She Worked Until She Was 80!

Hedda Woods was born in Chicago on October 25, 1905 to Ulla Ostberg and Birger Haugen, both immigrants from Norway.  Soon after they married in Alesund, Norway, Ulla and Birger decided to come to America to try a new life.  Family legend has it that when they came through Ellis Island, Ulla, the stronger of […]

November 14th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“No One Ever Helped Me”

Jacek Sadowski was born on July 4, 1914 in a small village in Poland.  His parents, Gustaw Sadowski and Hania Nowak, were farmers, and Jacek was the youngest of eight children.  Unfortunately, Jacek’s mother died when he was just a year old, so his five older sisters raised him.  He attended the village school until […]

November 7th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Three Husbands, a Deceitful Son, and the Pigeon Club

Marie Bosko was born on July 4, 1912 in Chicago to Dusan Cizek and Alena Holub.  Both Dusan and Alena were immigrants from Czechoslovakia, but they met and married in Chicago.  Dusan worked as a cabinet maker for John M. Smythe, and Alena cared for their eight children, though two of them died.  Their first […]

October 31st, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

She Sold Her Paintings From Village to Village

Jadwiga Sokal was born on February 26, 1914 in Poland to Wladek and Kasia Majewski.  Jadwiga went to grammar school and then found a job in a pastry shop, where she often waited on a young man, Kasper Sokal, who came in to the shop quite often.  Kasper was a widower with two older children […]

October 24th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Baseball and Extra-Marital Affairs – The Odd Life of Herman Neumacher

Herman Neumacher was born on February 2, 1903 in Chicago.  The names of his parents are unknown, but he is thought to be of Irish and German descent.  He was the youngest of ten children, and his family life seems to have been very chaotic, as his family moved constantly from apartment to apartment.  He […]

October 17th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

From Leather Cutter to Sears Inspector – The Colorful Life of Eugenia Boyd

Eugenia Boyd was born on June 20, 1906 in Austria-Hungary to Anton Herzog and Marie Beran and was one of nine children.  When Eugenia was very little, the family immigrated to America and made their way to Chicago, where they stayed for about a year before moving to a farm in Michigan.  Thus, Eugenia spent […]

October 10th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Proud to Have “Opened the Books”

Ruth Hughes was born on June 4, 1906 in Chicago to Virginia Ward and Raymond Oveson. She had three brothers: Walter, Raymond, Jr., and Albert, though both Raymond, Jr. and Albert died as infants.  Ruth attended two years at Cathedral High School and then quit to begin working at the telephone company.  She then moved […]

October 3rd, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

The Little Girl She Always Wanted

Opal Payne was born on October 18, 1913 in Chicago to Martin Vogt and Eileen O’Rourke.  Martin emigrated from Germany and worked as a stenographer in Chicago, while Eileen, who was of Irish descent, cared for their three children: Opal, Norman and Lee.

Opal went to John Marshall High School for a year and a half […]

September 26th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

It Was Her Job to Care for the “Waterhead Babies”

Rose Ackermann was born in Chicago on August 22, 1926 to Emil Ackermann and Hanna Raskop, both of whom emigrated from Germany.  Emil found work as a coal and ice man, but he also worked as a handyman on the side sometimes as well.  Hanna cared for their three children—Leo, Judith and Rose—and worked at […]

September 19th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

A Child Prodigy and the Life That Followed

Valentine Conrad was born on February 26, 1910 in Chicago to Wilma Sheppard and Frank Knauz.  Valentine’s early life was rather convoluted, as her mother was married three times.  Wilma’s first marriage apparently only lasted three months before she divorced her husband.  She then married another man by the name of Frank Knauz with whom […]

September 12th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|