In 2003, I was issued my first passport. With it in hand, the girl smiling out at the world from the passport photo was ready to venture out into the great unknown beyond America! That’s what you do when you get a passport – you explore! You cross borders! You go through customs! With a passport, you see the world!
Or you go home.
I imagine that the spring and early summer of 1934 was a time of planning and preparation for Max and Anna and their small family. There were changes in store for these Schellhardts. Not only was another baby on the way but there was a move to make. And this wasn’t any cross-city move. This was a move across the ocean.
For Max, it was a move back home.
At some point – the facts and mundane details lost to history – Max decided to take his family back to Germany to help his father with the family business (a tavern? a hotel? it’s never been quite clear to me.) You have to wonder too whether Max at 29 – now a man with family responsibilities and multiple dependents – was leaving an economically depressed country to go to a land of opportunity just as he had, in reverse, at the age of 19.
Whatever the reason, the Schellhardts left America in July 1934.
But remember, Max was no longer a German citizen. He was an American. And so he needed a U.S. passport to go home.
He was issued Passport No. 113690 on June 6, 1934. At that time, wives and children were included in the passports of their head of household so Max’s wife Anna and their three sons are listed in his passport. In a bit of interesting timing, the fourth Schellhardt child, Helen, was born two days after the passport was issued. Since you can’t just slip a baby through customs – no matter how cute – an amendment had to be made. On July 9th, Helen’s picture was added on Page 6 and I would wager she is probably the youngest Schellhardt child to be recorded in a passport.
There are interesting things about the passport – first, Anna’s name is listed as Marie Anna. It is one of the many instances of Nanny’s flip-flopping name. Secondly, Max’s birth date is incorrectly recorded – April 5, 1905. He (someone?) was eight days off. Lastly, look closely at the stamps and you realize that Max was going back to a different country than the one that he left as a young man. But we, of course, have the benefit of hindsight and history books.
I blew up the cover of Max’s passport and it’s now framed and hanging in my dining room. When I look at it, I imagine the journey that this record – and that’s what this is to this archivist, a record – took so many years ago. I wonder if it was stuffed in Max’s jacket pocket or tucked away in Anna’s pocketbook. Was it gingerly placed on a counter were some junior immigration official thumbed through the pages? Was it hastily pulled out to be presented upon disembarking? Did it get lost in the shuffle of a week long journey across the ocean? Did it hear (records hear just like they speak, doncha know?) someone yell in a panic “where is the passport?!”
I am lucky in that I can hold this piece of our family’s history in my hands. Every once in a while, I take it out and I experience the weight of it even though it is not heavy in the least. I run my fingers across the (surely fake) gold embossed cover and the raised stamps that are the hallmarks of a government record. I flip through the pages, even the blank ones…because even without words, there is a story on those pages. I look at the photographs and I see a family ready to venture beyond America.
This passport took our family home.
And brought them back home again.
Today marks the 87th wedding anniversary of Max and Anna Schellhardt. To celebrate, I'd thought we'd play a game! Find five things that are different in these two wedding portraits!
There's something really different. Do you see it?
No word on who was the better best man.
Remember a few weeks ago when I told you about Max's naturalization
? Well, here are the official records - his declaration of intention, his certificate of arrival, his petition for citizenship, and his oath of allegiance (bye-bye German Reich, hello America!)
There's no narrative or witty banter in today's post because sometimes you just need to let the records tell their own story!
Did you learn anything new about Max? I know I did!
A huge thanks to my colleagues at the National Archives in Philadelphia! Now...who wants to do me a favor ('cause I used up all mine) and request Mathilda's records?!
You may not know this but my mom has a thing for bald guys and tattoos.
I think I get it now.
Where's this from? Check in tomorrow to find out!
Can we say “Daddy Issues”?
Max Schellhardt had important business to conduct on the 16th day of April in 1926. It was a Friday – perhaps it was pay-day for the carpenters and laborers who were hard at work preparing the fairgrounds for the big Sesquicentennial Fair that was set to open in a month and half. Maybe Max had to wait in line with his coworkers to collect his wages before knocking off early so he could do his business. Having moved to a neighborhood closer to his job, Max probably had to take the trolley back up to his old stomping grounds near 7th and Girard. If he played his cards right, maybe he stopped at the home of his fiancee’s family for a nice dinner of crab cakes. It was Friday after all.
