• Bert heads East

    Bert’s work on the serialisation of Brudno’s book ‘The Fugitive’ came to an end with the San Francisco Call. I believe he headed east in late July 1904. Before he leaves, he takes part in a fundraiser on June 12 at the B’nai B’rith Hall in San Francisco. This was reported a month and a half later in the Melbourne Jewish Herald..

    Melbourne Jewish Herald July 29 1904
    This farewell article appears in San Francisco call newspaper July 6th 1904

    The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway commonly known as the “Frisco“, was a railroad that operated in the Midwest and South Central United States from 1876 to 1980.
    The Hebrew Standard of Australasia. The Bulletin as usual was quite disparaging of Bert’s adventure.

    DID BERT ACTUALLY GO TO ST. LOUIS EXHIBITION / EXPOSITION ? It is interesting whilst there was much speculation the 1904 St Louis Exposition was Bert’s ultimate destination, however he never once mentions it…maybe it didn’t greatly excite him ?

    He did write about going east –

    In his biographical piece in the Lone Hand Theatre Magazine of 1912 he says he had money in his pocket for the first time on the journey east.

  • Rabbi Myer’s family – their 2 very talented children

    You’ve seen in previous posts Mrs Anna Myers led the Australian Coo-ee contingent welcoming Bert Levy and many others to San Francisco in 1904. Before we leave San Fran, I thought a brief account of this proud Australian Jewish family might be of interest… remembering that Rabbi Myers & his wife were once well known in Melbourne and Sandhurst (Bendigo)

    According to wikipedia, Isidore Myers, was born in Russia but came to Australia when was 13. His father, Morris was also a devout Hebrew Scholar and like his son had been master at the Hebrew school in Melbourne. Morris died in Fitzroy in 1909.

    I’ve read Isidor Myers was active in campaigns for women’s suffrage, abolition of capital punishment, and zionism. He also was a noted scholar. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1905 and he became well-connected with California’s emerging film industry!! Fo a summary of Rabbi Isidor Myer’s life here…

    click box below. https://jewishmiscellanies.com/2020/10/19/gems-from-the-talmud-rev-isidore-myers-london-1894/

    Isidor married Anna Jacobson Myers, she was the daughter of a Rabbi Dr. Dattner Jacobson who appears to have come to Melbourne and founded the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation and eventually left Australia for an appointment in New Orleans, USA. I’m sure there are descendents still in Australia.

    Anna had an older brother, Zion, and she was a cousin of director Mark Sandrich and photographer Ruth Harriet Louise. Anna’s family were serious players in very early Hollywood.. Click on their names above to read about them. Photo of Anna Jacobson Myers below –

    Isidor and Anna had two children, both born in the United States. Zion Myers born in 1898 and Carmel Myers in 1899 both born in San Francisco and would have known Bert Levy when children and when he returned to Hollywood, late in his career.

    Here is a bio piece on Zion Myers – click link


    Carmel Myers was even more successful well into her 50s. She died in 1980.


    Bonus below is a youtube clip of the beautiful Carmel Myers in her fifties hosting her own TV show…. She even talks about her mother and shows photo.

    Given the Myers family talent I wonder how many offspring are still knocking it out in Hollywood today. BLAS founding member Howard should be able to help us here.

  • Coo-ee Club con’t..

    Last post featured Bert being welcomed by San Francisco Aussies at their newly formed club in 1904.

    Mrs Isidor Myers, wife of the Chief Rabbi was the linchpin for the club.

    Albert Goldie was a Australian journalist – photo and background in link https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/145897331?searchTerm=Albert%20Goldie

    Some other Coo-ee Club reports –

    The Clarence sisters seem to very young to be touring the world in 1904.

    If you’re wondering what Rabbi Myers looked like, here is with Bert in 1908 in the Los Angeles Herald article. Rabbi Myers (an aussie) became very influential in the fledgling Zionist movement in the USA.

    Isidore Myers message and influence in the U.S was probably never understood back in Australia. Whilst news of Pogroms against the Jews going on in Russia and Central Europe were frequent they were not headlines in Australia. Much smaller Jewish population perhaps explains that compared with the USA.

    Los Angeles herald.(Los Angeles [Calif.]), December 15, 1905, Page 5
    The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]), January 03, 1904
    Rabbi Isidore Myer was certainly popular in San Francisco in 1904 if we look at the Jewish marriages at the end of 1903, start of 1904. The San Francisco call. , January 05, 1904

  • Bert gets warm welcome in Frisco

    To read about the origins of the ‘Coo-ee club’ see full text below from the San Francisco Call, July 18, 1904. (easier to read)
    Interesting take on the word ‘Coo-ee’ adopted here. The wife of the Chief Rabbi Mrs Isidor Myers seems to be the chief organiser. Bert’s arrival seems to galvanise the group.
    Of course Rabbi Myers was from Melbourne originally (Bert’s school master at one time) and also had been the Rabbi of Sandhurst in 1880’s. (That was the unpopular name of Bendigo till the 1870s when the citizens voted to change it back to Bendigo.)

    This fact above gives me an excuse to publish a sketch of the magnificent Sandhurst Synagogue, sadly pulled down in the 1920s. Bert Levy no doubt would have attended here along with fellow worshipper Sidney Myer in 1900 and 1901. Although Sidney’s older brother Elcon was more devout and they split on arguments on trading on the sabbath.

