What a lucky lady I am to have my roots in Los Angeles! Both sets of
grandparents arrived in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th Century.
Rothman-Klein: My Father's Family
Annie Klein was born in Ungar Ungvar, Hungary and Adolph Rothman was
born in Oestericher, Poland, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Their parents arranged that Adolph would marry the older daughter but he
fell in love with Anna, the younger one. Adolph was a tailor. Annie and
Adolph had six children. Mary (officially Margaret) was born in
1886 and was the eldest and only girl. She was conceived on the
trip to America. Sam followed shortly afterward. The four of
them migrated to Chicago where Max and Morris were born. Fred, my
father, was born in 1892 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Harry, the
youngest was born in 1896 in San Francisco.
The weather did not agree with Annie, so they moved to Los Angeles in
1905. They originally lived on Catalina Street near 8th, then moved to
Berendo Street and finally, to 12th Street near Western Avenue, where my
father Fred helped them buy a house. That is the house I remember. The
laundry shoot dropped from upstairs down to the basement. We kids
would use it as a slide. What fun! Our seders were gigantic
and took such a long time. Grandpa would get angry every year when
Uncle Max would sneak the kids out for an ice cream at the drug store.
Grandpa was one of the founders of Mogen David Temple on Gramercy Place.
He lived with us in his later life at 1219 South Gramercy Place, so that
he could walk to shule. The Temple was my grandfather's life. I
was confirmed, taught Sunday School and married at the Mogen David
While living in Indianapolis, Grandpa had sent for his two half-sisters
Katie and Clara and they settled in Los Angeles. Katie married Louis
Steinhart and Clara married Perry Isenstein. Perry and Clara lived
on a big poultry ranch in Torrance. He and his brother, I believe, were
among the founders of the City of Torrance. As youngsters we had
some wonderful times (and good food) out there. On holidays, Uncle
Perry would bring the chickens live to our house and kill them in the
yard. At least we knew they were fresh!
My dad Fred was thirteen when he came to L.A. He completed the 8th grade
at Berendo Jr. High and was self-taught thereafter. Grandpa told
him that he had to go to work. He worked as a fur trapper in
Wyoming for several years. Then he was in World War I, serving as
a sergeant in Ft. Lewis, Washington. After that, he worked for the
Southern Pacific Railroad as a telegrapher stationed in Barstow.
While in Wyoming, he opened a little restaurant and the fur trappers
would eat there. They were buying and selling their furs. He
began to do the same and became a very young millionaire. Then the
fur market crashed. He returned to L.A. and with the little money
he had left, and started Angelus Typewriter Company with his brother
Sam. Sam soon married Betty and the brothers decided to separate.
Sam owned Commercial Typewriter Company and Fred kept Angelus.
Angelus grew to be the largest office machine company in Los Angeles.
They looked forward to having me join them too and for several years,
taught me the business.
I was in downtown L. A. almost every week. We all knew our way
around the city and could go anywhere. We took every streetcar or
bus. My friends would meet me and we would have lunch at Clifton's
Cafeteria, or Mike Lyman's, or Pig 'n Whistle, and go to any of the
movies that were playing. There was a candy man at the Paramount
Theatre. He wore white gloves and worked with taffy. My
Grandma Annie loved the Million Dollar Theatre. And, of course,
there was Bullock's Department Store, which was very special at that
time. (We shopped there twice a year, at Easter vacation and the
start of school in the fall!) Then we would walk back to the
Spring Arcade, between Broadway and Spring, turn left and there was
Angelus Typewriter - home. Years later, in 1956, my husband and
brother-in-law bought the company.
Schwartz-Raglow: My Mother's Family
Manase and Risa Schwartz, my great-grandparents, came from Braila,
Romania and immigrated to Des Moines, Iowa via New York, because their
son Bernhard had settled there. Manase and Risa had three sons and two
daughters: Adolph, Bernhard, Isaac, Eva (my grandmother) and Rose. Eva
had a lame leg, and I was told that she was the favorite of her parents.
There is a very interesting story about the family name of Schwartz. The
original name was Jancu. Everyone took Schwartz as a new name. However,
Adolph Americanized Jancu to Jackman. We know that this was not
done until after Eva married Joe Raglow in Boone, Iowa, since the
surname on Eva's marriage registration was Jancu.
