Written on back of photo:
From Colman Schwartz
Age 5 years, 4 months
Uncle Meyer A. Steen
Feb 6th, 1890
Colman Schwartz, the youngest child of Rebecca (Steen) and Louis Schwartz, was born in Santa Cruz 21 Sep 1884. Not only was he the youngest living child, he was also the last (of eight) children born to the couple, only four of whom lived into adulthood.
Colman’s father, Louis Schwartz, died when Colman was not quite 9 years old. It seems that his mother, Rebecca, traveled to Oakland and lived there for many years.
Colman Schwartz, 1896, age 12
From the Santa Cruz Evening Sentinel, 15 Jun 1897, page 3.
I know that Colman graduated from high school in Oakland, probably in about 1902. From the Santa Cruz Evening Sentinel (26 Apr 1902, page 1) it appears that he did, in fact, attend Oakland High School, although I was unable to find his name in the list of attendees.
I also learned from The Santa Cruz Sentinel, 15 Dec 1907 page 10, that Colman was a monologist. What? That was a new term for me so once again, Google to the rescue. From Wikipedia: “A monologist is a solo artist who recites or gives dramatic readings from a monologue, soliloquy, poetry, or work of literature.” Interesting. Sounds like he might have been a crowd favorite.
Colman graduated (I believe in 1911) from Hastings Law School, University of California, San Francisco. He went on to practice law in Oakland and San Francisco until his death.
I first wrote about Colman when I found my grandmother’s (and Colman’s niece) scrapbook back in 2012. Colman was married to Selma Lavenson on 25 Apr 1914 in Sacramento. You can read about the wedding from the eyes of my grandmother who was just 18 years old at the time HERE.
Colman and Selma had three children: Colman born 26 May 1915 in Sacramento; Flora Jean born 31 Jan 1917 in Alameda; and Milton Lewis born 20 Jan 1920 in Alameda.
From various San Francisco and Oakland City Directories, I learned that Colman spent some time working at the Kohl Building, a building that is a San Francisco landmark (#161) located at 400 Montgomery Street. He was associated with Grover O’Connor and the firm was known as O’Connor & Schwartz. He and Selma lived at 301 Perkins in Oakland.
Colman’s life was cut short when he died 25 Sep 1920, just 4 days after his 36th birthday.
San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Sep 1920, Page 2
What I found interesting was an obituary printed in the Santa Cruz Evening News on page 9, 28 Sep 1920. Looks like the newspaper made a HUGE error in reporting that Milton had died when, in fact, it was his brother, Colman. I wonder how many people were stunned the next time they saw Milton walking down the street.
Colman is buried in Home of Eternity Cemetery, Oakland, alongside his parents and young brother, Marks, who died before he was born.
It was a rough couple of years for the Schwartz family as Rebecca died in 1918, brother Joseph in 1919, and Colman in 1920. Selma never remarried and lived until 1979.