December 1893 in the Exponent: The King of Schnorrers


All-Wool Underwear Hawked

In its early days, the Jewish Exponent was more of a literary magazine than a newspaper.

Case in point: The cover of the Dec. 1, 1893 issue was devoted to a couple chapters of Israel Zangwill’s novel The King of Schnorrers. Passages also ran in prior and subsequent issues.

The book tells the story of a Sephardic beggar’s pretty daughter being wooed by an artisan.

Zangwill was a British author, an early proponent of a Jewish state and an associate of Theodor Herzl. Later, he became a supporter of territorialism, calling for a Jewish homeland wherever the land was available.

Although few people today are aware of The King of Schnorrers, facsimile copies are available on Amazon, and the novel even was briefly turned into a Broadway musical in 1979.

Also on the front page, as was the style then, were the two left-hand columns devoted to advertising.

S.C. Hancock at 1104 Chestnut St. promoted Jaeger all-wool underwear featuring “pure warranted wool.” Itchiness came at no extra charge.

A few blocks away at 1517 Chestnut St., JNO. J. De Zouche Co., Ltd. touted fine furniture at moderate prices, noting that “Our salesmen understand the art of furnishing a house.”

And a hop, skip and a jump back to 1332 Chestnut St., the Boyd-White Carpet Co. claimed that “quality [was] never sacrificed for the sake of cheapness.”


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