Frank’s wife, Genevieve L. Kornick

In the previous post we met Francis Joseph Zeller (1897-1979), AKA Frank. His wife, Genevieve L. Kornick (1894-1982), AKA Jenny, is pictured below. They married in 1934 and had no children.

Jenny Kornick Zeller 1.jpg

Frank inscribed the photograph as follows: “The sweetest little girl in my life is little ‘innocent’ Jenny. Love, Frank.” According to a note which appears to have been made by Frank, the photograph was taken 25 October 1938. After selling 1529 Holbrook Street in 1937, Frank and Jenny bought 4 Greenwood Avenue just a little ways outside the city in the Baltimore County neighborhood of Kenwood. This photograph was possibly taken there.

Jenny Kornick Zeller 2.jpg

Jenny was the daughter of Herman Ludwig Christian Kornick (1858-1927), who was born in Germany and earned his living as a proofreader at German newspapers in Baltimore, and Clara Johanna Barth (1860-1938) whose father was born in Germany.

Here is a photograph of Frank and Jenny together which was developed on 22 August 1933:

Frank J Zeller and wife 1.jpg

Frank J Zeller and wife 2.jpg

Following are the front and back of a photograph which was taken in the backyard of 1529 Holbrook Street and developed in May 1933, but which has an inscription and address label dating from after they moved to the Greenwood Avenue house in 1937. On the back Frank describes himself as a lamplighter, chair caner, and “puzzle maker of magic rings.” Indeed, Frank’s occupation was listed as “lamplighter” in the 1920 Census and “streetlight inspector” in the 1930 and 1940 Censuses. His father’s occupation in 1900 and 1910 was “basket maker,” so Frank may have worked with him in that field and learned to cane chairs. According to Michael Cantori, proprietor of Cantori’s Theater of Magic, “magic rings” may refer to Chinese linking rings.

Frank J Zeller with plant 1

Frank J Zeller with plant 2


Frank at 1529 Holbrook Street, Baltimore, MD

Young Frank in back yard 1

Pictured above is Francis Joseph Zeller (1897-1979), AKA Frank, on 19 June 1910. He was about a month shy of 13 years old. As you can see from the caption on the back (below), he is standing in the back yard of 1529 Holbrook Street, Baltimore, MD “which mother kept neatly and proudly.” Holbrook Street is in the neighborhood of Oliver (see map below). I have not yet determined which of Frank’s sisters wrote that.

Frank was the son of Louis M. Zeller (1864-1926) and Margaret Ann Buechner (1868-1938). Louis purchased 1529 Holbrook Street from Ella A. Murphy in 1907. The house was subject to a ground rent of $39 until Louis acquired the ground from W. Allen Hammond in 1920. Margaret sold the house to Frank after Louis died in 1926 but maintained ownership of the ground. In 1937 Margaret and Louis sold the house and ground to Frank’s sister, Caroline M. Zeller (1893-1965), and her husband, Benjamin Harrison “Harry” Gosnell (1889-1960). Caroline and Harry had owned 1544 Holbrook Street since 1927. I’ll tell you more about the Gosnells in a future post.

The next door neighbor whose window is visible and mentioned in the caption was Ella M. Carlin (1858-1946) who lived at 1527 Holbrook Street. She was married to John W. Harris (1852-??). Her brother Louis B. Carlin (1864-1930) lived with them there at the time of his death.

Here is the back of the above photograph:

Young Frank in back yard 2

In the next photograph of Frank, developed 2 May 1933, he is 35 years old and again standing in the back yard of 1529 Holbrook Street. The dog in the photograph belonged to Eva M. Smith (1890-1981) who was married to John W. Bates (1897-1969). They were neighbors two doors down at 1525 Holbrook Street.

Frank in back yard 1

Frank in back yard 2

The three-story residences behind Frank were in the 1500 block of Aisquith Street. These three-story residences were replaced by two-story residences in the 1970s. A 10 June 1970 article in the Baltimore Sun discussed the recent demolition of 1531, 1533, and 1535 Aisquith Street, after they were condemned by the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development. The article noted that 1531 Aisquith Street was owned by a couple living in Trieste, Italy. A lien of $1200 was placed against the property to cover the costs of razing the house and “wall patching” at 1529 Aisquith Street, which was left standing, but a spokesman for the Department was quoted as saying “it’s going to be difficult to collect.” Almost 50 years later the problems associated with dilapidated housing and absentee owners still exist in Baltimore.

Below is a recent Google Earth Street View view of 1525, 1527, and 1529 Holbrook Street. All three of the houses are vacant.

1529 (white) 1527 (red) Holbrook Street.png

Here is a map of the neighborhood of Oliver with Holbrook Street marked in red”

Holbrook St Map.png

These photographs were among about 50 I purchased from an antique store on The Avenue in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore in July 2017.

Watch this blog for more of what these photographs tell us about the Zeller Family and life in ancient Baltimore.