On this day in 1953, Helen Schellhardt married Bill Knuttel!
60 years is quite the accomplishment! Congrats to Aunt Helen and Uncle Bill on this momentous occasion!
I hemmed and I hawed. I dillied and I dallied. I was almost a no show but then I figured better late than never, right?
I mean, that’s how #32 rolls.
He’s always late. He’s always been late. He was due on May 3rd. He was born on May 6th. And they had to use forceps to get him out (Ed – there’s an idea to get him to work on time!) They say our destiny is written before we’re even born…true ‘dat.
I was born at lunch time. I love lunch. #32 was born at 7:30-ish in the A.M. He doesn’t love mornings. He's always marched to the beat of his own drummer.
He’s been my big brother my entire life. Just the two of us. Like the Will Smith song.
He’s always made life interesting – especially his senior year of high school. He’s talented, brilliant, irritating, agitating, and sometimes throws rams. Always with the rams.
His first five years were quiet. That has been a revelation for me as I go through many of these old pictures. He probably never said “cheese” because he didn’t hear it. I get sad about that. But he will tell you that those were the most peaceful five years of his life. Let’s face it – our mother is loud.
Happy Birthday Michael! We’re so glad that you’re a part of our family! And I’m so glad that you’re my big brother!
In my town tomorrow, we’re celebrating Lakefest. It offically marks the opening of paddle-boating season. When I first moved here, my mom and I made it an annual tradition for a couple of years – we went to Lakefest, one of us (uh, not me) would cry because the other one of us refused to rent a paddle-boat, and then we would have a picnic lunch. Granted, this was a Schellhardt/Henderson picnic so we’re not talking lunch-meat sandwiches here – it was more like a fried chicken and mashed potatoes kinda picnic.
Since it’s Lakefest weekend, I figured the photo that I featured today should have something to do with a lake or a picnic. Apparently, we weren't much of a lake-going family back in the day but it looks like Schellhardts enjoyed their fair share of picnics!
Who remembers summer days at Green Lane Park?
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.
Can we say “Daddy Issues”?
This was a big week for presidential library geeks – uh, people like me who collect mugs from each library. Yep, there are people who do that. Thursday marked the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, Texas. A few years ago, when the library was still a warehouse in an industrial park, I was offered a job there. I turned it down, opting for a life of Maryland blue crabs and snow balls instead of big hair, even bigger boots, and Friday night lights in Texas. It was a tough decision only in that I knew my chances of meeting a cowboy would pretty much go out the barn door. Ho-hum. But don’t cry for me Texas – my life turned out pretty well.
Since it was such a momentous week, I knew I had to feature a photo that paid homage to the occasion.
Get ready for pictures of baby Republicans!
Since I equate Texas with cowboys, here are a couple of photos of our very own cowboys!
Yeah...I'm stretching things a little aren't I?
Sorry for the quiet week! Lots going on! But keep checking in! It's May soon!
I’m hoping that my records are correct and today really is the birthday of one of the babies in this week’s featured photo. If not, then I posted this on a random Friday and there's no context to the story whatsoever!
Anyhoo, today may or may not be the birthday of Jean Schellhardt’s oldest daughter, Emily. Why is this significant? You see, Emily is the first great-grandchild who is younger than me. Okay, maybe this weird little factoid is only significant to me. But before Emily, everyone was older than me - including the seven great-grandchildren who were born before 1979, the year Emily and I were born.
There may only be six weeks separating us but I'd like to point out that I'm the older cousin! (But at 34, it doesn't seem as important as it was when we were 10!)
This photo was taken in 1980 when we were both around a year old!
Happy Birthday Emily! We’re so glad that you’re a part of our family!
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?!
Would Philadelphia be big enough for two Schellhardts? Stay tuned to find out!
It’s Memory Monday! And Tax Day! While I’m sure you’re all dying to hear about my memories of filing my taxes for the first time, I think that would be kinda boring. So, I had to come up with another memory. It’s actually harder than you think (because there are so many of them...not because I don't remember! Uh...)
But then I remembered that it’s #2’s birthday. Who remembers who #2 is? If you guessed Uncle Charles’ daughter Diane, you’re right. If you didn’t; well, I just gave you the answer so relax. Anyway, since it’s Diane’s birthday, I knew I had to write about a memory connected to her. I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it some more.
And I kept thinking about the sightseeing trips to Philadelphia that my mom, #32, me, Diane and her three daughters used to take during the summer. Honestly, I don’t know if we only went once or if we went multiple times - but it felt like we did it every summer. We would take the train downtown to do the usual historical loop – Betsy Ross’ house, Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley. It was great times. Especially on hot, humid Philadelphia summer days. All of us kids really enjoyed ourselves.
Can’t you tell?
But enough of the memories! Happy Birthday Diane! We’re so glad that you’re a part of our family!
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.
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.
He was a man of deep faith.
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.)