Betty Bernstein Goldsmith

From Catalogue

Morris Bernstein, Betty Bernstein Goldsmith and Henrietta Newman Bernstein (from 5 Generations)

Betty Goldsmith was instrumental in convincing city leaders to build city hospital. (Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities)
 Active Advocate for Charitable Organizations

Born:1859, Alabama
Died:November 30, 1928, Madison County, AL
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Alabama
Residence:204 Gates Avenue SE
Daughter of:Henrietta Newman Bernstein
Daughter of:Morris Bernstein
Wife of:Oscar Goldsmith
Mother of:Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Sr. (b1883)
Grandmother of:Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Jr. (b1909)
Great Grandmother of:Margaret Anne Goldsmith
Grandmother of:Maurice Grosser
Grandmother of:Oscar Goldsmith Grosser


•  Her tombstone says "Bettie Goldsmith 1859-1928" This is a different spelling for Betty. And the birthdate is different in various sources. - Editor's Note

•  Daughter of Morris Bernstein (1824 - 1898) and Henrietta Newman (1829 - 1897) -

•  Betty Bernstein "grew up during the Civil War and the years of reconstruction. Because of inadequacy of local education during those years and because they wanted their daughters to spend time in Germany, the Bernsteins sent their daughters Betty and Sophie, to school there for several years during their early teens." - 5 Generations

•  Married Oscar Goldsmith March 19, 1879 - MCRC

•  Mother of Therese B Goldsmith (1880 - 1976) and Lawrence Bernstein Goldsmith Sr (1883 - 1972) -

•  204 Gates Avenue: "In 1883, Morris and Henrietta Bernstein built this "High-Victorian" Italianate house for their daughter Betty and her husband Oscar Goldsmith. The Goldsmiths lived in the home for 54 years." -

•  "Huntsville Jews were very active in the larger community. Morris Bernstein's daughter, Betty Goldsmith, helped to found a local charitable organization and was instrumental in convincing city leaders to build a city hospital. The Goldsmith and Schiffman families later donated land to the city for use as a ball field" - Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities

•  The United Charities Organizer Incorporated August 12, 1895 - Goldsmith & Fulton

•  "Active community supporter who founded United Charities and helped build City Hospital; in her memory Milton Frank Stadium as built." - HPA

•  1921: "Women, the boastful men still lamented, were taking over what had been previously a man's world. The Huntsville Infirmary continued with women in charge. Officers in 1921 were Mrs. Myra E. Jones, President; Mrs. R. T. Baugh, Secretary; Mrs. Eliza F. Cooper, treasurer; and board members Mrs. W. T. Pratt, Mrs. Oscar Goldsmith, Mrs. Robert Chase, Mrs. C. S. Boswell and Miss Grace Walker." - Record

•  "The All-Female Board of Control (Infirmary)
Two weeks after the new facility was opened, in June 1926, the Board of Control held its first meeting. The members, all carried over from the Infirmary's Board of Control, were:
     Mrs. John Robert Jones, Sr., President
     Mrs. Robert Baugh, Secretary
     Mrs. Lawrence Cooper, Treasurer
     Mrs. Oscar Goldsmith
     Mrs. Robert Chase
     Mrs. Clifton (Jack) Boswell
     Miss Grace Walker
     Mrs. Frank Webster
     Mrs. Charles E. Shaver
     Mrs. Louis Mays
     Mrs. M.R. Moorman
     The Board of Control had complete authority for day-to-day operation of the hospital, for employing the Superintendent, for fixing room rates and salaries, and for establishing operating policies. It is evident, from meeting records, that they discharged their responsibilities diligently and devotedly. They met monthly to review the operation of the hospital, and individual members could be found at the hospital on almost any given day, seeing to some particular project or simply lending an extra hand where needed. The Treasurer went to the hospital twice each week to make deposits and to pay the bills.
     The Board took a very personal interest in the staff and kept a watchful eye on their physical comfort and welfare in addition to assuring that they did their jobs properly. Social events were arranged for staff members and, at Christmastime, there was a tree and gifts and cards for everyone.
     A nurses' training program had been instituted early in the life of the infirmary and the young students, who lived on the premises, were of special concern to the Board. Many discussions were devoted to the proper choice of reading materials for the nurses during their free hours, and to possible solutions for correcting what was considered their poor study habits. A sympathetic Board member's ear was always available when a student nurse, or any member of the staff, had a personal problem to discuss.
     Physicians who served on the staff also came under the watchful eye of the Board. Frequently, committees were appointed to 'explain hospital rules' to doctors. Occasionally, the secretary was instructed to write a letter chastising a doctor for being late for scheduled surgery, or for some other infraction. It has been reported that, during surgeries performed by a certain member of the medical staff who had a reputation for using colorful language, one of the Board members donned a scrub gown and stationed herself in the operating room to prevent the surgeon from swearing in the presence of the young student nurses." - Goldsmith & Fulton

•  "Women had gotten more interested in the appearance and operation of the Maple Hill Cemetery by this time and convinced the city that something must be done. The city responded by turning over the cemetery in 1921, lock, stock and barrel. A Cemetery Commission was formed, composed of Mrs. L. D. Mays, Mrs. A. W White, Mrs. W. F. Garth, Joe J. Bradley and R. E. Spragins. Trustees were appointed, composed of Oscar Goldsmith, J. P. Cooney and Robert Murphy. The Commission and Trustees tried their best to make the cemetery a relatively self-sustaining operation, with better maintenance, but finally had to recommend that the system be disbanded, which it was, in 1930, with the city again taking over full control." - Record

•  "United Charities was incorporated August 12, 1895 at a meeting at the Jewish Synagogue. Its membership was reported as one hundred and sixty. Article 2 of its constitution gave as its aim to "help the sick, the needy of Huntsville and vicinity, and to investigate all applicants for relief to the end that the poor may be enabled to help themselves.'
     Investigating committees were sent by carriage to Dallas Village or to West Huntsville whenever cases were reported. Those most active in this work were Mrs. Oscar Goldsmith, Mrs. Owen Wilson, Mrs. M. B. Neece, Mrs. Bertran Weil, Mrs. Ernest Karthaus, Mrs. Milton Humes, Miss Mattie J. Davis, Miss Kate McCalley, Miss Carrie McCalley, Mrs. L. Brouillette, Miss Sarah Lowe, Mrs. Margaret Bolling, Mrs. Richard Walker, Miss Emma Wells, Miss Katie Steele, Mrs. Erskine Mastin, and Mrs. Rosalie Chapman." - Chapman

•  Chapman tells the stories of the Charity's help with poor families and then he says:
     "The city officials had objected to Charity's investigation of cases. In the meeting at the Opera House, Mr. Crawford naively remarked that he was "a stranger here but that there must be something radically wrong with officials to keep them every one away from such a meeting." The officials thought that publicity on unsanitary housing in mill villages was poor advertisement for Huntsville. The members of the United Charities felt that it was the only way to improve and remove such conditions. Luckily, Mrs. Owen Wilson, Miss Wells, the Misses McCalley, Mrs. Caroline Karthaus, Mrs. Oscar Goldsmith, and the other acting members of the charities, were fearless women.
     They could speak effectively of conditions as they found them. They were influential and could effect a remedy. The families of the poor were large, their resources small, and these women felt that as the city had called them into crowded quarters to make a reputation for it that its officials were duty bound to make them as comfortable as possible. Fortunately for the poor, these women were untiring in their efforts for them. Their accomplishments were past belief." - Chapman

•  "At the annual meeting of the United Charities held at the Huntsville Hotel last Wednesday morning, the officers for the ensuing year were elected as follows:
     President-Miss Sarah M. Lowe.
     First Vice President-Mrs. Oscar Goldsmith. (She served as President in 1914)
     Second Vice President-Mrs. George Wise.
     Secretary-Mrs. A. Owen-Wilson.
     Treasurer-Miss Pauline Kranz.
The organization has accomplished a great work in alleviating the sufferings of the destitute whites and Negroes of Huntsville and members deserve highest praise for their successful philanthropic work." - The Huntsville Weekly Democract

•  "On January 25, 1934, Oscar Goldsmith, Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Annie Schiffman Goldsmith, Robert L. Schiffman, and Elsie Strauss Schiffman gave this property to the City of Huntsville for an athletic field. The gift was in memory of Betty Bernstein Goldsmith (wife of Oscar and mother of Lawrence) and Betty Herstein Schiffman (wife of Isaac and mother of other donors). The Civil Works Administration provided $6500 in materials and labor to construct the field, the first in Huntsville to accommodate night athletic games. The Acme Club raised funds for lighting through season ticket sales. Dedication exercises were held during the first night game on October 4, 1934, when 1000 fans saw Coach Milton Frank's Huntsville High team defeat Gadsden High. [1999: Ward Ave., Huntsville]" - Huntsville Historic Markers Index

Related Links:

•  5 Generations - Article titled "5 Generations of Life: 'My Family and the Huntsville, Alabama Jewish community' 1852-1983" by Margaret Anne Goldsmith Hanaw for Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 12, #3 & #4, Jul-82, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society. The entire volume is connected to this family.

• - Huntsville's Historic Homes Tour 2002 (Originally found at

• - Page owned by Jen White and can be viewed only with an paid subscription. (Originally found at

•  Catalogue - The Bernstein, Herstein, Schiffman and Goldsmith Collection: A Catalogue by Margaret Anne Goldsmith, 2014 draft.

•  Chapman - Changing Huntsville 1890-1899, by Elizabeth Humes Chapman, 1989 (originally written in 1932, pages 79 & 81.)

•  Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities - Page related to Huntsville

•  Find A Grave - Page originally created by Bobbie Christian and now maintained by Gene Hill.

•  Goldsmith & Fulton - Medicine Bags and Bumpy Roads: A Heritage of Healing in Madison County, Town and Country, by Jewell S. Goldsmith and Helen D. Fulton, 1985, pages 2 & 23.

•  HPA - Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll, by Huntsville Pilgrimage Association, 2012

•  Huntsville Historic Markers Index - Historical marker for Goldsmith-Schiffman Field (Originally found at

•  MCRC - Madison County Records Center

•  Record - A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentially of Alabama and the United States, Volume II, by James Record, 1978, page 181.

•  The Goldsmith Family Album

•  The Huntsville Weekly Democract - Article mentioning Mrs. Goldsmith from The Huntsville Weekly Democrat, January 16 1907 reprint in A Mighty Fortress of Faith found in A History of St. Mary of the Visitation Church, 1861-2011, Edited by Pat Tumminello, 2012, page 110.

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  Henrietta Newman Bernstein
•  Morris Bernstein
•  Oscar Goldsmith
•  Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Sr. (b1883)
•  Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Jr. (b1909)
•  204 Gates Avenue SE
•  5 Generations
•  Catalogue
•  Chapman
•  HPA
•  Margaret Anne Goldsmith
•  Maurice Grosser
•  Oscar Goldsmith Grosser
•  Record
•  The Goldsmith Family Album