The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993 Page: 146

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

cemeteries are abandoned. These stories must be included in the contempo-
rary documentation of Texas Jewish life so the reader can benefit from the real
impact these Jews made in their communities and state.
Deep in the Heart is an exhaustively researched and beautifully produced con-
tribution to Texas and Jewish history, that will be appreciated by all audiences.
The book is written in a readable style that can be enjoyed by both the specialist
and the non-historian.
Museum of the Southern Jewzsh Experience MACY B. HART
Oleander Odyssey: The Kempners of Galveston, Texas, x854-I98os. By Harold M.
Hyman. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990. Pp. xxii+486.
Preface, introduction, black-and-white photographs, table, conclusion,
index. $39.95.)
Harold Hyman's Oleander Odyssey: The Kempners of Galveston, Texas, r854-
z980s is an important addition to the literature of Galveston history and Texas
entrepreneurial history. Work on the book, supported by the Harris and Eliza
Kempner Fund, was associated with the donation of the Kempner papers to
the Texas History Center of Galveston's Rosenberg Library. The placing of the
Kempner papers in the Rosenberg is a part of a trend by the families of Gal-
veston to make their papers available to the public for study at one of several
Oleander Odyssey is a multigenerational group biography of one of the fami-
lies whose activities have done much to define Galveston since the Civil War.
The story begins with the emigration of Harris Kempner from Poland to New
York in 1854. Three years later, he moved to Texas, settling in Cold Spring
where he gradually built a mercantile business and became a part of the com-
munity. In 1871, he recognized that opportunities for further growth were lim-
ited, and he made the decision to move to Galveston and enter the commission
business. His careful management strategies played an important part in his
rise and were continued by his descendants. Upon the death of Harris Kemp-
ner in 1894, his son I. H. Kempner took over the business, shaping the activi-
ties of the family and serving as the family patriarch until his death in 1967. His
son, Harris, succeeded him as head of the evolving family business group until
his death in 1987.
The story of the Kempners is more than an account of business success. The
dedication to family cohesion over the generations, although less marked in re-
cent years, is identified by the author as the primary reason for the continuing
success of the family as its interests expanded from mercantile activities into the
cotton trade, banking, insurance, sugar and other businesses. In addition, the
author was able to explore family values in politics, religion and social issues
through the wealth of papers and an oral history program. These values were
shaped by several themes including Progressivism and a belief in "welfare capi-
talism," their Reform Jewish faith, and an acceptance of the importance of ac-
culturation and "Americanism."


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993, periodical, 1993; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.