Category Archives: Dreiser’s family and relatives

“Memories of Dreiser”



Paul Vandeervoort, “Memories of Dreiser; The Famed Hoosier Writer’s Niece Writes About the Real Theodore”

Indianapolis Star, Saturday, October 2, 1976



see downloadable PDF file below



Indianapolis Star, Sat, Oct 2, 1976


Lorenzo A. Hopkins grave



In February 1886, L. A. Hopkins stole cash from his employer, Chapin & Gore, in Chicago and fled with Theodore Dreiser’s sister Emma.

The couple wound up living in New York.

The story provided the factual basis on which the plot of Sister Carrie is based, as did the two persons involved. Emma Dreiser became Carrie Meeber (Sister Carrie) in the novel, Hopkins became Carrie’s lover George Hurstwood.

The full name of L. A. Hopkins was Lorenzo A. Hopkins. His dates were 1847-1897. He died in Brooklyn, New York on December 21, 1897 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens County became a borough of New York City in 1898.




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Lorenzo A. Hopkins grave, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, NYC; photograph by Roger W. Smith



death certificate, Margaret Dresser



Margaret Dresser death certificate.jpg



State of California

Department of Health Services

Certificate of Death

Margaret Dresser

died August 7, 1961 at 7:25 p.m.



birthplace, Ohio

date of birth, February 2, 1867

age, 94 years

occupation, Housewife


Place of death, Camarillo State Hospital, Camarillo, Ventura Co., Calif.

length of time there, 8 years 9+ months

last usual residence, Hillhaven Sanatorium

cremation, August 9, 1961, Westwood Memorial Park Crem., Los Angeles

cause of death, Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease

Associated with Senile Brain Disease, with Psychotic Reaction

Margaret Dresser (born Margeruite May Steinman in 1867) was Theodore Dreiser’s sister-in-law. She was the wife of Dreiser’s brother Alphons J. Dreiser.

Theodore Dreiser seems to have had minimal contact in later years with his brother Al, Margaret’s husband.

In his The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser, Jerome Loving states (footnote pg. 448):

The last known address for Al Dreiser was in 1934, at 1235 Muirhead Street, Los Angeles; he had apparently written Dreiser about his share of the royalties from the publication of The Songs of Paul Dresser.


Sara Dreiser (Aunt Juggie) postcard to her niece Gertrude Nelson, 1907




Sara White Dreiser postcard to Gertrude Nelson 8-4-1907



See above downloadable PDF file, above.

Sara Dreiser (“Aunt Juggie”) was Theodore Dreiser’s first wife.

Her postcard was addressed to  Gertrude Nelson. Gertrude, who was born in 1894, was the daughter of Dreiser’s sister Emma and Lorenzo A. Hopkins. She took the surname Nelson, the name of her stepfather John Nelson. Later, Gertrude changed her last name to Hopkins.

Gertrude Nelson was living at the time in St. Louis with her aunt Mame, Dreiser’s sister, and Mame’s husband Austin Brennan.



— Roger W. Smith





Miss Gertrude Nelson
1324 Union Blvd.
St. Louis

posted from Avon, N.J.
Sun., August 4, 1907


My dear Gertrude:

You should see your mother and father* sporting at Avon-by-the-Sea. Your Uncle Teddy & I came a week ago & they are spending the day with us. We all go back this p.m. Your mother looks lovely. Love to all of you.


Aunt Juggie


*Emma (Dreiser) Nelson (Theodore Dreiser’s  and Emma’s husband John Nelson.

Thomas Dowd-Claire Dreiser marriage


Theodore Dreiser’s sister Clara Clothilde Dreiser (1868-1918) was known as Claire. She married Thomas Dowd, a mine supervisor, in Phoenix, Arizona on  April 12, 1898.

Claire married secondly Henry V. Gormley; she was his second wife.

Claire Gormley died on May 30, 1918 in Schenectady, NY.


Clare Dreiser-Thomas Down marriage, imageedit.jpgClare Dreiser-Thomas Down marriage, imageedit.jpg

The Arizona Republican, Thursday, April 14, 1898

Mr. Thomas P. Dowd, superintendent of the Crown Point mine, and Miss Claire Dreiser were married in this city on Tuesday night [April 12, 1898]. They will remain in town for a few days after which trey will return to the northern part of the territory. Mr. Dowd is expected to leave for the Klondike shortly.


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Arizona Weekly Journal, April 27, 1898

Thomas Dowd, formerly foreman of the Crown Point mine, has gone to the Klondike with his bride.



“Dies Saving Wheel” (Theresa Dreiser Davis killed by train, 1897)



Theresa Dreiser Davis (1864-1897; born Mary Theresa Dreiser) was Theodore Dreiser’s sister.

She was married to Edwin Davis, a scenic artist, and lived in Chicago.

The attached article about her death at a train crossing is from the Chicago Daily Tribune of October 23, 1897.




'Dies Saviing Wheel,' imageedit.jpg

Gertrude A. Hopkins death certificate



Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973) was Theodore Dreiser’s niece. Below is an image of her death certificate.



Gertrude A. Hopkins death certificate, imageedit.jpg





Note: The late Harold J. Dies gave me a copy of Gertrude Hopkins’s death certificate. I would not have been able to obtain one otherwise, since only relatives can obtain such a record from the state of New York. It is an invaluable document. Gertrude was Theodore Dreiser’s favorite niece and knew Dreiser and his second wife Helen well.  See my article


“Lorenzo A. Hopkins, Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser, and Family”


posted on this site at



— Roger W. Smith




Mrs. Theodore Dreiser, “A June Wedding Breakfast”



This article by Sarah White Dreiser was published in The Delineator for June 1916. Theodore Dreiser was editor of The Delineator from 1907 through 1910.

Sarah White Dreiser (1869-1942) was Theodore Dreiser’s first wife.




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