Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Papers of Sara Hoexter Blumenthal
1907-1971
  MS 963

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Megan Hahn Fraser

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 09, 2014
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

Sara Hoexter Blumenthal's (SHB) diaries detail the life of a woman of Long Island and New York City in the first half of the twentieth century. She wrote regular, almost daily entries focused on what most affected her: her relationships with her husband and children, and social events with friends and family. There is almost no mention of current events in her diaries.

In the first several diaries SHB writes about school, outings with friends, her singing lessons, her boyfriends and proposals of marriage. Once married, she writes of domestic issues such as decorating her new house in Woodmere, Long Island, dealing with servants, entertaining guests and caring for her children. She often went to Manhattan to see movies and plays, and commented on the performances. In her diaries from the 1920's, SHB writes about the frequent times she sang at social events and the many compliments she receives. Her comments on her evenings out often include detailed descriptions of her clothing and jewelry.

The most prevalent theme in SHB's diaries is her feelings about her marriage. She often writes of her despair over the way her husband deals with her, and, in her earlier diaries, just as often writes about how they reconcile. Her later diaries reveal that reconciliations became less frequent. The couple separated in the early 1930's (the exact date is not clear from her diaries), and her entries from that time focus on their bitter divorce. She hired private detectives to watch her husband and she writes about the detectives' reports of Meyer seeing other women. SHB was especially concerned that her ex-husband would poison her children's feelings for her. Following the demise of her marriage, she moved to New York City in 1943 and her entries indicate that she was trying to forge a new life for herself, dating frequently, especially a man named Eugene Spitz, and pondering marriage proposals from her new suitors.

SHB's diaries from the 1950's have many items, such as ticket stubs and invitations, inserted between pages. Her diaries from the 1960's and early 1970's detail her daily activities such as playing cards, shopping, and going to temple. Although she continues to emphasize the attention she receives from her peers, particularly men, she also writes about her loneliness and her estrangement from her children and family.

Excerpts from SHB's diaries were compiled and edited in August 2002 by her son, Myron "Mike" Blumenthal, and are available in the repository. See Manuscript Department staff for access.

The collection also includes a small group of other items housed in one box: tickets, programs, a map of the 1964-1965 World's Fair in Queens, invitations, postcards and two photographs, one of SHB dated 1937, and one showing her in her New York City Motor Corps uniform dated by the donor to either 1944 or 1945.

Her certificate of confirmation in Congregation Montefiore, Sivan 6, 5667 /1907, and her certificate upon completion of elementary school, February 5, 1908, are housed in the oversized storage files under the call phrase Y-1907/1908.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by type of material. All of the diaries in this collection are in a chronological sequence followed by the photographs and the ephemera.