Max Schellhardt had important business to conduct on the 16th day of April in 1926.  It was a Friday – perhaps it was pay-day for the carpenters and laborers who were hard at work preparing the fairgrounds for the big Sesquicentennial Fair that was set to open in a month and half.  Maybe Max had to wait in line with his coworkers to collect his wages before knocking off early so he could do his business.  Having moved to a neighborhood closer to his job, Max probably had to take the trolley back up to his old stomping grounds near 7th and Girard.  If he played his cards right, maybe he stopped at the home of his fiancee’s family for a nice dinner of crab cakes.  It was Friday after all.

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#32 and I are going to Memphis in May.  We’re super excited about it.  I had to do all the planning though – as is usually the case with #32.  Aside from figuring out if we should stay at the hotel with paper-thin walls versus the hotel in the flight path of the airport…where the Fed Ex planes start to take off at 3 AM, planning my trip wasn’t complicated.  I entered my information into Orbitz, provided my credit card number, and in about 10 minutes, I had myself two round trip tickets to Memphis PLUS a rental car!  Easy peasy! 

Planning a trip – a voyage, really – in the early 1920s was a little more complicated.  Sure, you know all about ship manifests now (and if you don't, go back and re-read all those posts!) but how did  the names get on the manifests so that the people could board the ship to go wherever they were going? 

It’s the same thing #32 and I needed for our flight to Memphis. 

Tickets!

Steamship companies – and airlines, for that matter – sure weren’t in the business of giving people free rides.  If they did that, well, they would be out of business!  Or at least up a creek without a paddle. 

But what happens when there’s no Orbitz?!  Or no certified travel agent?! 

Well, in the early 20th century, along the Eastern seaboard, immigrant or ethnic banks were established in neighborhoods where newly-arrived immigrants tended to settle.  Primarily established by German Jews, the banks were oftentimes located in Jewish neighborhoods.  Calling them banks is a bit of misnomer, however, because while immigrants could deposit money with them, the banks’ real bread and butter came from selling steamship tickets and arranging passage for immigrants to come to the United States.  Four such banks operated in Philadelphia including the Blitzstein Bank, the Rosenbaum Bank, the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank, and the Rosenbluth Bank.  Only Rosenbluth exists today – and not as a bank but as - no joke - Rosenbluth Vacations, a
travel agency!

Little is known about the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank.  The 1919 Annual Report of the Philadelphia Board of Trade lists the address for this bank as 7th and Girard Avenue with Charles Lipshutz and Maurice Wurzel listed as president and vice president, respectively.  During the 1920s, German-Americans tended to live in that area of the city – in fact, until Max moved to South Philadelphia, he lived at 1512 North 7th Street and the Wissmanns lived on North Leithgow Street which was a few blocks away.  So, chances are Max…or Anna…or Anna’s mother…was familiar with this bank. 

This may explain why Max conducted his business at the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank on April 16, 1926.

But what kind of business was he doing?

Like me, he seems to have had to make his brother’s travel arrangements.  Of course, his brother was immigrating to America and not going to Memphis for some barbecue.  But you get the picture.

This is the prepaid steamship ticket for Max’s younger brother, Adolph, as purchased on April 16, 1926.

If you ever want to hear this archivist swoon…well, this record would do it.  This isn’t a vital record like a marriage or death certificate.  It isn’t a government record like the census forms or even the ship manifests.  All it really is, is a record of a mundane business transaction that took place on April 16, 1926.  If you don’t think that’s awesome – what is?! 
Picture
Prepaid steamship ticket record from the records of the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank courtesy of the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University
Would Philadelphia be big enough for two Schellhardts?  Stay tuned to find out!
 


Comments

Helen Knuttel
04/17/2013 12:10am

OMG! I can't believe that such things still exists and with such clarity It almost looks like it was printed up yesterday. What a find!! Move over, Denise, I am swooning right next to you. (But I still want to know what led you to this marvelous find)

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Denise
04/17/2013 8:31am

Honestly, I just did the same thing that always makes me cringe when someone like Reba McIntire or Paula Deen scream "OHMIGOSH, I can just put a name in and find all this stuff" on that show "Who Do You Think You Are?" So, I'm a hypocrite.

I found it through a search on Ancestry.com. Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC) records are indexed on Ancestry although the actual records aren't digitized. I contacted the Special Collections at Temple University where PJAC records are housed and they were able to locate and send me a scan of the record. You never know what you'll find or where you'll find it...although I was hoping that this discovery would lead to an unknown Jewish branch of the family which would've been uber-exciting. Alas, that's not the case!

The only other steamship ticket that PJAC has that is relevant to our family is the one that Alfred Horn purchased for Louie Wissmann. I've ordered that one as well.

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Helen
04/17/2013 10:50am

I don't have time right this minute to look, but am wondering if It was Louie that came over with Paul Knuttel and if we could find out if John Knuttel purchased the tickets for Paul and Willie Hennig. Have a luncheon to go to, but will look at the manifests later. You are still and always will be a genius. Love, Aunt Helen

Betty Long
04/29/2013 8:19pm

I don't care if you did find this through ancestry.com. It is VERY cool! The history geek/archivist wanna-be in me is totally impressed. I love the little history lessons that accompany each of your entries. Though I may fall behind in looking at the site I'll always come back for more. Keep up the great work!

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02/12/2016 8:44pm

Can I just say what a relief to uncover a person that actually knows what they are discussing on the net. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

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06/02/2016 3:07am

Generations and all the times of the April are here for the sanctity and all sanity of the decisions it is the imposed and impressive. It is the controlled for the betterment and rightness of the situations and all knowledge.

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11/03/2016 5:05am

Do you ever been at Philadelphia ? This is a good place to visit in summer!

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