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Interview with Amos Deinard




Amos Deinard was raised near Lake Minnetonka and later resided in Minneapolis. He was a prominent Jewish figure in Minnesota. In 1933 he married his sister's close friend. Together they raised their son and daughter. Among the many positions he served he continued to improve the community by serving as member and chairman on the Fair Employment Practices Commission from 1947 to 1964. He considered himself a liberal in "the true sense of the word." SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Temple of Isr







Amos S. Deinard Narrator Rhoda G. Lewin Interviewer December 10, 1978 Minneapolis, MN

Amos Deinard Rhoda Lewin


AD: Maybe what I should do is tell you briefly about the movement of the families that comprised the Temple [Israel] membership as I recall it from my earliest childhood to the period you’re speaking of. Originally the members of the Temple were living in an area from about Fifteenth Street to maybe Twenty-Fourth Street between Ninth Avenue South, Elliot Avenue, and First Avenue South, in that rather small area. The Temple was located on Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, which was at the very northerly end of where the families were dwelling at the time. As they became a little more affluent and were looking to improve their situation, the movement was toward what was then called Sunnyside, which was the area from Lyndale Avenue to Humboldt Avenue, from Franklin to maybe Twenty-Fifth or Twenty-Sixth Street. It wasn’t a wholesale exodus, just a gradual filtering-out from one area to the other, so that when my family moved to Humboldt Avenue we were on the fringe of Sunnyside, really what amounted to the far side of it, almost. So there were Jewish people in the area, several dozen families, I suppose, although I’ve never stopped to count them. RL: Could you remember the names of some of them? AD: At that time what you now think of as Kenwood Park, across the street from here [Deinard’s home at 1729 Morgan Avenue South], was a part of the old Green Farm, owned by a man named Green. We used to call that area Green’s Woods. There were very few houses west of James Avenue. The area that is now all built up here with the elegant homes on Knox and Logan and all the way on to the west side of Lake of the Isles was, to a large extent, vacant. Where that beautiful home is on Knox and Franklin . . . it originally was built by the Steiner family of the American Linen Co . . . that beautiful home that was in turn owned by the Daytons and others . . . we used to play football there when we were children because it was a great big vacant square block. So you asked what Green’s Woods was like, it was the edge of civilization [laughing] as far as the city was concerned. 1

It was during that early period about the turn of the century that Lake of the Isles was dredged out and the shore built so it was no longer just kind of a swamp. It was made into a beautiful lake, so that when we grew up, Lake of the Isles was already a beautifully developed lake with the trees and shrubbery around it, and the canoe racks. But many of the houses that you now see on Lake of the Isles Boulevard hadn’t been constructed yet. There were vacant lots. Now that’s the geographic picture. I don’t know whether that added anything to your learning. [Laughing] RL: Oh, it certainly does. Can you remember the names of some of those other Jewish families that were in this area? AD: Sure. One was Jesse Moss. One was Charles Moss, his brother. Albert Mikolas. The Abeles family. The Weiskopf family. Jonas Weil. Gladys Field’s parents, the Louis Jacobs family. The Kronicks. A little further out the Heller family lived, near 27th, 28th Street, I believe. The Frankfurter family. RL: Now these were all Temple Israel members? AD: Oh, yes. All Temple Israel members. Some of the more elderly ones remained on the west end of what I described as the original Temple Israel area. Families like Emanuel Cohen, Isaac Weil, a few of them still remained in that area around First, Second Avenue, close to where the Art Institute is now. The Strombergs joined the parade after a while and lived in this part of town. You know, I hadn’t thought about this for so long that I can’t be truly accurate. The Alexanders moved over here, and the widows Rothschild and Jacoby, who were part of the Mikolas mishpoche [extended family]. The rest of the Weils, Herman Weil and William Weil, they all lived in this near-Lake of the Isles area when I was growing up, and that is why, in 1914, the old Smith property was bought and the so-called Temple House was created there. It was obvious that the trend was away from the old location and that the Temple would someday need to build in the Sunnyside or Lake of the Isles area. The first use that was made of that house was for a Sunday School and a kind of Temple Center. That was the old mansion on Twenty-Fourth and Emerson, where the Temple now stands. RL: You used the mansion first? AD: Oh, yes. We bought the home. It was a large home. We converted it into Sunday School rooms. I suppose it must have been a twelve-room house, or something of the sort. It was a huge house. It was that lumberman family, the Smiths. And that’s where the Temple was constructed some years later. The construction began in 1926 or the beginning of 1927. It was planned, I think, in 1926, and it was dedicated erev (on the first evening of) Rosh Hashonah, or on Rosh Hashonah, in 1928. The planning started at least ten years earlier, because my father (Rabbi S. N. Deinard) was still alive and conducted 2

Sunday School classes in that so-called Temple House. My father passed away in 1921, so it must have been purchased actually at the beginning of World War I. RL: So many of those families are gone. Did they move away? Or did they just have daughters, who married, and the family name died? What became of some of them? Do you remember? The Mosses? The Mikolases? AD: Do you want them name by name? RL: Well, of course. AD: Name by name, I can tell you about many of them. One of the others who moved into this area was a big Robitshek family, and the Pflaum family and the Simon family. They were among the most prominent ones in the Temple. I’ll tell you what happened to those families. Let me take them one by one. The Weils had four sons and a daughter. Jonas Weil was a lawyer, and became president of the Temple, a position his father had occupied years earlier. He lived and died here. He had three children, two daughters who married and moved away and a son who moved to New York, so there’s nobody left of that family in this town. Then there was Ben Weil, who had two daughters. They both married non-residents and moved away. Herman Weil had one daughter; she married a non-resident. William Weil had two children who both reside in the Twin Cities. There’s Robert Weil, who’s still active in the Temple and lives in Minneapolis, and his sister, who’s married to James Levy, the attorney, in St. Paul. Then there was Caroline, who married David Jeffrey. They had one son. He was killed at Pearl Harbor. He was in the navy and on the flagship that was sunk by the Japanese in the first wave of attack. So outside of the two children of William Weil, that whole family has disappeared from this scene. Now take the Moss family. There were, I think, three brothers. One I barely remember. He either was childless, or never married. Then there was Jesse Moss, who had two daughters. One married Emmons Abeles. She and her husband are both gone. The other married William Weil; I spoke of his two surviving children, who are both here. Charles Moss had no children. He and his wife are both gone. Now you take the Mikolas family. It was referred to as the Mikolas family, but it really was made up of the two strands, the men and the wives. There were two Mikolases. RL: How do you spell that? AD: M-I-K-O-L-A-S. One of them had one son; he died, he never married. The other one had three daughters. One of them, Elsa, married Albert Heller. She’s still living in St. Paul. Another, Cora, married Hernan Baer of St. Paul. She’s widowed and still living in 3

