Well-known local people in the 1940 Census
Searching for New Yorkers famous or otherwise in the 1940 Census became a lot easier this month when ancestry.com/1940 completed its name index for the state. With a name and an approximate year of birth, it's no longer necessary to know an exact street address or a pesky enumeration district to make a find. Here's a sampling of some well known New Yorkers and Long Islanders and some less well known facts about them gleaned from the 72-year-old Census:
LOU GEHRIG, 36, (listed on the Census as Henry L. Gehrig) was living with his wife, widowed mother-in-law and a houseman in a home on Delafield Avenue in the Bronx, rented for $125 a month. The retired Yankee great, disabled by ALS, listed his profession not as first baseman, but as "parole commissioner." (Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia had named him to that post, which paid $5,700 a year, to inspire troubled youth.)
EDITH KERMIT CAROW ROOSEVELT, 78, (listed in the Census as Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt) was living in Cove Neck at Sagamore Hill, the family home then valued at $168,000. The widowed former first lady headed a household of 20 including waitresses, cooks and maids.
SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM, 79, and his wife, Irene, 71, lived in a Sands Point home valued in the Census at $950,000, a figure that stands out because it so far surpasses even other Gold Coast mansions. Guggenheim, whose art and part of his fortune would go to the Manhattan art museum that bears his name, lists his occupation as "mining executive." The census lists more than two dozen live-in servants on Guggenheim's Trillora Court estate.
OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II, 44, the Broadway lyricist, and his wife, Dorothy, 40, an interior decorator, lived in a home on Shore Drive in Kings Point, with a daughter, 12, a son, 9, a houseworker, a housekeeper, a cook and two chauffeurs.
IRVING BERLIN, 51, and his wife, Ellin, 37, paid $335 a month to rent an apartment at 127 E. 78th St. in Manhattan that they shared with three daughters, a child nurse, a cook, a personal maid, a parlor maid and a kitchen maid. The census indicates the composer worked 60 hours in the week ending March 30, 1940.
COLE PORTER, 48, the composer, who had a home in Paris, is listed in the census as a "lodger" at the Waldorf-Astoria.
AL JOLSON, 52 (in the Census as Albert Jolson), is listed as a guest at the Sherry Netherland Hotel. His profession is given as "actor, radio, screen."
ETHEL MERMAN, 32, already a veteran Broadway belter in 1940, was living with her parents in a $253-a-month apartment at 25 Central Park West. Her father, Edward Zimmerman, 62, earned $1,852 for 52 weeks of work as a bookkeeper at a dry goods company. Ethel, who is listed on the Census as Zimmerman, earned more than $5,000 in 35 weeks of work as an "actress theatrical."
JOHN BARRYMORE, 58, and his fourth wife, Elaine, 24, were paying $100-a-month rent for an apartment at 325 79th St. The actor had earned more than $5,000 for 35 weeks of work in 1939. His wife had earned $2,000-plus for 11 weeks work as an actress.
KATHARINE HEPBURN, whose name is misspelled as Katherine and whose age is shaved a couple of years to 30 on the Census, owned a $28,000 town house at 244 E. 49th St. She had earned more than $5,000 for 40 weeks of work in 1939. A Swedish couple lived in, working as a cook and butler.
JACQUELINE BOUVIER, 10, and her sister, LEE, lived with their mother, JANET BOUVIER, 32, in a $250-a-month apartment on the Gracie Square extension of East 84th Street. JOHN VERNOU BOUVIER, the future first lady's 48-year-old father, lived at 765 Park Ave. (Her parents divorced later that year.)