Family Fare: Baltimore Jewish Food Businesses Part 6

Posted on May 24th, 2017 by

Article by Jennifer Vess. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways

Part VI: Marketing and Expansion: “We have to expand whether we want to or not.”[1]

Miss parts 1-5? Start here.

Tulkoff's Horseradish Advertisement, c. 1960s. JMM 1998.18.14

Tulkoff’s Horseradish Advertisement, c. 1960s. JMM 1998.18.14

In the time of the neighborhood deli and corner grocery store, proximity and word of mouth brought in business to the small shops.  People walked to the closest bakery or learned from their friends if a better confectionary might be a few blocks further away.  But by the early twentieth century, advertising and marketing became necessary for survival and particularly for growth.  As more and more people owned cars and installed refrigerators, going long distances to stock up on food became more feasible.  Sticking close to home wasn’t really necessary any more, opening up far more options for consumers.  For owners who wanted to stay in business or for those who wanted to expand, advertising and marketing became crucial.

Advertising came in many forms.  Large businesses with a big workforce and money to invest could buy ads of varying sizes in the local newspapers.  The Jewish owned businesses in Baltimore reached out to the Jewish community through the Baltimore Jewish Times.  Smaller businesses gave money in return for being featured in programs for local events, such as the Pioneer Club dance of 1937.  Owners could show their support for the community as well as promote themselves.  Businesses might also distribute fliers with their specials, or cover Baltimore with signs.

Name recognition has always been important to businesses.  Turn of the century dairies used bottles imprinted with their names and logos.  The small shops that became big businesses in Baltimore such as Hendlers Creamery, Silbers Bakery, and Tulkoff’s Horseradish Products Company, put their name and logo on product labels, signs, cake tins, and bags.

Pint bottle from Snesil Dairy. Courtesy of Marion Snesil. JMM 1984.16.1

Pint bottle from Snesil Dairy. Courtesy of Marion Snesil. JMM 1984.16.1

Aside from ads, packaging, and slogans, businesses big and small used promotional techniques to set themselves apart from their competitors and expand their customer base.  Paul Wartzman, whose family owned Wartzman’s bakery once commented that, “Stone’s was the most successful bakery. They catered to a lot of non-Jews because they came out with a gimmick: hot rolls every half hour. I’ll never forget that. They killed all the other bakers. People would rush in for their hot rolls every half hour.”[2]  Nates and Leon’s deli meanwhile drew in the crowds by offering something no one else did – round the clock service.  Twenty-four hours a day customers could find a sandwich.  This was particularly attractive to the people leaving nightclubs in the early hours of the morning.[3] Stones Bakery and Nates and Leon’s had more than just gimmicks in common – they both catered to the broader Baltimore community, expanding beyond the local Jewish residents.  Expansion was a key step in the survival of Jewish food businesses.

As marketing brought in new customers some small businesses outgrew their first floor shops.  Wolf Salganik began as a butcher in a single building with his home on the second floor, but by the 1930s he and his sons had taken over multiple buildings where they carried out their wholesale meat processing on three floors.[4]  Harry Tulkoff followed a similar pattern, starting out in a small grocery store in the 1920s then buying up several, connected buildings to convert into a single processing plant on Lombard Street before eventually moving out to their current larger location.  Hendlers Creamery, Saval Foods Corporation, Silber’s bakery, Baltimore Spice, and others did likewise.  Some of these businesses grew and sold out to other corporations, but others still exist today, still running and still growing and still in the family.

Early Saval Foods location. JMM CP 21.2011.8

Early Saval Foods location. JMM CP 21.2011.8

Expansion could mean creating an entirely new business.  The corner grocery store was the forerunner of the modern supermarket, but supermarkets are more than just big grocery stores – they are a new entity that moved away from early twentieth century specialization to generalization.  Baltimore saw its first supermarkets before World War II.  Businesses like Food Fair (a national supermarket chain that started in the late 1920s) and the local, Jewish-owned Food-O-Rama and Shreiber’s supermarket changed how families shopped. “The Shreiber Brothers did the impossible. They made a store where you had not just meats, but you had groceries. Then they brought in their own baker.  By adding on they had the supermarket. It [may have been] the first supermarket in the entire country.”[5]  Today, in addition to regional and nationwide chains Baltimore has local supermarkets such as Eddies, and Seven Mile Market, the latter not just Jewish owned but also aimed at the Jewish community.

