Beatrice Fox Auerbach’s guest books represent another unique and interesting part of the collection. (They also happen to be another personal favorite.) The four guest books collectively span the great majority of Mrs. Auerbach’s adult life. Beginning in 1914, three years after Beatrice Fox and George Auerbach were married, the books continue until just two months before Mrs. Auerbach died. Each guest book contains a complete array of signatures, messages, poems, and sometimes even illustrations that pay tribute to the gracious hospitality for which Beatrice Fox Auerbach was known.
Mrs. Auerbach’s guest books begin a few years after her marriage when she was living in Salt Lake City, Utah. The importance of family in Mrs. Auerbach’s life is quite evident in her guest books. There are frequent entries in the guest books from her many family members, including her sister, brothers-in-law, children, grandchildren, aunts, and uncles. In fact, Mrs. Auerbach’s mother, Theresa Stern Fox, is the first to sign her daughter’s guest book, which emphasizes the importance of family in Mrs. Auerbach’s life. An image of this first page of Mrs. Auerbach’s guest book is represented at left. (As with all the images in this entry, click on it if you would like to see it in more detail.)
If there was an award for the most creative entry by a member of the family, the award would have to go to a December, 1944 entry by Mrs. Auerbach’s grandson, George Auerbach Koopman. Not even five months old at the time, George really left his mark on the guest book, quite literally in fact! Judging by the handwriting, the entry itself was written by George’s mother, Georgette, but there is no denying that the handprint was made by George himself. This one was definitely one of the more interesting entries in all the guest books!
Many people signed the guest book with only their signatures or with a few lines of gratitude, but others left more creative messages, often in the form of poems. Beatrice Fox Auerbach’s brother-in-law, Herbert Auerbach, left this poem in her guest book after a visit.
Poems weren’t the only way people expressed themselves creatively in the guest books. Many times, folks would draw little illustrations to go along with their messages or signatures. None of the other illustrations, however, can compare to those left by Marj and Huck.
An example of one of their illustrations is represented here.
The last entry in any of the guest books is dated September 9, 1968, just two months before Mrs. Auerbach’s death. Once again, it reinforces the singular importance of family in Mrs. Auerbach’s life as the entry was written by her cousin, Hortense Plaut Bozsan.
I believe your evaluation of the handwriting in the entry attributed to George Koopman may be in need of some further research. While not an expert in “questioned documents”, I am somewhat familiar with both Dick’s and Georgette’s handwriting, and I believe this specimen is more likely his. I could be wrong, and if so, I will apologize in advance.
Thank you so much for your comments. I think you are correct that the handwriting is not George’s. I had thought the handwriting belonged to Georgette Koopman, but it may have been written by Richard Koopman.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. You seem to be quite familiar with the Koopmans. Would you be interested in participating in the Oral History Project? I’m sure your recollections would add a great deal to our understanding of the store and the people who worked there.
Many thanks for your comments.
I am a descendent of Rosa Auerbach who was Fred H and Samuel H Auerbachs sister. Her brothersfounded the department store in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1864. My grandmother was Luscha Auerbach Meyer Friedman. Luscha had 6 brothers and sisters. I have numerous photos, newspaper clippings that I would enjoy sharing with any distant cousins that are out there. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
I am looking for descendents of the Auerbach family from Salt Lake City. Are you interested in information regarding the family? Please feel free to e-mail me if so.
Stan Friedman Clearwater, Fl
I’m sure others have much better information that would be of interest – mine would be more of the family and some oddball info about the store including a few things most folks might not know. Rena asked me if I would participate and I agreed, but the timing was not good for us so I couldn’t and assumed my opportunity had passed. Having said all of that, YES, I would be happy to share with you.
Just came across the guest book entry regarding George’s handprint in the guest book. As George’s sister (and Georgette and Richard’s daughter) I can promise you the handwriting is my father’s writing.
Thank you for confirming that what we have is indeed George’s handwriting. Nothing is as good as family memory in identifying such things.