- Interview with Irv Miller, October 16, 2007, Glendale, Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Jewish Archives Oral Histories
- Wisconsin Historical Society
summary Andy Muchin interviews Irv Miller on October 16, 2007 in Glendale, Wisconsin. Irv Miller discusses growing up in Athens and Medford, Wisconsin and his father's various businesses. He also talks about antisemitism, his Jewish education, and his parents background....moreDescription:summary Andy Muchin interviews Irv Miller on October 16, 2007 in Glendale, Wisconsin. Irv Miller discusses growing up in Athens and Medford, Wisconsin and his father's various businesses. He also talks about antisemitism, his Jewish education, and his parents background.
accession number WSA0167
summary Andy Muchin interviews Irv Miller on October 16, 2007 in Glendale, Wisconsin. Irv Miller discusses growing up in Athens and Medford, Wisconsin and his father's various businesses. He also talks about antisemitism, his Jewish education, and his parents background.
Interviewee Irv Miller
Interviewer Andy Muchin
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Partial Transcript: Irv moved to Athens, Wisconsin from Chicago, Illinois when he was nine years old, because his father had just entered a partnership. Although Athens had only 800 people, Irv loved the small community.
Partial Transcript: His father went into a partnership with a cousin who owned a store in another small Wisconsin town. Most small town Wisconsin Jews were merchants. His father wanted to get out of Chicago for health reasons, and so he bought a store and moved to Athens. The store sold agricultural supplies, furniture, groceries, shoes, clothing, and other goods.
Partial Transcript: Irv's father was Joseph Miller and his mother was Ethel Miller. Joseph Miller came to the United States from Russia in 1919, because of the Russian Revolution. When he came to the United States, he did not speak any English. Joe Miller owned a hardware store in Chicago until he moved to Athens, Wisconsin. Ethel Miller was from Cincinnati, Ohio and went to college.
Partial Transcript: Irv is not completely sure how his parents met. His father originally tried to open up a store in Cincinnati, Ohio, but it did not do well.
Partial Transcript: Joseph Miller owned the hardware store in Chicago from 1926 until 1939. Irv was born in 1931.
Partial Transcript: Irv lived in Athens, Wisconsin for four years and has many fond memories of playing in the countryside. The Millers were one of the only Jewish families in town.
Partial Transcript: Irv often handled the eggs for his father's store. The business partner bought out Irv's father's share of the store after the two were having disagreements and the Millers moved to Medford.
Partial Transcript: Irv's father bought a combination shoe and grocery store in Medford.
Partial Transcript: The family lived in an upstairs flat for two or three years and then moved into a downstairs flat, because Irv's mother had trouble getting around.
Partial Transcript: The Millers did not live a typical Jewish life. They went to Wausau to celebrate high holidays. Irv did not have his bar mitzvah until he was an adult living in Milwaukee. He did not have any Jewish education growing up and never understood any Hebrew.
Partial Transcript: Wausau had two synagogues in the 1940s and Stevens Point also had a synagogue. The Millers went to synagogues in both cities depending on which synagogue other Jewish families were going to. Irv does not remember which Wausau synagogue his family attended.
Partial Transcript: Irv is still in contact with his childhood Jewish friends. He also knew other Jewish children from different communities.
Partial Transcript: Irv once heard an antisemitic comment while playing tackle football in Athens. He was not sure of how to respond, but that was the only antisemitism he ever experienced while living in Athens. Irv had a good singing voice when he was young and got roped into singing Christmas carols by a teacher in Athens.
Partial Transcript: Irv's parents knew Yiddish and occasionally spoke it at home. They also knew Russian and Hebrew.
Partial Transcript: Irv's mother was a reform Jew and his father was orthodox.
Partial Transcript: Life was unpleasant for Irv's father in Russia, because of the progroms.
Partial Transcript: His father's store in Medford was called J.B. Millers and it was on the corner of Main Street and Highway 64. The store sold groceries, dry goods, clothes, and shoes and Irv's father employed two other people. The hunting season was a very prosperous time for the store, because hunters would stock up on supplies. Irv went to high school in Medford and felt like an outsider.
Partial Transcript: There were three other Jewish families in Medford. Irv discusses the other Jewish families.
Partial Transcript: Irv's father purchased two stores that were combined when he moved to Medford. The family moved there in 1944 and his father gave up his business in the 1970s for health reasons.
No transcript available for this file.