Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wally and the Columbia Owl, 1959-63

In 1959, hubby Wallis E. Wood was an undergrad at Columbia University's School of General Studies (GS). He wound up being one of the founders of that school's weekly newspaper, the Columbia Owl, which won an award for campus journalism.

When Wally enrolled at GS, there was no newspaper, and a group of students began a mimeographed paper of such low quality that Wally and his classmates, Thomas Simpson and Michael B. Conant, created a parody issue of it. That got the administration's attention, and somehow Simpson received a budget to begin a real GS newspaper. Simpson was editor and Conant managing editor.

In 1960, Wally was features editor and, under the byline "A. Haggard Rider," he wrote a regular Subway Thoughts column (left).

By 1961, Wally was managing editor while Simpson remained editor. As of the end of May, 1961, the paper was so successful that it had expanded to 8 pages.

Simpson's job took him to Chicago, Wally moved up to become the Columbia Owl's editor for 1962. These were exciting times to be on campus, with all kinds of political issues to cover and other news and commentary.

In fact, in 1963, the Columbia Owl won an award for distinguished campus journalism covering international affairs, which Wally accepted at the National College Editors Conference in New York City.

The b/w photo above shows Wally holding the award and receiving a check for the Columbia Owl from Sterling Fisher, Exec Director of the Reader's Digest Foundation, and Ruth Hagy Brod, the conference chair. 2022 update: Another key event from his time as editor was arranging a big event featuring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Read about it here in the Columbia University mag!

Wally became so wrapped up in the newspaper that his academic standing was in peril. He left Columbia and got a reporting job on McGraw-Hill's Electrical Merchandising Week, and Larry S. Stewart became Owl editor.

As a going away present, the newspaper staff gave Wally this stuffed owl (which we still have), with two inscriptions:

To Wally from his staff, 1961-62

Presented to Wallis E. Wood in recognition of his contributions to the Columbia Owl 1963

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Looking for and Finding Margaret Steiner Post

Hubby's g-grandparents (Edward George Steiner and Elizabeth Jane Rinehart Steiner) had 7 living children (not counting the newborn who died and Elveretta, who died in early childhood). I think that Brice Larimer McClure, who married Floyda Steiner, kept this handwritten listing of his wife's family's births and deaths.

This week I'm on the trail of Margaret Steiner Post, b. 28 July 1861 and d. 3 Feb 1913. She's buried in Old Mission Cemetery, Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, Ohio, in Sec E, lot 29. Right next to her is Elroy D. Post, b. 29 June 1859 and d. 2 July 1929. Many other Steiner relatives are buried in this cemetery, as well, and I even have the deed for Brice Larimer McClure's plot.

Margaret Steiner Post doesn't appear in any of the Ohio death records, so I strongly suspect she died in Knoxville, where she and Elroy lived (according to the 1900 and 1910 Census notes). Just my luck, Tennessee required statewide recording of deaths up until 1912 and from 1914 on, but NOT in 1913.

After a discussion with a research librarian at the Knoxville Public Library, I'm sending info to them to request a lookup of an obit on great-aunt Maggie or, if available, a death cert from Knox county. To hedge my bets, I'm also going to ask the Upper Sandusky library to do an obit lookup. Fingers crossed!**

** UPDATE: Knoxville kindly sent me the above obit for Margaret Steiner Post. Her husband apparently decided to go mainstream by changing his name from Elroy to Edward, and she herself is identified only as MRS Edward D. Post. But this is definitely Great-aunt Maggie. After Maggie died, Elroy remarried a few years later and with his new wife, Merida, had one child--who they named Margaret Post. Hmm.....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Hubby's Baby Book

My late mom-in-law kept a baby book about her older son, my hubby. It's full of names of relatives and friends to check against other records during my genealogy research.

Two weeks after hubby was born, his parents, Marian Jane McClure Wood and Edgar James Wood, brought him to the home of Marian's parents, Brice Larimer McClure and Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure.

