SAN ANTONIO – Leftover items from an estate sale were just about to be thrown in the trash when Lisa Jackson saw a little glimmer out of the corner of her eye.
It was the cover of a dust-covered scrapbook with the name Leon Henri Goldberg inscribed on it.
Jackson, an amateur historian, was intrigued enough to pay $5 for what would turn out to be an unsolved mystery.
“How is it here in San Antonio?” is the question Jackson asked herself.
As she discovered the book was brimming with articles, photos, and other documents belonging to Leon Henri Goldberg, a noted cardiologist in New York where he was buried in the 1960s.
Yet, she’d found his carefully maintained scrapbook at estate sale for Mark’s Outing, a popular burger joint east of downtown.
Outing said he had no idea the scrapbook was in a storage area behind the restaurant that he was clearing out ahead of someday expanding his restaurant.
“I just told the guy I’d buy everything that was in there,” Outing said.
Jackson described the scrapbook as Leon Henri Goldberg’s book of life, from his birth certificate in the early 1900′s to his obituary in the New York Times.
“A whole life, childhood, vacations, military service, education, civic service, an ardent gardener,” Jackson said, adding that as an Army major he’d received a commendation for heroism during World War II after a medical facility was bombed in Naples, Italy.
She said a newspaper clipping also showed Dr. Goldberg also was an early supporter of the NAACP.
“That was amazing,” Jackson said. “A Jewish-American speaking at the NAACP.”
In his speech about the challenges facing minority groups, Dr. Goldberg is quoted saying, “You will have to work harder to get even less reward for your effort. That is working under tremendous moral pressure.”
Knowing so much now about his life, Jackson said she feels like she knows him, but she has so many questions.
“Why would you get rid of it? Why is he not family lore? Why are you not cherishing this photo album? What happened?” Jackson said. “Maybe something tragic happened to the family.”
Jackson said Dr. Goldberg had a wife and son, so she’s hoping there are still family members who knew him, but aren’t aware the scrapbook exists.
“How did the family lose this book and do they want it back? Because I want to give it back to them,” Jackson said.
If no one claims it, Jackson said she plans to donate it to a Jewish synagogue or Jewish cultural center, perhaps in New York.
Jackson said what she does know is that she was meant to be at that estate sale moments before a lifetime of memories were thrown away.
She said, “I do think I was there for a reason, just for Dr. Goldberg.”
Anyone who knows anything about Goldberg or his family is asked to contact Jackson through email at email@example.com.