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Marcus and Feldman Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-1008

Scope and Content Note

The Marcus-Feldman Family papers consist of William Marcus’s service and naturalization records, correspondence between William Marcus and Minnie Feldman over a one-year period of time while William was serving in World War I, photographs of the Feldman and Marcus families, and a series of family histories. The collection is arranged in chronological order.

The service and naturalization records of William Marcus include his Declaration of Intention and Certificate of Naturalization, along with his enlistment record and the certification of his honorable discharge from the United States Army. The Certificate of Naturalization is in a separate oversized folder.

The correspondence includes postcards and letters dating from June 1918 to August 1919. They span the period while William was stationed at Camp Dix in New Jersey and later when he was in France, England, and New York City. The group of photographs consists of a late-nineteenth-century portrait of the Feldman family taken in Russia, as well as photographs of William in uniform, William and Minnie before and after their wedding, and the couple with their children.

Two folders contain “Way Back When,” a history of William and Minnie’s lives and families, “The Marcus Family, continued,” a recounting of William and Minnie’s children’s lives, and “The Norman Marcus Scholarship Fund, 2014,” a description of Norman Marcus’s life and reasons for establishing an education scholarship fund. All three are accompanied by color scans of original photographs and documents, some of which are found elsewhere in the collection. The folder that contains “Way Back When” also holds information about the gravestones of Joseph Feldman, Minnie’s father, and Abraham Shevitz, William’s father.

Dates

  • undated, 1914-2015

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, Yiddish, and Russian.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Biographical Note

William Marcus was born Wolf Shevitz on June 14, 1892 in Bialostock, Russia to Abraham and Sarah Shevitz. Wolf came to the United States on the Lusitania in 1910 via Liverpool, England, and he later brought his parents and siblings, Harry, Leon, Rose, Dorothy, Dora, and Ethel, as well. The family settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Abraham was a teacher at the Worcester Ivriah School, a community talmud torah supported by the Worcester Jewish Federation. Abraham died in 1928; Sarah Shevitz died several years prior, in 1921.

In Worcester, Wolf Shevitz met Minnie Feldman, another Russian immigrant. She was born to Joseph Feldman and his wife in Yelisavetgrad, Russia on June 23, 1895 and had at least two brothers, Eli and Julius. Joseph Feldman died in 1917.

Wolf Shevitz worked as a garment cutter until he enlisted in the United States Army. According to family history, he enlisted under the name William Marcus so that his family would not discover he joined the Army. Marcus was the name of his uncle in New York. He signed his Declaration of Intention, renouncing his Russian citizenship and any allegiance to Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, as “William Marcus, formerly called Wolf Shevitz” on November 23, 1914. All subsequent documents list him as William Marcus.

During his time in the Army, William was stationed at Camp Dix in New Jersey and then transferred to England, and later France. He and Minnie Feldman exchanged frequent letters and postcards while William was abroad, along with a few telegrams, photographs, and even an envelope of rose petals. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1919, and the couple married on June 27, 1920.

William and Minnie Marcus had three sons: Joseph, Seymour, and Norman. The family continued to live in Worcester, where William worked in the garment industry, eventually owning his own factory that produced women’s bathrobes. He died on February 22, 1978. Minnie died on May 3, 1982. They are buried together at the B’nai B’rith Lodge Cemetery in Worcester.

Joseph Marcus married Dorothy “Dot” Slovin in 1946, and the couple had three children, Steven, Arlene, and Alan. Joe was an engineer and became the Associate Dean of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Marcus Hall at UMass-Amherst is named after him. He died in 1985, and Dot died in 2011.

Seymour lived in Worcester with his parents and never married. He died in 1999 and is buried in the Chevra Kadisha Cemetery.

Norman married Ina Levinson in 1962 and had one son, Christopher. The couple divorced in 1973, and Norman married Dawn-Marie Driscoll in 1978. Norman worked in the entertainment industry, first as a publicist, then in programming, before joining the faculty of Boston University’s College of Communication. Dawn-Marie was Vice President of Corporate Affairs and General Council at Filene’s department store.

References

  1. Material from the collection.

Chronology

1892
Wolf Shevitz is born.
1895
Minnie Feldman is born.
1910
Wolf Shevitz immigrates to the United States.
1914
Wolf Shevitz signs a Declaration of Intention.
1918
William becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States.
1919
William is honorably discharged from the army.
1920
William and Minnie marry.
1921
Joseph Marcus is born.
1921
Sarah Shevitz dies.
1928
Abraham Shevitz dies.
1928
Seymour Marcus is born.
1934
Norman Marcus is born.
1946
Joseph marries Dorothy “Dot” Slovin.
1962
Norman marries Ina Levinson.
1973
Norman and Ina divorce.
1978
William Marcus dies.
1978
Norman marries Dawn-Marie Driscoll.
1982
Minnie Marcus dies.
1985
Joseph Marcus dies.
1999
Seymour Marcus dies.
2011
Dot Marcus dies.

Extent

0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 1 OS folder)

Abstract

The Shevitz and Feldman families were first-generation immigrants from Russia who settled in Worcester, Massachusetts in the early 20th century. Wolf Shevitz changed his name to William Marcus upon enlisting in the United States Army and married Minnie Feldman after his discharge. The collection contains William’s service and naturalization records, correspondence between William and Minnie while William was serving in World War I, photographs of the Feldman and Marcus families, and a series of family histories.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Dawn-Marie Driscoll in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Shannon Struble, 2015
Title
Guide to the Marcus and Feldman Family Papers, P-1008
Author
Processed by Shannon Struble
Date
2015
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245