Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Have you seen that Jewess?

Here's a rather interesting 'missed connection' type of ad from 1869 in the New York Herald.

563976_451970311521708_1101640183_n.jpg (450×98)



11 comments:

  1. Jewess is another way of saying prostitute. You cant even sure the person he is reffering to is jewish.

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  2. Anonymous, that's fascinating if true, but where's your evidence for it

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  3. how otherwise would he know she is Jewiss?

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  4. Couldn't it be that the dress gave it away?

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  5. If he saw her in an all-Anglo or all-German area of town, her ethnicity might have stood out. Even today, some people have a very good sense for who is Jewish, who is Irish, etc.

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  6. Maybe they spoke?

    Anyway, I bet in 1869 you could tell who was Jewish in New York City the same way you could tell who was Irish. And, in fact, some people have good Jewdar to this very day.

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  7. Too bad it wasn't online; would have loved to see the comments that got.

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  8. I used to live on Sixth Avenue a few blocks north of Spring Sreet. Luckily by then the shadow, noise, and soot of the old Sixth Avenue elevated "car" line were long gone. Although I doubt that even an anonymous advertiser in 1869 would proclaim, "Yes, I love a prostitute," it's nevertheless true that a few decades later and across town, there was a shameful concentration of Jewish girls plying their trade under the Allen Street "el" in the Lower East Side. Someone once reminisced that when one of these girls called out to you, she wasn't inviting you to minyan.

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  9. A good portion of Jewish people in New York in that year would have had tell-tale accents. Most working-class people in New York at the time were probably identifiable by accent.

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  10. Did "oyster house" mean something different than, say, the Grand Central Oyster Bar would mean nowadays (i.e. would there have been a mar'is ayin issue for one of us to be seen in such a place)? and how would the intended Jewess know which day she had been seen at that location?

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  11. Just checked the history of the Sixth Avenue El: it wasn't built till the 1870's. So the "Sixth avenue car" mentioned in the ad must have been a surface streetcar. The Jewess in question was seen "on" the car "at" the oyster house, so there is no need to assume that she ever entered the establishment. But was the streetcar named desire?

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