Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yitzhak Lanton

Yitzhak and his cousins
(photo credit L. Boressoff)
A few years ago I posted a photo of my great-grandfather Harry Simon and his family in New York City. Well, just last night I received an email from a man named Gary whose great-grandfather was also photographed in the same studio by the same photographer standing in front of the same backdrop.

Yitzhak Lanton was born in 1881 in a town called Tartakov, currently located in the Ukraine. At that time, Tartakov was part of the Austrian Hungarian empire.

Yitzhak's wife Gittel had a brother named Sam, who emigrated to the US in 1912. He was able to secure papers for Yitzhak and Yitzhak set sail from Hamburg, Germany on a boat called the SS Vaterland on June 27, 1914.

The very next day, June 28th, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, the Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo. This was the event that triggered the beginning of World War I.

Yitzhak's journey was for the purpose of settling in the US and then his wife Gittel and their two children Rebecca (Rhoda) and Heschel (Harry) would join him; however, because of the war, Yitzhak's family was trapped and could not leave Europe.
Harry (Heschel) Gittel, and Rhoda (Rebecca)
(photo credit unknown)

Yitzhak lived with Gittel's cousins. One of them contracted the Spanish flu. Yitzhak helped take care of his cousin and while she survived, Yitzhak contracted the same flu and was not as fortunate. He died October 10, 1918.

Yitzhak and Gittel, separated throughout the war, were never together in the US. Gittel emigrated in 1921, when her brother Sam arranged a second marriage for her.

The photo of Yitzhak and his cousins was taken by Louis Boressoff. His studio was located at 355 Grand Street in the lower east side of Manhattan. Louis arrived in New York City on August 11, 1900 and was naturalized on September 6, 1905. He advertised frequently as an artistic photographer specializing in pastels, crayons, and water colors.

If you have any photos taken by Boressoff, please share them with us.