Tag Archives: Gertrude Hopkins

Roger W. Smith letter to Harold J. Dies, March 24, 2007

 

 

Harold J. Dies (1914-2012) was Trustee of the Dreiser Trust.

 

 

Roger W. Smith to Harold Dies 3-24-2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photos of Theodore Dreiser and relatives

 

 

Posted here (see below) are photos and portraits of Theodore Dreiser as well as numerous photos of Dreiser’s relatives and acquaintances.

There is some overlap with photos which I have already posted on this site. See

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/?s=photographs

Notable among the persons included in these photos, besides Dreiser, are the following:

Esther A. (Schnepp) Dickerson, Theodore Dreiser’s aunt

Dreiser’s siblings Paul, Rome, Emma, Theresa, and Claire

Dreiser’s first wife Sara White Dreiser

Dreiser’s second wife Helen (Patges Richardson) Dreiser and several of her ancestors and relatives

Dreiser’s sister-in-law Mai Skelly Dreiser

Dreiser’s favorite niece Gertrude A. Hopkins

Dreiser’s niece Dr. Vera Dreiser

Harold James Dies, who was related to Helen (Patges Richardson) Dreiser and, more distantly, to Theodore Dreiser, and who served for many years as Trustee of the Dreiser Trust

Thanks are due to the following persons and institutions for permission to post photos:

Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania

Vigo County Historical Society Museum, Terre Haute, IN

the late Harold J. Dies

Gloria N. Vevante (a Dreiser family descendant)

Joann Crouch (a Dreiser family descendant)

Thomas P. Riggio

 

 

Please note: if you left click on a photo of interest, a descriptive caption for that photo will appear. If you right click on the photo, you will have the option of downloading (saving) it.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   May 2017

 

 

Continue reading photos of Theodore Dreiser and relatives

excerpts from the autobiography of Harold James Dies

 

 

Posted here below as a downloadable PDF document are excerpts from the autobiography of Harold James Dies (1914-2012). Mr. Dies was related, on his mother’s side, to Theodore Dreiser’s second wife, Helen (Patges) (Richardson) Dreiser. He was Trustee of the Dreiser Trust.

The full title of the autobiography is “The Kingdom of God and the World’s Final Generation: The Life Story of Harold James Dies” (2010).

Included in the autobiography is anecdotal material related to Theodore Dreiser and his second wife Helen, as well as some information about Dreiser’s niece Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1963) that is not available elsewhere. Topics of interest discussed in the autobiography, and included in the excerpts posted below, include:

Mr. Dies’s relationship with Dreiser’s second wife Helen, whom he knew from his early years, and biographical information about her

his meeting Dreiser and some anecdotal material about Dreiser

mention of his cousin congressman Martin Dies, chairman of the House un-American Activities Committee

his relationship with Gertrude Amelia Hopkins, Dreiser’s favorite niece and the daughter of Dreiser’s sister Emma (“Sister Carrie”)

negotiations over the production of Tobias Picker’s opera “An American Tragedy”

I wish to thank Joann Crouch, Mr. Dies’s niece, who told me about this unique book and made it available to me for photocopying.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

      February 2017

 

 

 

the-life-story-of-harold-james-dies-excerpts

 

photo of Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (Theodore Dreiser’s favorite niece)

See commentary below.

Gertrude A. Hopkins (Dreiser's niece)
Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973)

 

 

This photograph of Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973), Theodore Dreiser’s favorite niece, is, as far as I know, unique. It is the best photo of Gertrude that I have ever seen.

I am grateful to Mrs. Gloria N. Vevante, Gertrude’s niece, for giving me this photo.

Gertrude Amelia Hopkins was the daughter of Theodore Dreiser’s sister, Emma (Dreiser) Nelson (1863-1936). Emma (Dreiser) Nelson was the real life prototype of the lead character, Carrie Meeber, in Theodore Dreiser’s first novel, Sister Carrie.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     December 2016

 

 

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email to a Dreiserian from Roger W. Smith, Janrary 15, 2017

 

Attached is a gorgeous photo of Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973), who was TD’s favorite niece.

The photo was given to me by Mrs. Gloria Vevante.

Mrs. Vevante was born Gloria Nelson. She was Gertrude’s niece. Her (Mrs. Vevante’s) father was George Nelson.

