The Breibart Files
Rcently, I became interested in finding my first byline story in the News and Courier. So, I signed up to go through the newspaper's archives to search for the story. I did find it, but also found something surprising: There are 935 entries for "Breibart" in the files.
A major portion of the entries are public notices that Sara signed when she was the County Clerk. Interestingly, nothing was too small to appear in print in those days. Sidney and I were noted as being at the sixth birthday party for Joe Chase. I was mentioned in a second birthday party for a Maple St neighbor, where it was also revealed that I had won a prize. Mickey got a notice in the social events when she visited her friend, Ida Laurey, for a couple of days in Greenville in the summer of 1938. George played Mutt (as in Mutt and Jeff) in a play, "Funny Paper Land'' in 1929 at James Simons school when he was in the sixth grade. Our cousin, Edith Cohen, was also in the play as Miz Gump.
Obituaries, births, wedding announcements, school honors from the first grade on. Boy Scout news, AZA news, B'nai Brith news, Bar Mitzvahs, music accomplishments, sports results. Nearly everything. A couple of times, Breibart is spelled Briebart, even in the same item. One story confuses Papa and Solly. In the Nov. 11, 1931 paper announcing the name change of the Charleston High newspaper from the Gazette to the Bantam, Sam Breibart is identified as the Associate Editor. George is listed as a reporter in the item.
The first entry in the Breibart archives is from August 6, 1917 when Papa is among a group of men called to take physicals for duty in World War I. On January 7, 1918, he is mentioned again in a group of men who had deferments. He was never called, probably because Solly was three and George was just born. The archives show that Papa registered for a Democratic Primary (August 1, 1924), served on a Grand Jury which convicted two Fort Moultrie soldiers of burglary (March 16, 1938), bought a lot from Annie Ella Bootle on the west side of meeting street for $200 (August 28, 1938), served as a poll manager for ward 10 in the 1938 general election, and donated $5 to the Red Cross World War II Relief Fund (May 30,1940).
The grocery store is frequently listed with other stores in group ads for a particular product,
Mom also gets a couple of mentions. A story on Easter weekend 1937 reports on a rash of (22) car accidents in the city. One involved Mom and Harold Sweat, of 30 Pitt St, at the corner of Tracy and Carolina Streets. No details on who was at fault in the fender bender. In the November 3, 1942 real estate transactions, it's noted that "Rita I. Black sold to Ida Breibart lot and building on Maple St. $3,500."
The three holdups of the grocery and liquor store in the 1970s are all recorded as is this from November 22,1921: "Ernest Grant was committed to jail yesterday by Magistrate Brown for trial in the Court of General Sessions on a charge of grand larceny of some goods and $3 in cash from Samuel Breibart, 743 Meeting St."
The scholastic honors Solly, George, Mickey and Sidney won (not so much me) are all recorded from the first grade on. When Solly graduated from college in 1936, the front page story on the graduation exercises notes that he won the J. Adger Smyth classics prize of $25 for being the student "attaining the highest standing in the advanced Greek or Latin classes."
The February 7, 1931 paper, listing the James Simons class honor rolls shows Mickey and Leon Feldman, who now lives in the same independent living facility as Mickey.
George's honor of a Bronze Star medal gets an item on Oct. 20 , 1945. For meritorious service with the XII Corps headquarters from August 12, 1944 to May 8, 1945 in France, Luxembourg and Germany, the article reports. On the other hand, on May 24, 1939 , George and Diasouris Disourakis, 79 Columbus St., were arrested by federal agents in a statewide campaign against "alleged sellers of medicated rubbing alcohol for beverage purposes." Both posted bond and released to later appear at a hearing before a federal judge. Didn't find anything on the outcome, but I'm sure George didn't go to jail. Also I think he, not Papa, was in the store when the agents came around or he was taking a hit for Papa.
Mickey honored George's army service by volunteering at the Charleston Filter and Information Center, as recorded in an item on July 29, 1943. The center was involved in the air defense of the Charleston area.
