05 December 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Max Garber & Cream Cheese

For a while I just couldn't make out the name of the company that Max Garber was working for in 1917 when he completed his World War I Draft Registration Card. [1]

Max, my grandfather Jack's older brother was the first in the Garber family to emigrate from Labun, Ukraine. [2] In the United States, he worked in the butter and egg business.

During World War I, all men born between 1872 and 1900 were required to register for the draft. There were three phases of draft registration and Max was in the first registration that that took place on 5 June 1917. 
  1. Name in full:  Max Garber   Age in Years: 28
  2. Home Address: 171 E 101 st
  3. Date of birth: Sept. 1889
  4. Are you (1) a natural born citizen, (2) a naturalized citizen, (3) an alien, (4) or have you declared your intention (specify which)?  Alien
  5. Where were you born?  Weline Russia
  6. If not a citizen, of what country are you a citizen or subject?  Russia
  7. What is your present trade, occupation, or office?  Salesman
  8. By whom employed?  Phenix Chees Co; Where employed?  1930 Lex Ave
  9. Have you a father, mother, wife, child under 1, or a sister or brother under 12, solely dependent on you for support (specify which)?  Wife  2 children
  10. Married or single (which)?  Married; Race (specify which)?  White
  11. What military service have you had? Rank:  No; branch:  -
  12. Do you claim exemption from draft (specify grounds)?  main support
 I affirm that I have verified above answers and that they are true.

                                                          /s/ Max Garber

The right side (Registrar's Report) of the card indicates that Max is of medium height and build and that he has brown hair and eyes. He registered in the 39th precinct of Draft Board 151, New York County, New York. [3]

Item number 5 indicates "Weline Russia." This refers to Volhynia Gubernia (often called Wolin) in the Russian Empire.

But of real interest is the name of Max's employer. While I could not adequately decipher the name, I could read the address: "1930 Lex Ave," meaning "1930 Lexington Avenue, New York City."

Max is listed at 171 E. 1st Street and as an egg inspector in the 1915 New York State Census. [4] In the 1918 New York City Directory on Ancestry, he listed at this same address as "inspector," no business name identified. But, I determined that I might be able to find a listing for that business if I queried on the Lexington address in a directory. In Ancestry's city directory search box, I clicked on exact and entered only the location (New York, New York) and key words ("1930 Lex").

The first page of search results returned one entry from 1918 that included the word "Phenix."


Ah! "Phenix Cheese Company." That makes sense. A quick query on Google finds (via Wikipedia) that the company was a major player early in the cream cheese business, producing what was already known as Philadelphia Cream Cheese starting in 1903. In 1928, the company merged with Kraft. 

I have not yet located a 1920 census for the Max Garber family and have only sporadically found Max in city directories. By 1925, Max has his own business (Amsterdam Cheese Company). Exactly when he struck out on his own is something that will require further research.

1. "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 March 2008), card for Max Garber, no. 187, New York, New York Draft Board 151, Precinct 39; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives microfilm publication M1509; imaged from Family History Library microfilm roll 1,786,811.
2. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 February 2009), manifest, Pretoria, Hamburg to New York, arriving 30 December 1907, List 10, Passenger 5, Motel Garber; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
3. The Draft Board number is not obvious on the card. It is  noted in the citation on Ancestry. I believe it may be part of the stamped number on the top right of the card: 31-9-151-A. I will have to do some additional research on this number.
4. 1915 New York States Census, New York County, New York, population schedule,  Enumeration District 12, Assembly District 24, sheet 19, number 4, Max Garber; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 August 2012), New York State Archives: Albany, New York.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on posts are always welcome but will be approved before posting. I actually prefer to just let people comment without going through this rigmarole, but I've recently had to delete some posts that I had not vetted before publication. So, please don't be offended. I love to hear from you!