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Christmas Present

March 2023
1min read


Although we received this photograph from Cynthia Abroitz of New Jersey quite a while ago, it seemed only logical to wait until a slot opened up for it in a December issue. Ms. Abroitz writes, “My greatgrandparents, Anna and Michael Horvath, had gotten married at the beginning of the twentieth century in Hungary. Anna’s family was very affluent, while Michael’s was not. Neither family approved of the marriage. Michael decided to travel to America and send for his pregnant wife when he could. He did not think it would take long. At this time most Europeans thought of America as the land of the rich. They actually believed the streets were paved with gold.

“Michael found a place to stay and a job in Philadelphia. In Hungary his wife gave birth to a daughter, Margaret, my grandmother. It took more than three years before Anna and Margaret made it to America. Anna cried during the entire voyage. She was upset over leaving her family and feared what awaited her in America. She did not know any English.

“Anna and Margaret arrived in Philadelphia, but the Board of Health would not allow Anna to go with her husband. Her eyes were still very red from crying; the authorities thought that she might have brought over some kind of contagious disease. Margaret was allowed to go with her father, but she did not want to accompany a man she had never seen before. The frightened little three-year-old kicked and screamed until they permitted her to stay with her mother. They remained at the University of Pennsylvania for about two weeks, and then the doctors released them, on Christmas Eve.

“When Margaret arrived at her new home, a doll and carriage were waiting for her. She adored them and her father. This picture was taken shortly afterward in 1906.”

We continue to ask our readers to send unusual and unpublished old photographs to Carla Davidson at American Heritage, Forbes Building, 60 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011. Please send a copy of any irreplaceable materials, include return postage, and do not mail glass negatives. We will pay fifty dollars for each one that is run.

We hope you enjoy our work.

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