Solly's and George's musical skills with the high school band, the Charleston symphony and independent performance are covered. On April 13, 1932 for instance, the entertainment for the monthly meeting of the Foreman's Club at the YMCA was to be provided by "Miss Evelyn Thatcher, pianist; Miss Elize Stratcher, violinist; George Breibart, violinist; and Solomon Breibart with the saxophone." Solly, of course, was noted for his sax, which he played into his 90s, but he also had a whirl at the oboe in a performance with the Symphony Orchestra on February 2, 1941. It appears he was moved from the sax to the oboe when conductor Theo Wichman was short an oboe player. "I like the oboe very much," Solly said, explaining the switch, "but have no time about the superstition about the instrument that oboe players lose their hair or become insane. There's nothing to it at all." There must have been a smile on his face when he spoke to the writer. The story noted that four of the musicians, including Solly, that night were teachers at Charleston High.
On Jan. 16, 1987 Bertha had a few tough words to say at a public event debating the death penalty,featuring Sheriff Reuben Greenberg (pro) and Monsignor Thomas R. Duffy (con). In the question and answer session, Bertha asked Monsignor Duffy if he would still love a person who held a gun on him and threatened to kill him. "That happened to me three times," Bertha said - I don't love those people." The monsignors reply is not recorded. The cleric, by the way, grew up on Maple St. and was a neighbor of ours.
It was good to find much tennis activity by the Breibarts and Sonenshines,
from midgets through college, and duly recorded in the paper. Richard, Mark,
Barry and Gerald played through high school. I played through college. This
is an iitem from the August 18, 1964 paper, "In the (JCC) midget doubles,
Maurice Weintraub and Gary Soloman (cq) were beaten by Gerald Sonenshine and
Mark Breibart 3-6, 6-2, 9-7. This battle lasted over three and a half hours."
Today, that match would highlight the ESPN Sports Center. In the April 4,
1954 Courier, I get a mention for my match for the College of Charleston against
Furman University. "Breibart played a brilliant game though losing his singles
encounter to the Hurricanes' Bill Mitchell." I probably called that into the
There is even a pugilst in the family. Barry, weighing 73 pounds, lost a decidion to Nickey Lempesis, also 73, in a JCC boxing tournamen
Besides his great scholastic achievements and later leadership roles in the Charleston Jewish community,Solly was an early active athlete. From the playground league with the Williman St.Sluggers to the College of Charleston freshman basketball team to softball as a shortstop and third baseman with the JCC and some independent teams, Solly excelled. For instance, August 28, 1929, Williman St. beat Aiken playground, 23-10 in a not-so thriller, with Solly getting three singles and a home run.
There are nany other achievemens recorded: Sidney competing in the national
AZA oratorical competition;Richard winning local and district honors in the
Optimist Club oratorical contest; Mark and Stanley taking top scholastic honors
at their high school graduations;; Carol
serving as president of the youth group at KKBE Synagogue.
I have explored only a portion of the 935 items, so dnn't take this as a definitive look into the files.
Looking back and seeing how our lives once were is fascinating, but also
strange and also somewhat sad.
Mickey's second term as Chapter #143 Sweetheart, 1941
Sidney, far right as Midshipmite, in Rivers Junior High Production of "All at Sea"
Solly was Salutatorian at his High School of Charleston Graduation
Stanley was Top Honor Graduate at Porter-Gaud and Kenneth shows off a wicked two-handed backhand in a JCC youth tennis tournament
Richard had a winining streak in the Optimist Club Oratory Contest of 1964, Gerald and Kaye Hughes model attire for the "The Now Era" benefit fashion show for the B'nai B'rith Girls Organization. Gerald, according to the caption,"wears the modified Edwardian silhouette which fetatures tthe return of the vest (March 29, 1969)
Sara (right) with Mrs. Alan Tarshish (left) and Mrs Thomas Tobias preparing items for a KKBE Sisterhood Bazaar. (February 7, 1956)