Monthly Archives: August 2014

Frederick Herbert Von Hofe

Frederick Von Hofe as a young man
Frederick Von Hofe as a young man

Fred, aka “Boppa” was born in Manhattan on 16 June 1891 to George Dietrich Von Hofe and Hannah Levy.  He had an elder sis, Emma, aka Memmie, was already 6 years old. A younger brother,  George Douglas, jr. was born in 1893.

The 1905 NY state census show the family living at 118 East 87th Street, NYC, an area known as Yorkville. Fred was 14 and attending school. There were 2 other families living at the address. In 1910, Fred was 18, and working as an artist for Staats-Zeitung.  This was his first professional job as an artist.

Fred Von Hofe's calligraphy
Fred Von Hofe’s calligraphy

He’d continue a lifelong love of art and work on commissions, especially portraits,  for many years. He was also fond of snappy aphorisms and would create them in his own calligraphy. In 1910, he lived with his father’s family in Yorkville, a heavily German settlement in Manhattan.  The home was at 118 East 87th Street, in the 12th Ward. His brother George was 17 and his sis Memmie  (a stenographer)was 25. A German gal, 37 year old, Emma Schiffer , who worked sewing neckwear,lived with them. Fred is mentioned as a member of the class of 1916 in the 1914 Columbian, the yearbook of Columbia University in New York City.

Dr. Von Hofe working on a microscope
Dr. Von Hofe working on a microscope

The 1916 City Directory lists Fred as a student, boarding at his father’s home, 176 N. Centre Street, Orange.  His father and brother live there as well. George Douglas, jr i s a teacher. Another directory of the same year lists Fred as a physician. He graduated Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, receiving his MD on 6 June 1917.

Dr. Von Hofe'smedical degree from Columbia
Dr. Von Hofe’s medical degree from Columbia
1st Lieut. Fred Von Hofe WW1
1st Lieut. Fred Von Hofe WW1

On 5 June 1917, Fred and his brother, George Douglas, jr. registered for the draft during WW1. He was a medical resident working at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, living with his family at 531 Hillside Terrace in West Orange. He was of medium height and build with brown hair and eyes. According to family oral history, was about to go overseas as a doctor in the army in 1918, when he got the flu (the pandemic). He survived, but by that time the war was over.

Fred Von Hofe on his wedding day
Fred Von Hofe on his wedding day

Fred (28) married Dorothy Mandeville Boyce in 1919. After Fred and Dorothy married, they lived in 1920, with his father’s family at 531 Hillside Terrace,  West Orange.  Fred was 28 years old, a doctor, working out of the house.

On 20 Dec. 1921, Fred (30) and his brother, Douglas, (28) traveled abroad on the S.S. Fort St. George from Hamilton, Bermuda, arriving at the Port of New York 2 days later. Douglas still lived at Hillside Terrace. Fred lived at Montrose Ave, South Orange. He’s listed at 151 West Montrose Avenue in the South Orange City Directory, 1922, 1924, 1925. In 1927, Fred is listed in the City Directory as living at 555 William Street, East Orange. 255 Conway Court1in 1930, Fred (38), Dorothy (34)and daughter, Ruth(8) lived in the Village of South Orange at 255 Conway Court , dist 601, NJ.  A 28 year old recent emigrant from Germany, Clara Schmitt lived with the family as a servant.  Fred is listed as a medical doctor. They owned the 3,000 sq. ft. home, which Fred supposedly commissioned to be built. It was worth $30,000 at the time. They also owned a radio. Today it is listed at well over $800,000.

The 1932, 1934 City Directories list Fred and Dorothy living at 255 Conway Court (By 1934 this area was Newark). Fred works a a physician at 75 Prospect in East Orange. Memmie is a secretary for the Jean Jourdeau company located at 7 3rd street, South Orange, and lives in NY.George Douglas resides at 301 South Orange Avenue West, South Orange.  44 Yearss on Infancy1Fred worked for many years as a Pediatrician at Orange Memorial Hospital.  He was a member of the American Academy of Pediatricians. A wing of Orange Memorial Hospital (also known as the Hospital Center at Orange) was named after him. That hospital has since closed down.

Gift of Thomas Edison to Dr.Von Hofe, a picture of him with his grandchildren
Gift of Thomas Edison to Dr.Von Hofe, a picture of him with his grandchildren

The Von Hofes had a special relationship with the famous inventor,  Thomas Edison.  As a  pediatrician, Dr. Von Hofe treated Edison’s grandchildren.  And Dorothy’s father, George Boyce, the electrician, wired Edison’s house.  Dorothy’s voice was recorded as a crying baby on the phonograph Edison invented. Another funny link is that Charles Grady (who would become the Von Hofe’s daughter’s father  in-law, worked as a mechanical engineer, designing and building power plants for Con Edison.  Fred Von Hofe’s grandson credits a visit to Thomas Edison’s laboratory in West Orange as the inspiration for him to become a physicist.

When he was 46 years, Fred traveled to Germany with his parents. Perhaps they wanted to visit relatives one last time? On July 28, 1938, the trio sailed from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Dresden. Fred’s passport was issued the same day as his parents; his number was 537730. George Dietrich Von Hofe was 73 and Hannah Levy Von Hofe was 67; they lived at 301 West South Orange Avenue and evidently shared a passport, #537729, issued in Wash.D.C. on 12 Jul 1932. The Dresden docked in the Port of New York on Aug. 7.

Orange Memorial Hospital resident. jpgThe 1940 US census shows Fred (48 had completed five years of college) living with Dorothy (44) had completed two years of college and Ruth (18, had completed one year of college) at  in Ward 2, West Orange, Essex County, New Jersey where he owned his own home that was worth $28,000. Ruth Wagner, a 24 year old single gal from PA was living with them as their “maid.” The street is #275 Brookway.

Fred was 50 years old when he registered for the draft during WW2 receiving serial number, 1493. He lived in Llewellen Park, West Orange,  NJ. He was working at 75 Prospect Street, West Orange. He was 5’7″ and weighed 150 lbs. His eyes were now listed as hazel and he had a light complexion.

During his last years, Fred suffered with Parkinson’s Disease. He and Dorothy moved into a lovely apartment in Heath Village, Hackettstown, NJ, where Dorothy was very active until her death at 99 years.  At 88 years of age, Fred died in May 1977. It was a small private funeral service. Fred and Dorothy are buried in a mausoleum in Fairfield Cemetery,  Westfield NJ. is obituary was in The New York Times.

Frederick H. von Hofe Aug 1975
Frederick H. von Hofe Aug 1975