Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Shirley Gergel Ness

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Shirley Gergel Ness
Filler, Lilly
Ness, Shirley Gergel, 1928-
Shirley Gergel Ness talks about her father, Joseph Gergel, who served for three years in the Russian army before immigrating in 1914 to Columbia, South Carolina, where two of his brothers resided. Joseph volunteered for duty in the United States Army during World War I and worked as a supply sergeant in New York. He met his wife, Jean Fingerhut, when he was invited by a fellow soldier to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for Passover. Shirley, who was born in 1928, talks about growing up in Columbia, attending public school, and working in her father's store. The interviewee intended to go to law school after graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1948; she describes how Coleman Karesh, law professor and son of Rabbi David Karesh, blocked her admission that year based on her age and gender. Shirley recalls how her husband, Everett Ness of Sumter, South Carolina, courted her; they married and moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1949. They ran the Nursery Nook, a children's toy and furniture store on King Street for fourteen years before going bankrupt. Their children attended Addlestone Hebrew Academy. In 1966 the Nesses moved to Columbia, the Midlands being a more convenient location for Everett, whose job as a manufacturing representative required travel to other southeastern states. Shirley contrasts the Jewish communities of Charleston and Columbia and tells the story of how a member of the Gergel family in Russia tracked down her American cousins in South Carolina, uniting the descendants of Joseph and his siblings who stayed in the Old Country.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Addlestone Hebrew Academy (Charleston, S.C.)
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Columbia--Interviews, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Columbia--History, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Charleston--History, Jews--South Carolina--Charleston--Religious life, Jews--South Carolina--Columbia--Religious life, Sex discrimination against women
Shelving Locator:
Mss 1035-449
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.), Richland County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Shirley Gergel Ness, audio interview by Lilly Filler, 21 January 2016, Mss 1035-449, Special Collections, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.
Copyright Status Statement:
Copyright © College of Charleston Libraries.
Access Information:
For more information contact Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.