Thanksgiving Preparations; or, A Festive Platter, 1930-37

Posted on November 9th, 2015 by

As Thanksgiving approaches, thoughts turn to family celebrations and all the preparations that go with them: making travel plans, or – if  you’re the host or hostess – choosing recipes, decorations, and serving ware.  After all, presentation is just as important as the food itself! If you’re feeling like your best china (or your favorite portable casserole dish) has been seen too many times before, now’s your chance to look around for something a bit different in advance of the holiday. May I suggest something with vintage flair, like our golden pheasant platter?

Donated by Bonnie Hoback, JMM 1994.139.1

Donated by Bonnie Hoback, JMM 1994.139.1

Full disclosure: I originally intended to write about turkeys, and was pleased to discover that we had a turkey platter… only to find upon closer examination that, no, it’s not a turkey.  No matter; our friend Pheasant looks jolly enough, if a trifle startled, and the platter has a nice little story.

Slightly startled pheasant.

Slightly startled pheasant.

The dish was made by the Pope-Gosser China Company of Ohio in the 1930s. In that decade, the company got into the business of selling customized promotional pieces: plates, dishes, and mugs with a pretty picture and the name of the shop. For small stores around the country, these pieces served as permanent advertising (reminding you of their fine goods with every meal) and, if given away or sold for a tiny price, they also made a nice customer perk. In this case, our platter was made for Checket, Gerber & Co., a clothing and furniture store on N. Gay Street, Baltimore.

“Compliments of Checket-Gerber & Co., Furniture – Clothing, 237-39 N. Gay St.”  Yes, the first e in “Checket” is printed upside down.

“Compliments of Checket-Gerber & Co., Furniture – Clothing, 237-39 N. Gay St.” Yes, the first e in “Checket” is printed upside down.

Checket,  Gerber & Co. was a partnership between Jewish businessmen Henry W. Checket, Benjamin P. Checket, and Jacob Gerber.  I’ve not found much about these gentlemen (other than that two of them belonged to Shaarei Tfiloh Congregation), but looking through various Baltimore City directories can help trace the evolution of the company. The shop originated with Henry’s father Hyman Checket, who had a clothing store on E. Baltimore St. in the early 1900s; Henry and Benjamin (perhaps a cousin?) were working for him by 1908, and Jacob Gerber joined the firm in the early 1910s.  By 1926 the store had moved from E. Baltimore to 239 N. Gay St., and in 1930 the listing includes the storefront at 237.  Gerber left the partnership by 1937, for that year’s directory lists it simply as Checket & Co Furniture, on N. Howard.

The platter was donated by Bonnie Amend Hoback, whose mother Louise acquired it during one of her shopping trips in East Baltimore and – based on the worn condition, including chips in the rim and some light staining under the glaze – used it for some years.  Mrs. Hoback recalled, “My mother took me shopping in the 1930s on Gay Street. It was around Thanksgiving. I remember the many kindnesses shown to us. The children were always given something. My mother bought me a coat at this store, and a very kind gentleman took care of us. There was a potbelly stove on each floor . . . . They knew us as customers because my family shopped on Gay Street and Lombard Street all the time [although] our family was not Jewish.”  These pleasant memories prompted Mrs. Hoback to donate the platter to the museum in 1994.

…And, while looking through the Jewish Times for a Checket, Gerber & Co. advertisement (no luck) I found my turkeys after all:

Here’s the cover image for the November 18th, 1932 Baltimore Jewish Times.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s the cover image for the November 18th, 1932 Baltimore Jewish Times. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Posted in jewish museum of maryland


Posted on November 24th, 2013 by

Last Thursday evening, people all over the United States gave thanks and celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends.  In addition to the Thanksgiving celebrationJews also lit a candle for the celebration of Hanukkah.  Thanksgivukkah is a pop-culture name given to the convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Thursday, November 28, 2013.


This week Time Magazine mentions five (5) things that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have in common.

  1. 1.      Both holidays are a great excuse to stuff yourself silly. 
  2. 2.      Both are rooted in religion.
  3. 3.      Both were started by groups who found refuge in America.
  4. 4.      Both are all about being thankful
  5. 5.      Both are a reason to go home.


Read more: Thanksgivukkah: Five Things Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Have in Common |;


So, as you gather around your holiday dinner table with family and friends, reflect on all of our blessings and even get a little silly with this little ditty… (tune to My Little Dreidel)

Thanksgivukkah, Thanksgivukkah,
Come light the menurkey
Let’s have a party
With latkes and turkey.
Maccabbees and Pilgrims
Americans and Jews
Thankfulness and freedom—
The lessons we choose.

So come spin the dreidel,
And lighting the candles we gloat.
Hearts skip a beat
For we know soon we’ll eat
Pumpkin pie and some sufganiot!
Hearts skip a beat
For we know soon we’ll eat
Pumpkin pie and some sufganiot!

Thanksgivukkah, Thanksgivukkah,
A joyous occasion
Everyone join in
This rare celebration
Lift up high your voices
With songs and with cheers.
The next one won’t be coming
For 79 thousand years. (Chorus)

Thanksgivukkah, Thanksgivukkah,
A marvelous yuntiff
Bringing together
The rebbe and pontiff.
Blending our traditions
Can give quite a shock:
Nays gadol hayah sham

At Plymouth Rock (Chorus)


Hag Sameach!  Happy Holidays!

How did you celebrate Thanksgivukkah? Send us your stories and photos!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland