Collection: Schweitzer-Guggenheimer Letter Collection

Author: Isaac Schweitzer


Hirsch Schweitzer

Louise Schweitzer (Durlacher)

Marie “Malchen” Bernheimer (Schweitzer)

Ernestine Schweitzer

Description: Letter from Isaac Schweitzer to the Schweitzer family, May 23, 1869.

Isaac Schweitzer to Schweitzer family, May 23, 1869

English Text

Fincastle, Va., May 23, 1869 Dear esteemed parents and dear sisters! I received your dear [letter] with joy although I had to wait longer than usual as you, dear mother, wrote yourself. I was glad to see your best wellbeing and can say the same on my part. I hope that you will have received my previous letters in the meantime. I am very sorry that you, dear father, write that business is bad in Württemberg and money rare I hope that it will change soon. Business here is still not very good and money very rare. Throughout America business is bad. Probably it will also not be better until the harvest is over. Politics is also not in order in this state therefore business is not as good as usual. When I started here for example I earned $1,000 in cash in a month now sometimes merely 500 to 600 dollars, this is a big difference. You wrote, dear father, that I have to care for nobody but myself, therefore I probably do not have a hard life, this is correct. However, I assure you, dear parents, that this alone is not helpful. It is easy to make a living for myself. I should however advance if this is God’s will and save money so that when I visit you again with God’s help I would be able to start a business and to be of help to you. I promised to send 1000 fl to dear Bertha for her dowry and I want to keep my promise. But you, dear father, know if you want to run a business it won’t go well without capital. When I started here I had nothing and I had to purchase merchandise on credit. Uncle Sal had several hundred dollars that have long since been returned. Credit here is short-term, 30, 60, 90 days, you have to be on your guard to pay. As noted in my previous [letter] I am trying to go away from here because I cannot earn enough here with Uncle since he and his family need too much so that by no means the capital can increase so that I could say that in one or two years I have the commodity in stock debt free. Dear father, you write that I should start another store in Fincastle. That would not be good, I would be ashamed for my customers. The area where I want to move in the South is not unhealthy and good business is done there if it is God’s will that I will find somebody who has money and wants to start a company. I made a mistake that I did not start [a business] at that time with the client [?] in Lexington. I would have done it but since Guggenheimer told me that he had a letter from his brother who wanted to start a business I thought I would like it better. Therefore the man started with somebody else. Guggenheimer in Phila also does not do well in business and he does not have much courage and so it is still as it was. I think I will go to Philada in a short while and talk to and chat with people in person and start a new business in fall. With the Guggenheimer family here, dear mother, I am on good terms. I even eat there as of recently, since it costs me less. I am at home there like with you, dear parents, I go and leave when I want. Since there is no entertainment in America my entertainment is riding on Sundays. Mr. Guggenheimer has 5 beautiful horses and I can ride which one I want, it is very healthy for me. Since one stands in the store all week long a young man should also do exercise but going for a walk is not in fashion here. Often I take the little boy with me, he is 3 years old. (Charles) or Karl – the boy holds me in high esteem. This morning after the meal I asked him to give me a kiss, and he did. Then he said that I have to ride with him otherwise he would not kiss me again. We went to Mr. and Mrs. Guggenheimer, they think the world of him. The more I ride with him the more his mother likes it. שבואת [Shavuot] passed well, we had the best cheese cake, better than in all of Mühringen since Gugg[enheimer] has no less than 45 to 50 cows and young cattle. Henry Heilbroner was here during שבואת [Shavuot] as well as another יהועדע [Yehudah, Jew] who used to live 7 miles from here. Henry Heilbroner is chassen [Hebrew, engaged] to Bertha Schwarz, that is the latest news. As far as I know Henry likes Bertha very much but I don’t think that Bertha likes Henry. I can tell what I hear from her. Her relatives were all [in favor] that she should get engaged to him since it does not look promising to marry up. That is indeed so. Enclosed I congratulate all of you when it is accepted. Henry complains also about the very bad business. He won’t get married before winter, he will also wait since Switzer[s?] owe(s) Heilbroner a lot still from before the war and can hardly pay ------ Don’t tell any of Bertha’s relatives that this is the cause. I think it is my duty to let you know that [neither] Uncle [nor] Henry is rich. I hope to become [rich] soon -------- like all of us. Simon is on a visit to Lexington, he will be back on Tuesday. Enclosed a little note by Mr. + Mrs. Guggenheimer. For a few weeks I have preserved confectionary, it sells very well and provides a good profit. I get 40-50 [cents] for a 20 cents package. [I] also [tried] lemons and oranges, one tries the utmost to earn money. It is however not immediately cash but one has merely merchandise. If I had in cash what should come to me I would have already sent you money for the time being until everything is ready for dear Bertha. Dear Louise, be so kind and give my best regards to the Pressburgers and Feigenheimers. I hope that you and dear Ernestine will do good business in Immenau this summer since you bought the merchandise for a good price as I hope in Nuremberg. I have not heard from Samson if he has left. Dear father, what about the military laws, can I e.g. go to Germany when I want - this is merely a question without the law putting something in my way. I still have no answer from Elise. Her brother wrote to me that he is doing good business and that can be worth money but perhaps he is also only rich in commodities. It takes a while to make money. For today I have nothing else to say, be well and healthy and do good business like your obedient son and brother Isaac Schweitzer wants to do as well. Greetings to all relatives and acquaintances. [page 1, top margin] I will send the photograph of Mr. Guggenheimer in my next [letter]. [page 1, left margin ] This time you have lot to read. Best regards to Emil alias Elias. [page 2, left margin see page 3] [page 3, left margin including continuation on page 2] Dear mother I hope that this letter is not subject to criticism because when you are in a store and look after the books one has sometimes a lot to consider. Therefore I cannot write so clearly [or regularly (ambiguous expression)]. [page 5, continued from page 6 left margin ] Uncle Joseph. I wrote to him that he should write to you dear father [page 6, left margin] Uncle and his family send their best regards. I often write to [continued on page 5 left margin]

Original text