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In June 1891, Shimshon Gerye, a Jewish immigrant from Galicia (a region that now falls across the border of Ukraine and Poland) living in Sedalia, Missouri, received a letter from a cousin back home. The content of the letter was probably rather mundane (a request to send money, inquiries about health), but its timing was somewhat unusual: in the thirty-five years that Shimshon had been living in America, this was apparently the first he had heard from his family in Europe. What survives of the ensuing correspondence, written in Yiddish and spanning a one-year period, provides an interesting view of the situation of the immigrant and the pressures of assimilation, as well as the Yiddish language in America at the end of the nineteenth century.


Reprinted with permission from Gateway magazine, Volume 26, No. 1 (C) Missouri History Museum, 2005.

LettersA-H.doc (187 kB)

Fragment_N-2-D.pdf (124 kB)

LetterA.pdf (221 kB)
Letter A

LetterB.pdf (376 kB)
Letter B

LetterC.pdf (395 kB)
Letter C

LetterD.pdf (313 kB)
Letter D

LetterE.pdf (104 kB)
Letter E

LetterF.pdf (406 kB)
Letter F

LetterG.pdf (386 kB)
Letter G

LetterH.pdf (79 kB)
Letter H

mendel.pdf (356 kB)

samson_in_europe.jpg (83 kB)
Samson in Europe