#32 and I are going to Memphis in May. We’re super excited about it. I had to do all the planning though – as is usually the case with #32. Aside from figuring out if we should stay at the hotel with paper-thin walls versus the hotel in the flight path of the airport…where the Fed Ex planes start to take off at 3 AM, planning my trip wasn’t complicated. I entered my information into Orbitz, provided my credit card number, and in about 10 minutes, I had myself two round trip tickets to Memphis PLUS a rental car! Easy peasy!
Planning a trip – a voyage, really – in the early 1920s was a little more complicated. Sure, you know all about ship manifests now (and if you don't, go back and re-read all those posts!) but how did the names get on the manifests so that the people could board the ship to go wherever they were going?
It’s the same thing #32 and I needed for our flight to Memphis.
Steamship companies – and airlines, for that matter – sure weren’t in the business of giving people free rides. If they did that, well, they would be out of business! Or at least up a creek without a paddle.
But what happens when there’s no Orbitz?! Or no certified travel agent?!
Well, in the early 20th century, along the Eastern seaboard, immigrant or ethnic banks were established in neighborhoods where newly-arrived immigrants tended to settle. Primarily established by German Jews, the banks were oftentimes located in Jewish neighborhoods. Calling them banks is a bit of misnomer, however, because while immigrants could deposit money with them, the banks’ real bread and butter came from selling steamship tickets and arranging passage for immigrants to come to the United States. Four such banks operated in Philadelphia including the Blitzstein Bank, the Rosenbaum Bank, the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank, and the Rosenbluth Bank. Only Rosenbluth exists today – and not as a bank but as - no joke - Rosenbluth Vacations, a
Little is known about the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank. The 1919 Annual Report of the Philadelphia Board of Trade lists the address for this bank as 7th and Girard Avenue with Charles Lipshutz and Maurice Wurzel listed as president and vice president, respectively. During the 1920s, German-Americans tended to live in that area of the city – in fact, until Max moved to South Philadelphia, he lived at 1512 North 7th Street and the Wissmanns lived on North Leithgow Street which was a few blocks away. So, chances are Max…or Anna…or Anna’s mother…was familiar with this bank.
This may explain why Max conducted his business at the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank on April 16, 1926.
But what kind of business was he doing?
Like me, he seems to have had to make his brother’s travel arrangements. Of course, his brother was immigrating to America and not going to Memphis for some barbecue. But you get the picture.
This is the prepaid steamship ticket for Max’s younger brother, Adolph, as purchased on April 16, 1926.
If you ever want to hear this archivist swoon…well, this record would do it. This isn’t a vital record like a marriage or death certificate. It isn’t a government record like the census forms or even the ship manifests. All it really is, is a record of a mundane business transaction that took place on April 16, 1926. If you don’t think that’s awesome – what is?!
Prepaid steamship ticket record from the records of the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank courtesy of the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University
Would Philadelphia be big enough for two Schellhardts? Stay tuned to find out!
Today, Max would have been 108 years old.
He did not live to see the age of 50; dying at 49 on Christmas Day 1954.
This year he will have been dead for 59 years…10 years longer than he lived.
For much of my life, that was who Max was to me – my mom’s father who died at 49 on Christmas Day. Practically his entire biography, as I knew it, wasn't the story of his life. It was the story of his death. And because of that - and because my mom was too young to remember anything - Max didn’t factor much in our lives (unintended pun! Max factor…get it?!) It wasn’t Max who kept the family in line. It wasn’t Max who raised my mother. It wasn’t Max who was my grandfather. No one kept him or his memory alive. He was just a man in some family pictures whom I didn’t know. Kinda sad.
But a couple of years ago, when I was an up and coming archivist – as opposed to the old, seasoned one that I am now – I had to do a rotation with our reference branch in Washington, DC (where they keep the good stuff like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution). In order to understand how to do genealogy research, I had to do research on my own family as part of my project. Figuring that I’d have more luck researching my mom’s side of the family rather than combing through the billion Kellys, Lees, and Hendersons in the world (hey, I only had a few weeks and half of that time was spent trying to work the microfilm readers!), I started researching the Schellhardts. That’s when I found the ship manifests and census records and a few other things that made me realize that Max was more than a guy who died a long, long time ago.
