Friday, April 29, 2011

Wednesday At The Tenement Museum

One of KV's greatest punchball players, of any ethnicity , Prof. Bob Nathanson, joined me at the Tenement Museum to hear Mark Kurlansky talk about his biography of Hank Greenberg called Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One.
The talk was excellent, due in great part to Kevin Baker's expert facilitation, but I was somewhat disappointed in the book. Ira Berkow's bio is much better.
but I did pick up a clue from the Kurlansky book to the Greenberg's lower east side roots. David Greenberg, Hank's dad, had a job as a clothes sponger and with a little census detective work I figured out he lived at 210 E. 3rd Street in 1906. The document image in the inset is part of Greenberg's naturalization application.
about clothes' sponging
Basically, this is going be entirely dependent on how thorough the shrinkage process at the mill was. Top quality mills usually pre-shrink cloth better. However, any cotton fabric may still shrink to varying degrees. Some tailors who are particularly meticulous won't trust what cloth merchants say about their cloths being "pre-shrunk" and even "sponge" the cloth to shrink it before making it up. For those interested this is traditionally done with bed sheets that have been soaked in water. However, one tailor told me that he wets the cloth and places it in a dryer.
a previous post about Hank Greenberg

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