In 1918 Fanny Rogarshevsky’s husband Abraham succumbed to the ravages of tuberculosis at age 45 after a years-long battle. Prior to Abraham’s death, Fanny was not employed in wage work, but afterward she needed to support herself and her sons still at home: Sam, Henry, and Philip.
Her descendants recall Fanny Rogarshevsky’s apartment as spotless. Perhaps her ability to maintain her apartment convinced then-landlord Albert Rosenblatt to hire her as the custodian or “super” (short for superintendent) of 97 Orchard Street. The 1920 US Census lists her as the “janitress” of the building. Those same descendants donated the toolbox shown here, which they remember as the one Fanny used in carrying out her responsibilities as the building’s caretaker.
Even after 97 Orchard Street closed as a residence in 1935, she continued to reside there with her son Phillip and his wife Miriam, continuing to serve as its caretaker, until 1941. That year, they moved to the newly built Vladeck Houses, one of the first federal-funded public housing projects on the Lower East Side.