St. Paul. The third, Nina, married a man who was from St. Paul but long ago moved to the Southwest, somewhere in the Sun Belt. I don’t know anything about her children. I don’t see her that often. Cora Baer has one or two children, but I don’t believe they live here, and Albert and Elsa Heller had three children, an unmarried son who lives in London, one son who intermarried and passed away suddenly of a heart attack, I think, about two years ago, and a daughter who married and lives in California. Now take the Robitshek clan. No, first let me come back to what I call the “Mikolas mishpoche.” Mr. Mikolas had three sisters here. I never knew the husbands of two of them, because they died when I was too small. We always knew of them as “the widows,” Fanny Jacoby and Minnie Rothschild. They were both childless. The third one, Rachel, married Sam Alexander, whom I knew. He lived until maybe thirty years ago, or twenty-five years ago, but he was childless. So Rachel Mikolas Alexander, that family’s wiped out. So you see what happened to them, one by one. Now the Robitsheks had—let me think. Instead of counting them, I’ll mention them. The eldest was Emil Robitshek, who was a surgeon, one of the first Jewish members of the medical fraternity here who was distinguished. He had two children, a son who married and lives in Wisconsin somewhere and . . . what happened to the daughter? I lost track of those kids. RL: Was her name Bessie? One of them married a Schneider from St. Paul. AD: No, no. Not that I know of. Then there was George Robitshek, who married a St. Paul woman from the Hirschman family. They had two children, a daughter who married a man in the Chicago area and has not resided here, and a son who was killed in World War II, so he left nobody behind. Then there was Irving, who was one of the earliest college-trained men in this community, a chemist, as I remember, and went into business with Alexander and Morris Gross. He was one of the partners in Gross Brothers Co., the cleaning and dying establishment. He had, I think, two children. I’ve lost track of the son. The daughter, Leontine, who I think is now widowed, having married a man named Berman, I believe, she still resides here. I see her once in a while at [Friday evening] services. Then there was a son named Gustave, who had one child, a son, Hobart Robitshek; he resides here. I guess the only other child was a daughter named Frances, who never married. She’s the one who, I think, initiated the program for Braille reproduction at the Temple as an activity of the Sisterhood, and you probably have noticed that the fund that supports that activity is called the Frances Robitshek Braille Fund in her memory. RL: Yes, I have. That’s still a very active program. 4

AD: If there was another child, I’ve forgotten it at the moment. Well, let’s see who were the other larger families. Well, there’s the family that Gladys Field’s father, belonged to, the Jacobs. Gladys’ father was named Louis. Gladys had a brother who lives in St. Paul. Then there was another brother, Ben Jacobs, who had one daughter, who married a man named Freeman and had one child. To the best of my knowledge that one daughter has passed away, so there’s nobody left of that family. Then there were three sisters. A Mrs. May, who had one daughter and one son. The daughter married someone out West, the son moved East and spent most of his life as a research man at the Russell Sage Foundation. Then there was Mrs. Leopold Metzger, who had one daughter, now deceased, but she lived in the East during her married life, so there’s no one left of that family. Then there was a Mrs. Adelsheim. Now that family— let’s see, Adelsheim had two sons. Both I think were trained as lawyers. One of them doesn’t reside here, and hasn’t since he went to school. The other one still does, but by some quirk of fate, he married the daughter of the organist at St. Mark’s Church and has become affiliated with the Episcopal community, so there’s really no one in the Jewish community here from the Adelsheim family, although the father, the one who was Gladys’s uncle, was president of the Temple when I was a very little child. Now wait a minute. I jumped a generation there, I think. I should have prepared myself for this. Let me correct myself. The two sons that I mentioned by the name of Adelsheim who were lawyers were not the children of the elder Emil Adelsheims, but their grandsons. The father was Maurice Adelsheim. He married an Eastern woman who died just a year or two ago. You may have heard her name, Lola Adelsheim, she was rather active in civic affairs. When I was a child he sang baritone in the Temple choir. He was one of the first Jews in this town who went to college. He was a Harvard graduate. RL: Was that fairly unusual? To go away to Harvard? AD: Oh, heavens, yes. As far as I know, the first two Jews in this town who ever went to Harvard were these, Maurice Adelsheim and the son of that relatively well-to-do North Side family, the Lowenthals. Lowenthal’s son and Maurice Adelsheim were at Harvard at the same time a long, long time ago. They were graduates before I grew up. The next one to my memory that ever went to Harvard was Isaac Kaufman’s son Harold, who passed away just about two years ago. I still remember when he graduated, because we lived next door to them at the lake in the summer. I remember when he returned from college in 1915, having just graduated from Harvard, and he’d just taken himself a wife in 5

Cincinnati, and coming back to town. Twenty-one years old! I still recall that. Now I don’t know if you want me to go on and on. RL: Yes. AD: Mr. Stromberg was the president of the congregation. I believe he was born in Germany. He had a slight German style accent, as I recall, although he’s been dead for many, many years. I was a child when he died. I remember the most amusing thing about him that my father told me—my father was a liberal-minded person in political and economic areas—that after he was here one year, Mr. Stromberg, who was the president of the congregation, came to him one day and said, “Rabbi Deinard, you’ll make a greater success in this town if you’ll stop talking Zionism and Socialism.” [Laughing] The Strombergs had two children, a daughter who married and lived in Chicago and a son who never married and moved to Chicago, probably for the last twenty years of his life. When his sister’s husband died, then he took over the family business in Chicago. He was a very active person in the Temple, but he was childless. Nobody left of the Stromberg family. Then there was the Taussig family. Incidentally, the Strombergs and Taussigs were competitors; they were both in the leaf tobacco business. We had three families in the tobacco business, those two and the Pflaum family. But anyhow, coming back to Taussigs, the Taussigs had one son, Bruce Taussig. He’s dead, his wife is dead. His wife was a Chicago woman. They had two daughters. One of them still resides here that I know of. I saw her husband not long ago, her name is Goldstein now. I think her husband is a salesman, some sort of representative of some manufacturing company. I don’t know him well, although the elder Taussigs were among my parents’ closest friends, so I knew the elder generation very, very well. I want to talk about one family that you may or may not have ever heard of. Did you ever hear of Emanuel Cohen? RL: Of course. But I’m sure you know him better than I do. AD: Emanuel Cohen was childless. His wife was the daughter of the leading Sephardic Orthodox rabbi of Philadelphia. Her name was—let’s see if I remember—her first name was Nina. RL: Morais. M-O-R-A-I-S. AD: Oh, that’s right. Nina Morais. They were among the earliest members of the Temple, although they had no children. She was for practical purposes the founder, the chief mentor, of the Council of Jewish Women, the Section that was developed in this town. She was a highly intellectual woman, but a very frail person, so they lived very quietly, 6

