Thirty year old Florence Elizabeth Tobias was one of
over forty Chicago teachers who died at the Iroquois
Theater fire. She taught at either the Flournoy
School or Jefferson Elementary
School on Laflin and Elburn (conflicting information
reported) and may have attended
the theater with a fellow Jefferson teacher who died
at the Iroquois,
Rose Mary Rogers.
Florence (b.1873) was an Illinois native and lived
with her mother and sister at 1182 Fournoy St. Her
mother, Matilda Tobias (b.1833), was from New
Jersey, the widow of Daniel Tobias (d. 1900) and the
mother of six children. Florence’s sister, also a
school teacher, was Mary J. Tobias (b. 1872).
In 1902 Florence's name appeared on a list of
teachers who had not yet reported for work that year
and were therefore transferred to a list of
It is not known if Florence
later returned to teaching or if she remained on the
unassigned list at the time of the fire.
Either way, she was embraced as a lost Chicago
teacher after the fire.
Florence’s body was found by
Dr. Joseph Springer of the coroner's office at
Horan's Funeral Home. Her face was too badly
damaged for recognition but her brother, Dr. George
J. Tobias (1860-), recognized her footwear.
In the years after the fire
George J. Tobias became
president of the Iroquois Memorial association.
He had degrees in both medicine and law. He and his
wife, Ada, had three children,
Oliver, George J. and Mabel. The family lived at 850
W. Monroe in Chicago, later moving to the Detroit