A Nation of Immigrants – National Archives

The National Archives Presents:

archives-logo A Nation of Immigrants: How They Shaped America (This program is presented in partnership with the Jewish  Historical Society of Greater Washington—in celebration of Jewish History Month)  Location:  William G. McGowan Theater; National Archives; 7th St. and Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC  20408.

Panelists: Nick Kotz (The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas); Steve Roberts (From Every End of the Earth: 13 families and the New Lives They Made in America), and Sanford J. Ungar (Fresh Blood: The New American Immigrants) Details: This program will be presented in conjunction with Jewish-American Heritage Month and in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.

Wednesday, May 14: National Archives

7:00 to 9:00 PM

Wow! What a Texas-sized Story!

The National Blog of Texas reviews The Harness Maker’s Dream: Here is the story of an immigrant who came to the United States. He was 17 years old, knew zero English, had very few contacts, made his way across the country to Chicago, lived in mind-numbing poverty and wretchedness, made his way to Texas, and he and his family made a huge difference in the rise of South Texas and San Antonio in particular. How they did-all that they did-is a wonderful story. Not all immigrant stories turn out like this…but this one did. Why?
Read more

Renowned Texas Journalist Shares Family History Harness Makers Dream

Kotz tells KUT’s David Brown, host of the forthcoming daily news show Texas Standard, the story of how  Nathan Kallison escaped the Cossacks in Russia to the ghettos of Chicago where he became a harness maker.”The automobile was starting to roll on the streets of Chicago,” Kotz says. “[Nathan Kallison] had vision, and he saw if there were harnesses and saddles that were still going to be used any place, Texas was the best place to go.”

And Texas is where Nathan Kallison went. Listen to their interview in the Soundcloud player above or on the KUT.org web site:

 

News

Texas Institute of Letters announces that The Harness Maker’s Dream is a finalist for their Carr P. Collins Award for Nonfiction.

TILThe Texas Institute of Letters has announced that The Harness Maker's Dream is a finalist for their Carr P. Collins Award for Nonfiction.

The awards are for works appearing during calendar year 2013. The Institute was founded in 1936 to recognize literary achievement and to promote interest in Texas literature. Authors must have lived in Texas for at least two years or their works must relate to the state. Texas Institute of Letters Website

Writers’ League of Texas Review

Read Laura D. Sanders'  review of the THE HARNESS MAKER’S DREAM on Writers' League of Texas web site. 10_1899_Kallison-Family-in-Chicago-Standing_Nathan-(left),-Anna-(right),--Seated_Dina-Kallison-(center),-Pauline-(left),-Morris-(right)I stand in awe of the Kallison family.  From surviving pogroms against Jews in Russia, to moving around the world to the U.S. and then surviving one of the longest Texas droughts (seven years) with their ranch and farm/ranch store intact, this family had an incredible ability to roll with life’s punches and come up standing.  In the process they insisted on helping their neighbors at every possible turn, as well as serving the wider community, the city of San Antonio, the cattle and horse industries of Texas, and even the United States, leaving a legacy in many areas. For those interested in the history of Texas ranching and farming, the Kallisons’ story is a microcosm of the best that can be done, and the factors that contributed to the downturn of the [...]

Renowned Texas Journalist Shares Family History in ‘The Harness Maker’s Dream’

Kotz tells KUT's David Brown, host of the forthcoming daily news show Texas Standard, the story of how  Nathan Kallison escaped the Cossacks in Russia to the ghettos of Chicago where he became a harness maker."The automobile was starting to roll on the streets of Chicago," Kotz says. "[Nathan Kallison] had vision, and he saw if there were harnesses and saddles that were still going to be used any place, Texas was the best place to go." And Texas is where Nathan Kallison went. Listen to their interview in the Soundcloud player above or on the KUT.org web site: http://kut.org/post/renowned-texas-journalist-shares-family-history-harness-makers-dream
 

TEXAS MATTERS

Nick Kotz speaks about The Harness Maker’s Dream and the Kallison family of San Antonio with David Martin Davies, Producer and Host of TEXAS MATTERS.  Learn more about the program at http://tpr.org/programs/texas-matters and tune in the weekend of January 4 to listen to the interview. TEXAS MATTERS is a Texas Public Radio broadcast that airs on 30 stations across the state Fridays at 3:30 pm, Saturdays at 6:30 am, and Sundays at9:30 pm CT
News4SA

News 4 San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO - Author Nick Kotz discusses his book titled: The Harness Maker's Dream Nathan Kallison & the Rise of South Texas. The book is about the Kallison family and their journey escaping anti-Semitic laws in Europe, and finding a new home in Texas. Kotz will be at the The Twig Book Shop (306 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio) on Dec. 6, 5-7pm, and during the Tamale Festival on Dec. 7, 3-5pm.
1950s Kallison's store North View
photo: UTSA Institute of TexantCultures

The remarkable clash of 2 Jewish retail titans

SAN DIEGO–I suppose the thing that makes me the saddest about The Harness Maker’s Dream is that the “villain” in this excellent-reading story about the Kallison family empire in San Antonio, Texas, was a man that so many of us San Diegans admire: Sol Price, although he is not mentioned by name in this family memoir by journalist Nick Kotz. Sol Price and his son Robert are among the merchant philanthropists of whom we Jews are most proud in San Diego, just as many Jews of San Antonio revere the memories of Nathan Kallison and his sons Morris and Perry.  From what was initially a harness maker’s store, Nathan expanded his enterprise into Kallison’s Big Country Store, and then, so he could understand his customers better and sell them products he could personally recommend, he purchased and developed Kallison Ranch where he raised Texas Polled Hereford cattle. [...]
Nathan Kallison is shown here in 1927 on his ranch, which has become part of the Government Canyon State Natural Area.

Washington Times Book Review

Jewish ranchers, Jewish cowboys — in Texas?  OK, Jewish cowboys did exist, but it would be a stretch to exaggerate their number. However, in the late 19th century and through most of the 20th century, there were definitely Jewish ranches, small, medium and large, in Texas, as this intriguing book illustrates.  Read more...  
122_1968_Kallison--Wear-Cowboy-statue-on-top-of-Kallison's-Western-Wear-small

Immigrant’s life burnished by determination

The old statue of a wiry-bodied cowboy in leather chaps, vest, boots and hat, holding his saddle in his right hand, with six-shooter hanging from his left hip, still stands atop the former Kallison's store on South Flores Street, just south of the Plaza de Armas. That image, immortalized on the cover of Nick Kotz's fascinating new history of the pioneering Russian Jewish merchant-rancher Nathan Kallison and his remarkable family, is an appropriate symbol for the entire Kallison family enterprise, once a dynamic civic presence but now faded from prominence. Adopted as a teenager by Jacob Kotz, M.D., of Washington, D.C., upon his mother Tibe's second marriage, Nick Kotz brings to this book the great advantage of being Nathan Kallison's grandson. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of six other books who has written for the Washington Post and [...]
10_1899_Kallison-Family-in-Chicago-Standing_Nathan-(left),-Anna-(right),--Seated_Dina-Kallison-(center),-Pauline-(left),-Morris-(right)

Back Story: A Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Examines His Own Family

After many years as a journalist—investigating presidents, congressmen, and labor union officials, examining the military-industrial complex, civil rights and social justice issues—I never imagined that the most challenging and rewarding story would be about my own family. Growing up in San Antonio, I knew little about my Kallison grandparents in whose home my mother and I lived for the first twelve years of my life.  They were two of 23 million men, women and children—two million of them Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe—who surged into the United States from 1880 through 1920—and they rarely spoke of their pasts. Why hadn’t I asked them about their early lives: Where in Russia were they born? What was it like living as Jews under the autocratic thumb of an oppressive czar? How did they escape from Russia? Why did they come to Texas? How [...]
The Kallison’s storefront, seen here in the 1930s, was a fixture in downtown San Antonio. It catered to ranchers and farmers.

The Jewish Russian harness maker who brought Texas ranching into the 20th century Austin American-Statesman

In the new “The Harness Maker’s Dream,” Nick Kotz writes about his grandfather, Nathan Kallison, a notable San Antonio merchant and rancher.

The story echoes that of many Jewish immigrants at that time. A 17-year-old boy with the skills to turn leather into horse harnesses comes to America in 1890 to escape the Cossacks. But Kallison’s story takes a turn. Within four years, he opens his own store in Chicago’s Jewish West Side. Nine years in, he has moved to San Antonio to open up a store that would cater to ranchers and farmers throughout South Central Texas. Within 20 years, he buys a ranch and the family helps champion the Polled Hereford breed of cattle. He revolutionizes ranching and farming when cattle drives were coming to an end and droughts were common.

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About The Harness Maker’s Dream

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Releasing Fall 2013

ISBN: 978-0-87565-567-3

Both historical study and ancestral narrative, The Harness Maker’s Dream follows the story of Ukrainian immigrant Nathan Kallison’s journey to the United States in search of a brighter future. At the turn of the twentieth century, over two million Jews emigrated from Czarist Russia and Eastern Europe to escape anti-Semitic law. Seventeen-year-old Kallison and his brothers were among those brave enough to escape persecution and pursue a life of freedom by leaving their homeland in 1890. Faced with the challenges of learning English and earning wages as a harness maker, Kallison struggles to adapt to his new environment.

Kallison moves to San Antonio, Texas, where he finds success by founding one of the largest farm and ranch supply businesses in south Texas and eventually running one of the region’s most innovative ranches. Despite enormous changes in environment and lifestyle, Nathan Kallison and his beloved wife Anna manage to maintain their cultural heritage by raising their children in the Jewish faith, teaching them that family values and a strong sense of character are more important than any worldly achievement.
The son of Nathan Kallison’s daughter Tibe, author Nick Kotz provides a moving account of his ancestors’ search for the American dream. Kotz’s work has received recognition by the Texas Jewish Historical Society for eloquently depicting the reality of life for Jewish immigrants in Texas during this time and delineating their significant contributions to society. Kotz’s insight into the life of this inspiring individual will prompt readers to consider their own connections to America’s immigrant past and recognize the beauty of our nation’s diverse history