almost never out of an evening, because she was of such delicate health. But he was a prominent citizen in his day. He was the only Jew who was a member of the Minneapolis Club when I was a child. He was in law partnership with two men named Shaw and Atwater, and in that day when law offices were small, even the most influential lawyers practiced either alone, or in groups of two or three. There were none of the big workshops as we have them today. And he was well known, and a very prominent trial lawyer in his day. Then there was the Pflaum family. I think I still remember, very vaguely, the grandpa of them all. His name was Gustave Pflaum. This is a childhood recollection of him. Now there’s another example of when you ask what’s happened to all these people; there are none of them around today. I won’t try to count them, but I’ll name them. There was Maurice Pflaum, who married a woman I think from Detroit. They were childless. There was Max Pflaum, who was a bachelor. Then there was a daughter, Ella, who married a Dr. Rosen. He came from the South Side, not from the Temple group. She married a man who was a physician, a general practitioner, but who belonged to the more recent immigrant community in the South Side, that area around Seven Corners. They had, I think, only two children, but neither of them resides here. One was a lawyer in New York. Then she had another son. I’ve lost track of where he lives—I think out on the West Coast somewhere—but there’s nobody here of that family. Dr. Rosen and Ella moved to California many years ago themselves. RL: Now where does Leo fit in? AD: That’s the last one. There was a fourth child of old Gustave, that’s Sam Pflaum. Sam Pflaum had two children. Ruth married another member of the Sephardic community, but this one was in New York. I knew her husband well -- I attended their wedding -- but I can’t remember what his name was. It was George Washington something-or-other, but I can’t think of the last name at the moment. She moved away and had no contact with the community thereafter, just lived in New York. Then Sam had a son. That’s Leo. Leo was the one who took over for many, many years the management of the M. L. Rothschild Co., who was his uncle. Leo Pflaum has three sons, one of whom is one of my law partners. And they’re all intermarried, all three of them, although Leo’s wife was a Jewish woman from Seattle. Now the other side of that family; Sam Pflaum’s wife was a Rothschild. She was a sister of M. L. Rothschild, the head of that great retail chain of stores, which was originally the Palace Clothing Co. here. He had two sisters. One was Mrs. Pflaum, and one was a maiden lady who never married. I still remember her very well. Her name was Theresa Rothschild. And then he had another sister, M. L. Rothschild did, who was Mrs. David Simon. David Simon, before Leo Pflaum’s day, was the president of the Palace Clothing Co., the M. L. Rothschild Co., here. The Simons had two daughters. They both married very prominent Jewish physicians in Chicago. There’s nobody left here of the Simon family, so there’s another whole family that’s unwound and really leaves nobody in the Jewish community. 7

RL: Does it seem to you that there was a lot of intermarriage? Or doesn’t it seem of concern? AD: You mean now, or then? RL: Then. We’re so concerned about it now, as though we’ve just discovered it, as though it’s something new. But it really isn’t. How did you feel about this? AD: Well, there wasn’t that much among the people I knew. The people of my parents’ generation, there was virtually none, in that Temple group. Now coming down a few generations from them, then we encounter it. I’m just trying to remember now whether there was an intermarried couple among the Temple membership. No, I can’t remember anybody of my parents’ generation where there was an intermarriage, or even of the first generation beyond that. RL: Where would you put, say, Morrie Schanfield, Eddie Schwartz, generationally? AD: But they didn’ t belong to the Temple group. They belonged to the South Side group, around the Seven Corners area. RL: Now, when Ella Pflaum married Dr. Rosen, who was not a Temple member, that seems to have been something unusual. AD: It was, it was. I think she was getting along in years, and when she married him, most of the mishpoche thought that she had married a little below her class. There wasn’t any real animosity, as I remember—you indicated it earlier when you came in—any real animosity between that early Reform Jewish group and the newcomers (from Eastern Europe). There was just a feeling of strangeness. Here was a little group that were Americanized, either American-born or came here as very little children from Germany or Bohemia or Hungary, or whatever, and then this influx of non-English-speaking people, far more Orthodox, you know, in their orientation and in their observances. They really didn’t feel very much at home, those two groups, one with the other. I don’t remember anything that you could call animosity, but there was a degree of social stratification. They regarded these newcomers as socially beneath their level. Well, look, if you deal in economic terms, they were. I mean there’s no blinking it. Here were humble poor people who were making a living peddling, whereas these other men, in a modest way, were merchants or professional people, so it was just a feeling of not being at home, one with the other, really, and a certain amount, I suppose, of social snobbery, you might call it. But not animosity. No such thing. RL: That makes eminent sense. 8

AD: You see, I have a theory about anti-Semitism in this town that differs a little from what you hear from most people. I don’t think that when this town was called the capital of anti-Semitism in America [in 1947] that that was the result so much of hostility as it was the result of the feeling of exclusivity that the early New Englanders here felt toward anybody that wasn’t a WASP. I remember when I was a child, there wasn’t an Irish Catholic on the board of directors of a bank or of any industry here of any consequence, any more than there was a Jew. There weren’t any Scandinavians in like positions. The early settlers of this town were émigrés from New England, which meant basically English Protestants with some little intermixture of French Canadians that had come down from the Quebec area, down into New England, and moved on here. Now these people felt completely superior to all immigrants, the Swedish immigrant, the Irish Catholic immigrant, and the Jew. These were all people beneath their social level. They were largely uneducated in American terms, whereas these early settlers from New England were far more lettered and literate and educated, and I think that the major element that made up the hostility to the Jewish community of that early day was born of the superiority complex of these New Englanders towards newcomers, and that the Jews didn’t rate very much below the Irish Catholics and the Swedes. In that day, of course, it was always tinged, too, with a little of the religious teachings of the Crucifixion, and so forth. You couldn’t escape that some of it was rubbed off from that kind of religious bigotry, but I don’t think that that was the major element. I know that view is not shared by a lot of other people, who like to see, or fancy that they see, “basic hatred,” but I don’t think it exists anywhere near as much as snobbery. RL: Yes, I think that makes sense. I think Mike Rapp also did some research about the “hate preachers” in the 1930s, Luke Rader and some of the others . . . AD: The principal “local light” was Luke Rader, but the imported ones came around too. RL: And he also feels that those had a definite qualitative influence on anti-Semitism here. But to go back a minute . . . AD: Remember, the first Scandinavian participation of any consequence in the banking community here was when the Swedish-American Bank was formed. They formed their own. It was the predecessor of the Midland National Bank of today. It was because they had so little recognition elsewhere. RL: Wasn’t there a bank over on East Franklin that had some Jewish participation? Or one on Sixth Avenue North? AD: Jewish participation? Not that I ever heard of.


RL: Somebody had said he thought there was, and I wondered about that. To go back a minute, though, how do you feel about what Gladys Field said, rather wistfully, “You know, none of my cousins are Jewish any more.” AD: Let me see who her cousins are. RL: Well, the Jacobs. And she was related to the Pflaums by marriage. AD: She was a Jacobs, and her mother was a Pflaum. She’s a first cousin of Leo Pflaum. Leo Pflaum married a Jewish woman, but his associations are almost entirely with the non-Jewish community out at Lake Minnetonka. Their three sons, who are her second cousins, are all intermarried. RL: Then this wasn’t something that was really running rampant in the community. It was just something that happened to this one family, and maybe other families? AD: Well, then she’s got another cousin. You remember I referred to the Adelsheims. That’s another cousin where there’s been intermarriage. Actually, I think there’s been more intermarriage by the children of the Russian and Romanian Jewish families here than there was among those old German Jewish families. Granted, it’s hard to make a quantitative measurement, because they were so few in number. RL: When you say that, is that a “feel,” a guess? AD: Well, I never thought of it until just now. I’m trying to think as we’re speaking. No, I think the people of my generation, I don’t remember one of them who intermarried. I don’t know a single member of the Temple of my generation, children of my parents’ friends, who ever intermarried. RL: Well, then, to go back a minute again, you mentioned the businesses people were in. You said, for example, that the Strombergs and the Taussigs and the Pflaums were in the tobacco business. Did they manufacture, or were they wholesalers? AD: No, Stromberg and Taussig were in the wholesale leaf tobacco business. The Pflaums manufactured cigars. RL: Did we have a cigar industry? Or were they the only ones? AD: I don’t remember any others, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some non-Jews making cigars, too, around here. You know, in those days there were more local industries of the kind we think of as national-only, now. Nobody would start a local cigar business today in competition with Reynolds Tobacco [laughing] or Philip Morris, but in those days the Philip Morrises and the Reynolds didn’t exist. There was a lot of little 10

local industry. Communication was more difficult, travel was more difficult. If you could have a little local business, there was a place for it. Rhoda, do you know when I was a kid growing up, Wyman Partridge and Co. had three thousand traveling salesmen? Now I don’t think that what’s left of that company has any! There were no highways. There were no automobiles, or virtually none. Long distance telephone was a luxury. So they sent drummers out all over from here to Seattle, to sell their goods. Think what a revolution technology has made in that area. RL: They went by train? AD: By train. Sure. And some places they had to get off the train and hire a horse to go to the next town that wasn’t on the railroad. [Laughing] Hire a horse and buggy! It’s a different world from when I was a little kid. RL: It really is. What were some of the other businesses that these people were in? AD: The liquor business. Isaac Weil was the leading wine importer here. Several of them owned saloons. The Moss brothers and the Robitsheks, they had saloons. Sam Alexander had a saloon. I think those are the only ones that I can remember that were in the liquor business. The Weiskopfs were in the paint and wallpaper business. The eldest generation in that whole tribe that Gladys belongs to were the S. Jacobs and Co., the fine jewelers in this town. Gladys’s father was the Credit Jewelry Store. Just let me think who some of the others were. Oh, yes, another family that I didn’t mention that was prominent in the Temple in that day was the Monash family. Old man Monash, whom I still remember as a child, came over here having learned the art of lithography, and he formed Monash and Co., and they were in the lithographing business. The Monashes had several sons. The eldest was William Monash, and William Monash had three children, twins named Jerome and Stanley and a daughter named Marcella. Marcella also married a little outside the field of the Reform community. She married a lawyer from Fargo named Sgutt (pronounced “Scoot”)—S-GU-double-T, I think it was spelled—and his family came from an Orthodox background, so her whole married life was spent in North Dakota. The twins went into business with relatives of theirs in New York and haven’t resided here since probably the middle 1920s. So there’s nobody left of the William Monash family. Then there was Leo Monash, who never married. And then there was George Monash, who had a daughter, and she still lives here. Her name was June, and she’s married to this—what’s her name, I know them as well as I know you, and I can’t say his name—he’s a lawyer here in town, and she’s active in Temple affairs still. They had a daughter who married a man named Fishman. They had two children. Neither of them lives here, and I don’t even know if either one of them is alive any more. So the only remaining member of the whole Monash mishpoche is June. 11

RL: Tell me about your home out at the lake [Lake Minnetonka]. You also live by a lake [Lake of the Isles]. AD: When I was a kid growing up, Lake Minnetonka was a different scene. Lake Minnetonka was not as you see it today. When I was a little child, there were several very large, elaborate hotels that drew patronage from the South and Middle South. There was a cluster of very fine homes, most of them all-year-round homes, some of the early affluent non-Jewish community. But most of the lakeshore was taken up with what were called summer homes. They were houses you could occupy from June until October, and then lock up for the winter, and people used to go to spend their summers there. Many of them were for rent. My parents, on several occasions, for the summer rented a cottage at Lake Minnetonka. We used to call them cottages, because although they had the amenities of indoor plumbing and such things, you couldn’t live there in winter because they weren’t winterized structures. They didn’t have basements and didn’t have weather-stripping or insulation. There were countless of those houses, all scattered around the edge of the lake, that were rented out by the summer to people who wanted to take their children out for a whole summer’s vacation, and my parents did it several times. The first ones among the Jews that I remember who had homes out there which they occupied summer after summer, and I think for the most part owned them, was Gladys Field’s father-in-law, for one. Incidentally, Field’s a changed name from Finkelstein. Yes, Gladys Field’s husband’s name when she married him was Finkelstein! He was the Finkelstein of Finkelstein and Ruben, the great theatre chain builders. They were a very affluent family. Finkelsteins had a home out at Cottagewood, the Hellers had a home out at Cottagewood of their own. The Robitsheks did, the Zimmers did. You might ask, who are the Zimmers? They have nobody here anymore, either. They had two children. Both moved away. I’m not sure Edith, the daughter in California, is still living. The son lived in the Denver area and may have passed away already. I’m not quite sure. Those are the ones that come to mind from the Temple group. From the North Side Kenesseth Israel group, there were three early settlers who did that. One was Weisberg and his partner, Kaplan, who built two very nice homes at Wildhurst on the Upper Lake, and then Berman. I think it was the family that had something to do with the leather goods business. RL: Hides and furs? AD: No, not the David Berman mishpoche, not Theresa’s family. RL: Oh, a different family? AD: Yes, another one. I think he sold trunks and suitcases. He had a house right next door to where Weisberg and Kaplan were. They were the earliest ones of the non-Temple 12

group that I can remember that ever were out at the lake. Of course, it’s a whole new world now. Scores of people live out there, and in beautiful all-year-round homes, but I’m telling you what I can remember from, say, 1910. RL: These were all cottages, then, that these people built? AD: Yes. They were not winterized homes. They didn’t live there in the winter. However, the Weisbergs and Kaplans had very nice ones. They had beautiful grounds, and they were nice summer homes, as were the Finkelsteins’ and Hellers’ and Robitsheks’. But they didn’t stay there in the winter. RL: And mother and the kids and a servant or two would go out there, and how would Daddy come out on the weekend? Would he take the streetcar? AD: Streetcar? Sure. Then, of course, as time went on, into the 1920s and 1930s, they had cars. But when they first went out there, I suppose they had to use streetcars only. What other significant families were there in that group . . . RL: I was thinking about the things that have happened in your lifetime, about the changes, and one thing you touched on a few minutes ago was how law practice has changed. And then I was also going to ask you about Prohibition, and what it did to the community. AD: Do you mean the Jewish community? Or the community in general? RL: Both. Or either. Whatever you want to talk about. AD: The chief effect of Prohibition? [Laughing] It spawned bootleggers. RL: Absolutely. It was a “Prohibition industry.” AD: This is an aside. It has nothing to do with the Jewish community in Minneapolis at all. I was in New York, having just come down from Harvard to spend the summer with my relatives at the seashore, so I was in New York on the day following the day Prohibition went into effect. And I remember my uncle and my brother [Benedict Deinard] and I went to a place called Rosenwebers, which in its day was like Delmonicos, one of the great eating houses of New York, with floor shows and all. And we went there just to see what it would be like the day after Prohibition, and this great restaurant was virtually deserted! They had the whole big stage show there, and I don’t think there were as many patrons as there were waiters. So that’s what Prohibition caused. It caused a great deal of empty restaurants for a while. [Laughing] But that had nothing to do with the Jewish community here. That was a general phenomenon all through the country. 13

