24 October 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Esther Wilson's Yearbook Photo

I had hoped this past Tuesday (in my Tombstone Tuesday post) to be able to share a photograph of Esther E. Wilson Marwit Warmflash's tombstone in the Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens, NY. But several free access options came to naught and, now, I have sent a check to the cemetery and await their response. I will post it when it arrives.

In the mean time, I contacted Hunter College Library and Archives to inquire whether they have any records of my great aunt Esther's matriculation and graduation from that esteemed institution. Why, yes, they do. I received files with both a yearbook photo and the commencement ceremony program for the Class of 1920. Here's the yearbook image.

Hunter College Wistarian Yearbook 1920, Esther Wilson, Hunter College Library & Archives, New York, NY.

Esther was the fourth child of Saul Wilson and Hoda Epstein Wilson to live to adulthood and the only one born in the United States (10 September 1898 in Hudson, New York). [1]

She was the only child to attend college (and may have been the only one to actually complete high school). Hunter College started in 1870 as a teachers' college for women. It is part of the City University system in New York City. By 1920, when Esther graduated, Hunter had the largest enrollment of women of any municipally operated college in the United States.

The "epitaph" for her yearbook photo leads one to believe that Esther was often late, I do not recall this being discussed as a trait of hers, but I did not know her well. I hope my cousins will chime in with any elucidating memories.

Esther became a high school English teacher and, I believe (I'm still researching) she taught at Seward Park High School in Lower Manhattan.

I have some contradictory information about her first name. Sometimes it is written as Esther (as in her birth certificate [1]) and other times as Esta (as in her marriage certificate [2]).

Esther married Solomon Marwit (1888-1967), an immigrant who was both a Cantor and a Rabbi. [2] Esther and Sol never had any children. The family was surprised to learn, after Esther died in December 1973, that she may have married again. There was a protracted probate contest from her "husband," Max Warmflash (but that's another story for another time). She is buried as Esta Warmflash in the Mt. Hebron Cemetery.

1. City of Hudson, Columbia County, New York, Register of Births, Esther Wilson, 10 September 1898, Register Number 3612, page 36.
2. New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 15704 (29 June 1930), Solomon Marwit and Esta E. Wilson, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.


  1. Warmflash? That's a new one for me! My wife went to Hunter and a few years earlier there was a little claque of lefty "Hunter Girls", one of which lives up here and is a good friend. She was at Emma's wedding. Hunter was all female for many decades.

  2. Yes, interesting surname, for sure. I have only researched Max a little, but he seems to have been from Zaleszczyki - which just so happens to be a town inhabited by the other side of my mother's family (Liebross and Wenkert). This summer I picked up some records in the Lviv Archive that include quite a few family names from Zaleszczyki - and one of them is Warmflash(!).


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