch records listings, so I am not sure how I would have found it without Sharon’s help. You can find the two databases here and here. Thank you to Sharon and to Amberly of The Genealogy Girl for showing me how to find these databases through the catalog on FamilySearch so that I now can find all these “hidden” databases. Amberly had actually blogged about this over a year ago, but I’d forgotten about her tips.  You can learn more from her blog here.

With this new information, I was able to find the license and the rabbi’s certificate of marriage for Allan and Gladys.  Now I know that although their marriage license was issued on December 31, 1928, they were not in fact married until January 31, 1929, the day after Gladys drew up her will.

Marriage record of Allan G. Stern and Gladys Fliegelmen, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, marriage records, Marriages, 568600-568799, 1928, pp. 358-359. FamilySearch.org

Returning to the will, its contents strike me as somewhat odd. Gladys bequeathed all her property and income to any issue she might have at the time of her death; that is, whereas one might assume that her husband would inherit before her children, Gladys wanted her estate to go directly to her children. Moreover, her will provides that if she died without issue, her sister would inherit all her personal possessions. Allan would only inherit 25% of her income and only for as long as he did not remarry. Gladys’ sister and brother would receive the other 75% of her income and the principal when Allan died.

Now call me a romantic, but this seems like a rather unromantic way to start a marriage—leaving your husband such a limited part of your estate.

Tragically, this will took on far more significance not long after Allan and Gladys married.  On February 6, 1930, a week after their first anniversary, Gladys took her own life by jumping from the seventh floor of Emergency Hospital in Washington; she had been a patient in the hospital for six months after an earlier suicide attempt when she had jumped from the fourth floor of the apartment building where she and Allan had been living. In its article about this tragedy, the Philadelphia Inquirer described her as a poetess.12  An article from a different paper reported that she had been “despondent because of poor health.”13

Thus, the new decade began on a heartbreaking note for the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern and their sons, especially for their son Allan.

I was not surprised that I could not find Allan on the 1930 census, although he is listed in the 1930 Washington, D.C., directory as an engineer for Fred S. Gichner, residing at 3100 Connecticut Avenue; in the 1931 directory he was still working at Fred S. Gichner, but now residing at 3405 Woodley Road.  On the 1930 census, I found a Gichner family living at 3405 Woodley Road so it would appear that Allan may have moved in with his employer’s family after his wife’s death, although he was not listed at either address on the 1930 census.14

The rest of the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern all continued to live in Philadelphia in 1930.  Sidney was retired,15 Sylvan was now working as a packer in a sporting goods business,16 and Howard was practicing law.17

Sadly, my cousin Rose Goldsmith Stern died less than a year after her daughter-in-law Gladys. Rose was 64 when she died on January 24, 1931, from heart disease: hypertension and arteriosclerosis leading to myocarditis and angina pectoris. Her obituary reported that she died from a heart attack. It also stated that Rose had been the manager of the Beth Israel Association for the Deaf and the national chairwoman of the Council of Jewish Women.18

Rose Goldsmith Stern death certificate,
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 001001-004000.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Rose was survived by her husband Sidney and her three sons and four grandchildren as well as seven of her siblings. Her husband Sidney continued to live in Philadelphia. In 1940 he was living in the Majestic Hotel where his sister-in-law Estelle Goldsmith and brother-in-law Edwin M. Goldsmith were also living.19 Sidney died on October 19, 1942, also of heart disease.20

Sylvan Stern and his family continued to live in Philadelphia in 1940, and Sylvan was still working as a packer in a sporting goods store at that time.21 According to his 1942 draft registration, his employer was Edward K. Tryon Company.22 Sylvan died on December 21, 1960.  He was 67 years old. He was survived by his wife and children and his two brothers.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Allan Goldsmith Stern remarried several years after the death of his first wife Gladys.  In 1940 he and his second wife Margaret were living in Washington, D.C., where Allan was an engineer for an ornamental iron company, which his draft registration revealed was still Fred S. Gichner Iron Works.23  I could not find any other information about Margaret, but in 1956 Allan married for a third time; his third wife was Alma Hollander.24

Allan Stern died on June 9, 1964, from cancer, according to his obituary in the Washington Evening Star. The obituary reported that in addition to his long career at Fred S. Gichner, Allan had been a founding member of the Beth El Congregation of Maryland and had helped establish the Kaufman Camp for Underprivileged Children on Chesapeake Bay. He was survived by his wife Alma and his brother Howard.25

Howard Stern was the only of Rose Goldsmith’s sons to live beyond his 60s. In 1940 he was living with his family in Philadelphia and practicing law, which his draft registration in 1942 revealed was his own practice.26 Howard died on July 10, 1989, just a few weeks short of his 94th birthday. He was survived by his children.27

The family of Rose Goldsmith Stern certainly faced a number of challenges. But overall, they appear to have been a family that overcame those challenges, found professional success, and gave back to society in many ways.

Thank you once again to Sharon and to Amberly for their help!

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Philadelphia city directories, 1899, 1900, 1901, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  2. University of Pennsylvania Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: The Record; Year: 1915. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  3. Cornell Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1916. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  4.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania. “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  5.   Family of Sidney Stern, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1646; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1791. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  6. Simon Osserman and family, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 21, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1224; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 1445. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Marriage of Howard Stern and Madeline Kind Kohn, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  8. Madeline Kind Kuhn Passport Application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1494; Volume #: Roll 1494 – Certificates: 141500-141875, 12 Feb 1921-15 Feb 1921. 
  9. Marriage of Allan Stern and Gladys Fliegelman, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  10.  District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1961,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F7TK-SXY : accessed 1 May 2018), Gladys Stern, 06 Feb 1930, District of Columbia, United States; citing reference ID 325790, District Records Center, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 2,116,108. 
  11. Harry Fliegelman and family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1065. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. “Poetess Dies in Plunge,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 1930, p. 7. 
  13. “Woman Ends Life Because of Illness,” The Dayton Herald,” February 6, 1930, p. 33. 
  14. Washington, DC, City Directories, 1930, 1931, 1929, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  15. Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0397. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16. Sylvan Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1077. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  17. Howard Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 1029.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  18. “Mrs. Rose Goldsmith Stern,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 1931, p. 17. 
  19. Sidney Stern, 1940 US Census,  Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  20. Sidney Stern, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 085451-088100. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 86311 
  21. Sylvan Stern and family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 51-2119. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  22. Sidney Stern, 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. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  23. Allan and Margaret Stern, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: m-t0627-00563; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 1-307, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census.  Allan Stern, 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 Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1939. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  24. “Alma Stern,” Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, September 23, 1979, p. 49. 
  25.  “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  26. Howard Stern, 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. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  27. Number: 167-32-5823; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1956-1958. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.  

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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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 newspapers.com, 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
Ancestry.com. 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 1984, Marjorie in 2006.  Their uncle Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr. died in 1991.19

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.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. 
  2.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141719. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. 
  6.  Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1941. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10.  Allentown, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1942-1945. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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 Savarese: Number: 161-01-9564; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. Marjorie Gerstle: Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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.  Ancestry.com. 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
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1910 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Cecile and Julian Simsohn, 1930 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 12A;Enumeration District: 1030. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  11.  Philadelphia Inquirer, obituary for EDWIN GOLDSMITH, RETIRED ENGINEER, (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0FBAE6E80E61F93B-0FBAE6E80E61F93B : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  12. Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and family, 1930 US Census, Longport, Atlantic, New Jersey; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0056. Ancestry.com. 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
Description
Enumeration District: 0486; Description: Philadelphia City Pa, 22nd Ward, 10th Division, bounded by Hancock, Penn, Germantown Ave, Laurel, Bowman
Source Information
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1915

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

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.  Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Cecile and Julian’s first child was born on August 9, 1916, 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6FXJ-86?cc=1951739&wc=M61X-4PF%3A251391701 : 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 Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  10. 1910 and 1911 Philadelphia directories, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  18. E.g. Philadelphia city directories, 1911, 1914, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  19. “H.F. Goldsmith, Nylon Executive,” The Phladelphia Inquirer, October 29, 1963, p. 38. 
  20.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  23.  Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  25. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. 

Milton Goldsmith: A Victim of Conscience

In my last post we saw what my cousin Milton Goldsmith predicted for the 21st century; in this post, we will start to look at his life in the 20th century.

In 1900, Milton was recently married to Sophie Hyman of New York City, and the newlywed couple were living in Philadelphia where Milton continued to make a living as a clothing merchant. Their first child, Rosalind, was born on February 1, 1901, in Philadelphia,1 and a second daughter, Madeleine, followed on May 20, 1904, also in Philadelphia.2

By this time Milton had published his first novel, Rabbi and Priest (1891), as discussed here, as well as a second novel, A Victim of Conscience (1903).3

A Victim of Conscience takes place in the 1850s in a city that is unnamed but (based on the street names) is most likely Philadelphia. The main character is a recent German Jewish immigrant named Isaac Schwartz.  He has been in America for four years at the beginning of the novel and is living in dire poverty, desperate for a way to earn enough money to support his family. He finally decides to go to California to join the gold rush. There he encounters anti-Semitism and abuse and ultimately commits the crime that makes him a “victim of conscience.”

The principal theme of the book is atonement. Isaac seeks advice from a rabbi about how to atone for his crime and is discouraged by some of the rigidity of Jewish law. He then considers converting to Catholicism and studies with a priest, but ultimately decides that he can’t accept the notion that mere faith in Christ as his savior will provide salvation. In the end he learns that Judaism can provide a path to forgiveness and expiation for his sins.

The book’s focus is thus on Isaac’s struggle with his conscience and how religion affects that struggle. But the book is of more interest to me in the way that it reflects the way my cousin Milton understood his own family’s story—their life in Germany, their reasons for leaving Germany, and the life they found when they first settled in the US fifty years before he wrote this book. A few excerpts will illustrate what I mean.

Although I have no reason to assume that Milton was being at all autobiographical in describing the lives of some of his characters, I did wonder whether this description of Isaac’s life in Germany was based on his father Abraham’s life in Oberlistingen before emigrating:4

Isaac’s father, old Meyer Schwartz, was a power in his native village of D. He was in fair circumstances, and educated as far as education went in those days; for the Jews, rich and poor alike, were denied the privileges of the village schools, and were limited in their instruction to the teachings of their “Cheders ” and the scraps of information which they could impart one to the other. Old Schwartz was a profound Talmud scholar, and was deemed as wise as he was devout, which was no equivocal compliment, for he was pious indeed. … It was [his] ambition to make a Rabbi of [Isaac], but in spite of his earnest and painstaking instruction, Isaac never got beyond the general outlines of the law and the Talmud. Buying and selling afforded him more pleasure than poring over parchments, and, after a vain effort to keep him to his studies, old Schwartz reluctantly allowed him to follow his own inclinations.

Milton also provided some background for the reasons so many German Jews emigrated:5

In those days the Jews in Germany had few rights and many grievances. Harsh measures were devised, stringent laws enacted to drive them out of the country, or at least to restrict their increase. The possession and cultivation of land, the study of a profession, the following of the fine arts, were all interdicted. Buying and selling, borrowing and lending, were the only channels in which the Israelites were allowed to exercise their ingenuity, and grievous was their condition in consequence. Worse still, a Jew was not allowed to marry until some co-religionist in the community had died or had moved away.

His main character Isaac decides to emigrate because he wants to marry the woman he loves, Lena, and cannot stay in his home community and do so.

Milton also described the hard lives of the Jews who made a living as peddlers after coming to the US, as his father Abraham probably did:6

A number of peddlers were among the visitors, stalwart young fellows but lately arrived from Germany, who, with a heavy pack on their shoulders, or, if their means allowed, with horse and wagon, wandered through the State, hawking a varied assortment of merchandise, and seeking to master the American tongue while they accumulated American dollars. It was a hard experience, but a salutary one. For the pious Jews, peddling meant untold privations, a total abstinence of all food except eggs and such “Kosher” dried meats as they could carry with them. It meant a weary trudging through unfamiliar villages, over stony roads, amid hostile surroundings, from Sunday morning until Friday evening, and a short rest on the Sabbath in some synagogue town.

It was a career which might well have daunted the most enterprising youth, and yet thousands of “greenhorns ” adopted it, thrived at it, became wealthy through it. It was not considered degrading in those pioneer days, but eminently proper for a new arrival.

19th century etching of a peddler by Granger found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/1-peddler-19th-century-granger.html

The book also sheds light on the lives of German Jewish families in Philadelphia during that time period—the level of observance of Jewish law, the economic and social conditions, and the relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. The book is likely more valuable today for what it reveals about its times than for its literary merit, but for me, it was a worthwhile read.

Thus, by 1903, Milton had published two novels and written many essays, short stories, and even a musical. He and his family must have decided that it was time to leave Philadelphia and move to New York City where he might have more opportunities to pursue his literary career.

You can download a free copy of A Victim of Conscience here.


  1. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBYW-R9L : 9 March 2018), Rosalind Goldsmith, 01 Feb 1901; citing bk 1901 p 107, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,340. 
  2. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBBL-N5K : 8 December 2014), Madeline Goldsmith, 29 May 1904; citing cn 22583, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 2,110,933. 
  3. Milton Goldsmith, A Victim of Conscience (Henry T. Coates & Co., 1903). 
  4. Ibid., p.6. 
  5. Ibid., p. 7. 
  6. Ibid., pp. 84-85. 

Milton Goldsmith Predicts the Future

After the publication of his first book Rabbi and Priest in 1891, Milton Goldsmith contributed a number of essays and short stories to the Philadelphia newspapers. My favorite is “In the Next Century”1 dated August 28, 1892, when he predicted—with tongue in cheek—what life would be like in the year 2000:

Here are a few highlights from this clever and humorous look at the future—or in our case, the past:

It is safe to assume that the world is but in its infancy, and that coming generations will show a vast mental and physical improvement over the present inhabitants of the globe. Our varied knowledge, the wonderful progress on which we are so prone to pride ourselves, will probably appear as absurd to our progeny as the fragmentary information of our forefathers appears to us. Knowledge will be universal, and the inhabitants of our continent will, in the next century, be intellectual giants.

Imagine yourselves transported to the year 2000….What a change greets our wondering eyes. Ignorance appears to be unknown. The child of 5 knows more than the college graduate of the present era. Let us examine the system that has wrought this improvement.  The guide of that year first leads us into the School for Infants. It is here that the babies are taught under the supervision of the government. Competent teachers are appointed the very young idea to shoot. For example, as soon as a child is old enough to drink milk from a bottle, it is taught at the same time the fundamental laws of suction and the principle of the air-pump. Experiments with valves, Torricelli vacuums, etc., form part of the curriculum.

An illustration of Torricelli’s vacuum
By Kilom691 (The New Student’s Reference Work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How disappointed my cousin Milton would be. I am far past infancy yet I still didn’t know what a Torricelli vacuum was!

He continued with further examples of how babies and children would be instructed in gravity, zoology, geometry, trigonometry, and other mathematical and scientific concepts. Then he looked at medicine and health in the year 2000:

With a people of such mental caliber it is but natural that arts, science and inventions should prosper. The pleasure and comfort of man is greatly enhanced by the numerous devices invented for his welfare. Principal among these are the appliances for fostering the health of the community. Sickness is absolutely unknown. The medical fraternity, having discovered the germ of each disease, have at the same time provided an antidote for such germs. At the age of 2 months the child is vaccinated against tuberculosis. At the age of 3 months against cholera; at the age of four months against smallpox, and so on at regular intervals against all the diseases in the modern doctor books.

Here, Milton has done a better job of prognostication; we do have vaccines against smallpox and tuberculosis and many other diseases. But alas, we certainly have not eliminated all diseases.

Smallpox vaccine
By Photo Credit: James Gathany Content Providers(s): CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Milton went on to describe, with tongue in cheek, the extreme measures that would be taken to prevent the reintroduction of germs into society—“Before a mother kisses her child she cleans her teeth and lips with an antiseptic solution. All water is boiled, and all milk sterilized before it is taken.”

He then takes this notion and applies it to the way adults will behave in the year 2000.

When the boy or girl reaches the age when matrimony appears a consummation devoutly to be wished, there are no haphazard marriages as in former days.  The partner to be chosen is carefully examined by a psychologist, a pathologist and a phrenologist, and every peculiarity of mental or physical structure carefully noted.  Only such parties who are perfectly sound and whose peculiarities are fitted to one another, are allowed to mate. Such a thing as an unhappy marriage, or a divorce, are as a matter of course impossible. Sick or weakly offspring are unknown.

What would Milton think of couples meeting through online dating? Of our over 50% divorce rate? Of birth control and premarital sex?

He then discussed married life:

The intelligent groom knows that promiscuous kissing is injurious; that each kiss, acting upon the sensitive nerves of touch, are apt to create a depletion of nervo-vital force. He therefore limits his kisses to two a day. The lips are carefully disinfected before and after each osculations.  …. The groom retires promptly at 10 o’clock, as sufficient sleep is found to be more important than making love.

Imagine Milton watching some of the movies or television shows of our era. What would he think?

Finally, Milton reached his conclusions about life in the year 2000:

As a result of this wonderful system sickness is unknown in the community. People live to the normal age of 100 years and then die suddenly without a struggle. The remains are immediately cremated, the ashes disinfected and buried ten feet in the earth.

Taking it all in all one is almost glad that this happy time has not yet arrived, for though we may have more disease than the possible inhabitant of A.D. 2000, we have a great deal more fun.

Ah, Cousin Milton, how wrong you were! We are still having a lot of fun, probably more than your generation did, as we have fewer diseases, more leisure time, looser social mores, and all the amazing toys that modern science has given us.

I loved the satiric tone of his essay.  And I also loved the sense that while I am now looking backward to learn about the life that Milton led as a young man in the 19th century, in 1892 he was looking forward to the future to imagine what life would be like for his descendants in the 21st century.

By Tony Grist (Photographer’s own files) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Milton’s creative output in the 19th century was not limited to short stories and essays. In December 1893, Milton’s burlesque entitled “Jay Cesar, Esq.”—which he wrote and acted in—was performed by the Stag Opera Comique Company in Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “it was a distinct success from every standpoint and from a social standpoint it was decidedly the leading event in Hebrew society this season so far.”  The performance consisted of two hours of “catchy airs, humorous songs, fantastic dances and whimsical dialogue.” 2

Milton was obviously a very talented young man.  The 20th century would find him leaving behind his life as a merchant and making a new career in a new city.  I wonder what he would have predicted for his own future when he wrote “In the Next Century” in 1892.

 

 

 


  1. Milton Goldsmith, “In the Next Century,” The Philadelphia Times, August 28, 1892, p. 19. 
  2. “Stags on Stage,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 29, 1893, p. 3. A full copy of the text of Jay Cesar can be found here. It is quite clever, and Milton is credited not only with the whole text, but also with some of the music. For other stories, essays, and other works by Milton Goldsmith during the 1890s, see, “Milton Goldsmith’s Lecture Before the Young Men’s Hebrew Association,” The Philadelphia Times, March 28, 1897, p, 9; Milton Goldsmith, “That Grateful Ghost,” The Philadelphia Times, March 5, 1893, p. 23; Milton Goldsmith, “Raps Told of Murder,” The Philadelphia Times, December 11, 1892, p. 23; Milton Goldsmith, “The Pride of the Circus,” The Philadelphia Times, August 14, 1892, p. 10; Milton Goldsmith, “The Three Responses,” The Philadelphia Times, March 27, 1892, p. 14.