Morris and Gertrude Greenblatt immigrated to Pittsburgh from Europe shortly after their wedding. They had five children, David, Ida, Harry, William and Benjamin. Morris Greenblatt was a successful tailor in McKees Rocks. “They bragged often that he made suits for the manager of their bank,” his daughter-in-law Edna Greenblatt later recalled.
In the 1920s, Morris Greenblatt was killed when a man attempted to rob his store and his children all began working to support the family. Harry Greenblatt (1914-1996), only a boy at the time, took on a newspaper route. On the weekends, he and his brother David ran a newsstand across from Gimbels Department Store. The newspaper business enabled Harry to pay tuition at the University of Pittsburgh, but was too time-consuming to allow him to pursue his interest in chemistry. He earned a degree in business, instead.
After graduation, he worked as an accountant for the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation until he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps in May 1942.
Harry Greenblatt and Edna Rosenberg met through a mutual friend while they were both in college. Originally from New Brighton, she studied nursing at the Margaret Morrison Carnegie School at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Over the course of her career she worked for St. Francis Hospital, Suburban General Hospital in Bellevue, Pa., and the Emma Kaufmann Camp. She also taught nursing at West Penn Hospital. After her husband went overseas, Edna Greenblatt tried to enlist as an Army nurse, but was told that her work training nurses was a more valuable contribution to the war effort.
They married in Georgia, in August 1943, while Harry Greenblatt was stationed at Savannah Army Air Base. “It was really sort of amusing,” his wife wrote. “There was this great procession of couples — dozens of couples — all across the great big hall. And when you got to the head of the procession, you were the witness for the couple ahead of you, and then the couple behind you were your witness! Sort of like Noah and the Ark!”
Soon after, Harry left for the Pacific Theater. Being nearsighted, he was assigned to office duties while stationed in the Philippines, New Guinea and Japan. “There are the cocoanuts and cocoanut trees, the pyramidal tents nestled between the cocoanut trees and the New Guinea moonlight. For recreation we have the same stinky pictures; and for diversion, six bottles of beer per week,” he catalogued for Edna in November 1944. “But this dull environment will only make me appreciate more than ever the life with you back in the states. We will be able to take rides in a comfortably built car on a fine concrete road instead of a rough bouncing GI truck with dusty and cobblestoned roads. Whatever we do when we get back will be extraordinary because we will do them together.”
After the war, the Greenblatts moved to New Brighton, where Harry practiced accounting. They were theater lovers and often traveled to Pittsburgh for shows.
They had one son, Mark Lee Greenblatt.