Dr. Victor Halbert Diary (1945 - 1946)

This transcript is taken from a handwritten diary of my grandfather,  Dr. Victor B. Halbert, a long time Sylvania, Ohio physician.  Dr. Halbert was born May 18, 1885 in New York State.  He and Maude Hutchinson was married in 1909, and had 2 sons, Robert and Frederick.  When the sons were 14 and 16 years old, Victor and Maude decided to adopt a baby girl, my mother.  Dr. Halbert knew a doctor in Pennsylvania who had a baby girl whose mother had died in childbirth in 1928.  Dr. Halbert went by horse and buggy and adopted the baby, and they named her Suzette.   

Dr. Halbert was originally from New York state.   After graduation from medical school, he and his family decided to move west and open a medical practice.  His initial plan was to move to California.  He ran out of money in Sylvania!  Luckily for Sylvania, he never left. 

The family members referenced in the diary are:

  • VBH - Victor Browne Halbert
  • Maude - Victor's wife
  • Robert - Victor & Maude's oldest son Robert
  • Mary Louise - Robert's wife
  • Victor & Kathleen - Robert and Mary Louise's children (Robt. also referred to as VLH)
  • Frederick - Victor and Maude's other son Frederick Halbert (also referred to as FWH)
  • Suzette - Victor's daughter Suzette
  • MacTavish - the family dog - a Scotty
  • Cleo - the housekeeper
  • The Carrolls - Chuck & Mary Carroll - Chuck owned Carroll Motor Sales which was located across from Sautter's Grocery where the Wingate now stands.
  • Colleen - Colleen Carroll, Chuck & Mary's daughter (later Colleen Fenstemacher)

Dr. Halbert's family lived at 6606 Erie St., at the corner of Main and Erie Streets.  This is the house that was destroyed in a fire just before Christmas, 2009.  Dr. Halbert ran his practice out of this home for many years before opening an office on Summit St., in the professional building.  He delivered thousands of babies and was a general practitioner, making house calls on horse and buggy and later automobile. In addition to the house at Main & Erie, the Halberts also owned a cottage at Devils Lake, Michigan. 

This diary was kept in 1945-1946.  Most of the entries were made by Dr. Halbert, and some by his wife, Maude.  During this time, son Robert, his wife and 2 young children lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Frederick was away in World War II as the war was coming to an end, Fred's wife Marjorie lived in Toledo, and Suzette was ending her junior year and going into her senior year at Burnham High School.  She graduated in 1946. 

The diary gives an insight into life in Sylvania in the 40's, comments on the ending of World War II, and is also interesting in that Dr. Halbert also mentions the names of several babies he delivered during that time! 

I hope you enjoy this trip back into the history of Sylvania... 

Victoria (Vicki) Smith Stebel
Granddaughter of Dr. Victor Halbert