Group of seven <<Autograph Letters >>from immigrants to the United States, written to their families back home in Germany.

Auction 90 | Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 at 1:00pm
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Graphic & Ceremonial Arts

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Lot 57

Group of seven <<Autograph Letters >>from immigrants to the United States, written to their families back home in Germany.

Texts in German in various hands, with some Hebrew. <<* With:>> English translation. Several pages. 4to.

Mobile, Alabama: 1848-55

Est: $1,500 - $2,500
A brief abstract of selected letters: In the earliest letter, Joseph Bloch describes to his parents and sister the 48-day journey from Antwerp to New York. He experienced no fewer than six storms, which would cause the seas to “seize up like mountains and valleys, with the ship rolling upon them like a nutshell.” Bloch nonetheless states such meteorological, windy dramas were preferable to the occasions when there was no wind at all and the ship barely moved. Bloch also describes bouts of seasickness that the passengers suffered. After arriving in New York on the last day of of Sukkot, Bloch joyfully celebrated the festival with his cousins. He recounts that his intention of becoming a rural peddler is not possible, since farmers in America live at great distances from each other and not close-by in villages as in Europe. He writes further about the difficulty of earning a living - even educated, multilingual people cannot even afford shoes. Bloch left New York on an 18-day journey to New Orleans. He describes the plantations he saw on the way - and the slavery, about which he recounts that slave-masters treat their slaves no differently than their dog. In New Orleans he met relatives, including a cousin who owned a large clothing store. Determined to make it on his own and not be a “servant,” that is, an employee, Bloch’s cousin greatly relaxed when he realized he wasn’t expected to furnish a job for his immigrant cousin. Bloch utilized his skill playing the flute to become a professional musician at a theater, where earned $5 per night. He displays “go-getter” ability, recounting how he was once asked if he can play the horn, to which he responded in the affirmative - although he indeed never had! “You have to say yes, and then everything will be alright.” The other letters are in this vein, and are a witness to the first great migration of Jews to the United States - their ambitions and their fates.