Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Marty Solomon, August 17, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Family background, Prohibition, and the bourbon industry

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, to get us started today, I'm going to say, uh, today is August 17th--

Segment Synopsis: Marty Solomon speaks about his early life growing up on the south side of Chicago, and how he and his family came to live in the state of Kentucky. His parents worked in the bourbon industry and he grew up working in a distillery where they produced Old Blair Bourbon. He talks about how rural women would work on the bottling line in the distillery.

Keywords: Beatrice Newfield Solomon; Bottling plants; Bourbon industry; Chicago (Ill.); David Karp; Julie (Solomon) Karp; Kentucky; King Lear; Loretto (Ky.); Martin Berthold Solomon; Martin Solomon Sr.; Melvin Kessler; Old Blair; Robert Kessler; Seagrams; The Great Depression; WW2; WWII; World War 2; World War II

Subjects: Alcohol industry.; Bourbon whiskey; Distilleries--Kentucky; Family histories.; Jewish families.; Prohibition.; Whiskey industry; Women in the whiskey industry

GPS: Loretto, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.6353403, -85.4007952
00:09:15 - High school Jewish fraternities in Louisville, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, the greatest th--one of the great things about my childhood was, uh, there were two Jewish fraternities in Louisville.

Segment Synopsis: Solomon describes his later youth in Louisville and his membership with Pi Tau Pi, a chapter of AZA in the 1940s. The Jewish high school fraternities would compete in different events. Solomon thinks that his membership in this fraternity was one of the instrumental aspects of his Jewish identity.

Keywords: Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA); Bernie Solomon; Bowman Hall (University of Kentucky); Carl Rankin; Connie Goldberg; Earl Levy; Gil Levich; Henry Abraham; Highland Junior High School; Jack Steinberg; Jimmy Winniker; Louisville Male High School; Michael Solomon; Pi Tau Pi; Tom Reynolds; University of Kentucky; Youth Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA); Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT)

Subjects: Greek letter societies.; Jewish children; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Louisville (Ky.); Religion

GPS: Location of Jewish Community Center in Louisville, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.2254832, -85.65046129999996
00:21:57 - Jewish-owned department stores in Lexington in the 1950s

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Partial Transcript: You know, Main Street in Lexington, I don't know if you have heard about this but it--there were fifteen Jewish stores on Main Street.

Segment Synopsis: Solomon briefly talks about some of the Jewish-owned stores in downtown Lexington from the early 1950s, and the "townies" that were members of Zeta Beta Tau with him that had families that owned or worked in these stores.

Keywords: Ben Snyder Store; Blumfield's; Delta Delta Delta; Earl Steinberg; Gil Levich; Homecoming parade; Hyman's; Jack Steinberg; Madge Barnett; Main Street (Lexington Ky.); Phi Sigma Sigma; Pledge master; Pledges; Ronny Tiller; Tots and Teens; Winniker's Shoe Store; Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT)

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Greek letter societies.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

GPS: Main Street in Lexington, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: -85.65046129999996, -84.50845900000001
00:23:04 - Life as a member of Zeta Beta Tau at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Anyway, Jimmy was our pledge master, and so he--we--we--he would meet with us and tell us what to do, you know?

Segment Synopsis: Solomon describes his life as an undergraduate brother of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, including descriptions of the house, events he participated in, fraternity customs, and the dynamics of chapter meetings. This includes an anecdote about pledging.

Keywords: Alan Blumfield; Babe Ruth; Champale; Delta Delta Delta sorority; Earl Steinberg; Eugene DuBow; Fraternities; Gil Levich; Harriet Rose; Hillel; Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC); Jack Miller; Jack Steinberg; Jewish fraternity; Jewish sorority; Jimmy Winniker; Joe Kennedy; Kennedy Book Store; Lou Gehrig; Madge Barnett; Murderer's Row; Phi Sigma Sigma; Ronny Tiller; Sorority; State Street (Lexington, Ky.); Stuart Yussman; Teddy Bregg; The Kentuckian; The Paddock (bar); University of Tennessee; Walgreen's

Subjects: College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Greek letter societies.; University of Kentucky

00:49:49 - ROTC and Solomon's early years in Air Force training

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Partial Transcript: So when I graduated, uh, w--I was in the, uh, ROTC.