RL: You mentioned before that there were some Jews in the liquor business. Was this before Prohibition . . . during . . . after? AD: Oh, no, no , no. They were never bootleggers, the ones I spoke of. Oh, heavens, no. They went out of business, that’s all. Sam Alexander had a saloon. He continued his business as a food service where they sold sandwiches and, I suppose, near beer, which is fermented, and he turned it into a checkcashing operation on Sixth Street North, not very far from Hennepin Avenue. The Mosses went out of business altogether. Mr. Moss took to selling cigars as a representative of some well-known cigar company. The Weils switched to the apparel business. They had a rather large store on upper Nicollet Avenue, a women’s apparel business which the younger generation took over, William Weil and Herman Weil—no, not Herman, he was in the insurance business—and Charlie. RL: What was the name of the store? AD: The name might have been the Emporium, or some such nondescript name. It wasn’t called Weils. RL: Now let’s move on to the practice of law. You say it’s changed. AD: Oh, completely. The practice of law today, as far as the significant business is concerned, is to a great extent concentrated in larger offices. That’s the result of this whole era of regulation that we’ve come into. Securities regulation, and income tax regulation, pollution regulation, consumerism regulation, all those things have required lawyers to become highly specialized in administrative fields, and there’s no sole practitioner that can master all of those. You have to be in an aggregation of semispecialists. The law business is not at all what it was when I started. RL: Say, then, you want a will drawn up, or something like that. Are you really better off going to a big office? AD: I guess that depends on how big your question is. RL: But what we think of as sort of run-of-the-mill things, a divorce, a will? AD: If you’re thinking of it in service of the working class, you don’t have to go to a big office, because people of humble means don’t have complex tax problems to wrestle with, or complex trust problems to wrestle with, and you know if an artisan or a laborer wants to get a divorce, there isn’t very much to fight over. But if some multi-millionaire has a divorce problem, then you get into the areas of property division, and there you’re 14

dealing with complex problems. Although the greed isn’t any greater, the spoils are greater. RL: So that’s how it’s changed. It’s not a matter of a different kind of education, or more, or less? AD: Yes, the education is much more specialized than it was then. When I went to Law School nobody offered a course in income taxation, because the income tax had just been passed a few years before. Today it’s an area of considerable specialization. There are two or three of us in our firm who spend a great deal of time on that subject alone. RL: And Congress is forever changing it. AD: It certainly is. No, the practice is different because the economy is different. If you’re guilty of a crime of passion, and you want to be defended in a murder case, you’re as likely as not to go to some sole practitioner who specializes in it, and has considerable forensic skill before a jury. Not likely, in fact, to be a member of one of the larger offices, because most of them don’t even take criminal cases. For example, we don’t take any criminal cases now. RL: Not even if it’s one of your long-time clients? AD: Oh, I suppose if one of our long-time clients got pinched for driving while drunk, we’d try to take care of him. But if he was accused of murder, we’d find some criminal lawyer specializing in that. We wouldn’t defend him. We would not feel that we could do as good a job as someone who spends a lifetime doing just that. RL: Now these changes date really from the 1930s? AD: That’s when it began, but it has become greatly accentuated since the war. RL: Have you ever been involved in politics? AD: [Laughing] What do you mean by that? RL: Well, have you ever been an active member of any elected official’s advisory group? Have you ever actively involved yourself in a campaign for anybody who was running for office? AD: Well, I was defeated for office twice. RL: You were? Tell me about it. What did you run for? When? Why? On what platform? 15

AD: I’ll tell you, because it’s more amusing than it is sad. In 1952, I think it was, there was a struggle that developed within the School Board. It was to a degree a struggle between what was then regarded as a somewhat left wing unionization program and the solid citizenry who didn’t care to have education dominated by any union influence. They were not anti-unionist in other fields, necessarily, at all. It wasn’t reactionaries, but people who felt that the school system shouldn’t become involved with unionization problems and shouldn’t be dominated by this upstart union group. So they formed a Citizens Committee for the election of a citizens’ slate. Incidentally, one of the active members of that committee was Viola Hymes. And they were casting about for four nominees, and one day a group of them, including Viola, came to my office and pleaded with me to go on that slate. I first declined and didn’t want to have any part of it. I didn’t care to run for public office, and I hadn’t been involved in the controversy, but apparently there were some people who thought that I would make a “disinterested public citizen” that could serve. RL: And your two children were in high school then, weren’t they? AD: Amos, he was in Blake just about ready to graduate in 1953, and my daughter [Miriam] was at West High School. Anyhow, finally I was encircled. They got one close friend of mine after another to call me and call on me and plead with me to go on the slate, and finally I yielded. The Citizens slate consisted of George Jensen, who was a very prominent non-Jewish citizen here who was at the head of the Kelvinator Co. in this part of the country. Then there was Mae Borton, whom you may remember vaguely. She was very prominent in women’s affairs . . . Women’s Club, the Protestant Women’s Club, and some of those groups. And then there was a man named Robinson from the East Side, he was a businessman. Let’s see, who was the fourth one? RL: Amos Deinard. AD: No, I can’t think of the fourth one! [Laughing] There were two different levels in this election. One was to fill an unexpired term, which was for a two-year period, and the others were for four years, I guess, or four and six years, whatever. Well, Robinson, a member of the Citizens slate, was defeated in the primary, so he didn’t get to run in the final election. The rest of us on the Citizens slate got through the primary and stood for the election. I was the only one defeated, although we ran as a unified slate, and I think it’s true that I did suffer an anti-Semitic whiplash. It came to me afterward, not during the campaign, but I remember Judge Waite coming to me when it was over and telling me that he had learned by the grapevine that in the concentrated Scandinavian areas around Lake Nokomis and what-not, a whispering campaign had been indulged in, not to vote for a Jew for the School Board. And as luck would have it, the man who defeated me, who was on that Labor slate, that union slate, was a business agent for the Bricklayers union who attended the first meeting of the School Board after the election and never again 16

throughout his whole term ever showed up, so they did the city a great favor by electing him! I was tickled to death when I was defeated, if the truth be told, because I really didn’t have the time to serve. It was a very stormy period, and it took an infinite amount of time that I really could ill have afforded. I grant you that it’s a little unpleasant to think of oneself as defeated, but as I watched what went on in the next few months, and the terrific amount of time that my good friend, George Jensen, had to give to it—he became the chairman of the School Board, and we were very good friends, and still are—when I saw the amount of time that he had to devote to it, I was really greatly relieved that I had not made it. My other unfortunate experience was a number of years later. Mrs. John Rood—the artist’s wife, Dorothy Rood—and my wife were for many, many years close friends. She was originally Dorothy Atkinson. Well, anyhow, she was chairman of the Library Board, and she sold me a bill of goods one day to go on the slate to be elected to the Library Board. Well, there’s practically no campaigning for that, you know. You put your name on the ballot and you’re elected or you’re not. We went to two or three political meetings and spoke, and that’s all. I didn’t get elected to that, either. RL: What year was that? AD: I don’t remember. I would have to just invent the year. Around the 1960s, 1962, 1964, somewhere around there. RL: About education. Why did Amos go to Blake and Miriam to West High School, rather than Northrop? AD: She didn’t want to go to Northrop. I offered her the opportunity. She would have none of it. Amos went to Blake because I sent him there. He didn’t want to. RL: Why did you do that? You went to West High School yourself, didn’t you? AD: Sure. Well, I don’t know if I’d want you to repeat it to him, but I’ll tell you why. One day we were sitting around the dinner table in our old house on Humboldt Avenue, just before we moved here in 1947. He came back with his report card from school, and he’s a bright kid, and he could do better, and he had on his card, I think, two A’s and two B’s. And I said, “Amos, what’s the matter? Why couldn’t you get all A’s?” He said, “All A’s are for girls.” I thought to myself, I’m going to show him that all A’s are for boys, so I enrolled him at Blake. There were no girls there. [Laughing] I made up my mind that I wanted him to go to a school where he’d feel challenged by boys who didn’t regard good grades as something that just the girls indulged in, and I was convinced that the quality of education at Blake at that time was tops, as it was. They had very fine teachers. So I sent him to Blake. He always regarded it as a great imposition that I should tell him where to go to school, and when I made the same offer to my daughter when she reached high 17

school age, she didn’t want any part of it. But you see, she didn’t have that same problem to confront. Since A’s were for girls, she could get them with impunity! [Laughing] A funny story, but it’s true. RL: Back to politics for a minute. Have you had any other involvement with friends who were running for office? Or in anyone’s campaign? AD: Not in the sense of being a close political adviser. I’ve had close friends who ran for office and I’ve supported them financially, and with my name, but not out on the hustings. RL: And you’ve never accepted any political appointments, or anything like that? AD: Well, if you’ll call service on the Fair Employment Practices Commission as political, I served on it for seventeen years. When the Fair Employment Practices ordinance was passed in this town in 1947—that’s when the great struggle went on, 1946 and 1947—Humphrey was mayor, and he urged me to be one of the initial members of the Commission, of which there were five, and I accepted the appointment. It was a noncompensated position, and you didn’t have to run for office. It was by appointment by the mayor and confirmation by the City Council. So a succession of three mayors appointed and reappointed me to that position. I served for seventeen years, and after the first two I was chairman of it for fifteen years. I served from 1947 to 1964. Humphrey appointed me, and then P. K. Peterson reappointed me, and then Art Naftalin. I devoted a tremendous amount of time to that job. RL: Why did Humphrey think of Amos Deinard when he was looking for an appointee to that committee? AD: I think he wanted to appoint a Jew. He appointed a Jew, a Catholic, a black, a laborite, and a WASP for chairman. [Laughing] And he pegged me, or tapped me, to be the Jewish member. He didn’t tell me that in those words, but as soon as the composition of the Commission was made plain, you could see what he was doing because there was a Catholic, and there was a labor leader, and there was a black man. So I could tell that he obviously wanted to have the minorities represented, as well as business and labor. George Jensen was first chairman of that Commission, too. RL: But what had you been doing that made Hubert Humphrey think of you? AD: Oh, I was active. I’d been active in enterprises like the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Minnesota Jewish Council. I’d been active, in a modest sense, in the NAACP. I was thought of as a liberal. No law against hoping. [Laughing] RL: [Jokingly] Do you look upon yourself as a liberal, Mr. Deinard? 18

AD: Yes, I do. Not as a sentimentalist, but as a liberal in the true sense of the word. I don’t believe that all those people who cloak themselves in the word “liberal” are liberals. I think a lot of them are just sentimentalists. That’s a different breed. RL: Being on the FEPC sounds like a very pragmatic thing, although I think you needed a lot of optimism. AD: We broke ground in my day. That’s when we really opened up the community. After all, I served, as I say, from 1947 to 1964, seventeen long years, and those were the years in which the patterns began to be set. RL: The new patterns that were different from the pre-war, Depression anti-Semitism? AD: Well, that’s when we opened up the community to Negro employment. That’s a change. RL: It was more than just employment, though, wasn’t it? AD: Well, the problem was more than employment, but the area of concern of our Commission was employment. There was also a Mayor’s Commission on Human Relations, which overlapped in a broad way the field which the Minnesota Jewish Council occupied within the Jewish community and the NAACP and the Urban League did in the Negro community. It was a citywide Commission, but our charge and function was in the field of employment. RL: How did you go about doing this? How did you define the problem and decide what directions to move in? AD: Pragmatic, I suppose. You get your point of departure from the complaints that come to you. You can pretty quickly pinpoint where your efforts should be turned. But for me to dwell on it with any degree of detail would be to make it sound as though I’m bragging, so I’d rather not. I don’t want to sound boastful. RL: Well, I wish you would. But— AD: Well, I’ll give you one example, maybe two. Early on, I was made keenly aware of the fact that there were no blacks and no Orientals in the employ of any of the banks. So I sought out a couple of the top officials of the First National Bank and went over and conferred with them, pointed this circumstance out to them, and I said a bank should be a trend-setter in a community. It’s the most visible business establishment there is, outside of maybe a bustling department store, I said. Thousands of people pass in and out of your lobbies and banking floors, and I’d like them to see some black faces and some yellow 19

faces around, so that they’ll get the idea that these people are human. And I challenged them to find places for some black and Mongolian or Asiatic employees, and it “took!” And from then on, I’m sure as you go through the banks you occasionally glimpse black employees as tellers in cashier’s windows, and what not. I didn’t call them any names, I merely pointed out that they were oblivious to a fact that was significant, that they had a great opportunity to set a trend, to create an atmosphere, and it was a persuasive argument. As a matter of fact, one of the officials of the bank to whom I made that presentation later became a member of the Commission for a few years, when a vacancy occurred. RL: This was on a one-to-one basis? You would call and you would say, “I’m Amos Deinard, and I want to come and talk to you about this project we’re working on?” AD: That’s largely the way the effective work was done, not by screaming or by running to the press with stories, but by personal influence with people in high places. RL: And this was a persuasive sort of influence, forensic influence, if you will. It wasn’t influence in the terms we sometimes think of as pressure. AD: No, no, no. I was just a salesman. RL: I knew it, but I wanted you to say it. [Laughter] Now you said you were going to tell a couple of anecdotes. That’s one, about going to the bank. AD: Well, I’ll pick one more. I always do. We had—you know, I’m a little reluctant now. I don’t know what’s going to happen to this tape. It all depends on who’s going to see it. RL: Well, nobody is going to see it unless you agree to it. AD: Oh, I know that. Can I cut something out? RL: Oh, of course. You can always erase a tape, or part of it. Or you can make a transcript and destroy the original. AD: Is the tape running? The following story is not to be reproduced. I ask you to erase this only because it sounds self-glorifying, and that’s the only reason. It’s modesty that makes me want to do it. And besides, I wouldn’t want it to get back to him. RL: All right. Would you like me to turn the tape off? AD: No.


AD: In the early days of the Commission, we had a complaint against [erased name]. He’s a Southerner, to begin with. In the early days, and for many, many years, the meetings of the Commission were in my home here. We used to meet twice a month, from about eight o’clock to eleven or twelve o’clock at night. That was before the days when you had to have open Commission meetings, and I was a busy man, and it was easier for me to have it at night in my home than anywhere else, so that’s where we met. Anyhow, we summoned [name erased] to explain to him the complaint we had that some black was being discriminated against at [name erased], and I took the trouble, patiently and without any recrimination, to explain to [name erased] what his responsibilities were as a large employer, like the approach to the bank only slightly differently, because it wasn’t his exposure to the public, as it was in the case of a bank, but his role as a prominent businessman and large employer. I appealed to him to do away with any Southern prejudices that he may have, even subconsciously or unconsciously, acquired or developed, and apparently I made a great impression on [name erased]. He not only did away with the discriminatory practices…. [Tape interruption] AD: What’s too trivial, throw away. I don’t care. The world of letters is not being enriched by what I say. RL: No, but perhaps the history of Minneapolis is. AD: So he not only became cooperative with the Commission, but became involved himself to a considerable extent in activities that were beneficial to minorities here, and the proof of it is that I remember maybe four years ago I went to the Brotherhood Banquet of the National Conference of Christians and Jews . . . By the way, that’s another activity that I was early interested in. You asked me why Humphrey thought of me, maybe he thought of me in connection with that; I was co-chairman of it way back when. So [erased name] was chairing that huge banquet that year—they get about a thousand people, a very significant civic affair—and I still remember I walked in just at the last minute, and was seated, and [erased name], he stood up to the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I see the father of the Fair Employment Practices Commission—fair employment practices in our community—has just arrived.” And he called me by name, and made me take a bow. So you can see he was deeply influenced by this experience. Well, that’s the kind of work that I felt in this field was more significant than belligerence or name-calling. I don’t think anything everlasting comes out of that. You may get some grudging concurrence, but I prefer to make an impression on a man’s mind and heart, not just his pocketbook. RL: You can’t just legislate it. Once you have the enabling legislation, then you have to do the legwork. 21

