Lily Koppel

PAPER TRAIL: When Koppel opened the diary, a piece of evidence about its author fell out: A newspaper clipping from the Forverts.

Lost and Found

When I first opened the red leather diary, I had no idea of the world that was about to unfold before me and change the course of my life and that of 90-year-old Florence Wolfson Howitt. When I left my apartment one morning in 2003 and encountered a Dumpster full of old steamer trunks, among other artifacts, I recovered the diary, discarded after years of languishing in my building’s storage unit. Its pages revealed the adventures of a young woman growing up in Manhattan in the 1930s.