Voelker Orth Museum


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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.

Family 1
Family 2
Theresa and Elisabetha; c.1931
Conrad Voelker and Rudolph Orth,
with Elisabetha, c.1929










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.

Family 3
Family 4
Rudolph and Theresa Orth, c.1930
Elisabetha Orth, c.1976

149-19 38TH AVENUE, FLUSHING, NY 11354  |  718-359-6227  |  CONTACT US  |  © 2014 THE VOELKER ORTH MUSEUM