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Winthrop School diploma

 Item — Box: 1
Identifier: 0420.081

Scope and Contents

Diploma of Bessie Saftel from the Winthrop Grammar School, 1902.


  • 1902


Biographical note


by Nancy Naglin

About my grandmother, Bessie Saftel Radler (1888-1973), a 1902 graduate of the Winthrop Grammar School, Dorchester, Massachusetts.

My grandmother was born in Russia, came to the United States with her parents, David and Eva Saftel , at about three years of age. The family lived initially in the South End, then an immigrant neighborhood. Bessie Saftel 's dream was to become a dietitian. At the turn of the 20th century, interest in nutrition, healthful cooking and scientific theories about eating was becoming a science, attracting broad interest and new careers, especially for women. Unfortunately, her vision, always poor, began to fail, and to my grandmother's life-long regret she dropped out of high school when she could no longer see the blackboard. She recalled being a child and going to the Mass. General Hospital for eye treatments; she and her mother traveled by horse-drawn streetcars.

Bessie married in 1912. She and her husband Abraham Radler (1890-1920) lived at 147 Whitfield Street in Dorchester. Bessie met her husband while visiting cousins in New York City. A year after their marriage, in 1913, the United States government introduced federal income tax. This new field attracted aspiring applicants. Abraham graduated as an accountant from Northeastern University in 1917 in one of Northeastern's earliest and newly established tax accounting programs. He became a CPA in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. They had two children, Pearl and Sumner. Abraham, who had built a flourishing and successful practice, with clients in both Boston and New York, died suddenly in 1920. Influenza. Needing to provide for his widowed daughter and grandchildren, David Saftel purchased a home in Mattapan, 109 Wellington Hill Street. My mother, Pearl Radler Naglin, husband H. Lawrence Naglin and their two daughters, myself and my sister Barbara, lived there until 1970.

Though my grandmother had her share of tragedy and disappointment, the hopeful young girl who graduated the Winthrop School went on to become a marvelous cook, instilling in several generations of her family the basics of sound eating. She had humor and grace, was curious and creative, and I 'm proud to honor her memory with her diploma.

My grandmother often told me of writing letters to her husband-to-be in Franklin Field where cows grazed.


0.5 Cubic feet (1 framed item)

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Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
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