100 Ivyhurst Road Buffalo, N.Y. 14226 December 1981
A few lines to keep you up to date.
Our most important news is Dan’s upcoming marriage on January 23. In our letter last year we mentioned his friendship with Janet. They have been together now for well over a year and they seem very well suited to each other. Dan met Janet when he worked at the Ombudsman’s Office where she was then a researcher and is now coordinator of research. Both have a lot of common interests, intellectual, cultural, and not least important, Sarah. Sarah and Janet have a good relationship. Sarah lives with Maggie in Hamilton during the week but spends three weekends a month with Dan and Janet. Sarah, who just turned four, is bright, cheerful, and affectionate and seems to reflect no scars of her parents’ separation. We see quite a lot of her and of Dan, who brings her to Buffalo frequently. In June Sarah upon her initiative spent a week with us and will be staying with us again during the spring vacation. Dan, who is not very fond of legal practice, worked briefly with a law firm after leaving the Ombudsman’s Office and since spring has been working as an editor for a legal publisher in Toronto, a position moreto his liking.
Jeremy enjoys his work at the Detroit Free Press. He writes a weekly food page with much wit and imagination. The cheese cake cookbook has been a success, over eighty thousand copies have been sold to date. He is less pleased with being in Detroit where he is isolated from his Minneapolis friends, paricularly Gail, and manages to spend a fair number of weekends in Minneapolis. He is now negotiating with the Free Press about released time to enable him to complete his dissertation. Given the difficult employment situation in philosophy and his desire to write, he will undoubtedly stay in journalism. Jeremy’s latest idea for a book is a cookbook written jointly with Wilma. Jeremy devoted his Mother’s day column to Wilma’s cooking. The idea is to collect recipes from Wilma’s relatives and reproduce them with a narrative reflecting something of the Bohemian-Jewish milieu from which she comes. It should be a fun project and should produce an interesting book.Wilma is already at work on it.
Jonathan, who is at home, completed his last requirements for the BA and received the degree from in May. Since the employment situation is extremely difficult, he has created his own job. He continues to do postering for magazines, courses, and trips at the various area colleges, which brings him a modest income. His main activity, however, consists in renting housing to students. with a very small capital together with a friend hehas bought a number of old houses with small downpayments and large mortages. The houses, four so far, are all within walking distance from the Main Street campus of the university. With the acute shortage of student housing, he has had no difficulty finding tenants.
Wilma remains very busy. In addition to her courses, she has continued to direct the graduate fellowship advisement office at Canisius. As the enrollment in modern languages has declined, the school has assigned administrative duties to the members of the modern languages department. Wilma has been quite active with her scholarship. In the last several weeks she has given papers at conferences in California, Wisconsin, and New York state and is now preparing a discussion she is to lead at the Leo Baeck Institute (for the history of the German - Speaking Jews) in New York City this March. We were very pleased when she received an acceptance from C.H. Beck, one of the most prestigious German publishers, for the annotated anthology on the history of the Jews in the Czech lands on which she has been working for the past several years.
I enjoy my teaching. Despite the dismal employment prospects for our doctoral candidates, I still have a number of very good graduate students and my Monday night seminars, held in our living room, continue to be lively. An exchange program, begun several years ago on a very modest scale between our graduate department and one of the German universities (TH Darmstadt) has brought a steady, even if small, flow of students from Germany, all of whom we have gotten to know very well, to Buffalo and taken our students to Germany. My own research is progressing more slowly than I would desire. I am particularly interested in the history of historical writing since the Enlightenment and have been writing a number of essays which will ultimately form the basis of a book. An outgrowth of my work in Göttingen two years ago was an international conference this summer in Göttingen on Enlightenment historiography in Germany. My main involvement in the community has been the NAACP, of which I have been an active member for over three decades. I have worked very closely with the Health Committee this past year which has investigated health conditions at the famous, or rather infamous Attica prison near Buffalo and succeeded, much to our pleasant surprise, in interesting both the Attica authorities and the Buffalo medical school in establishing a clinical program for advanced medical students. Since this September, I have been chairman of our department, really my first administrative experience of any sort. It took a good deal of persuasion to get me to consider the chairmanship at a difficult time for the department which has been badly split in the past. So far the chairmanship has been a relatively pleasant experience. I have an excellent administrative assistant who has handled most of the bureaucratic paperwork so that my duties have not been as time consuming as I had feared. And relationships in the department have been quite harmonious so far.
In May I went to Little Rock for two days at the invitation of Philander Smith College. It has been twenty-five years since we left Little Rock and I am pleased that our relationship with the school continues including the almost annual visitation. In June Wilma and I drove to Champaign, Ill. to combine a visit to Wilma‘s sister and brother-in-law with a use of the library. It was a very pleasant visit notwithstanding that Bob was receiving treatments in preparation for an operation later in the summer for what was thought to be a very localized malignancy. Little did we anticipate that he would not survive the operation. At the end of July we flew to Germany. We did not stay with Irmgard this time in Rauschenwasser although we saw quite a bit of her but for convenience sake we stayed in Göttingen itself at the house of friends who were on vacation. I remained in Göttingen during most of our stay preparing my paper for the conference. Wilma went to west and East Berlin and Munich to use archives and libraries. She did not go to Czechoslovakia this time but visited friends from her childhood days who had been relocated to Southern Germany after the war and two of whom she had not seen since her emigration from Czechoslovakia in 1938. As you know, after these many years we feel very much at home in Göttingen where we have both good friends and opportunity to do our research. Both Wilma and I have grants to return there next summer.
We look forward to hearing from you. Our very best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season and a year of peace and well being.
The Iggers Family,
Georg, Wilma, Jonathan