George Kates Nelson (1892-1955) was the son of Emma and Hopkins. He took the name of his stepfather, John Nelson.

George was a hotel manager in Manhattan for most of his professional life. He married a woman, Gunda Ryerson, who had emigrated when young from Norway. For many years, his family lived in Manhattan.

George had nothing to do with TD and did not seem to have been intimate with his mother, Emma, as an adult. He was apparently somewhat of a wild kid who straightened out as he matured. He knew Paul Dresser and as an adolescent would spend time with him.

His first name, George, is possibly significant, since Hurstwood’s first name is George and he has a son named George, Jr.

Gertrude alternatively used the names Gertrude Hopkins and Gertrude Nelson when she was young. She aspired to be singer when young. She was close to Emma. She ended up working for Con Edison in Westchester County. She married a coworker, Emil Dorn, and became Gertrude Hopkins Dorn. But, she found out — much later (I believe it was after Dorn’s death) — that Mr. Dorn was already married (when he married Gertrude) to a wife who had been found mentally incompetent and was confined to a hospital. Gertrude went back to being Gertrude Hopkins.

Gertrude died in Westchester in 1973.

Her letters to TD are touching.

Harold J. Dies (1914-2012), a descendant of Dreiser’s aunt who was Trustee of the Dreiser Estate (he was a cousin of Dreiser’s second wife, Helen Patges Dreiser), knew Gertrude well and played a major role in administering her estate. It is clear that he was fond of her. Tedi Dreiser Goddard and her mother, Dr. Vera Dreiser, knew Gertrude but didn’t seem to give her the time of day or think that much of her. Helen knew Gertrude and liked her. And, at an early age, at least, Gertrude used to correspond with Jug.

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

 

 

 

lorenzo-hopkins-and-family

 

 

See downloadable Word document above.

 

 

Also, see below:

photo of Lorenzo A. Hopkins’s grave

photo of Theodore Dreiser’s niece Gertrude A. Hopkins

 

Lorenzo A. Hopkins (aka L. A. Hopkins; 1847-1897) was the real life counterpart of the character George Hurstwood in Dreiser’s novel Sister Carrie.

 

Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973), Theodore Dreiser’s niece, was the daughter of Dreiser’s sister Enema Dreiser (1863-1936). Emma was the real life counterpart of, and model for, the lead character in Sister Carrie.

 

 

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Abstract/Summary:

 

Theodore Dreiser’s first novel, Sister Carrie, was based on real people and incidents: Dreiser’s sister Emma; and, Emma’s lover L. A. Hopkins with whom she eloped after Hopkins, a married man, stole money from his employer in Chicago.

In the novel, Carrie Meeber’s lover, George Hurstwood, commits suicide. Very little has been known hitherto about the identity of L. A. Hopkins, the real life model for Hurstwood, or what became of him after he and Dreiser’s sister Emma, the model for Carrie Meeber, settled in New York City.

This article provides information about Hopkins and his death. It also provides information about the life of Dreiser’s sister Emma after Hopkins’s death and about the children of Hopkins and Emma; they had two children whom Dreiser met in 1894 when he first visited New York City: George Nelson and Gertrude Hopkins. The former, George Nelson, did not relate to Dreiser in later life, though in his youth he had some contact with Dreiser’s brother Paul Dresser. The latter, Gertrude Hopkins, was Dreiser’s favorite niece.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

     October 2016

 

 

See also:

 

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/contemporary-newspaper-accounts-about-the-real-life-hurstwoods-theft/

 

 

 

 

lorenzo-a-hopkins-grave-posted
gravestone of Lorenzo A. Hopkins (1847-1897); Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, NY
Gertrude A. Hopkins (Dreiser's niece)
Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973)

Sara Dreiser (Aunt Juggie) postcard to Gertrude Nelson

 

 

Sara Dreiser postcard to Gertrude Nelson

 

 

 

See above downloadable PDF file.

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

 

 

 

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Miss Gertrude Nelson
1324 Union Blvd.
St. Louis
Mo.

posted from Avon, N.J.
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

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

 

 

 

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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
https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/roger-w-smith-lorenzo-a-hopkins-emma-wilhelmina-dreiser-and-family/

 

 

— Roger W. Smith