Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project Washington University School of Medicine Bernard Becker Medical Library
Home | Browse the Interviews | Index of Names | Rights & Permissions | About this Project

Transcript: Leonore Goldstein, 1960

Please note: The Becker Medical Library presents this oral history interview as part of the record of the past. This primary historical resource may reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times and of the interviewee. The Becker Medical Library does not endorse the views expressed in this interview, which may contain materials offensive to some users.

Listen to Interview

Option 1

Download and open the audio file using your browser’s default media player. Audio interviews are presented in the MP3 audio format and may be accessed using QuickTime, Windows Media Player, or RealPlayer. Some audio files are very large and may take several minutes to load.

Download Interview (30 MB)

Option 2

Use the MP3 Flash Player below to listen to the interview. If you do not see the player, you do not have the Flash Player installed. Click here to install.

Click on the right arrow to start. (If you are using Internet Explorer you may have to click on the arrow twice to start the player.)

Good afternoon, Mrs. Goldstein.  I am Mrs. Arnold Block and this is Mrs. Julius Elson.

How do you do, Mrs. Goldstein.

How do you do.

We’ve come to do the tape recording that was scheduled for today of yours and Dr. Goldstein’s life together.  Before we begin, we want to thank you for receiving us so warmly.  Thank you, too, for taking the time to grant us this interview.  If it’s all right with you Mrs. Goldstein, Mrs. Elson and I will both question you.  If we get out of hand, just stop us.  I believe Mrs. Elson would like to ask the first question.

Mrs. Goldstein, can you tell us who Mr. William Goldstein was?

He was my husband’s father, William Goldstein.  What else do you want to know?

How old was Mr. Goldstein?

He was sixty-five when he died in February 1905.

What did he do, Mrs. Goldstein?

He was for quite a long time a man of leisure who looked after his own affairs, principally real estate.

Was Dr. Goldstein an only child?

No.  There were two sisters.  He was an only son.

Mrs. Goldstein, can you tell us why did Dr. Goldstein have pock marks on his face?

Because there was a smallpox epidemic in St. Louis when he was a child of about two years.  He contracted smallpox and that left him with a pock-marked face for the rest of his life.

That didn’t hinder him in any of his good work.  We know that you have traveled extensively.  Can you recall any of your travels abroad subsequent to the postgraduate study of Dr. Goldstein?

Yes, indeed.  We went to Europe frequently.  It was usually for Dr. Goldstein’s month’s work in Vienna.  He went to take up new work that had come out in the meantime in his own profession.  And then he would join me.  My mother-in-law and I usually went to some resort for her to take a cure.  We went frequently to Karlsbad and I never spent more wonderful days in all my life than in Karlsbad.  It’s a most fascinating place.  It’s now, of course, in Czechoslovakia.  I don’t know whether many Americans go there now or not; I never hear of anyone.  But, oh, it was a delightful spot, right in the mountains.  And this lovely, quaint little village that had every luxury that even the Paris markets could afford.  Everything that was beautiful that was manufactured anywhere in the world was represented there in Karlsbad.  There was just one long street, down which a lovely little clear brook rippled.  But it was altogether a place that impressed you with its simplicity.  And yet, you could spend fortunes [for] jewelry and beautiful furs and magnificent linens.  Everything that was beautiful could be bought in these little shops in Karlsbad.  And a very cosmopolitan audience; the people came from all over the world to take the cure there.  And probably also to buy the luxuries that were there.

Did you climb?

No, I didn’t.

Did Dr. Goldstein have a university appointment in Europe or did he go mainly for research and study?

Study.  He went to Vienna.

Did you have a house in Frankfort, Michigan, and if so, is there a photograph available of the house?

I don’t know of one that’s available.  I had one, but I don’t know where it is now.  My mother built that little house, oh, forty-five years ago.  One summer she was tired of running around each summer to a different place to pass part of the warm term.  And she said, “I’m going to go out and look for some place where I can settle down.”  So she went up to Milwaukee, where she had relatives, and she told them her story.  And they recommended several places.  Well, she went there, but she didn’t care for any of them.