Schreiber’s Grocery, 1959. JMM 1998.16.2

Schreiber’s Grocery, 1959. JMM 1998.16.2

Impact and Legacy

The stories of family-owned Jewish food businesses have not stopped being created.  Many small shops closed, leaving behind only the fond memories of scents and tastes that can never be duplicated.  Other businesses that began long ago still exist today run by third or fourth generation owners providing the old standards while staying close to their historical roots.  And new businesses continued to open.

Restaurants, bakeries, and delis continue to open, owned and operated by Jewish men and women – often to serve the Jewish community.  Local entrepreneurs (or transplants from elsewhere in the US) establish new businesses, and so do recent immigrants.  Families from places like Israel, Iran and Russia arrive in Baltimore and start their own restaurants or bakeries or delis, using their knowledge and skills of food from their former homes to support their families.  Jewish family food businesses have long been a part of the local economy, and though the world is very different today than it was a hundred years ago, the stories of living and eating and family fare remain constant.

Continue to Sidebar One: The Bluefeld Catering Story:People came from all around”

Notes:

[1] Howard Saval, 1982 Baltimore Sun

[2] Paul Wartzman interview, June 5, 2006, OH 686, JMM.

[3] Mina Shavitz interview, March 33, 3002, OH 648, JMM.

[4] Gordon Salganik interview, n.d., OH 318, JMM.

[5] Louis and Philip Bluefeld interview, August 6, 1979, OH 75, JMM.

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Our Miniature Chanukah Celebration – Part 2

Posted on December 22nd, 2016 by

Following up on last week’s post, here’s a closer look at a few more of the Chanukah programs featured in our mini exhibit in the Lloyd Street Synagogue…

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

First, a nice little souvenir program for a “Grand Chanuka Concert given by Rev. S. Schenberg with a double choir, assisted by the talented violinist, Mr. Charles Weissmann. Given on Sunday December 5th, 1915, 5:30 pm under the auspices of Aitz Chaim Congregation, the Eden Street Synagogue. Dr. Romanoff, Rabbi of the Congregation.”  This is an eight page booklet, with a tasseled cord around the binding. Inside can be found the evening’s musical selections, in both English and [Yiddish], and the event committee is listed on the back cover. In case you’re still planning your own Chanukah concert, you can take some inspiration from the program here:

Music Selection Ida [sic] from Verdi

Brohcos – Grossman

Hanaras H’lolu – Berkowitz

Selection, Israeli – Weissman

Lecture ‘Chanuca’ – Dr. Romanoff

Mismoir Schier Chanukas – Sestofol

Solo Violin – Weissman

Ma Oshiv – Schenberg

Serenad Music – Schubert

Ahavti – Weissman

Loy Omus – Schenberg

 

Most of the booklet, however, is given over to advertisements, in English, Hebrew and Yiddish, for a variety of  businesses:

>J. Castelberg’s National Jewelry Company

>Baltimore Commercial Bank

>Hendler Creamery (“The Velvet Kind”)

>R. Ember Co. – furniture

>Osias Schoenfeld’s New York Dairy Lunch

>Commercial Savings Bank [in Yiddish]

>N. Ginsburg, Dealer in Cigars & Tobacco

>Y. Samuelson – pictures and frames [in Yiddish]

>F. Hurwitz Kosher Delicatessen

>Barney’s Café

>The Capitol Tailoring Co.

>Frank Merin, Contractor and Builder

>Hochschild, Kohn & Co.

>I. Greenhood Ladies’ Tailor

>E. Tamres, Dealer in Leather, Shoe Findings and Shoemakers Supplies

>Old Town National Bank

>Jack Lewis with Robert Kinnier, Hiring and Boarding Stables

>Jack Lewis, Undertaker and Embalmer [in Yiddish]

>Goldenberg Brothers ‘Greater Stores’

>Rev. Samuel Schenberg, Cantor of ‘Etz Chaim,’ First Class Practical Mohel; also does weddings [in English and Yiddish]

>The Reliable Plumbing Co.

>Stewart & Co.

>National Marine Bank

>The Eden Street Synagogue (“Aitz Chaim”)

>B. Mankowitz, Dealer in Delicatessen, Scotch Herring, Sardines

>Schaeffers Orpheum Theater [in Yiddish]

>Bernstein, Cohen & Co., Bankers

>A. Sindler, Furniture and Carpets

>Rev. N. Glazer, Hebrew School (“Special attention given to Bar Mitzvah children with the nicest English and Yiddish speeches”) [in Yiddish]

>Kosher Mikveh for all Jewish Women, with the approval of Baltimore Rabbis [in Yiddish]

>London Fur Mfg. Co.

