Susman, Milton
Interview Date
November 10, 1976
Milton Susman, a graduate of Harvard Law School, practiced law for a time, ran his own advertising agency, and became assistant director of continuing education at Duquesne University; birth year, 1906;
[T1S1] father's family's emigration from Holland; his mother's family comes from Northeast Germany; family background in the United States; father's death; mother's remarriage; his siblings from the second marriage; atmosphere in the home; recollections of early life in the Hill District of Pittsburgh; family affiliation with Tree of Life Synagogue; mother's community activities; his paternal grandparents' circus; mother's expulsion from school; a description of his mother; his education at Garfield School, Schenley High School; activities at Schenley High;
[T1S2] enrollment at Pennsylvania State University; attends Harvard Law School on scholarship; becomes a tutor at Harvard in English and Latin; Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech at his commencement from Harvard;
[T2S3] employment in the English Department of the University of Pittsburgh; meeting his future wife, Minnie Spero, a law school student; discussion of their courtship; her law practice in Butler County, PA; anti-Semitism in the community where she practices; she becomes a president of National Council of Jewish Women; early married life; financial effects of the stock market crash of 1929; summer employment at a boys camp; recovering from the stock market crash; opens a law office with two other lawyers; becomes part- time editor of the <i>Jewish Criterion</i>; joins law firm of Ecker, Duff, and Dunn;
[T2S4] incident surrounding an article he wrote for the <i>Jewish Chronicle</i>; his enlistment into the Army in the area of dombat intelligence during WWII; his travels to a concentration camp during the war; description of the horrors he saw there; returns to Pittsburgh after four years; his wife is admitted to the Pittsburgh bar; her service as president, Pittsburgh Chapter, National Council of Jewish Women and faculty member of Rodef Shalom confirmation class; his travels for the United Jewish Appeals (UJA); birth of his son during a speech for UJA; trips to the Middle East on behalf of UJA; buying a home after the war;
[T3S5] running for the state legislature in 1960 against Maurice Goldstein; visiting Roosevelt in Washington in behalf of Jews in Poland in 1939; his involvement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in investigating the German bunds in Pittsburgh; discussion of his advertising agency, Friedman, Susman, and Baime; his decision to leave law practice; leaving advertising to become assistant director of continuing education at Duquesne University; his career at Duquesne; handling the Allen Rug Company advertising account;
[T3S6] a discussion of the McCarthy Era and his conflict with the owner of the <i>Wilkinsburg Gazette</i>, John McDowell; character assassination directed at himself, Rabbi Freehof of Rodef Shalom Temple, and Florence Reizenstein during this period; discussion of FBI disclosures of 1975; his son's decision to become a rabbi; his son's education, marriage and first congregation; the birth of their first grandchild; his service with the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) after WWII; 1950s, he becomes the moderator of a program on interfaith appreciation called "Operation Understanding" on WQED;
[T4S7] discussion of WQED program; his employment in radio as a student; anecdote of a particular on-air panel discussion; his half-hour radio shows on the problems of aging on KDKA Radio; expansion of this series; his personal views about the Jewish community in Pittsburgh; changes in the city of Pittsburgh;
[T4S8] his social life; his community involvement, including NCCJ, Home for Crippled Children, Craig House Technoma, Gateway to Music Program, Hebrew Free Loan Association and the Pastoral Institute; hobbies; vacations; travels for the UJA;
[T5S9] his temple activities; his citation from NCCJ in 1960 for his service as moderator of the organization for seven years; his service as acting director of Education for Young Men's and Women's Hebrew Association for nine years; his love of theater; writing reviews of Broadway plays in Pittsburgh; his assessment of the state of theater in Pittsburgh at the time of interview.
Advertising; Duquesne University; Education; Hill District (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Judaism--Relations--Christianity; Jewish newspapers; <i>Jewish chronicle (Pittsburgh, Pa.)</i>; Lawyers; Law; McDowell, John; Radio; KDKA (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Length (hours)
Holmes, Nancy
Reynolds, Jacqueline
Collateral Materials
Box 106 FF 45
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh