Monthly Archives: January 1936

January 8, 1936 Happy New Year – A little belated.

January 8, 1936  Happy New Year – A little belated.

January 8, 1936

Happy New Year, a little belated.
I stayed home today because I have a very sore throat.


Sully’s Hat Shop

I took care of “Sully’s” hat shop while she was in N.Y. Aunt Henny kept me company a few hours there every day until she went to Florida. Henny was as sweet and nice as when I first came to Chicago. She finally left by bus for Florida.

C-R Hats

C-R Hats

On the 24th, we had a nice party at C-R Millinery, which is named for its owners and was my main job. Every girl brought a 10¢ present, put on long strings, put it all in a big sack and each of us pulled a string and got a little gift package. Besides we each paid 25¢ for food: cold cuts, bread, salad, cucumbers, potato salad, coffee, cake and ice cream. The company donated a box of candies for each worker. One boy brought a radio, so we had music and danced a little. Mr. Roedelsheimer came for the 1st time since a severe operation and that added much to the fun of the party. Mr. Cohn always has a long, sad face.

Grand Terrace

The Grand Terrace

After the party, I stopped by Sully’s where everybody was drunk already. I went home, changed clothes and met Leonard at Bishops and received nice Xmas gifts.

New Year’s Eve and day we spent also with the Bishops. We went to a very different nightclub, called ‘Grand Terrace,’ the first time I was at a place like that where black and white people are together. I have to tell that the black people, including the wife of Joe Louis, behaved much better than the white folks. The orchestra, waiters and actors are black and very good, nice and clean.

I got a letter from Aunt Henny. Even in warm Florida she got a bad cold with back pain. Nothing special.

Trudel’s comments about the Grand Terrace, which was at 3955 South Parway and was reputedly one of Al Capone’s clubs, ring true. See the following notes from a website devoted to a woman named Audrey Vallette, a contemporary of Trudel’s whose path may have crossed with Trudel’s before Audrey’s tragic death.

Earl Hines Orchestra

Earl Hines Orchestra

“Swankiest of the Blackbelt night clubs, and one of the oldest. It is richly furnished and there is plenty of room for black, white, and intermediate shades. The floor show is elaborate and contains some of the most attractive colored chorines west of Harlem, as well as lively tap dancers and vaudeville teams. Music is furnished by Hines’ band, which is nothing if not “hot.” Saturday night is the big night at the Grand Terrace. Many of the patrons are white, this place being too expensive for the hordes of Negro nighthawks, but there are enough dusky damsels and high-brown gentlemen to give the place color.”

(Drury, John. Dining in Chicago, New York: The John Day Company, 1931, pp. 252-253.)

Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman at the Grand Terrace

“During 1936 at the Grand Terrace Ballroom, where Fletcher Henderson was appearing with his own band, Benny Goodman played in front of the band with Gene Krupa sitting in on drums. This is perhaps the first time that black and white jazz musicians played together before a paying audience.”

For more information about Audrey Vallette see the website The Unsolved Murder of Audrey Vallette.


Tags: , , , , ,

January 10, 1936 – It breaks Trudel’s heart that we can not help.

January 10, 1936 –  It breaks Trudel’s heart that we can not help.

My dear Father, and dear Lotta and Erna: LJG Letter 1-1--36 b letterhead

I hope this letter finds you all well. Trudel worries anxiously when she does not get word from you. Sometimes we do not feel we get all the news.

We have been very happy and she has been very brave this past year. Many millions of people are out of work in this country and those who are employed are paid so little. Trudel works very hard.

Three thousand lawyers in Chicago are starving with no work and no office. We have 10,000 lawyers in Chicago alone. Our dollar is worth only 59 cents. Under Roosevelt and Democrats food and everything costs more and the taxes are so heavy that business has not started again since the depression, which makes it VERY HARD for lawyers to keep their offices and place in the profession.

By working 18 hours a day I have done 20% better in 1935 than in 1934, but everything cost more this year than before. I write you because you should know if we could we would do something to help some of you come here. But this is impossible now. And it breaks Trudel’s heart that she can not help and the man who loves her can not. Everything is uncertain. Election year is 1936.

Would you make me happy? Write oftener to dear Trudel. Every day she asks – any mail from Germany? And she looks so sad waiting so long for letters, she gets so few.

Her throat bothers her. She has had a BAD cold and fever. She is so true and beautiful. She does not know what I am writing. She has written nothing to worry you since coming here, but everything is not easy for her and to get started in a strange country is lonesome work and very hard.

If I have made it easier and pleasanter for her, I am glad because I love her.
With love to you all, LJG Letter 1-1--36 b-signature


This letter was written by Leonard J. Grossman, Trudel’s fiance and my father, to Trudel’s sisters and her father in the midst of the depression, as dark clouds were gathering over Europe.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

January 26, 1936 “It is awfully cold here.”

January 26, 1936  “It is awfully cold here.”

Trudel returns to diary style in her notes:


Awfully cold for weeks. 20˚ below 0 Fahrenheit = about 30˚ below Celsius. And we are making straw and light felt hats.

Garbo  - Karenina

A Spring Hat in Winter

I may have to have my tonsils removed anyhow in Spring. The doctors here are all money hungry and so far I have not found one I would trust. A school friend of Leonard’s has an apothecary, not a drugstore, and we go to him for advice instead of a doctor.

We recently saw “Anna Karenina” with Greta Garbo and Fredric March!! I did like the book much better.

Had a bad cold but I am OK again.

We saw “Mutiny on the Bounty”

and laughed a lot seeing Eddy Cantor in “Strike me Pink.”

Strike Me Pink

Strike Me Pink

Mutiny on the Bounty 1935

Mutiny on the Bounty


Posted by on January 26, 1936 in Chicago, immigrant experience, Memoir


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

« . . . »