The Child is Father to the Man: The Formation of Aaron Sapiro’s Jewish Identity in California, 1884-1920

Posted: 6 Apr 2010

Date Written: April 2, 2010

Abstract

During the Progressive Era, Aaron Sapiro (1884-1959) helped to build California agriculture into an industrial juggernaut. As the attorney for hundreds of agricultural cooperatives during the 1910s and 1920s, Sapiro rose to national prominence in agricultural policy circles, promoting the “California school” of cooperative marketing. He sued Henry Ford for libel in 1927 and gained only a fleeting vindication; thereafter, Sapiro returned to California, but never reengaged with the field that won him his reputation and fame. This article examines Sapiro’s California roots, recovering the blighted childhood that formed his adult personality, and explains Sapiro’s disappearance from the agricultural field as a result, in part, of an inability to sustain professional relationships, a conscious choice to abandon the cause that made him famous, and a deliberate, private rejection of his faith. At the same time, he proudly embraced his Jewishness as a racial identity, mirroring a process of acculturations that many Jewish Americans underwent during the first third of the 20th century.

Suggested Citation

Woeste, Victoria Saker, The Child is Father to the Man: The Formation of Aaron Sapiro’s Jewish Identity in California, 1884-1920 (April 2, 2010). American Bar Foundation Research Paper No. 10-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584803

Victoria Saker Woeste (Contact Author)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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