Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall (1909-1942)-Part One

Teacher and illustrator Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall came from a distinguished family of scientists and artists. Sadly, her mother died when she was only an infant, and Elizabeth herself lived only a very short life. In creating the illustrations for a textbook still considered a standard in its field, Elizabeth Buchsbaum combined the two sides of her family, the scientific and the artistic. Although she was also a fine artist, her reputation now rests on her drawings of insects, worms, and other invertebrates.

Elizabeth Mabel Buchsbaum was born in 1909 in the Philippines. Her father, then a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was Dr. Maurice (Morris) Buchsbaum (1867-1935), a native of Austria who had arrived in the United States in 1890 and who had been naturalized on October 1, 1896. Dr. Buchsbaum received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1903 and his medical degree from Rush Medical College of Chicago in 1905. He also taught internal medicine at that school. Dr. Buchsbaum joined the Medical Reserve Corps on September 25, 1908, in Oklahoma. After being stationed in Wyoming, Dr. Buchsbaum was transferred to Fort Mills on the Philippine island of Corregidor. He began at that post on October 30, 1909, as an assistant to the surgeon and was later stationed on the island of Mindanao and at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Elizabeth Buchsbaum's mother was Mabel Victor Buchsbaum about whom almost nothing is known, despite the fact that she lies buried in a national cemetery. Mabel Buchsbaum passed away on November 25, 1909, and was first laid to rest in the Philippines. Her body was reinterred at San Francisco National Cemetery, located at the Presidio, on April 1, 1910. Considering the circumstances of Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall's death in 1942 and the fact that her birth year is estimated in census records as 1910 rather than 1909, I think it possible that Mabel Buchsbaum died in childbirth. In any case, her daughter would have been only an infant at her death. Her son Ralph, born on January 2, 1907, in Chickasha, Oklahoma Territory, was not even three years old.

Elizabeth Buchsbaum's widowed father was honorably discharged from the U.S Army on January 15, 1912. Less than a month later, on February 10, 1912, he married Hermine Josephine Beck in Chicago. Born in Bohemia in about 1877, she came to the United States in 1893. As of the 1910 U.S. Census, she was the superintendent of a hospital on Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago. In short order after the Buchsbaums' wedding, a second son, named Robert E., came into the family. He was born on December 25, 1912, in Chicago.

By 1918, the Buchsbaums were living in Gary, Indiana. Incorporated in 1906, Gary was then only a dozen years old and like the rest of the lake region of northwestern Indiana served as a bedroom community for people studying and working in Chicago. I presume that Elizabeth attended school in Gary, as her family had lived there from as early as 1918 and as late as the census of 1930, when she would have been twenty years old. According to the website American Illustration Notables, Circa 1900-1970, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. She also attended the University of Chicago. By 1935, Elizabeth was a teacher at Jefferson School in Gary. In 1939, she was at Edison School in the same city. Gary is no longer what it once was. Unfortunately, Jefferson and Edison schools have fallen into neglect and decay.

Sometime around 1939-1941, Elizabeth M. Buchsbaum married Franklin Newhall (1914-2005), a physician, research scientist, and book publisher of note. Afterwards known as Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall, she died, supposedly in childbirth, on the night of December 30, 1942, in Chicago. Although her death was reported in The Jewish Post, her remains were interred at the First Unitarian Church crypt in Chicago. She was survived by her husband, stepmother, and her two brothers. Her husband went on to marry two more times and to live into his tenth decade on earth.

To be continued . . .

Dr. Maurice (Morris) Buchsbaum (1867-1935), father of teacher and illustrator Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall. The photograph is from his graduation from Rush Medical College in Chicago, 1905.

Jefferson School, Gary, Indiana, where Elizabeth taught during the 1930s.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

No comments:

Post a Comment