    The synagogue in perspective of it Bendigo surrounds… In foreground, the Criterion Hotel was Bendigo’s first substantial pub, built by the Danish Brothers known as the Cohns. (Also Jewish) in early 1850s. The Cohns bought cold beer to Australia from Europe and should be widely celebrated for that.

  • Bert’s first assignment in America….June 1904

    Bert’s depiction below in titled ‘the confession with caption ‘Go on, go on, God will forgive you’
    Third Installment below… the depiction is titled ‘Sacking of the Jewish Quarter’
  • Ship owner also owned the newspaper !

    Here is Tuesday May 17 1904 edition of the San Francisco Call newspaper owned by wealthy American entrepreneur John D Speckels. I guess when you own one you can always promote the other. Spreckels also had sugar interests in Hawaii so that is why he perhaps got on board at Honolulu.

    Below is what was printed in the article- with a couple of interesting references

    Poor bugger getting his leg caught in the eccentrics!!

    Below is a list of the passengers that disembarked at San Francisco. Too bad if you wanted to arrive into America unannounced !!
    And as well as stopping at Auckland and Honolulu the Sanoma pulled in at Pago Pago…. Just looked at map and Pago Pago is in direct line between Auckland to Hawaii.
    John D Spreckels was the son of German-American industrialist Claus Spreckels, founded a transportation and real estate empire in San Diego, California, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The entrepreneur‘s many business ventures included the Hotel del Coronado and the San Diego and Arizona Railway, both of which are credited with helping San Diego develop into a major commercial center.
    Upon his death he was eulogized as “One of America’s few great Empire Builders who invested millions to turn a struggling, bankrupt village into the beautiful and cosmopolitan city San Diego is today.”[1]
  • ‘Across the Pacific on Liner’ Part 2

    The Crew; Captain Harriman

    The Doctor

    The Purser
    The Chief Steward
    Below is the introduction to Bert’s written piece, obviously a journo at the San Francisco Sunday Call.

    Above- Interesting summation of Bert’s career to date (1904) also the first and only mention of the purpose of Bert’s trip to close negotiations on the east coast over a future Jewish publication.

  • ‘Across The Pacific On A Liner’ by Bert Levy

    Bert’s first feature story and series of sketches in a US newspaper appeared in the San Francisco Sunday Call on June 5, 1904. Bert’s stroke of good luck on the voyage happened at the halfway mark at Honolulu.


    Click on link above to read the full transcript.

    Frank Coffee was an American writer and publishers living in Sydney. He was a formidable traveller for the period. Click on his name below to read more on Frank.

    Difficult to find any references to the above jockey.

    Self portrait by Bert with the tag, ‘ Everyone Takes Me for a Scotchman’

    Peter Hughes was originally an American theatre manager and returned from his US voyage, however he died in a year later in Sydney.
    Click here to read short bio and see photo. https://www.google.com/search?q=peter+hughes+australian+theatre+manager+in+1900&rlz=1C5CHFA_enAU920AU928&sxsrf=ALiCzsYkwBLzO8kRDj97Ble4Db7Chn_lSQ%3A1659243864339&ei=WA3mYrWoFPGKz7sP4aWDyAE&ved=0ahUKEwi1tISJraL5AhVxxXMBHeHSABkQ4dUDCA4&uact=5&oq=peter+hughes+australian+theatre+manager+in+1900&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAMyBQghEKABSgQIQRgBSgQIRhgAUJEGWMQSYLsWaAFwAHgAgAHLAYgB-gqSAQUwLjcuMZgBAKABAcABAQ&sclient=gws-wiz
    Titled: A Game On Board
  • Bert sets sail for the USA in 1904

    After two years working for David Syme at the Leader group of newspapers, Bert decides to pull up stumps and try his luck in the United States. Getting there was neither easy nor cheap, as most northern hemisphere passages at the turn of the twentieth century were predominantly ‘Mother Country’ bound.

    Above, Bert recounts his decision making a decade later in 1912 in the ‘Lone Hand’ Theatre magazine biographical piece. Interesting no reference to Harriet and their young 7-8 year old child Alwyn!
    Here’s the ship PR informing it was 19 days between Sydney and San Francisco.
    Jewish Herald.
    Bendigo Independent

    You’ll see reference below to the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. Interesting the erstwhile Mt. Alexander Times out of Castlemaine at the time, makes reference that Bert is attending St. Louis EXpo at the behest of well known Melbourne firm. ?? Interesting, I can find no reference that Bert made St. Louis that year !!

    The main feature of the 1904 St Louis Exposition was titled ‘The Human Zoo’. Take a tour through what was on show. https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/largest-human-zoo-world-history

    If you believe the popular tales, more new American foods were invented at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, than during any other single event in history. The list includes the hamburger, the hot dog, peanut butter, iced tea, the club sandwich, cotton candy, and the ice cream cone, to name just a few. If all the pop histories and internet stories have it right, American foodways would be almost unrecognizable if the 1904 fair had not been held.

  • Mr I. Issacs sketch in the Political Conning Tower

    The first Federal Member for Indi was Yackandandah born, Issac Issacs. Yes the same seat held by Independent Helen Haynes today. He was a brilliant legal mind and appears bored by the political shenanigans of the new Parliamentarians who had honed their skills in State Politics prior. You can see the full page of sketches and goings on, which I believe Bert has written.



    One of Issac’s targets was Mr Reid, opposition leader of the Free Traders