Practically anyone who has lived in Redding for very long is familiar with the fabulous color images that Dr. Ludwig Goldhorn created in 1937. Many of our oldest structures can be seen in 56 of his crisp, clear, color slides that are now available for viewing on the Connecticut State Library’s Treasures of Connecticut Libraries website that have been provided by the Mark Twain Library. https://cslib.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p128501coll0/search/searchterm/1937!mark%20twain%20library/field/date!all/mode/exact!all/conn/and!all
But who was Dr. Goldhorn? I received that inquiry a while back from one of our newer residents. I knew that he and his wife had lived on Lee Lane for many years and that Dr. Goldhorn had been somewhat of a pioneer in the expanded use of radiology in the detection of cancer, but beyond the additional fact that he was a pretty fair amateur photographer who had recorded many of our historic homes long before most folks saw them as treasures, I knew far too little about the man.
Well, as it turns out, Ludwig Goldhorn the physician, was a much more complicated individual than anyone who knew him from his Redding days would have ever imagined.
Born on May 28, 1871, in Eberfield, Germany, Ludwig Bernhard Goldhorn was a lad with a higher degree of intelligence than most of us are born with. While he certainly could have gone to university in his native Germany – as he would later claim – it is far more likely that his early formal education ended much earlier, and the skills he would acquire in his late teens and early twenties were more of the secular variety and not always considered legal.
One of his first employers in Germany was a bank in Berlin. While working as a clerk, he allegedly learned of a large impending stock trade and divulged that information to a less than scrupulous trader. According to at least one newspaper article written in 1894, German police reported that when his employer discovered his misdeed, Goldhorn hastily left the country and ended up in England where he would work in Colchester until he earned enough money for passage to New York in 1892.
Shortly after arriving in New York, Goldhorn, who was fluent in several languages including German and English, took a position as bookkeeper and confidential clerk in the office of J.J. Riley, manager of the United States division of the Mannheim Marine Insurance Company whose headquarters was in Germany. During a five-month period of time between November of 1893 and April of 1894, Goldhorn proceeded to forge a series of company checks drawn on the Merchants Chemical Bank of Quebec. The checks were usually drawn in small amounts – between $300-$500. All were made payable to “Cash.” And all were signed with the forged signature of James Johnson Riley, Goldhorn’s superior. In total, the 23-year-old managed to pilfer $18,375.
As police would later discover, Goldhorn had developed a pension for extravagant living – especially compared to the $25 per week stipend his employer was paying him. When they searched his apartment after he went missing, they found empty champagne bottles and dozens of ticket stubs for expensive box seats at the theater.
On April 15, 1894, while Riley was away, Goldhorn forged his final check in the amount of $6,900. On the 18th, he went to the Western Union telegraph office at 23rd and Broadway and sent himself a telegraph, signed “George,” stating that his brother in Philadelphia had broken his leg and one arm, and he needed Ludwig to come to that city as soon as he possibly could. At the same time, he dispatched another telegraph to his fiancé, Minnie Meyer, stating that he was going to Philadelphia to assist his injured brother.
From there, Goldhorn proceeded to the Ashland House Hotel at 4th and 24th Streets where he paid a porter to retrieve his already packed luggage from his apartment at 330 East 14th Street and bring it to the baggage room at the hotel. He then caught a horse drawn cab to the train station and took the 6:30 PM Express to Philadelphia. Goldhorn registered at the Bingham House under his own name and then wrote a letter on the hotel’s stationary to his fiancé telling her that he would be staying in that city for an extended period of time to take care of his brother.
He then headed back to the Broad Street railway station where he dispatched a telegram to his employer, stating a similar tale to the one he had told Miss Meyer in his letter. Goldhorn then caught the 10:00 PM train back to New York. Arriving there in the wee hours of the morning, he took a carriage to the Ashland House where he retrieved his luggage, and had it delivered to the dock at the foot of West 10th Street where the steamship Orinoco was scheduled to sail for Bermuda at 10:00 AM the following morning.
