“What I wanted most for my eldest daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, wherever that might be, and if there was space for me as well, I would, indeed, have reaped what I had tried to sow.” = Helen Claes
Bertha Stackman was the eldest daughter and child of Marie Louise Hahn Stackman and Peter Frederick Stackman. She was born at home in Wichita, KS August 5, 1888, the same year what was to become Maison Steinbuchel was complete. She would not, however, move to Maison Steinbuchel until 1910.
Two other children were born to Marie and Peter:
- Matild followed a year later but died of whooping cough at six weeks of age
- Frederick Charles was born February 28, 1890
Peter died of influenza a few weeks after his son Frederick was born leaving Marie a young widow with two young children to care for. By the time Bertha was two years of age, she lost a baby sister and her father. Before she was Four, Marie remarried.
Peter Stackman left his mark upon Wichita, and in spite of the short time with her, on Bertha as well. Although not aware of it, you can see from the life she lived many of Peter’s attributes lived on is his eldest child.
The Eldest Daughter Makes Her Place
Of course, her step-father, Hermann Steinbuchel, no doubt had great influence in her rearing and education, there was a stability and sense of community standing that she seemed to have inherited from her birth father.
According to the book, “A Living Gravestone”, written by her half-sister Elisabeth Wilson, it was Bertha who insisted the family purchase and move into Maison Steinbuchel. To her, it was in keeping with the family’s social standing in the community. She was married to Dr. Rene Gouldner in the house in 1912.
The 1921 Wichita Social Register gives a glimpse into the life of Bertha:
“GULDNER, Dr. and Mrs. Rene, 1905 Park Place.
Mrs. Guldner was Miss Bertha Stackman, daughter of the late Fred Stackman. She is president of the Mt. Carmel Alumnae Association, secretary of the Twentieth Century Club, and a member of the Book and the Saturday Afternoon Musical Clubs.
She studied at the Conservatory in Strasbourg, France, the pipe organ and the piano. Later she took an extension course at Columbia University. In New York, she was a member of the Bohemian Art Club and of the Colonial Dames.
Dr. Guldner was born in Phoinville* (sic), France, and studied at Paris University, and also in Berlin and Munich. He was graduated from the Strasbourg University as a Doctor of Laws. Later he studied medicine at Columbia. He is a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Club and the Omega Club.
In Wichita, he is associated with the Wichita, the Lions, the Press, the Hammer and Tongs Clubs. Dr. and Mrs. Guldner have a young son, Roger Rene Jr.”
*Dr. Guldner was born in Thionville, France. The misspelling is no doubt due to a phonetic rendering of the name.
Back Home As The Eldest Daughter
It seems Bertha found her confident way to soar. She:
- was the wife of a prominent medical doctor, married 58 years to Dr. Gouldner
- was a mother raising her son, Roger Rene Gouldner
- served as a strong member of the community tending to her charity work.
- used her skills gained in Strasbourg under the mentorship of Albert Schweitzer playing the organ and piano at Calvary Presbyterian Church one block south of her home
Bertha preceded her husband in death by over a decade. Their son died a few years after his father. The only granddaughter died at age 50. Even in death Bertha was making her own way, choosing as her final resting place, The Mission Chapel Mausoleum rather than the family plot at Maple Grove Cemetery
Other BlOGs about the Stackman lineage of Maison Steinbuchel, can be found here.
What About Your Story?
Uncovering, consolidating, and connecting the details of the lives of the people for whom our Historic Home is named brings them into the present. That is another aspect of putting a story together. It makes a life lived more concrete, real.
I encourage you to consider what story you could assemble today. Don’t know where or how to start? Begin by downloading a free PDF available below.