Annual letter 1982

100 Ivyhurst Road

Buffalo, NY 14226

November 25, 1982

 

Dear Friends:

It is Thanksgiving. Wilma just left for a weekend conference in New York, and I shall fill out the loneliness of the evening by communicating with you.

This has been a full year, but personally for all of us a good one. The year began with Dan and Janet's wedding in a blizzard in Janet's parents‘ country house in the hills north of Toronto, a simple ceremony, which they had selected, with the closest family and friends there. Sarah was there too, all excited, and sang "Let There be Peace on Earth." Sarah seems to live well with the idea that, as she says, she has two sets of parents -- Maggie has also remarried.

Sarah lives with Maggie in Hamilton but spends three weekends a month with Dan and Janet in Toronto. We see quite a bit of her and Dan and Janet, and Sarah feels very much at home here. She just turned five now, is articulate, intellectually curious, and affectionate. Dan is still working as an editor for Carswell, the Canadian legal publisher enjoys the work more now than he did at first and prefers it to practicing law.

Jeremy continues as food writer for the Detroit Free Press. He does it with a good deal of imagination and humor. Some of his columns have been syndicated throughout the country, and you may have seen them. He enjoys his writing, is less fond of Detroit and manages to spend a fair amount of time in Minneapolis where his circle of friends is. He would like to work part time for the paper, in order to follow his various projects which include completing his dissertation on journalistic ethics at the University of Minnesota and other writing plans. The Joy of Cheesecake continues to do well, and he is now work-ing with Wilma on an ethnic cookbook which will seek to capture the lost atmosphere of the Bohemia she knew.

Jonathan, who still lives at home, is quite busy with his houses and with postering advertisements for magazines, travels and courses in colleges throughout this part of the state, He began buying houses together with a friend on small down payments and high mortgages in the area near the old university campus. At present he owns and manages seven older houses which he rents to students. He had begun this after his job with the county division of social services was discontinued two years ago. He has new been offered a new position with the division of social services and is scheduled to begin this coming Monday.

Wilma has received a contract from C.H. Beck, a leading West German publisher, for her anthology on the Bohemian Jews since the Enlightenment. She has been extremely busy, too busy, with the manuscript which she hopes to submit in summer. In addition she has a full load of classes at Canisius College and some administrative responsibilities.

She has a wealth of material for her volume and now faces the painful task of eliminating texts. The volume will have a quite extensive historical introduction. Her relaxation consists of working on cookbook with Jeremy and visiting every possible garage sale. And, of course, she enjoys spending time with her granddaughter.

I am now in the middle of the second year of my three year term as chairman of my department. The department had been badly split in the past, and I accepted the responsibility with some apprehension. Actually I have found my work in the chairmanship quite pleasant. I have been able to delegate power and have had very good support from my colleagues and an excellent administrative assistant. My own research has been proceeding slowly. This summer in Göttingen I continued writing new concluding chapters for my two historiographical volumes which are reappearing. I continue to have a small circle of good graduate students with whom I work very closely. On Monday nights my graduate seminar meets here in our living room, by now an old institution. My community work is now mostly restricted to the Buffalo branch of the NAACP and an occasional military counseling case.

This summer we were in Europe again. we had hoped to go to Italy together where I attended a conference on theory of history in Turin. Something came up, however, which made Wilma. delay her trip, the installation of her father, who had died twenty-eight years ago, into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame, an occasion for a family gathering which I unfortunately missed. Wilma joined me right afterwards in Germany where, as usual, we met our circle of students in Darmstadt, both Buffalo students who are studying there, and the Darmstadt students who have been here in Buffalo as part of an exchange between the two history departments which has functioned very well. The students have become good friends. We arrived just in time for the wedding of two Darmstadt students who had spent two years in Buffalo. The major part of the remaining summer we spent in Göttingen which has become almost a second home to us. We again stayed with our good friend Irmgard Bokemeyer in Rauschenwasser, but spent several weeks apartment sitting in Göttingen for two sets of friends on vacation. Irmgard, who was full of energy and enthusiasm this summer despite her 76 years, has unfortunately been quite disabled since our departure, with a very painful bone condition. Our basis of operation was the Max Planck Institute for History where we always find a very congenial and stimulating circle of discussion partners. In Göttingen, as usual, we combined intensive work with a good deal of sociability. In early July we went to East Germany for several days where I lectured in Leipzig and Berlin. Again we appreciated the human and scholarly contacts. I have been a frequent guest in Leipzig, and I was pleased we could reciprocate this October when colleagues from the GDR (East Germany) came for lectures and discussions to Buffalo. Incidentally, this semester we also have had a visiting professor from Peking in our department, a remarkably open, well informed scholar, who has interacted very well with our colleagues and whom we have come to know well.

As usual our house has been a lively place. The children have been here often. Sarah spent a week with us in spring. We have had a steady flow of visitors from Germany. In turn we seldom spent a night in a hotel over there. In September my cousin visited us from Australia with his son and, although we had not seen each other since we were children in Germany forty-four years ago, we immediately realized that we shared very similar values and interests.

Our best wishes for the holiday period and for a New Year

which will hopefully see progress towards international reconciliation.

the Iggers Family

Georg, Wilma, Jonathan