In 1930, Jacob Horn, a cement finisher, lived with his wife Barbara and their daughter, also Barbara, at 2418 Eager Street. With them lived Ferdinand and Helen, listed as Jacob’s stepson and stepdaughter, respectively.
In 1938, we know that Helen was a patient at the Mt. Wilson Sanitarium, which had operated as a hospital for children until 1924 when it expanded to accommodate adult tuberculosis patients. On March 24, 1938 Helen wrote the following letter to Barbara Horn:
I received your letter and glad everyone is OK. I am feeling better. I would like a bottle of ink and a washrag. And send me a pair of pajamas, the pants don’t have to match. I need them please. Don’t send any thing I have plenty here. I am glad Pop got home safe. Well don’t forget those things I need please. Take care of yourself and be careful.
This next part is tricky and involves a healthy measure of speculation: the Helen living at 2418 Eager Street in the 1930 census had a listed last name of Dorn. Remember, she’s listed as Jacob’s stepdaughter, meaning that she’s likely Barbara’s daughter from a previous marriage. In the 1940 census, the Horns still lived at 2418 Eager, and they now welcomed granddaughter Margaret Seifert to their home. Margaret’s parents were not listed as living on Eager, so it’s hard to tell who they might have been from the census records and it’s not clear where the name Seifert came from.
Alongside the letter, in a box in the basement of 2418, we did find a clue: a stack of Mourning Pictures commemorating the death of Mrs. Helen Seifert, who died on April 4th, 1938. It seems possible, maybe even likely, that these Mourning Pictures refer to Barbara Horn’s daughter Helen, who in the 8 years since the 1930 census had probably married a man named Seifert and had a child. If this is the case, Helen’s letter to her mother, dated March 28th, 1938 would have arrived at 2418 Eager Street just days before Helen passed away on April 4th at the age of 22.