He is a man who deserves to be remembered.
Meet Max –
He was German by birth.
He was an older brother.
He was married to his wife for 28 ½ years.
He had six children (and I don't want to cause problems, but supposedly Aunt Anne was a Daddy's girl!)
He had a nice smile...and perhaps poor posture.
l-r - Betty, Anna, Max, and Charles Schellhardt
He raised boxers.
He was a bar owner but he preferred carpentry and building things.
He couldn’t tell a splinter from a chicken pox.
He wore glasses.
Max Schellhardt's eyeglasses
He was a man of deep faith.
Items with Max in the hospital before he passed away
He was liked.
He is our father, our grandfather, our great-grandfather.
He is not part of our past...he is part of our beginnings.
And on this day, we remember and honor him.
Happy Birthday, Max.
(And now you know what was in that box of chocolates.)
This weekend is pretty special – tomorrow is Max’s birthday and Sunday is my parents’ 40th anniversary. Since I didn't plan a surprise anniversary party (surprise!), I wanted to make sure Featured Photo Friday was extra awesome this week - yep, you guessed it, you're getting two photos!
Both photographs are from wedding days of Schellhardt daughters - Helen and Margaret. Sadly, the father of the brides would not live long enough to see his youngest daughter, the flower girl in the first photo, marry. But I’m sure he was there.
This first photograph is an example of why Schellhardt Generations exists. See, my mom has only one photograph of just her and her father…and that was taken shortly before his death. But a few weeks ago, Aunt Helen Knuttel sent me a photograph of her wedding – she and Uncle Bill were behind their wedding cake, flanked by Mr. and Mrs. Knuttel and Nanny and Max. And leaning against Max, was a flower girl who was clearly exhausted. It was a photograph that my mom had never seen before. And that folks, is what this website is all about!
For her birthday, my mom asked for a copy of the photo…with everyone cropped out so she could have one more photo of just her and her dad. On this weekend, I think there’s no better photo to feature!
Max and Margaret Mary Schellhardt
Fast forward a few years to when the floewer girl was the bride!
Margaret and Joseph Henderson on their wedding day, April 14, 1973, with the Schellhardt family
By the way, with all the talk of South Philadelphia in yesterday's post, I wanted to let you know that I added some Phun Phillies Photos
to the photo album section! If you have any to contribute - even if it's just you wearing a Phillies shirt - please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm working on blog post now but I tend to suffer post-traumatic stress whenever I think back to those days...
Sometimes, I think all the world really needs to is a fair. The Olympics are great and all but there is just so much competing – just for those little medals. Fairs are much better – there’s cotton candy, funnel cake, and Ferris Wheels at fairs! Who doesn’t like a fair?! It’s really unfortunate that the world doesn’t put on international fairs as much anymore.
In 1926, Philadelphia hosted the Sesquicentennial International Exposition – which is just a fancier name for Philadelphia’s World Fair – to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (which is housed at SHAMELESS PLUG the National Archives in Washington, DC). The fair opened on May 31, 1926 and ran through that November. It was plagued with a variety of problems including a very damp forecast – it rained 107 days of the 184 days that it was open! With lackluster attendance, the fair proved to be a financial disaster and it took three years for the city of Philadelphia to pay off the fair debt. Guess they didn’t sell enough funnel cake.
To give you a sense of the fair’s location – it was located in the South Philadelphia area of the city between the Naval Yard and Packer Avenue and between 10th and 23rd Streets. The area known as Marconi Park today, was the pre-entrance to the fair. The then brand new Sesquicentennial Stadium that opened to the public on April 15, 1926 was located on the site of today’s Wells Fargo Center (this shows how long I’ve been gone…when I left Pennsylvania, it was still the First Union Center!)
It’s 1926 and there’s a fair to be built! Perfect timing for a young carpenter like Max Schellhardt! According to my mom, Max built stands for the fair (stadium bleachers or booths/stalls, I’m not exactly sure which!) So, this was where Max worked as a young man.
