New Communities from Old Iron
Jewish Immigrants and the Scrap Industry, 1890-1924
Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Z. S. Pollack
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In the late 19th century, Jewish immigrants to the United States found their way into the business of collecting, sorting, processing, and selling scrap, surplus, and second-hand materials. From these humble roots grew multi-generational businesses in cities and towns across the United States. The history of Jews in scrap gives us a window into immigration networks, the nature of Jewishness, and the structure of Jewish communal life.
Jonathan Z. S. Pollack earned his PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in 1999. Since 1998, he has been a full-time Instructor in History at Madison Area Technical College, and he currently holds honorary fellowships at Wisconsin’s Center for Jewish Studies and Institute for Research in the Humanities. Jon has published his research on scrap in Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism, edited by Rebecca Kobrin and published by Rutgers University Press in 2012, and in the January 2019 issue of the journal Business History.
This program is presented in relation to the Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling exhibit, on view October 27, 2019 – April 2020. Tickets to public programs include admission to the Museum.
Image: Hettleman and Company Junk Shop, Baltimore, MD, c. 1910. Courtesy of Ellen Kahan Zager. JMM CP2015.34.1.
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