Collection: Schweitzer-Guggenheimer Letter Collection
Author: Isaac Schweitzer
Description: Letter from Isaac Schweitzer to the Schweitzer family, October 4, 1868.
Fincastle, October 4th, 1868 Dear esteemed parents and sisters: When I was in Philada I received your shipment through Elise and also the letter including photographs which are not very good according to my recollection. I hope that you also received all my letters [especially the one] that I wrote from Lexington. The holidays passed by very well. On Rosh Hashanah I was in Philada and on Yom Kippur here. On the very same night I opened the store and took in $35. I hope that the holidays will also pass by well and satisfying for you. Today is Chol Hamoed [Hebrew] but it is merely nice in Germany since you don’t see anything of it in America. In my previous [letter] I indicated that I wanted to move to Salem but I have abandoned this plan again since I [have] something that suits me better. I noted it in my letter from Lexington, namely that Uncle Abraham wants to have me in Lexington. Salem is a pretty good place for business as far as I know but I still had to build a new customer base, whereas I am already convinced that Lexington is a very good place. I had already attracted old acquaintances of 15 years to the house where Uncle has his store. Besides, it would not have been good if Henry had left because he has always kept the books and Uncle is not a clerk, this way much would have been neglected. Uncle Abraham made the proposal to me when we were in Baltimore and bought commodities. I should not go to Salem instead he wants me to become his partner, which is quite desirable for me. Uncle is a weak man and not a trained merchant and Henry is a little bit careless. Therefore he takes on a young diligent man in order to do big[ger] business as you can do it in Lexington without effort but with sense. I have the opportunity to make $2000 to $2500 dollars in Lexington in a year. I will be the principal of the whole business since I will take care of the acquisitions. Uncle saw that I can buy 10 percent cheaper than me [sic]. I will stay here approximately until December 15 to keep everything in order since Uncle Sal. and family will move here in 10 days. Therefore I have to keep my eyes open in order to have my [things] secured. I have lost a fair bit of respect that I had for Uncle Salomon, but I showed him that I can measure up to him. I will be happy when I won’t have anything to do with him in business matters any longer since I don’t like his conduct. But I hope that with honesty through diligence and thrift I will get further than he did with all his scams. I also have to help Uncle Ab. and Henry to untie the knot [?] that Uncle Sal. spun [?] for them. I bought as many goods as necessary so that I do not owe anything when I leave Fincastle because I do not want my name to get misused when I am gone. I also said this to Sal. in Philada, he saw that I don’t trust him any longer. Therefore the business will be in Simon’s name since it cannot be in his name. Since my homecoming I am thank God quite happy with the business and I hope that I will have a lot to do soon because the winter is better than the summer. Guggenheimers are happy that I will stay a few more months here with them. They like me better than Uncle, they do everything I ask for. Likewise the ones in Philada I have eaten there often. I feel, thank God, very healthy and well. I hope to hear soon the same of you again. Write your letters to here, I requested the letters that you sent to Salem to [be sent to] here. I would like to send winter clothes to all of you but it is too far, one day I will bring such things myself. I have beautiful coats and suits, also fine furs for ladies, I have almost everything that men and women can use, I have a lot of work to do: tagging the goods and selling. Guggenheimers say that when I am gone that Uncle won’t do as much as I had done. You did not do well in Imnau? I have not written to Elise yet for lack of time. I don’t know if she is still in New York or with her brother. I will write to you soon again and more clearly. I met a young man in Philada who had been on the ship with me and who had slept in the same room. We were overjoyed. I also met the two sons of Meyer Levis from Carlsruhe, sons of Wormser’s sister, they were nothing but surprised, so one meets many people. When Elise writes that she likes America so much then it is no wonder since she has nothing to do but to laze about, but if a girl has to serve and to work then it is still better in Germany than in America, she will experience it differently. America is nothing for ladies who are not immediately married or engaged, however, for hardworking men it is the only place in the world where you can quickly soar upwards to become a man. It is to the advantage of every young man to have been in America then he can say that he has seen and encountered the world and knows what he has to think of people. Thank you for the shipment, however, only the money purse has received my approval. The other things are not according to American style. I gave the shoe fashions to Guggenheimer since that will not be ridiculed. If you write to dear Bertha send her my regards, I will also write to her as soon as I have time. Keep all the things which I write to you to yourselves. Best regards to all my relatives in Horkheim, Königsbach, Mühringen and to all who are your customers. Awaiting your letter soon I remain your loving son and brother Isaac Schweitzer Also, write again to Lexington from now on, but it is not necessary to resend the earlier [letters]. Greetings from Guggenheimers and all our other relatives. It could be that Bertha Schwarz is going to come here as well but she will not like it, since Fincastle is not a place where German is spoken. She only knows a little bit of English [illegible] but it should be none of my concern.