Mom and baby stayed until they were ready to go home to 1851 E. 82nd Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Thanks to the "Cleveland Memory Project" and its online archive of old photos, I know this was a street of small apartment buildings (walkups about 4 floors high, max) and a few big rooming houses (like the one Edgar Wood lived in just prior to his marriage).

On baby's first Christmas, relatives and friends visited: Grandmother and Grandad McClure, Uncle Wallie (Wallis Walter Wood), and Katie & John Creech (friends of Marian's).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Mom's Jewelry Box

Here are two views of a sentimental piece from my mother's jewelry box, a "junk jewelry" bracelet featuring photos of Sis and me, unusual for two reasons.
  1. We twins had bangs (which we probably had only once in our childhood--too difficult to keep 'em trimmed straight and out of our eyes!).
  2. We were wearing matching adorable dresses (a rarity because we were usually in overalls or slacks so we could play without messing up any finery).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Salute to Sisters, with Love

My younger sister with her daughter (now 25ish)
My twin sister with her older daughter (now 30ish)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 1st grade in Oxford Elem. School, Cleveland

Circa 1942, here's hubby in his first grade class at Oxford Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio.
His mother, Marian Jane McClure Wood, wrote out the names of classmates on the back of the photo. Transcribed, they are:

Top row: R. Kermode, C. Haley, _?_, _?_, Pat Walty, Valois [sp?], Sherman Mills, Wallie (HER SON, MY HUBBY), G. Moses, R. Fister, B. O'Day, Shirley O'Brock, B. Green

Middle row: Harriet Dalson, Sue Kester, Carol Siley, Lou Kester, Clara Jane, Paul Clarage [sp?], Eilleenn.

Bottom row: _?_, Barbara P., Frances Wood, Cora, David Kennard, Barbara Smith, Gail Smith, Martha Lou.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Who WAS Louisa A. M. Slatter, d. 1895?

She's still a mystery, this Louisa A. M. Slatter who married John Slatter Sr. (hubby's g-grandfather) sometime between 1891 and 1895. 

I've yet to find out when/where John Slatter Sr's first wife died--she was Mary Shehen Slatter, b. 1840 in Marylebone, Middlesex, England. John was born in 1838 in Oxfordshire, England. John & Mary's children moved to Canada and the US, and by the late 1880s, John had moved to Cleveland, where his daughter, Mary, later married James Edgar Wood. I speculate that John (a wallpaper cleaner and hanger) met James Edgar Wood (a builder) in Cleveland and that's how Mary met her husband (and became hubby's grandparents).

But now back to Louisa, who's an unknown. Her obit appeared in the Cleveland papers on February 26, 1895. It reads:
Slatter. Louisa A. M. Slatter, wife of J. Slatter, at 2 a.m., February 24, age 46. Funeral from residence, No. 433 1/2 St. Clair St, at 2 p.m., City time, Tuesday, February 26. Chosen friends invited. Cincinnati papers please copy.
So what do I know about Louisa? According to the cemetery record, Louisa was white, a native of England, and died of Brights disease. When John Slatter Sr. died, he was buried next to her.

I've tried calling, writing, and e-mailing the Cuyahoga County clerk's office asking about whether a death cert exists for Louisa Slatter. In the past, I've had good luck with them, but this time, after 6 months of intermittent requests, no response (perhaps because no record exists in their files). Nor have I ever located a marriage record for Louisa and John. I'm going to try to find some connection with Cincinnati, given the obit's mention of it.

2022 Update: Louisa has been found! I redid my research from scratch on a different genealogy site and discovered where she and John Slatter tied the knot.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Twins

Here we are, age 2 or 3, in blue-stripe dresses with matching purses...and our favorite Raggedy Ann dollies. Just guessing that the top photo shows Sis and bottom shows me, but the only way to really tell is if Sis remembers which dolly is which :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sorting Saturday: Summer Camp Heirlooms

Hubby made this aluminum plate while at summer camp, etching each letter by hand. The inscription on the back reads:  

This plate was made by Wallis Wood 
at Centerville Mills YMCA Camp 
August 30, 1951

The W in the center stands for Wood and around the outside are the names of all family members, including father (Edgar James) and mother (Marian Jane) plus Wally's siblings and Mitty, their beloved terrier mutt.

