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The Voelker Orth Family
Conrad Voelcker emigrated from Germany in 1881, when he was about
nineteen. He was joined by his brother, Gustav, in 1886 and together
the Voelckers established a printing business in Manhattan. After
living in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, Conrad eventually
moved to the Murray Hill area of Flushing, Queens, where he purchased
a house. A few years prior, Conrad had married Elizabeth Maibach.
By the time they relocated to Queens, Elizabeth has given birth
to a daughter, Theresa, who was about a year old at the time of
the move. In moving to Flushing, Conrad Voelcker was bringing
his family to what was then an attractive suburb of Manhattan
with a relatively short commute to work.
Voelcker appears to have been very successful in the printing
business. For a while he published a number of German language
newspapers in various communities. He also published a German
and English newspaper in Bayonne, New Jersey. He sold all his
newspapers around the time the United States entered the war against
Germany in 1917. Running a German language newspaper at this time
presented problems, such as dealing with government restrictions
and the loss of advertising. However, he remained in the printing
business for many more years. His first wife, Elizabeth Maibach
Voelcker, died in 1919. He married his second wife, Estelle Christ
of Sea Cliff, in 1929. Conrad Voelcker died in 1930 and is buried
in the family plot in Flushing Cemetery.
Theresa, Conrad’s daughter, married Dr. Rudolph Orth and
the couple had one child, Elisabetha, born in 1926. Dr. Orth,
the son of German immigrants, graduated from Cornell University
Medical School in 1909. His first appointment as a physician was
at the S.R. Smith Infirmary (now called Staten Island Hospital).
During World War I he served in France with great distinction
as an army surgeon. At the time of Conrad Voelcker’s death,
the Orths were living in Riverdale, where Orth had established
a practice as an obstetrician. In 1921 he was appointed as a police
surgeon with the New York City Police Department and served in
that capacity until his retirement in 1945.
|Left: Theresa and Elisabetha; c.1931
Right: Conrad Voelker and Rudolph Orth, with Elisabetha,
In addition to Elisabetha, the Orths also had a baby daughter, Theresa, who
died in infancy. In 1935 they adopted a nine-year-old girl named
Barbara. Elisabetha Orth graduated from New York University in
1948, majoring in English Literature. She then attended the University
of Texas, where she received a Master’s Degree in Theater.
Elisabetha lived with her mother in the family home for many years
after her father’s death in 1948. Theresa Orth died in 1992.
Elisabetha died three years later of injuries resulting from an
automobile accident. In her will she bequeathed the establishment
of the Voelker Orth Museum as an educational resource.
and Theresa Orth, c.1930
Right: Elisabetha Orth, c.1976