Thursday, August 25, 2011

Morton Smith Had an Uncle Ernie

I have mentioning the fact that Morton Smith's family had a reputable stain glass window business in Philadelphia. They established their business by advertising heavily in local church bulletins and circulars. Here is a sample of one such ad from 1906 which mentions for the first time that Smith's father Rubert H Smith had a brother named Ernest. Here again is a smaller ad from 1907.

It is interesting tracking down information about Smith's Uncle Ernie given that we know so little about his family life.  Here is a letter than Ernest W Smith wrote to the fellow owners of stained glass makers.  Here is some kind of letter of reference from a happy customer of H J Smith & Sons mentioning Morton's uncle by name.  He seems to have taken a more prominent role in the company.  His name is often the first next to Henry J Smith the father.  Ernest was also the president of the Stained Glass Association in 1909 (the same group addressed in the letter cited above).

I have determined through a call to the Stained Glass Association that Ernest W Smith died in 1923.  Morton Smith's father was still involved in the company at least until 1929.  The lady at the Stained Glass Association assumed this meant he no longer managed operations.  The fact that this coincides with the beginning of the Great Depression likely means that the economic situation of the day factored into this decision.  The company of H J Smith & Sons remained active until 1948, the same year coincidentally that Morton Smith resigned himself from the rolls of the New Church in Bryn Athyn.

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