Centerville Mills YMCA Camp no longer operates, sadly. But this plate, and another W aluminum plate with family initials proudly made by hubby, are heirlooms with good summer memories attached.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Family Ties: Mahler, Volk, Wolf in 1925

Tillie Jacobs Mahler
A close look at the New York State Census data for 1925 shows just how close my Mahler relatives were to the Volk and Wolf families they married into. Literally close!

First, here's a quick overview of who's who. Tillie Jacobs Mahler, my great-grandma (left) was the mother of Henrietta Mahler (my grandma), who married Isaac Burk.* Henrietta's sister Ida Mahler married Louis Volk. Louis Volk's sister Beckie married Simon Wolf.

In the 1925 Census, look who was living at 2347 Morris Ave, Bronx, NY:
  • Louis & Ida (Mahler) Volk and their young son Myron.
  • Tillie Jacobs Mahler, and her grown children Morris and Dora. Tillie was Ida's mother and Louis's mom-in-law.
2400 Walton Ave., Bronx, NY
Literally around the corner in 1925, living at 2400 Walton Ave, Bronx, NY (apartment building shown at right) were:
  • Simon & Beckie (Volk) Wolf and their daughters, Celia, Pauline, and Shirley. Beckie was Louis Volk's sister.
More mysteries appear in the 1915 NY Census. But more about that soon!

*Isaac and Henrietta Burk and their 4 children (including Dad!) lived at 1642 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan in 1925, so he could commute to his job as a cabinetmaker in the furniture district downtown.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dad Says Aloha to Hawaii--for 2 days

My father, Harold Burk (older son of Isaac Burk and Henrietta Mahler Burk) was a self-employed travel agent in New York City. He was often offered "fam trips" (familiarization trips) to various destinations, so he could see first-hand what the travel and accommodations were like and make recommendations to clients.

Since 1946, Dad's travel agency had been located inside the swanky Savoy Plaza Hotel (it became the Savoy Hilton in the late 1950s), and his clients had money to travel wherever. But with 3 young kids, he rarely took advantage of these trips.

One of Dad's dreams was to go to Hawaii and in 1959, he was offered a fam trip there. My mother simply couldn't find anyone to take care of the youngsters for a week or more. Finally, she suggested he go alone, which he reluctantly did.

Here's what he looked like getting off the plane in May, 1959, probably in Honolulu. This was in the days when leis were made of stunningly beautiful orchids!

Dad was in Hawaii for perhaps 2 or 3 days when he got an urgent call from my mother: We three kids had fallen sick with something like German measles. She needed his help. He had to turn around and fly home. He brought back a small figure, like a netsuke, and my memory was it looked like a Buddhist god of contentment. It sat on his dresser for many years as a reminder of his brief trip to Hawaii.

The following year, Dad had his first heart attack. Within a couple of years, the Savoy Hilton had been torn down to make way for the General Motors building. While the hotel was in its heyday, Dad would very likely have rubbed shoulders with the likes of "Don Draper" and his ilk, especially if they enjoyed the tiki menu at the stylish Trader Vic's restaurant.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Dance Card from Zeta Psi Frat, 1923

My late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood, kept a scrapbook of his college years. As a member of the Kappa Chapter of Zeta Psi Fraternity at Tufts, he enjoyed many frat and sorority dances--and held onto the dance cards from each one.

Above, a page from his scrapbook, showing some of the programs/dance cards.

Left, his dance card from a pledge dance in January, 1923.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: All Dressed Up, 1978

I've been on a digitizing kick, as you can see from this small treasure trove of photos showing the ladies of the family all dressed up for weddings in 1978.

