Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gleanings from the Life of a Musician


Howard Lutter was one of my great grandfathers.  He was (and still is) known for his musical talent, expressed mainly in his creation of player piano rolls.  His own family had little contact with him, though, and most of my information about him is from my research of public records.

Howard Harry Lutter was born June 10, 1889 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, at 51 Lincoln Street to Herman Lutter and Clara Uhl.  Howard reported his own birth 46 years later, perhaps to apply for a Social Security account number.  Howard's father, Herman Lutter, was born around 1860 in Thuringia.  Howard's mother, Clara Uhl, was born in Newark around 1865.  Clara's father, David Uhl, was born in 1836 in Hesse.  Clara's mother, Clara Patschke, was born in 1841 in SachsenAnhalt.


Birth record for Howard Harry Lutter
Available at the New Jersey State Archives, Trenton



Howard's parents were married January 24, 1888 in Newark.  The marriage was brief.  From the divorce records of Herman Lutter and Clara Uhl, we learn that the couple split in November of 1888, eight months before the birth of Howard.

Herman Lutter v Clara R Lutter
Chancery Court of New Jersey
1894
Available through New Jersey State Archives (off-site storage)


This father-son relationship was probably strained.  When Herman died in 1924, he left only $5 to Howard.  In comparison, Herman requested a tombstone costing "not less than $600 dollars" and left $2000 to Howard's step-mother, who he was also divorcing.  (I still have not found such a tombstone.)

Estate of Herman Lutter
M6226, filed July 16, 1924
County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey
Available at the New Jersey State Archives


The 1895 New Jersey state census shows young Howard "Rutter" with his mother, Clara, and her family in Newark.

1895 New Jersey State Census
Newark, 7th Ward, 6th District, Essex County
Family 144, page 22
Ancestry.com


In the 1900 federal census, Howard Uhl is listed in the household of his maternal grandmother, Clara Uhl [Patschke] at 64 Boston Street in Newark.  Residing with them is Howard's mother, Clara, and his maternal aunt, Lilly.

1900 United States Federal Census
Newark, 7th Ward, Essex County, New Jersey
64 Boston Street
Ancestry.com


Howard Lutter first appeared in the Newark City Directory in 1908, working as a clerk at the Prudential Insurance Company.

1908 Newark City Directory by The Price and Lee Company
Available at Fold3.com




On September 17, 1910, Howard Lutter married Laura [Ethel] Winterton in Newark.  She was the daughter of William Winterton and Catherine Dunn, formerly of Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  Howard listed his occupation as "Pianist."

New Jersey State Marriage Record
Howard Lutter and Laura E Winterton
September 17, 1910 in Newark
Available at New Jersey State Archives



Howard Harry Lutter registered for the World War I draft in Newark.  He gave an address of 22 East Alpine Street in Newark.  His occupation was Pianist- Master maker- at Bennett & White, Inc, at 67 Goble Street in Newark.  He claimed exemption from the draft because of "Objection to all forms of war, fighting; Indispensable to conduct of his business."

World War [One] Draft Registration Cards
Ancestry.com

In the 1911 Newark City Directory, Howard is listed as a musician for the first time.  In the 1915 directory, he is removed to New York City.  He turns up in Philadelphia instead for the birth of his first child, Clifford Lutter, born March 18, 1915 at University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The family's address was 1534 Arch Street in Philadelphia.  Clifford's wife, Beulah Cook (my paternal grandmother), explained to me that Howard was performing in Philadelphia at the time Clifford was born.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Certificate of Birth
Clifford Lutter, born March 18, 1915 in Philadelphia


Howard's second child, Beryl Lutter, was born in 1918 at Newark Beth Israel Hospital in Newark.

State of New Jersey
Certificate of Birth
Baby [Beryl] Lutter, born April 1, 1918 in Newark


The copyright date on this sheet music is 1919.



The 1920 federal census provides the only snapshot of the Howard and Laura living together.  They resided at 194 Chadwick Avenue in Newark.  Howard's occupation was "musician."  With them were their two children, Clifford, age 4, and Beryl, age 1.

1920 United States Federal Census
Newark, 16th Ward, Essex County, New Jersey
194 Chadwick Avenue
Ancestry.com


Finding small blurbs such as this one provide some insight into the professional life of Howard Lutter.



In the 1930 federal census, Howard H. Lutter was residing at 171 Ampere Parkway in Bloomfield.  His occupation was "sound effect" at Vitaphone.  With him was his wife, Fiorita, children Rita, age 16, Clifford, age 15, and Beryl, age 12.  Laura Winterton is lodging at a private residence nearby.  Fiorita is actually Fiorita Lorenze, wife of James Howard Winnie.  They were the parents of Irene, born 1912, and Fiorita or Rita, born 1914.

1930 United States Federal Census
171 Ampere Parkway, Bloomfield, Essex County, New Jersey
Ancestry.com




1920 United States Federal Census
453 North Eighteenth Street, Bloomfield, Essex County, New Jersey
Ancestry.com

State of New Jersey
Birth Certificate
Irene Emilie Winnie, born September 24, 1912 in Newark

State of New Jersey
Birth Ceritificate
Fioreda Louisa Winnie, born July 14, 1914 in Newark

In the Newark City Directories in the 1930s, Howard Lutter was listed as a sound engineer in Brooklyn, while Rita was working as a swimming instructor.  In the 1941 directory, Howard's occupation shifted to "sound engineer and janitor's helper."  In the 1940 federal census, Howard Lutter was residing at 59 Peck Avenue in Newark with Rita.  He gave his occupation as janitor, temporary, Board of Education.  He reported working 17 weeks in 1939 and earning $1445.

1940 United States Federal Census
59 Peck Avenue, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
Ancestry.com


Howard Lutter registered for the World War II draft in 1942.  He listed his address as 59 Peck Avenue in Newark; wife Rita; employer Newark Board of Education.

World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
Collection at Ancestry.com

Howard's last entry in the Newark City directories was in 1947.  [The collection of Newark City Directories at Fold3.com stops at 1923.  Other years are housed at the Newark Public Library on Washington Street.]

In 1954, Howard Lutter appeared on the Los Angeles, California voter rolls.

1954 Registered Voters of Los Angeles
California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
Collection at Ancestry.com


My aunt recalls meeting Howard when she was very young.  This was probably in 1955 when Howard's mother Clara died, which would have caused Howard to fly back to Newark from Los Angeles.

Howard Lutter died March 3, 1959 at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarta, Los Angeles County, California.  The cause of death was chronic granulocytic leukemia (also called chronic myelogenous leukemia).  He was buried at Glen Haven Memorial Park.  A kind soul photographed the grave for me.  According to the death certificate, Howard worked as a sound technician for twenty years for the Board of Education in New Jersey.

State of California
Certificate of Death
Howard Lutter, died 1959

Howard's first wife, Laura Winterton, died in Newark in 1962.

State of New Jersey
Certificate of Death
Laura Lutter, died 1962
Available through mail by the New Jersey Department of Health



Fiorita "Rita" Lorenze died in 1969.

State of California
Certificate of Death
Fiorita "Rita" Lutter, nee Lorenze, died 1969

I continue to research Howard Lutter and find out more about the man and his life.