Goldhorn had purchased a ticket at the steamship office at 39 Broadway two days earlier. He had registered as a W. Watson, Naturalist, who resided at 56 Lexington Avenue. He was aboard the Orinoco when it sailed on the morning of the 16th of April. He had chosen that vessel because the same line ran ships from Bermuda to various port in the West Indies, and that was his ultimate destination.
After receiving Goldhorn’s telegram on the morning of the 16th, his employer sent a telegram to the Bingham Hotel in Philadelphia requesting that Goldhorn return the key to his desk since it was unknown at that juncture when the young clerk would return. When the hotel informed Western Union that Goldhorn had checked in but hadn’t slept there, a suspicious Riley began an examination of the company’s books and soon found out how much Goldhorn had stolen.
The police were both thorough in their investigation and persistent in their efforts to locate Goldhorn. Cables were sent to any and all ports where they thought the young forger might travel. One “wanted” bulletin shown here was from Victoria, Australia – half-way around the world!
It was early May when a port agent in St. Croix discovered Goldhorn was about to sail to Brazil. He was detained by local police and a detective from New York was dispatched to the island to bring him back to face justice. When he was arrested, he had $7,250 cash on his person, three gold watches, a diamond ring, and several bank checks. On June 25, 1894, he was returned to New York. Agreeing to an obvious deal that would lessen the charges and his eventual prison time, Goldhorn pleaded guilty to 2nd degree forgery and was sentenced to seven and half years in prison on the 5th of July. He began serving his sentence at Sing-Sing the very next day.
On June 20, 1899, the remainder of Goldhorn’s sentence was commuted and he was released from Sing-Sing. Less than six months later, he married Pauline Mayer on December 24, 1899.
Goldhorn then began working as a pathologist, his official occupation listed in the 1900 U.S. Census was chemical microscopy. He began his studies at New York University and the Bellevue School of Medicine in 1902. In 1905 while still a student at the university, he developed a new method of testing blood, soon to be referred to as the Goldhorn Test. His test was soon widely accepted and was referred to in many published articles on blood testing between 1905 and 1912. Goldhorn completed his internship and received his license to practice medicine in 1908.
He and Pauline moved to Mount Vernon where Doctor Goldhorn would begin his long career in radiology pathology. He specialized in using Xray’s to detect cancer and then aid in the treatment of the disease. He wrote many articles on the subject and became a professor of pathology at Bellevue.
After Pauline’s death on March 24, 1922, Goldhorn would marry Emma Reinhardsen on March 8th of the following year, Emma was then the superintendent of the nursing staff at Lawrence Hospital (today’s New York Presbyterian Hospital) in Eastchester, New York. The couple lived in Mount Vernon and in 1924, their only daughter, Emma Jane was born on September 18th. Goldhorn was 53 years old at the time and Emma was 32.
During the 1920’s the Goldhorn’s spent their summers on Lee Lane in Redding. Emma’s brother, Milton Reinhardsen, and his family would eventually occupy a neighboring house on the same road.
Throughout his time in Redding, Goldhorn would either film town events or photograph many of the historic homes in town. His collection was eventually donated to the Mark Twain Library and the Redding Historical Society. The historical society currently has in its collection, his film celebrating the town beginning with a 1926 tea given at the Mark Twain Library. This fascinating film is a compilation of several of Goldhorn’s home movies taken between 1926 and 1935. It can be seen here: Celebrating Redding 1926-1935 – YouTube.
Unfortunately, film does not last forever, especially when not stored in a strictly controlled temperature and humidity environment. This film is in its original state and requires preservation for future viewing. The Redding Historical Society is seeking donations to accomplish this preservation. Donations can be made to:
Redding Historical Society
PO Box 1023
Redding Center, CT 06875
Doctor Goldhorn became ill in 1944, dying from a heart attack while recuperating at his Redding home on November 16, of that year at the age of 73. His widow would turn their Lee Lane house into a nursing home for a while in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Along with two assistants, Emma Goldhorn managed to take care of four patients, one being Sarah Tarbell, the sister of author Ida Tarbell. Sarah resided with Emma until her death in 1953. Emma continued to live in Redding until her own death in 1978.
One man, two distinctly different lives.