Monday, November 20, 2017

Amanuensis Monday: The "Engagement" of Belle Feinstein and Melvin Newmark

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Below I transcribe two December 1936 clippings from The Modern Voice, a St. Louis Jewish weekly newspaper. The second one appeared a week after the first, reporting the same event, but with a few corrections.

Dec 6, 1936 - page 14


Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Feinstein of 6422 San Sonita Ave., have announced the engagement of their daughter, Miss Belle Feinstein, and Melvin I. Newmark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Newmark, of Kingsbury Avenue. Mr. Newmark attended Washington University and is a graduate of the school of law of that institution. The wedding date has been set for June 10
Dec 10, 1936 - page 24


Miss Belle Feinstein, daughter of Mr.and Mrs. H.M. Feinstein, of 6422 San Bonita Ave., has chosen January 10 as the date of her marriage to Melvin L. Newmark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Newmark, of Kingsbury. Mr. Newmark is a graduate of the Washington University school of law.


1) My grandparents, Melvin Newmark and Belle Feinstein, were married in Waterloo, Illinois on May 10, 1936, in the middle of the night, and told no one. In an interview in the 1980s my grandfather explained they were unwilling to wait. My grandmother's older brother was married on November 1, 1936, so I suspect they felt they had to wait until after that to announce their intentions to their families. May 10th, 1936 was one month prior to my grandfather receiving his diploma from Washington University law school.

2) It's unclear whether the June 10th in the first clipping was a mistake on the part of the newspaper, that was corrected the following week, along with a couple spelling errors, or whether my great-grandparents thought the date was June 10th, and my grandmother corrected them. It occurs to me to wonder what my great-grandparents thought when my grandmother told them she wanted to get married in a month. They had been a couple for several years, so it's a good chance everyone knew they were simply waiting, first for my grandfather to have his degree, and second for the older sibling to be married first, but still, a one-month engagement may have raised a few eyebrows. Their first child wouldn't arrive until 1938.

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