3: Commercial document, "Prepaid Steamship Ticket Record," March 24, 1924.
In Yekl, Jake has, for years, been paying installments on his wife’s ticket to travel from Europe to America. As time passes, his wife seems more and more distant to him, removed from the realities of his American life.
This artifact is a record for a prepaid steamship ticket, issued March 24, 1924, for a second class ticket from Hamburg to Philadelphia. The purchaser, Carl Mach in Philadelphia, had bought a ticket for his wife, Zofia Mach, who was living in Poland. The record explains that he had been saving for the ticket and paying in installments through the People’s Bank in Philadelphia for five years, and that the total cost of the ticket amounted to $143.
Suggested Activity: Have students observe the artifact and see if they can puzzle out what information it provides: who has bought what, for whom, what are the dates and locations of travel, what class on the ship will the passenger be in, and how much money has been spent. (Talk with students about how that would be a great deal more today, considering inflation.)
Then give them this prompt for discussion: think of a time that you pursued a long-term goal. What was it like, at the beginning, to imagine the end goal? How did your feelings about the goal change as you pursued it over time? Now think of yourself five years ago. How have you changed since then? Now consider Yekl's situation. What do you think it was like to save for passage for his family over five years? How do you think the amount of time Yekl saved for his wife’s ticket affected him and his relationship with his wife?
Source: "Prepaid Steamship Ticket Record," bought by Carl Mach for Zofia Mach (Philadelphia: Lipshutz/People's Bank, Foreign Department, March 24, 1924), part of the Passage Order Book Records held at the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, found in Donna Pointkouski, "Bank Records: Another Resouce for Tracing Immigrants" on her blog "What's Past is Prologue" (March 21, 2009), <https://pastprologue.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/bank-records-another-resource-for-tracing-immigrants/>, accessed February 10, 2018.