Finally, she crossed Lake Michigan from Milwaukee and the boat landed in Frankfort, which was a little port.  She got off there and looked around the little village.  It was a very pretty little place and she said, a few hours after she had looked around, “This is the place [where] I’m going to settle.”  And she walked around, talked to some of the people who had real estate, and they offered her a lot on the lake shore – right on the lake.  She was down there one evening and the noise of the waves drove her nearly crazy.  So she said she found out that she couldn’t be that near to the water.  So she walked up into the village and found a very desirable lot, and before the next day was over she had bought it.

Then it was a question of where was she going to find somebody to build her a house.  So, there was a carpenter living up there, who was used to doing all sorts of work – not just carpenter work but the plumbing and electricity and everything he could do.  So she had a conference with him and they decided on what the main [features] of this little house would be, and before you knew it he had a pretty nice plan.  When we came home from Europe – we were in Europe – by that time my mother had written me that she had bought a lot in Frankfort.  Frankfort was an utterly unknown place to me, except that a good many St. Louisans had been going there.  There had been a good-sized hotel there which burned down.  After that it was just a resort that not many people could come to because there was no other hotel.  And before [the] next spring came, my mother had a completed house and she had even done bedspreads and table cloths and things that she thought would be an addition to the cottage.

When the first of June came, she and her maid made the pilgrimage up to Frankfort and that was really one of the happiest incidents of our whole life – that house up in Frankfort.  My mother went religiously, summer after summer, and all she did up there was to put up fruit and make preserves and sit on the porch and have a wonderful time chatting with people.  Then we began to go up, too.  We took turns going because the cottage wouldn’t hold us all.  We just loved Frankfort.

What year was the house built?

The house is about forty-five years old now, so that was 1915.

I know that Dr. Goldstein’s work had four aspects to it: the practice of otolaryngology was one and I know you’ll want to elaborate on that before we get on to the other three.  There’s The Laryngoscope – is that a journal that he published?

Yes.  He founded it and published it and it is still published every month.

How about Central Institute [Central Institute for the Deaf]?  That was a very small place in the beginning, wasn’t it?

Yes.  It began very small, but by the second year it had already registered ten children.  The first registration was four, the second year was ten, and the next year was already up in the twenties.

We’re going back over all of this in a few minutes.  We also know that Dr. Goldstein was an avid art collector and that you have a very fine collection.

We haven’t a very good collection any more.  A good many were sold, all for the benefit of Central Institute.

Would you tell us about that?

If you like.  I’ll tell you about the first picture that we bought.  He had been buying prints and illustrations, but had not yet bought an oil painting.  And one day, I came – if you remember Strauss’s studio over on Franklin Avenue?  I don’t think either of you could remember that.  Well, I was over there one day and there was a second-hand store right next door.  And I stopped and looked in the window and I saw what I thought was a very beautiful picture.  I can show it to you because it’s here.  I came home and said to Dr. Goldstein, “I saw a very pretty picture today, really a lovely, peaceful, calm picture.”  Without saying a word to me, he went over there and bought it.  The next thing I knew that picture was in our room.  “Oh,” I said,  “my mentioning it didn’t mean that I wanted it.  Not at all.”  He was very happy with it, so that led to one or two more.  And then it led to going to auctions, not here, but in New York.  And the appetite for art was almost a consuming one; he was so fond of the arts, of drawing and of painting; he became particularly interested in drawings.

Going to Europe each summer, as we did for quite a while – I’ve been in Europe sixteen times and the doctor was in Europe more than that, he was there at least eighteen times – but that gave him the opportunity to go into drawing shops and art shops.  Whenever he got through with his laryngological work, or ear, nose and throat work, he’d go to the art shop.  And I wouldn’t see him for hours.  He’d say, “I’m going to be out today and I don’t know just when I will come back.”  And I’d say, “Remember, we have tickets for the theater and I’m not going to miss that theater.”  He’d stay [away] all day.  He gradually acquired an acquaintance with the art people and there are several to whom I could write today and they’d know me and know what Max used to do there.  He’d spend days in those shops.

He was also a great book collector.  That library in Central Institute is one of the rare ear, nose and throat libraries.  Since that time there may have been other men who have been interested in old [otolaryngological] books.  But he never came in the house without a book catalogue under his arm or in his pocket, day after day, until they got so that they were a tremendous nuisance in my house – the book catalogues.  He had, really, some very valuable old books [from] just the beginning of the science right straight through.

