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Herbert Gorfinkle Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-904

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains photographs, ephemera and letters from Herbert Gorfinkle to his parents and younger sisters, Ruth and Sara, about his experiences in World War II. Most of the letters were re-typed by Bernard Gorfinkle's secretary, although a few handwritten, original letters remain. Gorfinkle captured his experiences as both a photographer and soldier. Unfortunately, not all the photographs are labeled, which makes identification difficult. Gorfinkle was also an amateur artist and sent humorous sketches home to his family. In addition to the materials documenting World War II, there are also yearbooks, photographs and a diploma from the University of New Hampshire documenting Gorfinkle's education. Gorfinkle also inherited family photograph albums consisting primarily of cabinet card and carte de visite photographs of the Milontaler and Gorfinkle families, although there are also a few tintypes included, as well. The Milontalers and Gorfinkles were related through marriage (Herbert Gorfinkle's mother was Sarah Milonthaler, who married Harris Gorfinkle.) The majority of these photographs are not identified.

Dates

  • undated, circa 1850s-2000

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Biographical Note

Herbert Gorfinkle was the eldest child and only son of Colonel Bernard and Frieda Gorfinkle of Newton, Massachusetts. Born in 1923, Gorfinkle came of age during World War II and entered the U.S. Army while an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire. As a Tech 5 combat engineer, Gorfinkle was responsible for clearing landmines ahead of his advancing unit. He was also a trained army photographer, and aside from his letters home, he documented his years in the War with photographs. A soldier under General Dwight Eisenhower, Gorfinkle participated in the Normandy Invasion and was among the troops that liberated Buchenwald in 1945.

Gorfinkle graduated from the University of New Hampshire, but during the war he attended Cornell University in New York for engineering training and University of Oxford in England. He received his Masters in Business Administration from New York University's School of Retailing in 1948.

Following the war, Gorfinkle married Constance Golub. They had three daughters, Jeanne, Anne and Elisabeth. Gorfinkle was President and Founder of Edwards Stores of Boston. An active boater, he was Chairman of the Harbor Development Committee in Hingham, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Coast Guard Auxiliary and Commodore of the Metropolitan Yacht Club.

Gorfinkle died on June 11, 2000 at the age of 77.

Chronology

1923
Herbert Gorfinkle born to Bernard and Frieda Gorfinkle.
1943-1945
Enters World War II and through training becomes a Tech 5 and army photographer.
1947
Graduates from the University of New Hampshire.
1948
Graduates from New York University's School of Retailing.
June 11, 2000
Herbert Gorfinkle dies at age 77.

Extent

2 linear feet (1 document box, 1 OS box)

Abstract

Herbert Gorfinkle was the eldest child and only son of Colonel Bernard and Frieda Gorfinkle of Newton, Massachusetts. Born in 1923, Gorfinkle came of age during World War II and entered the U.S. Army while an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire. As a Tech 5 combat engineer, Gorfinkle was responsible for clearing landmines ahead of his advancing unit. He was also a trained army photographer, and aside from his letters home, he documented his years in the War with photographs. A soldier under General Dwight Eisenhower, Gorfinkle participated in the Normandy Invasion and was among the troops that liberated Buchenwald in 1945. This collection includes correspondence and photographs from Gorfinkle’s service in World War II, photographs of Bernard Gorfinkle’s serviced during World War I, and a collection of family carte de visites, cabinet cards and tintypes.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Constance Gorfinkle and Jeanne Gorfinkle Wiley, January 2011.

Processing Information

Processed by Stephanie Call, 2011
Title
Guide to the Herbert Gorfinkle Papers, P-904
Author
Processed by Stephanie Call
Date
2011

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245