Well, it's a few weeks early officially, but to give equal time, this week's sepia focuses (if you'll pardon the pun) on the hoary patriarchs of my family.
One of the ineffable pleasures of genealogy is considering the lives, the careers, that one's ansestors had. When photos exist that show them "in action," that's a very rare treat.
This photo was on the wall in my grandmother Helen's house (you may remember "Salome" from an earlier Sepia Saturday of mine). Moshe Loss was her maternal great-grandfather. He was Lithuanian, probably born around 1800, so I estimate this portrait (painting, or a heavily retouched photograph?) shows him around 1870. I know little about him except reportedly he was a rabbi. Here he looks quite rabbinical indeed.
My great-grandfather, David Blumenfeld (b. 1863, Latvia), married Moshe Loss's grand-daughter, Lena (b. 1865, Lithuania). David, son of an unfortunately ne'er-do-well peddler father, had a varied and colorful series of careers; he immigrated to the States in 1884 and eventually became a successful tailor and haberdasher in South St. Paul, Minnesota. Here he is in his store, featured in the local paper around 1955, shortly before his death at 97.
David's daughter Helen ("Salome") married Arthur Singer, whose father was a furrier born in Russia in 1857. Singer obviously was a name given to the Jewish family upon arriving in the States in 1887; I do not know for sure what their original surname was. After a stint selling dental equipment, Arthur wound up as a traveling Paris-fashion dress salesman, serving I. Magnin, Frederick & Nelson, and other department stores. He always had a bottle of Scotch, a box of chocolates, and a Playboy in his hotel room for his clients and fellow salesmen. Here he is showing off a sample Tricot suit. He too worked until hs was too old, half-blind, and ill to drive anymore.
Meanwhile, my father's father alternated between shopkeeping and teaching. He was a Michigan native of English/Irish extraction; some of his forebears had arrived in the States in the 1640s. A mere three hundred years later, a high school was named for him in Livona, Michigan. Here he is in earlier days.
So now the lines converge. Arthur's daughter Beth (last week's subject) married George's son, Nelson. Nelson wound up teaching English and Creative Writing -- virtually nonstop from 1952 until his death in 1990. Here he is in his element -- his University of Washington office -- behind several decades of student papers. Don't be fooled, he could easily put his hands on any document in there that you happened to want.
Music by the Klezmonauts (and yes, authorities, I bought it, off of ITunes).
Very interesting stories. I am particularly taken with the notion of a bottle of Scotch, a bottle of chocolates and a "Playboy" magazine for every client. Well, maybe not so much for the magazine as the chocolates and the Scotch.ReplyDelete
Oh! I remember Nelson well in his office!! Lovely, Sean, and thanks. xxT.ReplyDelete
That's a wonderfully executed picture of Moshe Loss. And, as for Nelson, he reminds me of a colleague I worked with at University of Southampton. She, too, had a filing system like that, and could retrieve a file without hesitation.ReplyDelete
Another great tour through the photographic archives. I have become a great fan of your approach to Sepia Saturday and look forward to your posts each week.ReplyDelete
Now that you mention it, all the men in my family worked until they passed away, often in their 80's and 90's.ReplyDelete
I guess I should consider my retirement a luxury.
Moshe was quite the imposing man. These computer-age days you rarely see a filing system like Nelson's anymore, but a patient care manager at the hospital where I work has one which could rival his. I don't think she knows where anything is, though.ReplyDelete
What a fascinating lineage you have, Sean. The photo of Rabbi Moshe Loss is amazing, like he stepped out of Fiddler on the Roof. Wonderful Sepia post!ReplyDelete
You have a treasure trove here. I come from farmers and Oklahoma poverty. Our photos are limited and not well done, as your are. I enjoyed this very much.ReplyDelete
Fathers are on my Sepia post today too.
Hi Sean did enjoy your post today. Some interesting stories going on there. I have having a great time rounding up things for SS, since I have been into genealogy for a few years. Great job.ReplyDelete
wow...this was so intersting! And Moshe Loss is such a grand name!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful post, absolutely delightful. You come from great stock! For some reason, I especially like the photo of David Blumenfeld, working until just before his death at 97...and he looks great for 70! The painting/photo of Salome is an absolute treasure.ReplyDelete
What wonderful photographs you have of the men in your family - and especially because they are "work" photographs. I find that aspect of family history interesting, too, but unfortunately, I have only one photo of an ancestor at work. Great post.ReplyDelete
I really like the first photo of "whatever it took to get the image to work." It looks painted on because the contrast wasn't good enough. I like your lineage of pictures.ReplyDelete
量力而為，別勉強了，Cut your coat according to your cloth..............................................ReplyDelete