But this art work, that was a passion because he read [about] art constantly at night.  Usually when he’d go to bed he had two or three catalogues.  He had a very retentive memory, so that it soon became a very well-drilled art library in his head – and the knowledge of drawing.  He collected those until—  After he passed away I suppose I easily had 2,000 drawings.  We had safes that we kept them in; it was a very interesting collection.  He used to say, “If anything happened to me, what on earth are you going to do with all these things?”  I said, “Well, if that’s what you think, why do you keep on collecting?  Because it won’t be easy for me to dispose of them, that’s one thing sure.”  And you can’t really lessen a collection if you just dispose of two or three or four at a time.  Not when you have that many.

He collected principally in London.  London is, as you know, a market for everything.  It doesn’t make any difference what you’re looking for, the greatest amount of that particular thing can be found in London.  This is gospel truth: that we got off the boat and took a train up to London – I had rooms engaged from over here.  And we were in a taxi with our baggage and he said to me, “Would you mind if you went to the hotel with this baggage and I’ll meet you there later on?”  He went first to the book dealer before he got out of that taxi.  I registered at the hotel.

It was interesting to live with those tendencies.  The thing was, he’d look at a catalogue and he’d see that this thing was published in 1682.  He could remember that; he would remember where he saw it – in what catalogue the book was announced or catalogued.  There was just no end to the interest that came into our lives through these things.  And then it puts you into association with these people and when we came to Europe there was always a sort of an anchor for [us].  We met interesting people through it.  We met one particularly interesting man.  His name was Mr. Spencer, and he had a second-hand book shop.  In order to obtain the books, well I must tell you this: that a great many men in England, as they call them, gentlemen, collected drawings and collected books.  When [the] men died, their collections, their libraries, were sold.  And Mr. Spencer was in the habit of buying up these books and drawings.  I myself have been in his storeroom and have seen drawings, sheets upon sheets, piled up as high as I could reach, a whole room full of those piles, one right after the other.  Mr. Spencer was very particular whom he let come into those storerooms, but Dr. Goldstein was always welcome.  He made a big fuss over Max and welcomed him: “Oh, you’ve come back; you’ve come back this year.”  And he saved things that he thought Max would be interested in.

These drawings and books were mostly collected in country houses.  You see, a gentleman in England is something very special, especially the ones of a hundred years back.  Their belongings were all sort of intellectual pursuits.  And Spencer bought these and sold them in his London shop.  The shop was the most awful-looking thing you ever saw in your life.  Max used to look like a ragamuffin when he came back, he’d be so dirty.  And he’d be sitting way up in one of the upper floors – mind you, this was an old, old building in High Holburn where the second-hand book shops were.  But he didn’t care about that – he just sat there.  It was really terrible the way he’d come home; I’d hate to see him come through the hotel lobby.  But he certainly enjoyed those beautiful things, just had a reverence for them.  That was the way he collected.  And after he once collected, he didn’t want to part with it.

New York, also, is a market for drawings.  But no appreciation of them here [except for] a few men.  But they also didn’t buy here, they bought elsewhere – London.  Let me see, who were some of the collectors?  Old Mr. Polk was one.  And Lionberger Davis, who’s given such wonderful things to our art museum.  And Dr. [Malvern] Clopton, if you remember him.  Dr. Clopton had beautiful prints, wonderful prints.  Hollis Swope had beautiful, beautiful prints.  You don’t remember him?  It was the Swope Shoe Company, the son of the owner of the shoe company, and he’s given them all to the art museum.  They’re very beautiful ones.

Then, the oil paintings were collected much slower than that.  It was easy when you had the catalogue sent to you from New York to see what you wanted.  He bought at the museums, at the art shops where there were auctions, at the place that is now Parke-Bernet, the big auction house that sells pictures into the thousands and thousands now.  But that developed from these different art shops that were in New York – the American Arts – I’ve forgotten the names of all of them.  But at each period there was one leading art shop that sold at auction, just as there is now.

I assume from what you say that Dr. Goldstein first began collecting prints and other media than oil.  What [others] – watercolor?

