Ever since she was young, author Julie Klam has been fascinated by four cousins of her grandmother known as the Morris sisters. According to family lore, early in the 20th century the sisters' parents moved the family from Eastern Europe to Los Angeles so their father could become a movie director. On the way, their pregnant mother went into labor in St. Louis, where the baby was born and where their mother died. The father left the children in an orphanage and promised to send for them when he settled in California—a promise he never kept.
One of the Morris sisters would become a successful Wall Street trader and advise Franklin Roosevelt. The sisters lived together in New York City, where none of them married or had children. One even had an affair with J. P. Morgan.
But what happens when cherished family lore doesn’t hold up under scrutiny?
On Wednesday, August 18th at 4 pm, the Center for Jewish History will host a zoom program featuring New York Times bestselling author Julie Klam. She will discuss her new book, The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters: A True Story of Family Fiction, the fascinating story of her journey into her family's past. Did separating fact from fiction change her opinion of these independent women?
“Julie Klam somehow manages to turn her family history project into a laugh-out-loud page-turner. Her journey will feel familiar to anyone who has undertaken genealogy research, featuring the unexpected twists and turns, the inevitable brick walls and the serendipitous finds, as well as the hard truths often encountered by those looking for confirmation of beloved family legends.”
Klam will be in conversation with journalist and Jewish genealogist Jennifer Mendelsohn, founder of #resistancegenealogy, a project that uses genealogical and historical records to fight disinformation and honor America's immigrant past.
Co-sponsored by Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers. Pre-order the book here and get a copy signed by the author.
This program is funded, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.