Respondent
Stark, William
Interview Date
1991; 1992; 1997
Abstract
Respondent businessman and philanthropist, born 1917.
[T1S1] Respondent provides background information: father born, 1892, Galicia; mother born, 1894, Romania; both active in socialist movement; comments on their lives in Europe and their love of learning. Respondent born in New York; notes family's move to Swissvale, 1926; comments on meeting father called together with Leo Lehman and Louis Caplan to explain Hitler's threat; discusses beginning of United Jewish Federation: Louis Reizenstein, first president; mentions mother's involvement with Planned Parenthood. Respondent comments on writing paper on history of Socialist Party while attending University of Pittsburgh: 1938; explains importance of preserving Yiddish language; notes parents not religious. Respondent describes immediate family, siblings, parents: their previous lives in Europe and involvement with socialist activities; explains father's knowledge of nine languages enabled him to explain to Edgar Kaufmann and Leon Falk events happening in Europe during World War II. Respondent discusses his religious attitudes, adolescent accomplishments and social life.
[T1S2] Respondent expresses sad feelings about relationship with father: cold; comments on relationship with mother: warm and loving; notes attendance at Taylor Allderdice High School: unpleasant experience, views differed from classmates; notes most Jewish people do not agree with his philosophy. Respondent discusses attendance at University of Pittsburgh and one year at Harvard Law School; did not serve in World War II: failed physical; notes marriage to wife Olga, 1940; births of daughters. Respondent reflects on music lessons and attendance at Pittsburgh Symphony.
[T2S3] Respondent begins discussion of business career, Penn Overall Supply: industrial laundry business; reflects on Law School at University of Pittsburgh; Jewish students not completely comfortable, anti-Semitism; recalls being old newsboy and founding of group; comments on Black community and need to create jobs for single mothers.
[T2S4] blank.
[T3S5] Respondent mentions daughters' marriages at Rodef Shalom Temple; notes help in organizing Talmud study group, comments on children's religious education; notes importance of helping others earning a living, both daughters in helping professions; provides additional comments on importance of Temple. Respondent elaborates on founding of Bidwell Cultural Center and work with Jimmy Joe Robinson to provide jobs for unemployed single mothers, gives detailed information; mentions present director and various programs including music, crafts and art. Respondent reflects on founding of Hill City with Howard McKinney, social worker: help youth learn about judicial system with crime prevention program. Respondent discusses possibility of creating Israel Museum in Amberson House at 5<sup>th</sup> and Negley Aves.
[T3S6] Respondent continues discussion from previous tape on Bidwell Cultural Center: believes in self help, notes importance of educating people so they can support themselves, comments on welfare system; feels social workers control "purse strings": not good; "don't throw money at problems, involve people in solutions"; "success is mutual, respect of one human being to another." Respondent notes: "people learn because they want to learn, not because you teach them something"; comments negatively on William Strickland of Bidwell Cultural Center: no relevance to people of Manchester, gives examples. Respondent discusses marital problems: sought family counseling; explains various problems concerning differences between Respondent and wife.
[T4S7] Respondent discusses friendship with Kenny Ross, first Jew to open auto dealership; formation of Big Brothers of Pittsburgh; comments on relationship with Joseph M. Katz and establishment of Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business Administration; University of Pittsburgh; describes Cyril Wecht: self destructive; notes involvement with University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.
[T4S8] Respondent reflects on Sidney and Sadie Stark spoken record library fund; notes Stark Listening Center collection at Hillman library endowed by Respondent; discusses love of music; involvement with religious studies program at University of Pittsburgh and interest in survival of Yiddish language.
[T5S9] Respondent gives date of retirement: 1972 at age 55; discusses founding of organization for employment of Senior Citizens: Senior Citizen Service Corporation; comments of failure of Montefiore Hospital and changes in nursing education. Respondent reflects on brother Sidney: had advantages other siblings did not have; comments on his piano lessons.
[T5S10] Respondent recalls establishment of William and Sidney Stark Family Foundation; long history of involvement with democratic politics; explains various city and county improvements including new airport to be built. Respondent describes family commitment to employment of handicapped: social responsibilities of businesses to employ handicapped; mentions Vocational Rehabilitation Center. Respondent touches on United Way: how money was raised in community; mentions Edgar Kaufmann and work on Civic Arena: had foresight in importance of creating retractable roof. Respondent mentions involvement with Harmarville Rehabilitation Institute: first Jew to sit on board of directors.
[T6S11] Respondent discusses beginning of Point Park College: 1962; gave students with "C" grades opportunity for education, various degrees and associate degrees; mentions Pittsburgh Ballet Theater: on board of directors, notes generosity and support given by Mrs. Leon Falk.
[T6S12] (Blank)
[T7S13] Respondent details association with City of Hope: hospital originally for patients with pulmonary problems, now research hospital, founded by Jews; repeats Stark family interest in music: at age 70, Respondent began study of viola, played in Boca Raton Orchestra. Respondent discusses role as fundraiser and vice president of Civic Light Opera: gives background; mentions interest in prison system.
[T7S14] Respondent reflects on formation of Smaller Manufacturers Council: reasons for formation including transfer of businesses to second and third generations; explains position as chairman of National Council of Christians and Jews: ego trip, role to break down barriers: ineffective; mentions American Wind Symphony.
[T8S15] Respondent discusses Young Presidents Organization, requirements: must be under 38 and president of company; discusses drum corps: youth musical program, get kids involved and off streets; funds raised by Respondent; reflects on Pittsburgh Symphony, notes more women and Blacks now participants. Respondent explains work with Ursuline Center: on board of directors: formed to house families of patients receiving medical care, converted to Family House; mentions Family House created by University of Pittsburgh. Respondent touches on legacy: proud of example set for children and others: to give back in some measure; notes children take interest in community, most significant to Respondent.
[T8S16] Respondent repeats importance of " giving of yourself to get it done, follow through, don't expect someone else to do it." Respondent expresses personal feelings: late in recognizing affection of father, deals with continuous anxiety, loneliness as child and adult, need to be "Boss", very few friendships, feels being social is often a waste and wife's attitude towards his accomplishments.
[T9S17] Respondent repeats information from previous tapes; gives detailed review of personal papers and speeches.
[T9S18] Respondent discusses burnings and riots in Pittsburgh: 1968; comments on white and black relations; reflects on purchase of jewelry business, remained in it 3 years: lucrative; briefly touches on Jacob Davis and family.
Subjects
Bidwell Cultural Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Business; Industries; Caplan, Louis; City of Hope National Medical Center (U.S.); Social service; Democratic Party (Allegheny County, Pa.); Falk, Leon; Falk, Katherine Sonneborn.; Harmarville Rehabilitation Center (Pa.); Hill City (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Katz, Joseph M.; Kaufmann, Edgar, 1910-1989; Penn Overall Supply Company; Point Park College; Robinson, Jimmy Joe; Socialism; University of Pittsburgh. University Libraries. Stark Listening Center; Strickland, Bill, 1947-; Ursuline Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Length (hours)
9
Interviewer1
Braun, Howard
Interviewer2
Joseph, Florence
Indexer
Berger, Betty
Collateral Materials
Box 106 FF 38
Identifier
ais196440.452
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh