Henry Goldsmith’s Grandsons: College Men

Before I left for England, I had been writing about Henry Goldsmith, my double cousin, related to me both as a Goldsmith and as a Schoenthal. Henry and his wife Sarah Jaffa had ten children, eight of whom were still living in 1920, all in western Pennsylvania. Sarah died in 1907, and Henry died in 1923. By then, six of their eight surviving children were married, and there were numerous grandchildren.

Two of their sons (JW and Benjamin) were in business together as merchants, one (Milton) was a doctor, one (Walter) a dentist, and two (SR and Oliver) were lawyers. Their two daughters also were quite accomplished, one (Florence) as a musician, the other (Helen) a teacher until she married and had a family. But we saw that after Henry’s death, there’d been some changes in the sons’ careers and that Oliver had moved away and married in Florida.

In the 1920s, not only were Henry Goldsmith’s sons making changes, his grandsons were as well. Three of his grandsons went away to college in the 1920s.

Norman, Milton and Luba Goldsmith’s older son, graduated from Cornell University in 1927.  Here is his photograph (left) from the 1927 Cornell yearbook:

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1927
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

During the summer after his graduation from Cornell, Norman took a writing course with his mother Luba at the University of Pittsburgh, as reported in detail in the July 28, 1927 Pittsburgh Press..  Here is just a short excerpt from the article, which mostly focuses on Luba’s writing interests and background:

“Pitt’s First Co-Ed and Son Studying in Same Class,” The Pittsburgh Press, July 28, 1927, p. 4

Again the doctor looks at literature. Dr. Luba Robin Goldsmith, practicing physician for 21 years, is a student of composition in the University of Pittsburgh summer school. Attending some of her classes is her son, Norman R. Goldsmith, aged 20, a graduate of the 1927 class of Cornell university, who will enter the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. ….

Beside her in Prof. Maulsby’s class in journalism each morning is her son, Norman R. Goldsmith, who, like his two parents will be a medical doctor. He is tall, attractive with his mother’s blue eyes and open countenance.  When questioned as to his correlation of medicine and writing, he said:

“Medicine I want to make my vocation; literature my avocation, if possible. I like to write. I think that’s about all.” He wants to write fiction, chiefly short stories.  He has already written a book, “Liebestraum,” printed privately in a small edition. In the Goldsmith home in Squirrel Hill is Albert, aged 12, whose career has not yet been determined. He is sturdy and athletic, likes music and writes a little.

Norman then began his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania, following in the footsteps of his mother and father, who were both doctors.1

Norman’s cousin, J. Edison, who was one year younger than Norman and the son of JW and Jennie Goldsmith, followed his cousin to Cornell, but completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He then went to the Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia.2

Finally, the third cousin, Jack Goldsmith, son of SR and Rae Goldsmith, was a year younger than J.Edison. Like his father, Jack went to the University of Michigan, from which he graduated in 1931. He chose law as his profession, following in his father’s footsteps; he attended Harvard Law School for a year and then transferred to the law school at the University of Southern California.3

And then tragedy struck. Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, the only son of SR Goldsmith and his wife Rae, died on March 21, 1933 at the age of 24. Excerpts from the full obituary are transcribed below:

“Funeral Service for Jack Goldsmith Thursday Afternoon,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 22, 1933, p. 5.

The funeral service for Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, whose death occurred yesterday morning in New York, will be held at 2:30 o’clock Thursday afternoon at the residence in Wills road. ….

A heart condition, which followed a severe attack of arthritis in December, caused death at 9:50 o’clock Tuesday morning at the apartment of Jack’s aunts, Misses Anne and Martha Tumpson. He was 24 years old.

The young man, a son of Attorney Samuel R. and Rae Tumpson Goldsmith of this city, was completing a law course at the University of Southern California when his illness began. In recent weeks his health failed rapidly, but many friends were unaware of the seriousness of his condition and his death created a profound shock.

Jack Goldsmith was widely known in Connellsville and other places. He made friends readily and was rather widely traveled. He was a brilliant student and made scholastic records at the institutions which he attended. Although equipping himself for the practice of law he was keenly interested in journalism and writing of short stories and poems. He frequently submitted articles to publishers, some of them being accepted.  During a summer vacation, he was employed on the reportorial staff of The Courier.  It being his desire to further acquaint himself with journalistic work through actual experience.

Born on January 28, 1909, in Connellsville, Jack attended the public schools here.  After two years in the Connellsvillle High School he entered Staunton Military Academy, where he was graduated with honors. While there he was a member of the school band and very active in student affairs. He next entered the University of Michigan, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1931.

At Michigan he was a member of the editorial staff of the school paper and was able to give wide scope to his desire for journalistic effort. He also became a member of the college gymnasium team, the first ever to represent the university in intercollegiate competition. He was awarded a letter for his success in that department. He was also a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.

Upon completion of his course there he entered Harvard Law School, spending one year at that place. Then he felt he might like to locate, upon graduation, in California, and in order to better reach a decision he transferred his study of law to the University of Southern California last year.

It was while his parents were on a visit with him during the Christmas holiday that he suffered an acute attack of arthritis.  It was quite severe on December 27. He was taken to the Cedar of Lebanon Hospital at Los Angeles, where he spent three weeks. The illness left him with a heart condition.

On February 22 he journed across the continent by train, going to the apartment of his aunts in New York. There he was confined to his bed for three weeks. His mother was constantly with him and his father spent the major portion of the past three weeks in New York also. Both were at his bedside when death occurred.

One of the best friends Jack Goldsmith had made in Connellsville was Rev. E. H. Stevens, pastor of the First Baptist Church. Despite the great difference in their ages, they would often spend hours together in the discussion of philosophy. With much in common, especially the ideas the younger generation are now confronting, they became very close to one another. Rev. Stevens has been invited by the family to take part in the funeral service.

What a terrible loss to the family and to the community. I was puzzled by the connection between arthritis and a heart condition, but after a little research, I believe that Jack suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, not the arthritis most of us association with joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with damage to the heart.

I also was puzzled by the reference to the “college gymnasium team,” but found references to this terminology in some older sources referring to some kind of athletic team, though I am not sure exactly which sport. It might be gymnastics.

Jack Goldsmith is buried in Glendale, California. As we will see in the next post, among his other legacies, Jack may have inspired many in his extended family to leave Pennsylvania for the California dream.




  1. “Get Penn Degrees,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 1931, p. 6. 
  2. The Connellsville Daily Courier, April 2, 1927, p. 6; The Connellsville Daily Courier, December 22, 1928, p. 6; The Connellsville Daily Courier, June 13, 1965, p. 2. 
  3. “Funeral Service for Jack Goldsmith Thursday Afternoon,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 22, 1933, p. 5.