Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Lawrence J Malone" "Katherine M Malone" "Patricia Malone" "Jean Malone" : whatever happened to 1943's "Penicillin Baby" ?

I often wonder what ever happened to the family of the once briefly world famous "Penicillin Baby", Patricia (Patty) (Pat) Malone, after their fleeting two months of sudden fame from mid August to mid October 1943.

I have had some luck tracing the family backwards, before that time period, but very little luck finding any of them after that date.

First, let me say what I have found after 1943.

The couple Lawrence J (probably John, after his father) Malone and Katherine M Malone had two daughters, Jean born in 1936 and Patricia born in 1941.

(We know this from the 1940 census and the age given for Patricia in late 1943 in all the news stories.)

We know their exact address in 1943 (83-11 34th Avenue) - which matches the same one in the 1940 census. (Today 8311 34th Avenue.)

Their 1943 photo appearances closely matches the ages and occupations given in the 1940 census, given us added comfort.

Now Jean and Patricia are (statistically) more likely than not to live to young adulthood, marry and have children, in the period 1940 to 1965.

In time, Lawrence and Katherine's older relatives would die, as would the couple themselves.

In communities smaller than New York, all this would certainly generate press announcements of engagements, marriages, births, graduations and deaths allowing us to track the family even after the girls married and took up different last names.

But I can find nothing at all on Google's various sources for such information.

All I can find is the Social Security death registration of the mother Katherine M Malone.

Her birth date (1913) and location at time of death, Jackson Heights Queens New York, match the 1940 census.

She was an unpaid homemaker back then.

But in 1960-1961 she became part of the paid workforce and got a Social Security number issued in New York City.

When she died, a few more parts of her life became part of the public domain : her exact birth date (March 27th 1913) and her month of death (March 1994) probably a little before March 27th 1994.

Now the early 1960s were a crucial date for the Social Security System .

After 1962, all deaths reported (not all are reported but doing so gains survivors the death benefits) were put on computer and made public.

Deaths before that (1936-1962) are not public. And after 1961, many people once not covered by Social Security were added in : many of them holding middle class jobs like certain quasi-self -employed professionals.

Lawrence as an insurance adjuster might not have ever fitted the Social Security requirements if he was truly self employed.

But more likely is the possibility he died fairly young or got too sick to work just before 1960-1961, which is why his wife started working and why he was never found on the death index.

(He'd be 103 or 104, if alive today --- so he is probably dead.)

Jean and Patty would be 24 and 19 by 1960 and one or both probably taking expensive post-secondary education, so this might be another reason for their mom to go to work at that time.

But no death notice for Lawrence or for Patty and Jean - at least under their unmarried names : but the girls, at 77 and 72 in 2013 , might still both be alive.

One more thing : if you type in Malone and their Jackson Heights address , 83-11 (8311) 34th Avenue into Google, you get a public database suggesting that two sets of Malones lived in that same small apartment building and used the same telephone number.


(When subscribers quit or die, their number get re-assigned.)

One is Lawrence J Malone and Katherine M Malone --- the other is John M Malone aged 77 (in 2013 ? - this isn't clear but it does make John Malone the same age as Jean Malone.)

But as indicated in the last blog, the 1940 census calling her Jean isn't likely to be wrong -- her mother was the informant and the information is recorded in a particularly clear handwriting.

A nephew ? But Lawrence only had a sister . A more distant relative of his father ?

Dead end.

But we have found a little more about Lawrence and his daughters  from earlier times.

Lawrence was born and raised in mid Manhattan and his parents were New York born and raised as well.

Perhaps he also worked in Manhattan and only lived in Jackson Heights, then a new middle class residential suburb for the upwardly mobile.

Such as was Lawrence . Very few New Yorkers put the birth announcement of their new children in the august and expensive pages of the New York Times , but he did.

Both girls, un-named, were born in Park East, a private hospital in mid Manhattan.

Jean, July 3rd 1936 and Patricia,  July 25th 1941.

Both dates match our other information, as do the names of the parents as reported in Times.

Canny professionals often self-promote themselves subtly by these sort of announcements, if their industry ethics forbid direct advertising.

In 1930 , the census indicates that Lawrence's father John was unemployed doing odd labour jobs and his mother did outside housework but Lawrence had some college education and was a steno at a steamship line.

By 1940, he was an insurance adjuster and making a very good income for his age.

Lets look at the 1915 census to measure how far he had come.

In 1915 he was 6, born 1909 or 1910. His older sister Jennie was 8 and born around 1907.

His father John was a polisher and was born around 1876.

His mother Mary did housekeeping and was a year older than her husband (supposedly).

They lived at 505 West 49th Street in Manhattan.

They have two boarders, women both named Walsh : Margaret born in 1880 a laundress and Catherine born in 1882 unemployed.

Perhaps sisters of Mary (Walsh) Malone ?

By 1930, the family is smaller but still at the same address.

Jennie and Margaret were gone elsewhere. Lawrence's age seems correct but sadly John and Mary and Kath Walsh have ages out a few good years from the 1915 information.

Kath is now working as a cleaner of buildings.

May 1930 was not yet The Great Depression - not in New York and not anywhere  - so, except for Lawrence, the family hadn't really done well from the booming 1920s.

With their exact ages so far off in each census - and with very common Irish American names - it isn't really possible to determine when John and Mary died ; there are several good possibilities.

The same for the Walsh women.

A New York based genealogist specializing in Irish families might do more but I may have come to a dead end.

As always, I hope what information I have been able to find , combined with the new interest roused by my book's fascinating story, will enable others to find out more about Patricia Malone --- along with Charles Aronson, Aaron Alston, HH and Eleanor Chaffee Hahnel and all the others in Henry Dawson's penicillin story......

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