Mystery Monday: Leonard Broida Artwork- Part 1
Broida Family (Click for Family Tree)
It is fun to write a blog and have a tree on Ancestry.com, memorials on Find A Grave, etc. One never knows what genealogical treasure will be in the email in-box in the morning!
Recently, I had an email from a kind person who had found the above framed drawings in the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Florida City, Florida. She was researching the mystery person who had created them, and wanted to know if this was ‘our’ Leonard Broida. She offered it to us and we were so happy that she had rescued it and was returning it to the Broida family.
Leonard L. Broida was the only son of David (Karklinsky) Broida and Esther (Silverberg) Broida. Both his parents were immigrants from Russia/Poland, coming to the US as children. They married most likely in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the 1900 US Federal Census notes that they had been married one year. They also had their little daughter Minnie Broida (1899-1990, m. to Maurice Kramer), two boarders, and a servant living with them in Pittsburgh’s 11th Ward.
Leonard was born the next year, on 26 Feb 1901 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His sister Minnie was not quite two years old, and his father was most likely still working as a merchant as listed in the 1900 census.
Leonard’s parents divorced in 1908, when he was about 7, per some researchers. The 1904 Pittsburgh City Directory notes Esther “Brodia” as being the widow of David, grocer, with both business and home at 79 Roberts. According to Leonard’s 1923 passport application, his father died in 1912. So when did David Broida actually die? Oftentimes, women would list themselves as ‘widows’ when they were separated from their husband or divorced, since it was such a stigma for a woman to not be married though she had children. We have been unable to find a definitive ‘final resting place’ or any sort of obituary or death certificate for David Broida. There are some sources that could be for him, but nothing that proves they are this same David Broida/Brodia, so more research will be needed to determine the exact situation.
Leonard’s mother Esther married second to Max Feldman, and Leonard and Minnie were found with them in the 1910 US Federal Census for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Esther and Max then had two children together, Sidney Feldman (b. 1913) and Gerald Feldman (b. 1916). The three boys and Minnie grew up in Pittsburgh, and all four children were found with the family in 1920. The 1920 US Federal Census listed the ‘tongue,’ or language spoken by the immigrant parents as “Jewish,” but it also stated that they spoke English. The four children were listed as speaking English as well.
Max Feldman, Leonard’s step-father, was a carpenter, so he likely learned some about the construction business from him. Leonard must have known by 1920 what he wanted to do in his life, as he was an apprentice to a “Draughtsman” (or draftsman) as noted in the 1920 US Federal Census for Pittsburgh.
Leonard applied for a US Passport in 1923, and planned to travel to “France, Italy, Greece, British Isles, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Holland… to study architecture.” He scheduled his passage to leave the port of New York on 13 June 1923, and signed his Oath of Allegiance on the passport application on 2 April 1923.
Just before he got his passport, however, his mother had a surprise for him:
The ship that carried Leonard to Europe is unknown, but he returned on the “Ausonia,” departing from Liverpool, England. After ten days at sea he arrived back in the states on 15 April 1924, so probably spent a full year in Europe studying the great architecture of the world, and likely some of the commonplace buildings as well. The ship manifest listed Leonard as age 23, single, with his address in the US as 7402 Monticello St., Pittsburgh, PA. (This was the same address listed on his passport application.)
His next year, in the United States, must have had its own excitement. Leonard married Anita Meyer (1904-2008) at Rodef Shalom temple in Pittsburgh on 4 March 1925. The following year, Leonard again travelled to Europe, but this time with his wife Anita. We do not know when they left or where they travelled, but on their return they sailed on the “Minnekahda” from Boulogne, France, on 17 April 1926, and arrived in New York 10 days later. Their home address was listed as 227 Lehigh Street, Pittsburgh.
Leonard and Anita had a son, Robert Ira Broida, on 25 August 1929 in Pennsylvania, likely Pittsburgh. (Robert d. in 2008.) The family had moved to East Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio by the time of the 1930 US Federal Census, and another son, Edward Roy Broida, was born in the Cleveland area. (1933-2006)
Leonard’s mother, Esther (Silverberg) [Broida] Feldman, had passed away just two months earlier, so sadly did not get to meet her new grandson Edward.
The 1940 US Federal Census showed the family as living at 3212 Redwood Rd. in Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga, Ohio, where they had also been living in 1935. (See Note 3 below for image links.) Leonard was listed as an architect who owned his home that was worth $8,000. He was working on his own account, and had worked 48 hours during the previous week, and all 52 weeks of 1939- both important to note as the country was coming out of the Great Depression. Leonard also had income from an additional source, which would have made life a bit easier in those difficult economic years. Anita’s mother, Esther Meyer, and a maid lived with them, as well as sons Robert and Edward.
Leonard had signed up for President Roosevelt’s new “Social Security” program that was signed into law of 14 August 1935. Leonard received his card sometime before 1951 in Ohio.
Leonard and Anita escaped the cold winters of Ohio and moved to Sarasota, Florida; they were living there at 363 W. Royal Flamingo Street in 1977. They were in Richmond, Virginia, when Leonard passed away on 9 October 1977. His death certificate states he was to be buried in Palms Memorial Park, Sarasota, Florida.
Leonard and Anita had been married about 52 years at his death. She remained a widow for about three years, then married Sidney Stanley Serck on 20 March 1980 in Sarasota, Florida. She passed away 9 June 2008 in Sarasota.
Tomorrow: Leonard Broida’s most enduring legacy to family.
Notes, Sources, and References:
- A special “thank you” to Mitch and Ann, as usual, for their help in determining if this was indeed a Broida artifact, and for their help in learning more about this branch of the family. A big “thank you” also to Katha for rescuing this family treasure and seeking us out to return it.
- Since this is a framed image, it was hard to get a good picture or scan, so I apologize. It needs to be reframed with archival materials, but that is on the ‘to-do’ list and I might never get this post up if I wait until then.
- Their home at 3212 Redwood St in Cleveland Heights was built in 1920 and is still there- see-
- See images for citations. All censuses are readily available from Ancestry.com, Family Search, etc.
- Extracts from this post were used on a Find A Grave Memorial created for Leonard, Memorial #160421885. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=160421885
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