Monday, June 15, 2009

The Story of a Tenant and Her Descendants

Earlier this year, two descendants of a family of 97 Orchard residents met with our curatorial team and shared their mother's childhood story. Jacqueline Burinescu was born in the building in 1919 and lived there until 1928. Her father, a Romanian immigrant, pushed aside dreams of performing Yiddish theater (he was in an acting troupe back home) and ran a clothes cleaning business at 92 Orchard. He died of influenza shortly after the 1918 pandemic, leaving Jacqueline's independent-minded mother, a member of a socialist group active in the woman's suffrage movement, in charge of making ends meet. Jacqueline and her five siblings took on odd jobs to help support the family, including a stint fluffing feathers in a factory. Their mother, an immigrant from Odessa, a seaside province of Ukraine, eventually remarried an Italian-born 97 Orchard resident. Curatorial Director Dave Favaloro and Collections Manager Derya Golpinar plan on visiting Jacqueline at her current home in New Jersey.

Marcia Richter and Judith Lewis graciously donated 40 family photos to the museum, including the snapshot of their mother Jacqueline (top), and their grandmother Sarah (bottom, seated second from the left, with members of her socialist group.)

-posted by Liana Grey

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