Thursday, July 23, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: Who's the General on This War Bonds Wallet?

The Gen Do-Over is a great time to look at every artifact related to the family tree.

My late father-in-law Edgar J. Wood kept a number of items from the World War II era. In addition to items like war-time fuel limit posters (donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society earlier this year), he held onto this handsome leather war bonds wallet.

It was given away by the Carnegie Body company of Cleveland, Ohio, whose name is stamped on the back. Since Ed was an insurance adjustor, he certainly had a lot of contact with such companies in the course of his work.

On the front is an image of what looks like a four-star U.S. general.

Who is he? - SEE BELOW!

I imagine his face was familiar to the men and women of America some 70 years ago.

Any ideas?* Two answers came right away, including one from the WRHS: This is almost certainly General MacArthur. Makes sense, doesn't it? He's so young in this image. By the end of the war, he looked a lot older...

UPDATE: This wallet has been donated to the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA, where it will become part of the artifact collection related to General MacArthur. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Talented Tuesday: Edgar James Wood and the Hermit Club

My late dad-in-law Edgar James Wood (1903-1986) was a talented musician. He began taking piano lessons in his early teens, and by the time he was in college at Tufts during the Roaring Twenties, he was financing his tuition by playing in jazz bands.

More than once, Ed played his way across the Atlantic and toured Europe with "American jazz bands" during summers between college semesters (see photos at right and below).
After he married Marian McClure and had a family, he was an insurance adjustor by day. By night, Ed was a professional piano player and, sometimes, a composer.

One of his favorite haunts at home in Cleveland was the Hermit Club, where he was a long-time member. The club is devoted to the performing arts and I know from Ed's diaries that he considered it a special honor to be admitted to membership.

Ed and his family enjoyed meals and special events at the Hermit Club for many a year. At top, the ashtray Ed kept as a remembrance of all the happy times at the Hermit Club--now a family heirloom with warm memories of Ed's piano talent.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Those Places Thursday: Off Tremont Avenue in the Bronx

Because I had a professional photography studio make proof sheets of faint black-and-white negatives that were part of my parents' snapshot collection, I was able to isolate and scan individual images to add contrast and view them more clearly.

That's how I saw enough detail to identify the Bronx, NY apartment building where my grandparents (Teddy Schwartz and Minnie Farkas Schwartz) lived from the 1940s until the mid-1960s. The address is 600 East 178th Street in the Bronx, just steps from the busy shopping street of Tremont Avenue.

Above left, the photo of my mother (Daisy Schwartz) in front of that apartment building during the summer of 1946. She has her suitcase, ready to go with my father (Harold Burk) to visit his favorite aunt and uncle (Ida and Louis Volk).

Notice the distinctive architectural details around the doorway behind my mother? Now compare them with the Google photo at right of the same building, taken 70 years later.

In the old days, the front door had decorative wrought-iron trim over glass, and the lobby had upholstered furniture that gradually became shabbier and finally disappeared. Today, the entrance is a solid door, although the masonry details remain from the way the building looked decades earlier.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Untouched Box Holds Special Obit

Hubby opened a box within a box--unopened for at least three decades--and suddenly we had a long, detailed, memorable obituary for his uncle Ted, who had been active in community theater for years and was also a volunteer in local prisons.

Theodore William Wood was born in Cleveland on May 10, 1910, the son of James Edgar Wood and Mary Slatter Wood. Uncle Ted died of a heart condition in Jackson, MI, on October 17, 1968 at age 58, two days before he was slated to run the box office for a community theater production of A Man for All Seasons.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Day Ancestors

Moritz Farkas (1857-1936)
Happy 4th of July! Two ancestors on my mother's side have a connection to early July:

Moritz Farkas was born in Botpalad, Hungary on 3 July 1857 and died in 1936. Happy 158th birthday, Great-Grandpa.  

Sam Schwartz (original name: Simon Schwartz) was born in Ungvar, Hungary on 4 July 1883 (and died in 1954). Happy 132d birthday, Great-uncle Sam, older brother to my Grandpa Tivador Schwartz.