It was also where he lived. In April 1926, Max lived at 2633 South Rosewood Street – a German carpenter in what was and still is a traditionally Italian neighborhood. But when you have to get to work on time, who wants a long commute?!
I came across this awesome map from PhillyHistory.org
and Azavea Commons
of the location of the fair overlaid with the streets of Philadelphia as they are today. It provides a unique perspective on the Philadelphia of Max’s youth to the Philadelphia that we all know – especially if you’ve ever spent any time at all down at one of those sports stadiums.
I edited the map to highlight some key landmarks –
The highlighted road that runs vertically down the map is Broad Street. The highlighted road on the lower half of the map that crosses Broad is Pattison Avenue – the intersection being Broad and Pattison, of course. Isn’t there a subway stop there?
The Stadium is where the Wells Fargo Center is today. I’ll let you figure out where the Vet was. And where you had to hang out to get Phillies autographs.
The area at the top of the map that is circled in purple is South Rosewood Street where Max lived. Just south of Rosewood is the pre-entrance area, Liberty Bell Park (now Marconi Park).
Recognize any other landmarks? Let me know!
Original map via Azavea Commons. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/
Bird's Eye" view of the 1926 Sesqui-Centennial Exposition Grounds via wikipedia.org
A little later than 1926 but I think it captures Max doing what he loved to do - building at his bungalow.
I always get thrills when I see something Max wrote. For me, it is a powerful connection between another life and time and I almost feel like I can get a sense of the sort of man that he was. Sometimes I wonder what Max’s handwriting says about him.
For a long time, his signature was the only handwriting of Max’s that I knew existed. It was so carefully penned – his cursive letters are so neat and his last name complete - it doesn’t trail off in the middle as mine tends to do - you can tell that he was proud of every one of those 11 letters in his last name. I think Max’s signature tells us that he was a careful, diligent, and detailed-oriented man; that he was a man of purpose and pride.
The second piece of handwriting that I saw was on the back of a photograph taken on Max’s first day in America. Written in German, he provided the basic details of the photo – the who, what, when, where. When a friend of mine at work translated the caption, she called me and said, oh, Denise, this was very bad German grammar! We laughed about it and figured he was just excited to be in America. I think the handwriting on this photograph tells us about a young man on the brink of a new life…and who maybe wasn’t the best student!
And then there is this. From that box of chocolates. It is a Christmas card – no Dear…, no Love… Written in pencil, it is short and sweet. To the point. Maybe, just like Max.
The story of this card is this – as my mother knows it – Max gave Anna it at Christmas along with 100 dollars, presumably earned...
By now, you are semi-aware of my penchant for and love of all things alliterative. I think we can all agree that I hit pay dirt with Manifest Monday. But since the manifests are dwindling, I knew I had to come up with something that would make Mondays meaningful (triple word score, yeah!)
Finally, it came to me – really, it was staring at me all along! Memory Mondays! Every Monday, I will share a memory of people, places, or events – who knows, maybe you’ll be featured in my memory! And maybe that memory will spark your memories and you’ll share them with the rest of us. No pressure. You’ll do it when you’re ready. Or when I go on summer hiatus.
Today’s Memory Monday kicks off The Week of Max although – ironically – there is no memory to share today.
There is just this. A box of chocolate. Not just any box of chocolate of course. It’s a Whitman’s Sampler – so you know it was good chocolate.
Photograph of a Whitman's Sampler box
The top is torn. The edges are frayed. There is a water ring on the top where someone probably left a glass a little too long. On the inside cover is the familiar Whitman’s diagram with the names of all sorts of chocolates – honey nougat, chocolate fudge truffle, mint marshmallow, malted milk caramel, and bitter sweet cocoanut.
This is a 59 year old box of chocolate. Unless you’re prone to hoarding tendencies like me, why would someone save it for 59 years?
It’s not because of the chocolate, of course – all that is gone, the honey nougat, the mint marshmallow, the bitter sweet cocoanut having been eaten long, long ago.
So, what’s left in this box?
But they are memories of Max.
And that is why this box of chocolate has been saved for 59 years.
This week, we'll peek inside and uncover some of those memories - and maybe get to know Max just a little better.