Taking Part: A Twentieth-Century Life (Singular Lives) by Robert Josephy

By Robert Josephy

First version. Biography of Robert Josephy, creation supervisor and dressmaker for Alfred Knopf and different publishers, and president of the booklet and journal Guild. Illustrated. the rest mark on backside side. x, 225 pages. textile, airborne dirt and dust jacket. octavo.

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Page 6 Many of our friends in Far Rockaway were prosperous, entrenched families descended from mid-nineteenth-century German-Jewish immigrants. During the First World War some of them changed their names; the Minzesheimers became Mintons; the Berolzheimers, Berols; the Litchensteins, Lanes. How much of that was a concession to the strong anti-German feeling of the time and how much an opportunistic step to move closer to the American social and cultural mainstream was never clear. Among our neighbors were the Samuel Knopfs, whose daughter Sophia was being courted by my uncle Alvin Josephy.

To me it has meant a positive commitment to keep seeking new challenges and experiences. It helped me to move easily into new ventures, each of which seemed to be the logical sequel to what I was doing. I never had a life plan, a neat matrix into which to fit my growth and my work. Most of my choices were made as needs and opportunities appeared, adding new proj- Page 8 Clarice Spero, about 1899 ects to old ones, bringing to my life variety, rewards, and sometimes stress. I cannot remember when I first realized that things inside my family were not as idyllic as they seemed.

I know, too, that I very much wanted to construct a world for myself according to my own ideas, to make my own rules and set my own limits. No doubt it was arrogant to think I could do this without a God. I have of course paid some price for that, and I may be judged for it in the end, but by whom I cannot imagine. I have no feeling of superiority to believers, and sometimes I envy them the comfort they find in faith and ritual. I used to be puzzled by scientist friends' ability to spend six days in the laboratory and one in church.

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