Jennie Bloom Nachamson

Name: Jennie Bloom Nachamson 5/20/1882-10/09/1942

Family: Husband, Eli; children, eight daughters and a son.

Jennie and her family arrived at Ellis Island at the age of 6 so that her brother could escape the Russian draft.

Jennie formed the first Hadassah chapter in Kinston, NC. Even with a large family, she remained active in the community in both Jewish and non-Jewish affairs, joining the Eastern Star, the PTA and the Red Cross.

After eight girls, Jennie's husband, Eli, longed for a boy. When Jennie went into labor with her ninth child, Eli was in Durham exploring job possibilities. When he returned to Kinston on the night train, he saw his friends waiting for him. They carried him on their shoulders to the house where he found Jennie with their newborn son. Jennie reported that Eli opened up the diaper just to make sure.

In 1926, after her girls reached adolescence, the Nachmansons decided to move the family to Durham where they could be close to two universities, a larger Jewish population and potential Jewish suitors for their girls.

On Sunday nights, Nachmanson always prepared an open house and as many as 50 boys would show up from the universities. The girls would provide much of the entertainment for the guests. Jennie called them "Jennie's Almost All Girl Band."

Mutt Evans, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, began courting Sara, the oldest of the Nachamson girls. However, he quickly realized that to court one of the Nachamson girls meant to pay attention to all of them, and especially Jennie who made the decisions in the family.

Nachmanson maintained a high level of community activity in Durham. In the 1930's, according to Jewish historian Leonard Rogoff, the Jewish student population at Duke was small but growing. In 1931, Alpha Episolon Phi, a "local sorority of Jewesses," was organized at Duke. Mrs. Nachamson was the "patroness."