Feb 13 1928


Dear Thelma –

To-day while I was out on an errand for the boss I passed a bookstore that was irresistable. Just out side of the door was a rack of books, containing a collection on various subjects published by the Vanguard Press. I poked my nose in nearly all the volumes and purchased one. When I got back, the boss met me; his eyes were bloodshot with anger. How could I waste two whole hours? I was informed in the most impressive manner that it should never happen again. I took my punishment like a good soldier because it is very very hard to find a job just now. However the book I bought pays for all the trouble I had. The Conquest of Bread by Kropatkin is sure supreme mental food. After I finish it I’ll send it to you, so that you will derive a unique treat. By the way, did you ever finish or (complete rather) The Mysteries of the People?

Dave Harris is going to Troy for a visit sometime next week. I made him promise me that he would take my sweetheart out; so if you feel that you care to go with him do so, if not just tell him you are not accustomed to the company of such “big bums” the likes of him. Ha! Ha!

I can fully appreciate just how you feel about writing. Not having had any experience in relating your emotions, verbally or otherwise it’s a ticklish tack. Emotional letters are never any good unless they are free and spontaneous. Only then it has an alluring charm. The mood is the determining factor at all times. The way I talk one would think that I was an authority on such matters. But the fact is that I am only opinionating.

Too bad about Milton. Why children must suffer illness is certainly one of the cruelties of nature. Devout boobs and fanatics would tell you it was the will of “God”???

The fact that Becky and Esur quarrel and continue to do so proves to me that they derive a certain amount of pleasure from it. Otherwise both would give up their chewing in despair. At the close of each fray the feeling of victory is enjoyed by them mutually. The battle of wits should be quite a diversion. I am enclosing a little poem that you should read to them. After you finish you’ll see them accusing one another.

Mr. Diamond is at the Mt. Sinai hospital, his visiting hours conflict with my spare time so I will have to delay my visit until a more opportune time. Ask your dad what he thinks of our worthy Sec’y of Treasury Mr. Mellon? A member of the cabinet, Captain of Industry, a billionaire proves to be a traitor to his country. It’s the likes of him that shout themselves hoarse on patriotism, and prosecute “Reds”. The oil scandal should be an eye opener.

I am anxiously waiting to see you again. The time will eventually fly by and then we should have a “bully” time. Since George, Dave + Esur left I have no one coming up to see me and believe me it’s damned lonesome. Take all precautions not to let anything interfere with your coming here. I’ll take care of the rest. Au revoir mon chere!


P.S. Regards to each + all of our mutual friends and acquaintances. To hell with the rest!

1928Feb13_1 1928Feb13_2

Editor’s Notes: Izzy gets lost in his own world at a bookstore while out on a quick errand.  Upon returning to work 2 hours later his boss lays into him.  Izzy knows he deserves this and takes his punishment “like a good soldier”.  His love of books and knowledge is a love he will sacrifice for.

The Conquest of Bread by Petr Kropotkin, 1906 may be a timely read for Bernie Sanders supporters.  Kropotkin outlines the harm of Capitalism in terms of poverty and maintaining scarcity, his dreams of voluntary cooperation, and the difference between revolutionary and reactionary.

Izzy has a quick thesis on the writing of love letters.  That they are only “good” (perhaps read: honest) when the emotions are conveyed freely and spontaneously.  He does not propose to be an expert in this field but he can relate to Thelma in that it is a “ticklish task”.  Not arduous, but certainly not easy.  As with any communication between lovers, or any communication about love, there are misinterpretations of words and feelings though we strive to make the mood clear and “alluring”.

Then we get a quick outburst of Izzy’s feelings towards religion and how a just “God” wouldn’t let children suffer.  Or is he saying “God” to make clear his atheism?

mt sinaiandrewmellon

Andrew W. Mellon, founder of Gulf Oil, was Secretary of Treasury from 1921-1932, serving through the most difficult times of The Great Depression.

A conservative Republican, he obviously did not have the support of labor party rebel, Isidore “Izzy” Bickweat.  Mellon’s part in Gulf and Standard Oil put him at risk for scrutiny and there was plenty to be found.  

I, myself, have not had time to familiarize myself with this topic but the book “The History of the Standard Oil Company” by Ida M. Tarbell is probably a good place to start.

The Red Scare began much earlier than this letter, 1917, but Communists, or those appearing to be Communists, are even still today considered backwards, called “Reds”, and conjure up fearful images.

We are brought back to daily life with Izzy professing his lonesomeness and preparing to see Thelma, his love, sometime soon.


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