Helen Wormser

Photo of a white woman wearing a black coat, a pearl necklace, and a black cloche with a white zigzag ribbon, smiling at the camera.
Helen Wormser, September 1926. Private collection

Helen Goldsmith Wormser (1890-1956) grew up in Cincinnati in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Avondale. Her father, Aaron W. Goldsmith, was a successful attorney. In 1911, when she was 21, Helen married Leo Wormser in a ceremony at the Sinton Hotel, one of Cincinnati’s most stylish venues, and moved with him to Chicago. The couple was well-known in the city’s social and cultural scene and frequently traveled abroad.

A large multi-storied building, sitting on a street corner, with many windows and a grey mansard roof.
Sinton Hotel, where Helen Goldsmith and Leo Wormser were married. Sinton Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio, Detroit Publishing Co., 1907. Cincinnati postcard collection, Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library

In 1934, Leo died unexpectedly. He was only 50 years old. After her husband’s death, Helen and her daughter, Elaine, decided to leave the Drake Tower penthouse. They brought everything from Elaine’s bedroom with them, except the built-in desk, dressing table, and wall paneling. After her daughter moved to Cincinnati, Helen remained in Chicago. She continued her frequent travels to Europe until her death in 1956.