The Scottish Jewish Archives Centre

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August creameries

For many months I’ve been trying in vain to find time to sort out and properly follow up the precious scraps of information I gleaned from various sources at the beginning of this project, which coincided with the start of an incredibly hectic academic year. At last the summer vacation provides a breathing space, so the first thing I want to do is properly to acknowledge the great help and encouragement provided to me by the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, who were the first organization I contacted.

I was thrilled to receive an immediate reply from Harvey Kaplan, SJAC’s director, saying that just four years ago he’d done research into the history of the Glasgow Jewish Student’s Society as part of the preparation for its centenary celebrations. Samuel Grasse had been elected its first President in 1911 and Mr Kaplan had been President some sixty-six years later, so he’d taken a personal interest and written a centenary brochure which mentioned Samuel, a copy of which he very kindly sent me. At that time he’d done some research into Samuel’s life and was able to provide me with some key information:

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Russian Call-up papers

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samuel-grasse-military-callup

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I’ve always wondered why Samuel stayed at university for over a decade, first studying Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, then Politics Philosophy and Law, then Forensic Medicine and more law, and finally even more Chemistry and Metallurgy…but perhaps this military call-up paper sheds some light. Dated 22 September 1908 it has recently been found in a cardboard Cadburys chocolate box (with a picture of roses on the front!) kept safe by my grandmother and then my aunt, also containing several other interesting documents. Just as his second academic year was starting at Glasgow University the Russian authorities in Vilna were tracking Samuel down.

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