With regard to the three generations of my female Alsace ancestors who were all born to unmarried moms — my g-grandmother Marie Grimm, my gg-grandmother Pauline Grimm, and my ggg-grandmother Salome Grimm — I haven't had much expectation of making any new discoveries that add to their story. However, I am late in reporting about a rather amazing contact I met in 2021, who did just that, add to the story. Monsieur Augé is a French citizen living in Strasbourg who collects old photographs from his family history and attempts to identify them. He has long had one particular old photo showing a young and rather elegant woman, probably in her 30s, probably taken around 1900. The mat around the photo shows the stamp of Goodman (probably photographer) at 191 Broadway in Brooklyn, and the back has the words "Madame Klein, veuve (widow) Michel." For many years, M. Augé had no idea who Mme. Klein was until he found a family tree of mine that I had posted in Germany. Based on information I had posted there, he was finally able to identify the unknown woman in his photograph as Cécile Pauline Grimm, widow of Michel Sebastien Klein. And then he contacted me to share his discovery! Unbelievable.
It turns out that M. Augé is related to the Klein family, however, because my g-grandmother, Marie Grimm, was not the daughter of Michael S. Klein who would later marry Pauline (as Cécile was known), I am not Klein-related. Nevertheless, M. Augé is quite an adept genealogist, and so the two of us spent a couple months exchanging information that each of us could locate in our respective countries. How wonderful to work with somebody whose research interest and experience lie in the home world of my ancestors! Nothing could be better.
And now we have this eye-opening new image of a younger Pauline to compare to the one faded photo we have of her when she was older. She was much more than the poor widowed washer woman I had pictured in my mind. She was stylish with her lace-trimmed dress, feathered hat, white gloves, and charm bracelet. One hand to hip, she wore an expression of confidence. She was beautiful in the eye of this beholder, possessing a physical grace that is hard for us to imagine over 100 years later without this glimpse of her portrait. Pauline was herself a single mother at the time of this new photo, and we know her life in Brooklyn was certainly not an easy one. But Pauline stood tall in her appearance, and did not hide who she was. As was carved into her gravestone in 1921, we also know she was beloved, which was, of course, her real beauty.