The wrap my sisters are wearing in these photos was "in the family" (kept in my mother's venerable Lane cedar-lined hope chest), but who made it or acquired it and when, I don't know. It's still in the family, in mothproof storage (right, Sis?).
My Mom (Daisy Burk) and my twin

My younger sister

Me (left) with oldest niece and Tyrone

Sunday, June 3, 2012

When Isaac Met Henrietta (1905)

1905 NY Census
Henrietta Mahler married Isaac Burk on June 10, 1906, in New York City. 

Over and over, I've tried to figure out how they met. He was a carpenter from Russia (now Lithuania), she was the Latvian-born daughter of a tailor.

Now the 1905 New York State Census has provided a very tantalizing clue: two "Burke" brothers living as boarders with Henrietta's family (father Meyer, mother Tillie, and siblings) in an apartment in Manhattan. Do the math: That's 11 people in what was certainly no more than a 3-bedroom apartment, if they were lucky.

One boarder was Meyer Burke [sic], a cutter from Russia who had arrived in the US 2 years earlier. His age seems to be 20. There's a good chance that this Meyer was working with Meyer Mahler, and boarding with him for convenience.

The other boarder was Isidore Burke [sic], a carpenter from Russia, 23 years old, who had arrived in the US only 1 year earlier. Wanna bet this was Meyer's brother?

My grandfather Isaac Burk was a carpenter. He came to the US in 1904, having first stopped off in New Brunswick, Canada on December 5, 1903, following a 12-day trans-Atlantic trip from Liverpool on the S. S. Lake Erie.

1910 Census
It's very easy for me to believe that the Isidore shown on the 1905 Census is actually Isaac, especially since in the 1910 Census, there's a boarder named "Jennie Birk" living with Tillie Mahler and her family. Isaac Burk spelled his name "Birk" earlier in his US stay...and nobody ever spelled "Burk" the same way. Jennie, by the way, is an "operator" meaning she operated a sewing machine.

Now to hunt down Meyer and Jennie Burk/Birk/Berk/Burke and try to find out more!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sorting Saturday: Don't Get TOO Organized!

Sometimes doing too good a job of sorting is a bad thing! Why? Because documents or photos that should be together get put in separate places. By reuniting these things, I'm piecing together a trip that my parents took the year after they were married.

For better organization, I had sorted all my photos and family memorabilia into family archive boxes (one for Mahler, one for Burk, etc.) Today I was looking at a Schwartz box and noticed the postmark on this postcard folder sent by Daisy Schwartz Burk and her new husband, Harold Burk, to Daisy's parents (my grandparents), Theodore Schwartz and Hermina Farkas Schwartz. As usual, the grandparents were staying for a week or two in upstate New York to escape the summer heat of New York City. The postmark on this mailer says July 24, 1947.

Now look at the b/w photo above, taken at the Au Lutin qui bouffe in Montreal, dated July 16, 1947. It shows Daisy Schwartz and her husband, Harold Burk (center), with a mystery man at right. That mystery man is also in my parents' wedding photos on the Mahler side of the family, which is why this was in my Mahler box. Daisy has a wrapped gift on her lap (is it for the mystery guy or from the mystery guy?).**

Clearly both of these are part of the same swing through Canada at the New England border. Neither of my parents could drive a car, which means they took the train--easy enough from New York City. Who is this mystery man? Did he live in Montreal or did he arrange to meet my parents while all were visiting the city?

I'm going to put each item back in its family archive box but with a note about the trip, for cross-reference purposes

Never give up on mystery photos! You just never know when a new cousin connection will result in an "a ha" moment for unidentified relatives.

**UPDATE: The mystery man is my father's first cousin on the Burk side, whose family lived in Montreal. That family has a copy of this photo, as well, so when I connected with them a few years ago, we were able to piece together a lot of the story!