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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


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

A new perspective on Jewish history in the South

Diane Catherine Vecchio examines the diverse economic experiences of Jews who settled in Upcountry (now called Upstate) South Carolina. Like other parts of the so-called New South, the Upcountry was a center of textile manufacturing and new business opportunities that drew entrepreneurial energy to the region. Working with a rich set of oral histories, memoirs, and traditional historical documents, Vecchio provides an important corrective to the history of manufacturing in South Carolina. She explores Jewish community development and describes how Jewish business leaders also became civic leaders and affected social, political, and cultural life. The Jewish community's impact on all facets of life across the Upcountry is vital to understanding the growth of today's Spartanburg-Greenville corridor.

Diane Catherine Vecchio is professor emerita of history, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. She 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, and Southern Jewish History, as well as the author of many articles on Italian and Jewish immigrants.

"With impeccable scholarship, Vecchio delivers a concise history of this understudied and important Jewish community. She explores the essential role of education and family networks and demonstrates the entrepreneurial success of immigrants and the various strategies 'strangers' in the South used to succeed in an unfamiliar environment. This is a brilliant account of a critical subject essential to understanding the immigrant experience and the American South."—Orville Vernon Burton, the Judge Matthew J. Perry Distinguished Professor of History, Clemson University, and Emeritus University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar, University of Illinois

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