No, it was pen drawings and pencil drawings.

I suppose that he had practiced [otolaryngology] for some years before he went to the Central Institute?

Yes.  He founded the Central Institute in 1914 and he began the practice of otology in 1894.  After he graduated from medical school he went to the City Hospital and interned there.  And then from there he went to Europe and spent two years in Europe, specializing.  There was a doctor here in St. Louis who was an ear specialist.  This was a good many years ago and otology was just beginning as a specialty.  Dr. Todd was his name and my husband had a great affection for him.  And he advised him to take up otology when he went to Europe for the first time and gave him the names of the professors with whom he should study.  And he did that.  After that, he continued by going to Europe as often as he could and studying with some of the great men: Dr. [Adam] Politzer [1835-1920], the father of modern otology, [and] he studied pathology.  He went to Strasbourg and studied there, then he went to Berlin and worked there, and then his last stop was London.  He worked at the – what is it called?  The London hospital, I don’t know.  It’s still there, the same hospital, down in the busy part of London.  King’s College, I think, is the name of it.

When did he begin editing the Laryngoscope?

[In] 1896.

And how did that come about?

He and a friend, a young otologist [Frank M. Rumbold], had their first offices right next to each other down on Jefferson and Locust, if you remember a little office building down there called the Erickson Building.  They were both otologists.  Just as Max was very avid in his reading, he found that there was an absence of the study of otology and ear, nose and throat studies.  So, he began it, and each one put in $100 to start this journal.  They published it for about two years; they circularized the profession.  Of course, it was something that was financially on their shoulders for several years – a good many years, in fact.

In the meantime, the Spanish-American war broke out.  It was a war with Cuba.  Of course it was Spanish, but it was centered here in the Cuban waters.  Frank Rumbold had always been a National Guard man.  So he volunteered for the army.  So that left Max alone.  And afterwards, this war spread to the Philippines and Frank Rumbold was sent to the Philippines.  So there was no contact with him for the journal and he, himself, found out that he was so interested in the war situation that when the war stopped he was going to take up the military life and military work.

When he came back here on one of his trips, he suggested that they dissolve this little partnership and Max took it over himself.  From that time on he published it and we are publishing it today.  I have the same secretary over there, [located] in the Washington University medical school.  She will be there thirty-five years next summer.  She’s really the – I hate to say publisher, she’s not the publisher – but she’s the editor.  Dr. [Theodore E.] Walsh is the editor, but Mrs. [Pearl] Lutz does all the work.  She came over here yesterday to talk to me.  I still am the nominal owner of it – I don’t get anything out of it.  And I was particularly anxious to stay in it because after that many years of publishing I didn’t want the journal to go out of existence.  I wanted it continued, and it is being continued and will be.

You did give us a little [information] on the Central Institute when we started the interview.  Can you now explain—?

Yes.  I’ll tell you how Central Institute came to be started.  Max worked in the Jewish Clinic down on Ninth and Cass or wherever the Jewish Clinic was at that time.  As time went on, he began to have deaf children come into his clinic for help.  He had paid particular attention to that kind of work in Vienna and there was one professor, Professor [Victor] Urbantschitsch [1847-1921], with whom he had very close relations.  Urbantschitsch was a man who was also making a great effort to help the deaf child.  He was very glad to have an American who was interested.  So he took particular pains with Max to take him to the deaf institute in Vienna and take up the subject almost as a special subject, aside from operating on mastoids and tonsil operations and things of that sort.

When he came home, as I say, he went into the Jewish Clinic and he found these deaf children.  As soon as he began to investigate, he found that there was no place where a child could be taught orally.  He was a definite advocate of the oral method.  He didn’t want any of this business [of] hand motions and all that.  [And] that was being pursued everywhere in America at that time.  They thought it was impossible to teach a child orally.  So he’d come home and say, “Well, we had another deaf child in our clinic today.  Now what am I going to do with that child?  I know that there’s no treatment possible, that it’s utterly a waste of time.”

[Tape ends abruptly]


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of these oral history transcripts. If you discover an error or would like to offer suggestions, please click here to contact us.
Home | Browse the Interviews | Index of Names | Rights & Permissions | About this Project