The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

We may gather from reading these letters that small Jewish commu-
nities existed in a variety of southern towns, that Jews were actively
engaged in the commercial endeavors of their locales, and that they
were relatively well-to-do. These conclusions not only confirm existing
stereotypes, but provide additional substantiating evidence.
The editor, Louis Schmier, has included a brief biographical intro-
duction, a concluding essay, and the appropriate editorial annotations.
His book provides us with a useful compendium of information about
southern Jewry in the late 187os. One thing missing, however, which
would have made the collection of letters even more useful, is the in-
clusion of an appendix listing each city Wessolowsky wrote about, with
their estimated Jewish populations. This information is available in
each letter, but having it all in one place would have given readers a
quick overview in a glance.
Reflections on Southern Jewry provides additional data on the south-
ern Jewish experience, and for that reason alone it is worthwhile. I
also enjoyed reading Schmier's delightful concluding essay, which inte-
grates autobiography, filiopietism, folk wisdom, and the state of south-
ern Jewish historiography with a commentary on the significance of
Wessolowsky's letters.
University of Arizona LEONARD DINNERSTEIN
Slavery and Freedom. By Willie Lee Rose. Edited by William W.
Freehling. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. Pp. xv+
224. Preface, remarks on editorial procedure, notes, index. $17.95.)
It is seldom that a historian of more than three decades of profes-
sional existence can say that it has been a pleasure and a privilege to
read a book, but such can be said honestly and openly of this collection
of Willie Lee Rose's essays, most of them never before published. Much
credit is also due to William W. Freehling, who edited this volume.
Space does not permit anything near a complete summary of the
essays. From this reviewer's point of view the first group, and especially
the discussion of the impact of the American Revolution upon the
black population and the perceptive essay on "Childhood in Bondage,"
are the most impressive. Another reader, however, might be even more
pleased with Rose's discussion of Alex Haley's Roots or her evaluation
of new points of view of Frederick Douglass and John Brown. Even
the concluding essays, which are bibliographical and which have been
previously published, are interesting and possibly highly useful.
The most impressive thing about this little book, however, is its reve-

234

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed July 23, 2014.