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Rothman-Schwartz(Jancu) and Raglow Families

by Shirley  Rosenberg

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 Temple. 

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 electricity.
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 lives.

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.