Segment Synopsis: Solomon talks about his training to be a pilot in the Air Force which led to his first experience working with an African-American, as well as his work in aircraft maintenance. He talks about racism in Illinois in the 1950s and how the military helped its Black officers. He then discusses some of the campus climate at the University of Kentucky regarding racism and antisemitism.

Keywords: Air Force; Air craft maintenance; Bill Dixon; Captain Stern; Chanute Air Force Base; Harlingen (Tex.); Kappa Alpha Order; Pilot Training; Rantoul (Ill.); Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC); Rosh Hashanah; Yom Kippur

Subjects: African Americans--Relations with Jews.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Anti-Semitism; Antisemitism; Discrimination.; Integration; United States--Race relations.; United States. Army Air Forces; United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps; University of Kentucky

GPS: Former location of Chanute Air Force Base (now decommissioned)
Map Coordinates: 40.2889062, -88.14384869999998
01:06:15 - Life and graduate school after the Air Force

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Partial Transcript: When I left I--well when I--I had an interesting experience.

Segment Synopsis: Solomon discusses his time soon after he left the Air Force, including time living in Louisville with his parents and making the decision to go back to school to become a CPA and then later get his PhD.

Keywords: Certified Public Accountant (CPA); Dale Osburn; Dr. Koulson; Federal reserve; Furniture stores; Jim Gibson; Louisville (Ky.); Masters of Business Administration (MBA); Monroe Accounting Machines; University of Texas at Arlington

Subjects: Economics; Employment--Kentucky; Jewish families.

GPS: Louisville, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.25266469999999, -85.75845570000001
01:11:22 - Career in computer science 1960-1997

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, the, uh--when I was a, uh--started teaching, uh--another--you know sometimes things that look like disasters turn out to be real opportunities.

Segment Synopsis: Solomon talks about the time he spent teaching undergraduate statistics and how he became involved with computer science in the early years of the computer. He worked on punch cards that could process linear regressions through the computer. Solomon then describes his numerous professional roles working in computer science at Ohio State University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Utah.

Keywords: Chief Information Officer; Computing; Director of Computing; McVey Hall; Ohio State University; University of Kentucky; University of South Carolina; University of Utah

Subjects: Computer science.; Computers.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.

GPS: The Ohio State University
Map Coordinates: 40.0141905, -83.0309143
01:24:26 - Jewish identity

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Partial Transcript: Uh, now I did spend some time--in U, in Utah we had one temple.

Segment Synopsis: Solomon compares Jewish life in Salt Lake City, Utah with Jewish life in Lexington, Kentucky. He also compares Jewish life in the conservative temple in Lexington with the reform temple in Lexington. He also describes his current Jewish life in Lexington, and his early Jewish life with his parents. He concludes by discussing his personal positions on a variety of Jewish issues such as spirituality, the Israel/Palestinian conflict, and some reflections on his family's Jewish upbringing.

Keywords: Adath Israel; B'nai B'rith; B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO); Bar Mitzvah; Bill Fish; Confirmation; Conservative congregation; Early Levy; Eli Capilouto; Elizabeth Solomon; Gary Yarus; Hamas; Haphtarah; Hebrew; Hezbollah; High holy days; Israel-Palestinian conflict; Jewish Federation; Jimmy Droughtman; Lexington Jewish community; Morris Weiss; North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY); Ohavay Zion; Orthodox congregation; Phi Sigma Sigma; Rabbi Klein; Rabbi Smolkin; Reform Judaism; Reform congregation; Robert Kessler; Sarah Levy; Shabbat services; Synagogue; Temple; Unitarian Church; Utah Jewish Community

Subjects: Anti-Semitism; Antisemitism; Discrimination.; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Lexington (Ky.); Religion; Worship (Judaism)

GPS: Ohavay Zion Synagogue
Map Coordinates: 37.9986288, -84.47181260000002