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Peddlers, Merchants, and Manufacturers

How Jewish Entrepreneurs Built Economy and Community in Upcountry South Carolina

Diane Catherine Vecchio



Published: Jan 4 2024


Published: Jan 4 2024

OA Ebook
Published: Jan 4 2024


OA Ebook funding provided by:

Provides a corrective to a neglected aspect of Jewish history in the South

Diane Catherine Vecchio examines the diverse economic experiences of Jews who settled in what we today call Upstate South Carolina. Like other parts of the so-called New South, Upcountry South Carolina was a center of textile manufacturing and new business opportunities that drew entrepreneurial energy to the region. Previous histories of economic development in the South Carolina Piedmont have tended to overlook the significance of Jewish involvement and instead focused on northern investment and low labor costs. Working with a rich set of oral histories, memoirs, and traditional historical documents, Vecchio provides an important corrective to the history of manufacturing in South Carolina, and that revision is part of a large retelling of southern Jewish history, one that adds social and cultural dimensions to the traditional economic story.

Vecchio explores Jewish community development, how Jewish business leaders also became civic leaders and affected social, political, and cultural life in what we now call the mountainous Upcountry. Their impact in all facets of life across the Upstate is important to understanding the growth of today's Spartanburg-Greenville corridor.

Diane Catherine Vecchio is author of Merchants, Midwives, and Laboring Women: Italian Migrants in Urban America. She is also a contributor to Recovering the Piedmont Past, Vols. 1 and 2; Doing Business in America, A Jewish History; Textile Town: An Encyclopedia of Spartanburg County Cotton Mill Culture; and the author of many articles on Italian and Jewish immigrants. Vecchio is professor emerita of history, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina.

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