AD: We used the ordinance, during the days that I was chairman, only as a legitimate opportunity to have entry where we wanted to go. We had a right to investigate, and we had a right to try to enforce the ordinance, but I never cared to do it by virtue of the enforcement process, as distinguished from persuasion. Not that we didn’t do some of the other. We had to, in some glaring cases. But I preferred to resort to persuasion. Well, you said you had a couple of other questions you wanted to ask me. That story, you can see now why I’d rather not have it. [Erased segment] Most of what we did was similar experiences. I mentioned this one in particular because of [name erased] making a public acknowledgment of his indebtedness to me for that. RL: This is the sort of technique that the Anti-Defamation League has always used. AD: Yes, much more than open conflict and recrimination. RL: Now I was going to ask you one other question, and then I was going to ask you just this whole idea of, you know, if your grandchildren were here and they were saying, “Grandpa, tell us about when you were courting Grandma, and where you went on dates, and how you met her . . . and what games you played when you were a little boy . . .” Things like that. But before we get to that, if we have time, I want to ask you about Unitarianism. AD: Unitarianism? RL: Yes, because there have been so many stories about people having dual membership in Temple Israel and the Unitarian Society, and people from Temple actually helping found the Society. You can find the names on the list, but you don’t find how they felt about this dual involvement, and why they were doing it. AD: There weren’t that many in dual. RL: I didn’t think there were, but did you know any, and how did you feel about it? You must have been familiar with the beliefs of Unitarianism. AD: Sure. As I grew up, my father was a very close friend of the Unitarian minister in this town. My senior partner, George Leonard, was a member of the Unitarian Society, one of the early members, from the 1890s, but he was never affiliated with a synagogue. He was intermarried, and he belonged to the Unitarian Society. I’ve had many friends among the membership. I contributed to the building fund for the Unitarian Center here, a fairly sizeable amount, not because I was in any way involved with them, only because I thought they were a good influence in the non-Jewish community. I think they’ve been a very good influence. 22

RL: Emerson called Unitarianism “a featherbed for falling Christians.” Why do you say that they were a good influence? AD: Because they were always very receptive to liberal concepts, as against the fundamentalists and the hate-mongers. RL: Oh, I see. And so you looked on them as just a good influence, a good group to have working in the community. AD: They were among the better citizens in the community, many of them, and they occupied influential positions. One of my close friends was, I think, chairman or treasurer of their building committee, and he came to me and said, “Why don’t you give us a hand with some money?” And I said, “I’ll be glad to.” RL: This is very common now, that non-Jews give to the Jewish Community Center building fund, and Jews give to every charity. But that was a new thing in those days . . . AD: I was chairman of the sub-committee for the Minneapolis Jewish Community Center that solicited the non-Jewish group. . RL: Whose suggestion was that, that that be done? AD: I don’t know. I was chairman of the Board of Trustees that created the Community Center, and somewhere or other, in the course of discussion, we decided that we should ask for at least a token gift from the non-Jewish community. I think altogether we raised $300,000, or something like that, out of the whole non-Jewish community. I went around and did the speaking to the non-Jewish community. RL: But you don’t remember the rationale for why you did that? AD: [Laughing] I think, fundamentally, because we wanted them to share their money! RL: When you went around and made a speech like that to a non-Jewish group, what sort of groups did you speak to, and what did you say? AD: I told them this was an organization that would improve the citizenship of the young Jewish community, and that was beneficial to the whole community, and therefore they owed an obligation to us. That’s a very simple, straightforward presentation. RL: Did you talk to the Chamber of Commerce? The Jaycees? AD: No, no. It was only smaller groups. We called together a couple dozen at a time of influential people who could give. This was not a big public campaign at all. It was 23

limited to the more likely prospects. And there weren’t very many meetings, only a few. Then a few of the non-Jewish people that we involved in it solicited their friends, to make up the pot for us. RL: Back to Unitarianism. You didn’t know anybody, there was no one in your group, among your friends, who belonged to both Temple and the Unitarian Society, that you knew of? AD: The only close friend I ever had that belonged to both a synagogue and the Unitarian Society was Samuel Salkin, and he was not a member of the Temple, he was an Adath member. Samuel Salkin was a great supporter of the Unitarian Center. RL: Do you remember why? AD: I think, essentially, his heart wasn’t in observant Judaism at all, even though he belonged to the Adath. I think if you asked Morrie he’d probably say, “My father was always a rebel, since he was born in Russia!” [Laughing] But I think he was, to my knowledge, the only substantial person that was involved there, unless—I don’t know— was Eddie Fiterman ever involved there? RL: I don’t know. AD: It occurs to me that he might have been, but I wouldn’t want to say that. I really don’t remember. But I’ll tell you something that you’ve probably never heard of before. When I was a young child, there was a group in this town of women called the Liberal Union. It was made up of representative women from the Temple, the Universalist Society, the Unitarian Society . . . and I’m not sure now, but there may have been some Congregationalists in it. They were dedicated to the concept of a certain degree of ecumenical service, to creating mutual regard and esteem among the members of liberal religious groups, and they met periodically and had programs. I remember my mother was secretary of the Liberal Union when I was a child. It died out after some years—I can’t remember just when—but it existed for a number of years. RL: I had never heard of that. It’s not in Rabbi Gordon’s book. You don’t know who founded it, where it all began? AD: No. I have no idea what ever happened to their minute books, or records that they kept. The only other person who I think was active from the Jewish community in that was Rebecca Michaels, who was Emmons Abeles’ unmarried aunt. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Nina Cohen—Emanuel Cohen’s wife—was active in it. She may have been. It was women of that ilk. I can’t remember any activities of it that went beyond World War I, so I rather think that that’s the time it faded out. Somewhere, someplace—and you 24

might inquire at the Minnesota Historical Society—they may have some records in respect to it. They called it the Liberal Union. RL: I’ve looked through Fannie Brin’s papers, and there’s certainly nothing in there. AD: No, Fannie was not involved. RL: So now, if your grandchildren said, “Grandpa, where did you meet Grandma, and where did you go when you were dating?” AD: I’d say, “Where did I meet Grandma? She was a friend of my sister’s, who brought her home for dinner one Sunday.” RL: And then you had this courtship. Where did you take Grandma on a date? AD: I didn’t take her on that many dates. Dinner, the symphony, maybe. RL: People spent more time at home then, didn’t they? Having home musicales, or an evening with their friends? AD: Well, there wasn’t so much . . . Let me see, when did I meet my wife? She was here as a graduate student. She got her Master’s degree here at the University of Minnesota. RL: In what field? AD: My sister and she were sorority sisters. My wife’s sister is Billy Cardozo’s deceased first wife, and that’s one of the reasons I suppose she came here to do graduate work, because her older sister was married and lived here. My sister, now deceased, unhappily, was a friend of both those girls. They were sorority sisters. And so from 1928, I guess it was, when she was in school here—she was here until 1931—she was an occasional visitor in our home as a friend of my sister’s. I took her out a few times, and then she moved away and took a teaching position at the University of Illinois, taught there for a year, and then went to the University of Wisconsin and taught there part of a year until we decided to get married. She quit in the middle of the year, and we got married in March of 1933. You asked what it was like when I was growing up. When I was in college almost all my close friends were non-Jews, in spite of the fact that I was a Rabbi’s son. And almost all our social time then, and virtually until we were married, was more with non-Jewish friends than Jewish friends. RL: Why was that? 25

