Friday, October 6, 2023

The "Jimmy Smith" of the Postal Clerks


When tracing family history in previous generations, looking for small-town details on a female ancestor sometimes means looking for her husband's name, not her own. In looking for Aunt Rose in Brooklyn, New York, beginning after her 1915 marriage to George Kober, I was far more successful in getting a glimpse of her family's daily details by searching under his name.

Take this November 8, 1915, clipping from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

The annual bowling match between the Veterans and Cubs of the mailing division of the Brooklyn Post office was rolled Saturday night and, as usual, was won by the old-timers. Charlie Hume captained the old fellows and Sammy Alperts acted in a similar capacity for the boys. George Kober, the Jimmy Smith of the Postal Clerks, pulled his mates to victory with an average of 190 for four games. Harry Herkowitz and Harry Boetel, the star performers of the Cubs, went bad owing to a too generous imbibing of oysters and the regular ingredients that go with them.

Such were the festivities barely two weeks before mail carrier George Kober married one Rose Miller, Aunt Rose's previous married name. Rose apparently married a dedicated Post Office employee, for his name appeared several times in the Eagle over the years, affiliated with office events. Newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. George Kober appeared in the guest list at a 1918 dinner honoring the assistant superintendent of the Brooklyn Post Office. The Kober name was again on the list of those present at a 1920 dinner at Coney Island given in celebration of the re-appointment of the Brooklyn office's postmaster. And again, in 1928, George's name appeared in the newspaper, part of a public listing of Post Office appointments and promotions, when his annual salary was noted to have been increased to $3,500.

While Rose may or may not have attended some of those work-related social activities with her husband, she appeared in some newspaper mentions on her own, although identified as Mrs. George Kober. One function's significance, in particular, made more sense after I extended the search for information on Rose's in-laws. In a Brooklyn newspaper called The Chat, the June 20, 1925, edition included a brief mention of a dance given by Miss Mildred Thomas, including a guest list full of Thomas family members, as well as Mrs. George Kober. While the hostess' address on 96th Street caught my eye—according to the 1920 census, George and Rose Kober lived on that same street—at first I just wondered whether it was an association with members of the host site, the American Legion, which provided the social nexus.

Wrong. A wedding announcement in The Brooklyn Times, back in 1903, revealed that George Kober's sister had married Augustus Kolb Thomas, the A. K. Thomas mentioned at the end of the 1925 dance guest list. Presto, I've now found a listing of not only social but family connections among Rose's in-laws. Who says the everyday people of Brooklyn, New York, can't be found on the social pages of the city's newspapers?!


Image above: Excerpt from page 21 of the November 8, 1915, edition of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, courtesy of


  1. In addition to Chronicling America and, there other free newspaper databases. For New York, I like Old Fulton New York Post Cards at


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