Contributing, Advancing, Succeeding: Jews and Occupations

Wolf Lipsky, Bangor, ca. 1900

Wolf Lipsky, Bangor, ca. 1900
Item 56722   info
Bangor Public Library

Most Jews who came to Maine were uninterested in wage-labor jobs, but, without capital, their opportunities for self-employment were limited.

Peddling goods and foodstuffs became the occupation most often pursued by recent Jewish immigrants. Although a difficult and demanding job, peddling provided Jews a chance to collect capital from a relatively small initial investment.

It also provided the communities they serviced connections to the outside world. Peddlers imported commodities from other states and brought merchandise to people's front doors, saving them long and arduous trips into town.

For Wolf Lipsky, as for many others, peddling was a transitional occupation. Within two to five years most peddlers either moved to a different area or to a different occupation.

Setting up a storefront was a natural evolution for peddlers like Wolf Lipsky, who had bought and sold clothes in Bangor's surrounding area before founding a clothing shop in Bangor itself.

As peddlers advanced, they became more visible parts of Maine communities.

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