AD: I was thrown in with compatible people, in the literary community of the University. I was involved in the publication of the University’s magazine, and so I had a large number of non-Jewish friends. RL: Weren’t you involved with the Menorah Journal? AD: Well, a kind of involvement. The Menorah Journal was originated by a Harvardian, and we were friends, the publisher and I. In fact, I have one of the only two or three or half-dozen complete sets of the Menorah Journal, bound, from Volume One to the memorial one after Hurwitz, the publisher, died. RL: There was a Menorah Society at the University . . . AD: I wasn’t active in it when I was a student. RL: But you were involved in literary groups, you said? AD: During the war there was no publishing of any University journal. So after the war my brother Benedict, and a lifelong friend of ours named Vincent Johnson, and I formed a magazine, which we called Foolscap. We published it for one year. The group that were involved with us as writers and the editorial committee and what-not were the friends of our college days, and they were, except for my brother and me, a non-Jewish group. [Interviewer’s Note: An interesting sidelight to this anecdote is that by the time he was in college Amos Deinard was already blind.] RL: Whatever became of them? Did they go on to distinguished literary careers? AD: Well, one of them was Gale Sondergaard, the actress. We’re still friends, and I see her whenever she’s here from Los Angeles. One of them was a girl named Jean Keller. Her father had been the mayor of St. Paul. She married a man named Bouvier, who was an actor. She’s now widowed and lives in California. RL: Do you have a copy of that magazine? AD: I have one bound copy of that year’s magazines. RL: We should have a facsimile copy of it for the Minnesota Historical Society. AD: I don’t know whether the University ever preserved it or not in its library. But I do know that I did preserve a set and have it bound, and I know that if I looked hard enough I could find it. If you want to see it some day, I’ll show it to you. We were regarded as rebels, of course, in that day. 26

RL: Who thought you were rebels, besides you? AD: Oh, the administration. RL: What were you doing? You weren’t trying to abolish ROTC already. What were you rebelling against? AD: Lack of academic freedom. RL: How did you define that? AD: Rather well! Privileges of the faculty to speak their mind in liberal causes without being criticized. We had a very reactionary Board of Regents at that time, dominated by old man Pierce Butler, so we were always in the midst of turmoil at the University. I almost got canned out of school for it. [Laughing] RL: You lectured in the Law School, didn’t you, for a while? AD: My brother [Benedict Deinard] did. My brother taught a number of courses there while we were practicing. RL: How did you manifest these liberal views, then? AD: Some of the editorials we ran, some of the cartoons we ran. We sponsored the Common People’s Ball on the same night that they had the Junior Prom [laughing] just to show that the “common people” who couldn’t afford to go to the Prom were entitled to have a party, too. I’ll tell you something funny about that. I had two dates—a date of my own, plus the wife of the President of the University, Mrs. Burton. We invited the President, but he had a speaking engagement somewhere and said he couldn’t come, so I said to him—I knew him well—”May I take your wife along with my date?” He said, “Gladly.” So I had a date and the wife of the President, both, on my arm! RL: Do you mean he was aligned with you liberal students? AD: He was just kind of a gracious guy, and I got along well with him. RL: In your opposition to the Board of Regents, had you enlisted any professors in your fight? AD: Not publicly. They were afraid of their shadows in that day. RL: Do you think the quality of education actually is any better, has improved, for all the supposed liberal changes? 27

AD: I wouldn’t be qualified to judge the quality of education at the University today. It’s so many years since I’ve been there. RL: Miriam didn’t attend the University of Minnesota. But Amos, Jr., did, didn’t he? AD: No, Amos went to Harvard and Miriam went to Mount Holyoke. Amos went to Medical School here but he was already a graduate of Harvard College. RL: Is there anything else that I have forgotten to ask, or that you wanted to talk about when I interrupted you? AD: I guess I can’t honestly say, Rhoda, that I wanted to talk about anything. [Laughing] I had no urge to talk. [Laughing] RL: What do you think has happened to the world? So many people take such a dim view. Then so many others say it’s just because you don’t have a sense of history, you don’t realize that things have always been grim. Do you have any comments on that? AD: Well, I’m very apprehensive about the future. RL: You really are? AD: I’m apprehensive about the world’s over-population. I’m apprehensive about the power of the oil-exporting countries to dominate the economy of the world and shape a good deal of its history as a result. I’m apprehensive about the very low quality of primary education. You’d be surprised how many people apply for jobs who can’t write coherent English sentences, who don’t know how to punctuate, or to spell. And the permissive society. I’m not so much concerned about permissiveness in the field of social morals, as you may want to call it, as I am about permissiveness in the field of educational discipline. When parents don’t care whether their kids learn anything or not, or don’t take time to help them learn, then I’m troubled. And that’s what you see all around you today, uneducated people coming out of college. By golly, they graduate kids now from the University who couldn’t pass sophomore English in West High School when I went. RL: Yes. Do you think it’s liberalism gone awry? AD: I don’t like to call it liberalism. It’s indifference gone awry. I don’t like everything that’s permissive to be called liberal. RL: There’s a feeling, though, that with the best intentions in the world, people like John Dewey, for example, have unwittingly done us in, as it were, that liberalism did get carried to an excess by people who didn’t understand. 28

AD: Well, the question is whether that’s legitimately entitled to be called liberalism, whether turning your back on discipline is liberalism. RL: But that’s a bad definition? AD: Yes, I think it’s a poor definition of liberalism. RL: Can you define it, then? AD: I guess I know more about what it isn’t. [Laughing] RL: That’s a good way to define things, though. AD: I don’t want to pretend I’m a philosopher. I’m not. That’s a gut reaction, but I don’t want to pretend to be wiser than I am. RL: Well, it’s a wise old “gut” that’s expressing the reaction. [Laughter] What would you say . . .? AD: I bow out. There was an editorial by [George] Will in Newsweek a couple of weeks ago . . . I don’t remember whether it was an original line with him, or whether he was quoting, but he said in effect that the end of our civilization will come from terminal sociology. [Laughter] RL: This was Rhoda Lewin, interviewing attorney Amos S. Deinard at his home at 1729 Morgan Avenue South in Minneapolis, Minnesota, overlooking Kenwood Park, on December 10, 1978. This taped interview is to be deposited with the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota. The blank spaces in the fair employment practices anecdote at the end of Side Two and beginning of Side Three occur because Mr. Deinard specified that the name of the businessman must be erased to avoid embarrassing the businessman himself, his company, or his family and heirs. This was a condition Mr. Deinard established before he would permit release of this tape to the Society for the use of scholars and researchers. [End of interview]