Respondent
Katz, Harry L.
Interview Date
June 18, 1984
Abstract
Harry Katz, a self-taught and widely publicized expert in the field of pest control, is a founder and first president of the Parkway Jewish Center in Pittsburgh; birth year, 1915;
[T1S1] father's early life in Poland; his immigration to the United States in 1893; the story of his father's name change during immigration; his father's support of William Jennings Bryan in 1896; family's move to Washington, DC; his father's relationship with a Mr. Langley at the Smithsonian Institute, an engineer in flight; his family's move to Pittsburgh, PA; his father's first marriage and divorce; discussion of his father's furniture store on Carson Street; his parents' courtship and marriage in Canonsburg, PA; their "5and10" store; number and names of siblings in family; atmosphere in parents' home; his maternal grandfather's founding of a Lubavitch synagogue in Pittsburgh; his maternal grandparents' immigration; mother's siblings; other family background information; his mother's family roots in a Russian Lubavitcher village called Schedrin; a reunion in 1974 of relatives from the village; his collection of information on the Schedriners; his interest in oral history and collection of tapes from the Schedriners; recollections of the Jewish community of Canonsburg; prominent members of the Jewish community there; some history of the AZA in Pittsburgh; the role of Jews in pest control in Europe;
[T1S2] his chapters in the <i>Handbook of Pest Control</i>; his role in founding the Roundtable for Christians and Jews in Canonsburg; education, Canonsburg High School; his family's hardware business; his violin studies; enlistment in the Army; his purchase of the Elko Company, a pest control business; his parents' deaths; his service as White House War Department company clerk during WWII; his three brothers' service in the Army; his visits to the White House in the past; courtship and marriage; his wife's employment with Social Security; his personal library on pest control; his expertise in the field;
[T2S3] recollections of the early 1920s; recollections of visits to his grandparents in Pittsburgh as a youth; early medical treatment for acne; experiences with anti-Semitism; an alcohol-related incident during prohibition; early married life; discussion of the congregation that met in his basement; obtaining loans from Hebrew Free Loan to build a synagogue; discussion of the construction of the synagogue;
[T2S4] the completion of the Parkway Jewish Center for Rosh Hashana in the late 1940s; expansion of the building and congregation; his service as original president and honorary president; lengthy discussion of his children's education and careers; his views about raising children; his affiliation with American War Veterans, B'nai B'rith, and Hadassah; his service as treasurer of Hebrew Free Loan; discussion of his introduction into entomology by Arnold Mallis; his writings on pest control; his association with Carnegie Museum as a research associate; honorary member, Pi Chi Omega, an entomologists' fraternity;
[T3S5] more recollections of early life in Canonsburg; names of neighbors in the Jewish community in Canonsburg; his wife's education at Temple University in Journalism; her service as president of Hadassah; her independence and places of employment; recipient, Frederick Melsheimer Distinguished Service Award of the Entomological Society of Pittsburgh; his service as treasurer for the organization; his creation of the Elko Award for students in entomology in Pennsylvania; member, American Registry of Professional Entomologists; his service as secretary of the Pest Control Association from 1951-1980; his Hall of Fame Award from the Pest Control Association; his role in founding a poison control center at Children's Hospital; history of the Amateur Entomologists Association; his involvement with the Jewish War Veterans of Eastmont; Charter Member, B'nai B'rith; preserving a walking cane for Danny Kaye;
[T3S6] 1971, trip to Israel to speak about pest control; his speaking engagements at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health; his environmental concerns; editorial staff member, "Pest Control Technology"; his views about the Heinz plant; views about his accomplishments; his views about where insects exist in the home, the use of chemical pesticides; more discussion of his publications in the field.
Subjects
Business; Industries; Canonsburg (Pa.); Pests--Control; National Pest Control Association; Shchedrin (Russia); City and town life; Jews--Social life and customs; Synagogues; Parkway Jewish Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Birth Date
1915
Profession
Pest control
Length (hours)
3
Interviewer1
Mermelstein, Elinore
Interviewer2
Busis, Sylvia
Indexer
Reynolds, Jacqueline
Collateral Materials
Box 102 FF 50
Identifier
ais196440.223
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh