chapter  Chapter 1
20 Pages

Guardian Angel of the Lower East Side

ByElisabeth Israels Perry

This chapter presents a case study of Belle Lindner. Lindner grew up in a storefront house on Third Avenue and 127th Street, not far from the Harlem River. In the late nineteenth century, Harlem was a loosely defined area north of Central Park bounded by the Harlem River on the east and Morningside and St. Nicholas Parks on the west. Belle’s parents, Isidor and Esther Freyer Lindner, arrived in America from East Prussia in 1869, and thus belonged to a generation later known as “old immigrants,” a term that distinguished them from the “new immigrants” who poured into New York. The Lindners’ religious practices gave Belle a strong Jewish identity and a lifelong commitment to the Judaic commandment to serve others. Belle’s closest and most lasting female friendship was with Grace Harriet Goodale, a classics student at Barnard. In February 1903, the same writer identified Lindner as the “guardian angel.”