In 1911, Manase and Risa settled in Los Angeles because Eva and Rose
(their daughters) were raising their families there. Manase helped
Eva's husband, Joe, run his liquor store and the children helped a
little in the support of their parents. Manase Schwartz was of the
lower middle class. He had a grocery store. They were a
closely-knit family and led a quiet happy life. The family was very
orthodox and Risa kept a strict, kosher home. He belonged to a synagogue
on Central Avenue. As a couple, they had quite a few friends.
They were American citizens and very proud of it - they always voted.
I can still remember him sitting in Aunt Rose's living room with his
yarmulke on. I was on a very small stool looking up at him.
Risa died in 1924 at 69 and Manase in 1929 at 75. They are buried in
Beth Israel cemetery. Not many Jewish Angelenos of my generation can
claim their great-grandparents are buried in L.A.!
Rose married William Rosenblatt from Omaha, Nebraska. They did not have
children, so doted on my sister Evelyn and me. They owned several pieces
of property: a brick apartment building on Hoover and Olympic, on a
little island (still standing), and an apartment building on Normandie
near 8th Street. Aunt Rose was a wonderful cook. They were
very interested in the arts and education. On our first excursion
to the Hollywood Bowl we saw A Midsummer Night's Dream.
They also introduced us to the Huntington Museum, and made sure that we
went to Sunday school at Sinai Temple.
Eva married Joseph Raglow. They were cousins, but how they are
related, I do not know. They had two children, Herman and Cecelia.
Herman was born in 1902 and died in 1921, at nineteen, from a kidney
infection - no antibiotics in those days. He had an appointment to West
Point, a rare privilege for a Jewish boy in that era, and was brilliant.
We heard many stories about how he worked on inventions with
Cecelia was born in 1906. She was three when the family moved to
L.A. Cecelia was the beauty of the family. She was very popular,
talented, and envied. The beach was a large part of the family's
leisure time. Pictures show her posing and partying there. She
rode horseback, hiked and was good at sports. Cecelia went to
McKinley Jr. High School and to Polytechnic High School. After
Herman passed away, she became more precious to her family and maybe a
little too precious.
My Parents - Fred Rothman and Cecelia Raglow
Fred Rothman met Cecelia Raglow in 1922 and they were married in March
of 1923. She had just graduated high school, and was seventeen years
old. Fred was thirty. She was a product of the twenties -
beautiful, popular and spoiled. He was dapper, handsome and
established. She rode horseback, hiked and partied with a
lively crowd. They had two children: my sister and me.
Fred and Cecelia separated in about 1930. Evelyn and I were put
into a private boarding school, Kensington, on Mariposa and Sixth.
It was a nightmarish period in our lives. Mother moved into one of
Uncle Will's units on Hoover and Olympic, (named the Roseanna after Aunt
Rose). Our Dad moved in with his sister Mary and her family (she
had married Abraham Rappaport in 1906). When we did see our family, we
often went to the Ambassador Hotel for sundaes. My memories of
that hotel are wonderful. It was a real Los Angeles landmark and
stood for a bygone era of romance and movies and dancing at the Cocoanut
Grove. However, it was one of the few highlights in our young
Cecelia died of complications of surgery in July of 1932 at age 26.
Fred took us to his sister's home for two weeks to be with him. It
united us with our father again and brought the extended family of
cousins back into our lives. We ended up being raised by Aunt Mary and
Uncle Abe Rappaport, and lived there until we each were married.
Uncle Abe was one of four brothers who owned the New York Hat stores, a
menís haberdashery chain. Hats were in vogue then.
Our memories of Grandpa Joe Raglow, our mother Cecilia's father, are
wonderful and loving. He took us to the Barnum & Bailey Circus
whenever they were in town. It was held outdoors then and we went
behind the scenes with the animals in their cages and met the trainers.
The clowns were everywhere. The aromas of the circus and cotton
candy were intermingled and I can smell them still. From there we went
to the Thrifty Drug Store and sat at the counter to have grilled cheese
sandwiches and malts. He was a fun and loving grandfather who had
lost his entire family at an early age and who adored us. I loved
running into his outstretched arms and tried to become the same kind of
grandmother. Recently, I introduced my granddaughter to her ancestors
when we visited their gravesites together, sharing these and more
memories and stories with her.