>Saiontz Fur Co.

>Hackerman’s The Lucky Corner – Hatter and Gent.’s Furnisher

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

1993026044-5

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

1993026044-6

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

1993026044-7

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

1993026044-8

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

1993026044-9

Gift of David L.C. Golberg. JMM 1993.26.44

…Another inside-peek-worthy item in the exhibit is the script for What Happened on Chanuka, by Rabbi G. Lipkind, published by Bloch Pub. Co. in 1924.  According to a note inside the cover, the play was “Presented twice with great success by the Intermediate Adath Boys on Sun. Dec. 13, 1933 (& Dance) & on Tuesday Dec. 19, 1933. Coached by Saul Taragin (15 rehearsals)”.  Taragin (1917-1997), son of a rabbi, emigrated to the US in 1929; he worked as a teacher and, in 1992, helped found Baltimore’s Yeshivat Rambam Day School.  The “Adath Boys” may have been affiliated with Adath B’nei Israel, a young adult congregation founded around 1920, though it could also refer to Adath Israel (now Beth Isaac Adath Israel), founded in 1914.

Gift of Rose Cohen. JMM 1997.130.1

Gift of Rose Cohen. JMM 1997.130.1

What I’d expected to be a light-hearted story about a family celebration is actually a rather deep examination of assimilation, adoption, intermarriage, and personal religious identity.  (Though I confess I have not read the entire script yet.)  There are a few annotations throughout, with some word changes here and there.  This page spread touches on a few of the play’s themes, as well as the central event of the Gerson family’s Chanukah celebration:

Gift of Rose Cohen. JMM 1997.130.1

Gift of Rose Cohen. JMM 1997.130.1

The cast list, delightfully, includes the actors’ names in pencil. I’ve not matched all of them up to their histories (and I’m not sure who played young Benno), but the players included Zelda Zafren (later Rivkin), born 1918; Pauline Kurland (later Kramer), born 1918; Beatrice Shoenig (later Krohn) born 1917; and Yetta Townsend, born 1918, who played the role originally written as Louis – it looks as if, for the purposes of Taragin’s production, it was changed to “Rebecca”.

Gift of Rose Cohen. JMM 1997.130.1

Gift of Rose Cohen. JMM 1997.130.1

Fifteen rehearsals is a lot of work for a bunch of teenagers, especially when their leader is himself only 16. I’m glad that Taragin’s “great success” can be remembered today, thanks to the annotated script.

Saul Taragin, right, with an unidentified friend, possibly at his graduation from Baltimore Polytechnic [link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_Polytechnic_Institute] in the early 1930s. Museum purchase. JMM 2003.83.10

Saul Taragin, right, with an unidentified friend, possibly at his graduation from Baltimore Polytechnic in the early 1930s. Museum purchase. JMM 2003.83.10*

*Saul is standing with his older brother Azreal. The photo is indeed of graduation from Polytechnic Institute, the two brothers graduated together – they then attended Hopkins together as well.. Thank you to Faith Shabat and Sonny Taragin for this additional information!

JoannaA blog post by Collections Manager Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.

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MS 55 The Louis E. Shecter Collection

Posted on December 6th, 2012 by

Louis Shecter as a graduate from Baltimore City College, 1918. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1974.21.4

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Louis E. Shecter (1901-1992)?Collection

n.d., 1921-1985

?MS 55

Jewish Museum of Maryland

?ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Louis E. Shecter Collection was found in the collection as MS 55.? Multiple accessions have been identified as materials donated by and related to Louis E. Shecter and probably incorporated into MS 55: 1973.013; 1974.021; 1975.020; 1982.015; 1985.104; and 1985.105.? However, none of the materials in the manuscript collection can be positively identified with these accessions.? Because of this the collection was given the FIC accession number 2012.061. The collection was processed at some unknown date then reprocessed and given a finding aid in June 2012 by Jennifer Vess.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.? Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.? Papers may be copied in accordance with the library?s usual procedures.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Louis Shecter (1901-1992) was born in Baltimore and graduated from Baltimore City College in 1918.? He began work at the Baltimore Sun then left for the Joseph Katz advertising company.? In 1928 he became the advertising director for the Hecht stores until 1931 when he and his brother-in-law, Jack L. Levin, started their own advertising company.? Shecter also began to invest in real-estate and businesses, ultimately owning several theaters (The Rosalyn, The Rex, The Roxy, and The Times ? now known as the Charles Theater).? Other businesses included the Famous Ballroom and two bowling centers.

