Thursday, March 17, 2011

Those Pesky Peskys

Chuck Whiting runs the bibliophemera blog. Yesterday he focused on the author, Rose Wilder Lane and her correspondence with Schulte's bookstore in New York.  Very interesting stuff.  I was drawn not to Mrs. Lane, but the bookseller, Mr. Philip Pesky and later, his son, Mr. Wilfred Pesky.  A quick search on offered up some info.

I was first able to find Philip Pesky in the 1910 US Census.  His parents were Russian and he was born in New York.  He had been married to his wife Minnie for four years.  He was a salesman in the wholesale book business.  (click on the census images to view them in a larger format)

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1017; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0411; Image: 1058; FHL Number: 1375030.
Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.

In 1918 Philip Pesky registered for the draft.  At this point he's moved out of New York and into New Jersy.  He's a manager and his employer is Theo. E. Schulte.  I presume that this is the Schulte's Book Store.

Source Citation: Registration Location: Hudson County, New Jersey; Roll: 1711906; Draft Board: 2.
Source Information: World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

The 1920 US Census shows the family living in New Jersey and managing a bookstore.

Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Bayonna Ward 3, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1040; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 22; Image: 709.
Source Information: 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

The 1930 Census shows that the family had moved from Hudson county, New Jersey to Essex county, New Jersey.  Philip is still the manager of a book store.

Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Irvington, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: 1330; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 443; Image: 655.0.
Source Information: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.

Twelve years later Philip once again registers for the draft.  And we can see that he hasn't moved in the last decade and that he's still working for Schulte's Book Store.

Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA);Washington, D.C.; State Headquarters: New Jersey.
Source Information: U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

On September 17, 1957, The New York Times reported that Philip Pesky, proprietor of Shulte Book Store, died at his home on Momm Court.

On September 26, 1966, The New York Times reported that Wilfred Pesky, president of Shulte's Book Store, died of a stroke on the 24th of September at Columbus Hospital in New York City.

The New York Times had a story about Book Stores of the New York are which included the following description of Shulte's Book  Store:

1917-late 1960’s
One of the last of the great bookshops on Booksellers’ Row — the stretch of secondhand stores on Fourth Avenue just south of Union Square — Schulte’s survived labor strife, including a strike right before World War II, and prospered. “It was a huge barn of a store,” said Marvin Mondlin, co-author of “Book Row,” a history of Manhattan’s secondhand bookstores.

The store had four owners in its lifetime, among them the professedly unbookish Wilfred Pesky, who, according to Mr. Mondlin, once announced: “You don’t have to read a book to sell books. I never read a book in my life.”

I was not able to find out anything more of the Pesky family, but I'm sure that there's more out there.

No comments: