Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Robert Furchgott

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Robert Furchgott
Rosengarten, Dale, 1948-, Katz, Sidney
Furchgott, Robert, 1916-2009
Robert Francis Furchgott, born in 1916 in Charleston, South Carolina, the second of three sons of Philapena Sorentrue and Arthur Furchgott, talks about growing up in downtown Charleston. The Furchgotts lived below Broad Street and were members of Reform temple Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. It wasn't until Robert joined Boy Scout Troop 21, the Jewish troop, that he met and made friends with Orthodox Jewish boys from uptown. In regard to the organization of the Scouts, he observes that "in Charleston it seemed to be by churches." Summer classes and field trips sponsored by the Charleston Museum that sparked Robert's interest in nature stand out in his memory as among his most gratifying early experiences. He estimates that when his family moved inland about seventy-five miles to Philapena's hometown of Orangeburg in the summer of 1929, there were about five Jewish families living there. Services and the Sunday school were run by lay leaders, with the guidance of a rabbi who visited once a month. Furchgott recalls that Orangeburg's Christians and Jews mixed socially and there was just one Boy Scout troop for the small city. After struggling financially in Orangeburg for a year, the Furchgotts moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina. A year later they moved again, this time to Florence, South Carolina. Robert discusses his family history, in particular, his paternal grandfather, Max Furchgott, who came to Charleston circa 1865, and his maternal great-grandfather, Simon Brown, who settled in Blackville, South Carolina, around 1849. See Mss. 1035-256 for a follow-up to this interview. For related information, see also Marcelle Furchgott's May 14, 2014 interview, Max Furchgott's July 14, 1995 interview, the Arthur C. Furchgott papers (Mss 1043), and Furchgott and Brothers department store newspaper advertisement, 1910 (Mss 1034-090), Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Charleston--Interviews, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Charleston--History, Jews--South Carolina--Charleston--Social life and customs, Jews--South Carolina--Orangeburg--Social life and customs
Shelving Locator:
MSS 1035-252
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.), Orangeburg County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
audio/mpeg, application/pdf
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Robert Furchgott, audio interview by Dale Rosengarten and Sidney Katz, 28 February 2001, Mss 1035-252, Special Collections, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.
Copyright Status Statement:
© College of Charleston Libraries
Access Information:
For more information contact Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.