Rosalyn M. and Louis E. Shecter on their way to London aboard the R.M.S Queen Mary, 1946. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1982.15.17

In 1939 Shecter married Rosalyn Margareten (d. 2009).? Rosalyn was born inNew York City and attended first Hunter College then later the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for sculpture.? Louis and Rosalyn had three children: Alan, Mark and Alyce.? In 1961 Rosalyn was appointed vice chair of the Maryland Board of Motion Picture Censors.? Rosalyn focused on preventing children from being exposed to adult content in films, and she played a minor role in the implementation of the current movie rating system.

Louis Shecter was involved with a number of political figures and also became a collector and promoter of the arts.? Shecter died on November 9, 1992.? Rosalyn died on November 24, 2009.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The collection is divided into three series: Series I. Louis E. Shecter, n.d., 1921-1985, Series II. Rosalyn Shecter, n.d. 1931-1984, and Series III. Children and Grandchildren, n.d., 1949-1983.? Series I. is further divided into eight subseries: Subseries A. American Jewish Congress, n.d., 1957-1983, Subseries B. Business, n.d., 1924-1984, Subseries C. Politics, n.d., 1944-1985, Subseries D. Genocide Convention and Civil Right Activities, n.d., 1954-1981, Subseries E. Charitable Contributions, n.d., 1945-1985, Subseries F. Art Collection, Museums and Culture, n.d, 1953-1983, Subseries G. Personal Correspondence, n.d., 1921-1984, and Subseries H. Misc, n.d., 1932-1984

Louis Shecter with Ladybird Johnson, 1962. Courtesy of Louis Shecter. 1975.20.33a

Series I. Louis E. Shecter, n.d., 1921-1985 contains correspondence, programs, clippings, and writings related to Shecter?s business dealings, civil rights activities, charitable contributions, art collecting, and personal life.? The series is divided into eight subseries. Subseries A. American Jewish Congress, n.d., 1957-1983 contains correspondence, press releases, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes and programs related to Shecter?s work with the American Jewish Congress in Baltimore.? Subseries B. Business, n.d., 1924-1984 contains correspondence and clippings related to Shecter?s work with the Joseph Katz advertising firm, the Hecht Company, his own advertising firm, his real-estate ventures, the Advertising club, etc. Subseries C. Politics, n.d., 1944-1985 contains invitations, correspondence, clippings and programs related to Shecter?s interaction with politics and political figures at the local and national level. Subseries D. Genocide Convention and Civil Right Activities, n.d., 1954-1981 contains correspondence, clippings and talks related to Shecter?s work promoting the Genocide Convention and Civil Rights.? Subseries E. Charitable Contributions, n.d., 1945-1985 contains correspondence, clippings, invitations, etc., related to Shecter?s involvement with charitable organization and his own charitable contributions.? Subseries F. Art Collection, Museums and Culture, n.d, 1953-1983, contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, lists, newsletters, magazines and minutes related to Shecter?s art collection activities, his donation of art, and his interactions with museums and other cultural institutions and organizations. Subseries G. Personal Correspondence, n.d., 1921-1984, contains Shecter?s personal correspondence including a collection of letters (photocopies) to and from H.L. Menken.? Subseries H. Misc, n.d., 1932-1984 contains membership materials to the Masonic Lodge and Beth Tfiloh, invitations, play programs, writings, etc.? All of the materials are organized alphabetically within each subseries.

Louis Shecter and Senator Edward Kennedy reviewing a painting of President Kennedy and Governor Tawes at the opening of JFK Highway. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1975.20.25a

Series II. Rosalyn Shecter, n.d. 1931-1984 contains correspondence, diplomas, booklets, publications, newspaper clippings, scrapbook pages and genealogical material related to Rosalyn?s education, work and family.? A large portion of the collection relates to Rosalyn?s work with the Maryland State Board of Motion Picture Censors.? The folders are organized alphabetically except for the genealogy materials which are placed at the end of the series.

Rosalyn Shecter being sworn in as chairman of the Maryland Board of Motion Picture censors, 1968. 1974.21.18a

Series III. Children and Grandchildren, n.d., 1949-1983 contains correspondence, invitations and writings related to Louis and Rosalyn?s children and grandchildren.? The series is arranged alphabetically.

Rosalyn, Louis, Alan and Mark Shecter, 1950's. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1974.21.20

RELATED COLLECTIONS

The American Jewish Historical Society and Syracuse University Library both have Louis E. Shecter Manuscript collections.

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Louis Shecter with Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, 1952. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1975.20.1

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