Richard Koopman Joins the Fox Family

On June 21, 1940, Richard Koopman became a member of the Fox/Auerbach family when he married Beatrice Fox Auerbach’s daughter, Georgette Auerbach. Two years later, on October 18, 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps. In 1946, after being discharged from the service, Richard Koopman became a member of another Fox family when he began working for his mother-in-law at G. Fox & Co.

Among his materials in the collection, there is a training booklet, specially prepared to introduce Mr. Koopman to the store. The booklet contains a daily schedule that includes training assignments for his first six weeks of employment, divided into two categories: salescheck system & sales training and non-selling training. Because of the depth of this training program, it is possible to obtain from it a basic understanding of the responsibilities of each department.

Mr. Koopman continued working at G. Fox & Co. for several years until his retirement in 1979. During his thirty-three year tenure at the store, he served as both store president (from 1967-1969) and vice-chairman (from 1969-1979). In this way, he continued the family tradition of long-term service to the department store following in the steps of his mother-in-law, Beatrice Fox Auerbach and her father and grandfather, Moses and Gerson Fox, who devoted a total of 132 years (41, 58, and 33, respectively) to building and managing G. Fox & Co., Hartford’s largest department store.

Georgette and Dorothy: Humanitarians

Last week, I wrote about Beatrice Fox Auerbach’s two daughters, Georgette and Dorothy, but this week I want to focus on one aspect of her daughters’ lives: their humanitarianism.

Georgette and Dorothy were both deeply committed to serving their community, a trait most likely inherited from their mother. In fact, they worked with their mother in a number of instances, especially through their involvement with the Service Bureau for Women’s Organizations. These women not only contributed extensively to this and many other organizations from a monetary standpoint, but also donated generously of their time, in spite of the fact that they both must have had their hands full running households that each included six children!

An article in the Hartford Courant, “Georgette Auerbach Koopman,” appearing on April 7, 2004, shortly after Georgette’s death demonstrates the extent of her community commitments. Included in the article is a list of Hartford-area institutions that directly benefited from Georgette’s time and money: the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Hartford Stage Company, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, the Connecticut Institute for the Blind, the American School for the Deaf, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Kingswood-Oxford School, the Hartford Art School, the University of Hartford, and the Hebrew Home and Hospital. This list may be extensive, but it is by no means complete. (For instance, both Georgette and her husband Richard were members of the Connecticut Historical Society, as were her mother, sister and brother-in-law.)

Dorothy was equally committed to being active in the community. She was often involved in the same organizations as her sister.  The organizations closest to her heart appear to have been the American School for the Deaf, the Connecticut Institute for the Blind, the University of Hartford, and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Her obituary, like her sister’s, places great emphasis on her community involvement and volunteer efforts.

Beatrice Fox Auerbach shared her strong commitment to and love for the Hartford and Connecticut communities with her two children. Georgette and Dorothy continued, if not surpassed, their mother’s humanitarian efforts and Connecticut deeply benefited from their generosity.

Beatrice’s Girls

Of all of her many accomplishments (and there is quite the lengthy list), Beatrice Fox Auerbach was probably most proud of her role as a mother and, later, grandmother. Beatrice and her girlsMrs. Auerbach had two daughters, Georgette and Dorothy. Georgette was born on May 14, 1916 when the family was still living in Salt Lake City, Utah and Dorothy was born on October 14, 1919 after the family had returned to Hartford. It is quite clear based on the materials in this collection that Mrs. Auerbach adored her children, as did her husband, George. As a matter of fact, in the Graphics Department, along with this photograph of Beatrice with Georgette (at left) and Dorothy, there is also the sweetest photograph of George Auerbach holding a thirteen-week-old Georgette!

There is also a lovely letter written by Georgette and Dorothy in January of 1925 (they were 8 and 5, respectively) to their mother while she was away in Washington. They write about attending a concert with their grandpa (Moses Fox) and that “Daddy” surprised them by showing up unexpectedly at their cousin’s birthday party. (I find it especially interesting that they address the letter as “Dear Mother” and yet refer to their father as “Daddy.”)

Mrs. Auerbach remained close to her daughters from the time of their births until her own death in 1968. In addition to adoring her daughters, however, she was certainly also a doting grandmother. Mrs. Auerbach had twelve grandchildren. Georgette and her husband, Richard Koopman, had three boys and three girls: George, Rena, Harry, Dorothy Brooks, Richard, and Beatrice. Dorothy and her husband, Bernard Schiro, had five girls and a boy: Susan, Linda, Robert, Helen Beatrice, Elizabeth, and Jean. In case you missed it, check out our previous posting, Happy Birthday, Beatrice!, for a look at the entire clan!