Collection: Schweitzer-Guggenheimer Letter Collection

Author: Isaac Schweitzer


Hirsch Schweitzer

Marie “Malchen” Bernheimer (Schweitzer)

Ernestine Schweitzer

Louise Schweitzer (Durlacher)

Description: Letter from Isaac Schweitzer to the Schweitzer family, December 2, 1866.

Isaac Schweitzer to Schweitzer family, December 2, 1866

English Text

Beloved parents + dear sisters! I was very pleased to learn from your esteemed letter from the 14th of the month that you received my letter as well as dear uncle's letter from H. I hope that you also received the unstamped letter which will probably cost a lot. I did it because of the delivery time. I hope that you will enjoy with pleasure the bill of exchange which I asked Uncle Solomon to get for you. It should provide you with an amusing Chanukah celebration and with health. Serve the new wine of which one is deprived here in your peaceful circle and treat yourself to an extra glass to the health of the absentees. In my last [letter] you can see that I intended to do what you wished me to do, dear father and dear mother. I sent a letter to Harrisburg (I sent a letter from [illegible] Ernestine) and told them that I can still do this until the 10th [?] of January. I cannot leave before that since business is better around Christmas and uncle does not have another clerk or apprentice. I only write to you that I would love to leave here because I cannot stand Henry and aunt as well as Simon. Henry is a wild, unreliable glutton. He does not want to work. Since I have been in the store I have rearranged the whole store and reorganized it. Daily I straighten up all the merchandise. Since Henry sees that I can do things better than he does he does no longer does anything at all. I am no longer working with the spice business because they see that I am so useful in the other store. I sell as much or more than Henry. I know enough English so that I can talk to everyone in the store. People here say that they have never seen anyone who learned English as quickly as I did. Of course one cannot express oneself and twist and turn the words as in German. However, it has only been 4-6 months. Now I will describe aunt B. who can indeed write very beautifully and who also has a few good sides which however do not exceed her bad sides. She would especially not win your praise, dear mother. Recently there was a dinner party, I was also invited as well as Henry. Each of us was allowed to bring 1 or 2 ladies. Henry invited one lady, but he [or she, unclear] did not go, his sister as well. I did not want to go - and if I do not want to go, then even a Doctor does not help, I will not go. I had English classes which was better. When I went home for dinner aunt tormented me immediately that I should go, and why I don't want to go - although she had done that already for the last 2 days. That was a real drudgery, but I did not go, and therefore she could not go neither which she did not like. I went once and let me talk into it, but that was before, and it was the last time. Anyway, who + where to see something or to go somewhere is [illegible]. Like real chicken. She is the very opposite of you dear mother. I can not stand [?] it, especially from a woman who has to deal with a household and small children who can do what they want if she only has something to see or to run to or to gossip beforehand what is the main thing. Last Saturday soldiers were excavated who had been shot in the war. They are heroes now and were put in the cemetery, it was peaceful. Uncle and I stayed in the store. Henry participated. She asked me three times to accompany her and then to go to church and to the churchyard although we had a lot to do. I told her that I cannot go. Finally she came herself decked out like the Queen of Spades and asked me to go, but I did not go. Likewise she wants me to go to church with her on Sundays or to go for a walk what I always reject even if I have to walk less. Now you know the situation here. I must praise Aunt Sophie, she is a different woman. And if the two women do not get along well with each other in Harrisburg it is however mostly Babett's fault. She would like to be a beautiful young woman but is only a terrible old frump. There are still many more details but it is too boring to write about them. I think: "Adieu Lexington." Uncle is otherwise very upright, but he cares about himself first and wants to keep me. He talks behind my back, but I don't understand it -----. Aunt and Henry work together to tie me up but that is of no use as well. I have an indomitable will and I am not such a greenhorn as they call the Germans when they come to America. I am rather like the ones who are already here for years, and they see that as well. Dear father, I was glad that you wrote that I should leave so that uncle sees that you want to have it too. I hope that you will keep all of this for yourself and never show it in any letter. Uncle, Henry + aunt are all right when I am alone by myself. I will respond to your letter within 14 days. This is an opportunity [to write to] the aunt in Hechingen [I will write] the letter from here in 14 days. I am delighted that you did the construction and I hope that good business will compensate the costs. I just want to note that all three of them want me to go to the store in the countryside and relieve Simon since Simon complains that it is so slow and [illegible] there. I cannot blame Simon about it but it is much more boring there and I will certainly not go to work in that store even if it should rain bass violins. A German watchmaker came here, he is in our store in Lexington + paid half of the rent. We two rode to Simon yesterday for a visit and returned in the evening. Dear mother, you don't need to worry because of the riding. Nothing happened, and it is not common here to walk and we have our own horse. Farewell, be healthy and be assured that I am healthy and well. Best regards and kisses from your son and brother Isaac Schweitzer. Dear sisters, I will write the next letter in 2 weeks. Please send all the letters to dear Berthe and aunt. Not this letter. Best regards to them. I will write them an extra letter   [Page 1] [Left margin]: Greetings to Feigenheimer […..?] Josef should [illegible] What is going on with the continuing lawsuit? Greetings to Dr. Wormser and family. [Top margin]: Dear father, please address future letters to Mss. Schwitzer and Heilbroner Lexington Rockbridge County, Va. Everything is now without South America [i.e. the South of America] Page 2 [Left margin:] Greetings to the dear Königsbacher. I will also write a [illegible] letter to them Page 3 [Left margin:] All that glitters is not gold in America. Page 4 [ Left margin, only partially visible:]: Greetings to Selina + Elise [?] + parents. The [illegible] with Henry [..] I will [..] in Harrisburg. I will write about it in my next letter.

Original text