Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Orgell family letters

Abstract

The Orgell family letters (dated 1945-1957, undated; 0.68 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise letters, photographs, and a few clippings that document the life of the Orgell family members, Spencer, Marjorie, Richard, David, and Jackie, in California, England, and Japan during the 1940s and 1950s.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Orgell family letters
Creator
Orgell, Richard E., 1933-2011
Extent
0.68 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Business records -- California
Marriage
Military life.
Jewish businesspeople
Jewish silversmiths.
Silversmiths
Soldiers -- Correspondence
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by subject. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0319: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Orgell family letters, 1945-1957, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
The Orgell family, of Beverly Hills, California, includes Spencer Orgell (1891-1966), his wife Marjorie Mendelsohn (1900-1985) and their four children David (1921-1987), Eric Cecil (1924-1983), Jacqueline (1928-2014), and Richard Elliott (1933-2011). The Orgell family lived in England until 1937, when they relocated to Beverly Hills to open Spencer Orgell Silversmiths on Rodeo Drive. Spencer was a master silversmith, whose clientele in England included the royal family. Eric and David went directly from school to working in the family business, Richard joined the Air Force and spent time in Georgia at Spencer Air Force Base and in Japan, and Jacqueline became a bestselling novelist. In 1948, Jacqueline married Bert Briskin (1922-2004); together the couple had three children, Liz, Ralph, and Richard. In 1957, Richard married Gail Karp (1937-2000); together the couple had two children, Tony and Karyn. After Gail's death, he remarried to Eliane Gans (b. 1938). In the 1940s and 1950s, David married Teddy Fleishman (1925-2010). Eventually, David took over the silver business, calling it David Orgell, Richard moved to San Francisco where he was successful in business, only returning to Beverly Hill after his wife's death in 2000, and Jacqueline published 12 novels before retiring to take care of her husband suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Orgell family letters (dated 1945-1957, undated; 0.68 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise letters, photographs, and a few clippings that document the life of the Orgell family members, Spencer, Marjorie, Richard, David, and Jackie, in California, England, and Japan during the 1940s and 1950s. The majority of the letters are from Richard to his parents, Spencer and Marjorie, at their home in Beverly Hills, California in the 1950s. In the letters Richard writes about his jobs on the base, opinions of the men he works with and under, finances, investing in the family silver business, sightseeing in Japan, and the cultural differences between the United States and Japan. Additionally, Richard writes frequently in his letters about him wanting to be married, marrying a woman, buying a home, and their life together in Japan. There are a few letters from Richard's wife, Gail, to his mother, mostly discussing their impending move and thanks for gifts sent. One letter is to Richard from his mother, describing part of their trip to Europe. During the 1940s, the family communicates with each other concerning the family silver business, purchasing goods, sales to celebrities and producers, the effects of the economy on prices, traveling to New York and England, and planning sales and advertisements. Spencer and Marjorie receive letters from family back in England; these discuss marriages, moving homes, finding new jobs, visiting other family, thanks for gifts, and updates on their lives. There are also a few letters sent to Spencer concerning his silver business, mostly thanking him for letting someone borrow a piece or people requesting specific silver pieces and designs. There are receipts from flights, hotel stays, and contractors all relating back to the family silver business, along with newspaper advertisements, both drafts and the final printed version. The collection also includes a few photographs that show an extended family being together.
The Orgell family letters are part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Letters to Marjorie Orgell, 1945-1956, undated

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Gail Karp letters to Spencer and Marjorie Orgell, 1953-1956, undated

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Marjorie Orgell letter to Richard Orgell, 1953 April 25

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Richard Orgell letters to parents, 1954-1955

  • Box 1, folder 4
To top

Richard Orgell letters to parents, 1956

  • Box 1, folder 5-7
To top

Richard Orgell letters to parents, 1957

  • Box 1, folder 8
To top

Richard Orgell letters to parents, undated

  • Box 1, folder 9
To top

Richard Orgell letters to David Orgell, 1948, undated

  • Box 2, folder 1
To top

Spencer Orgell letters to Richard Orgell, undated

  • Box 2, folder 2
To top

David Orgell letters to Spencer Orgell, 1947-1948, undated

  • Box 2, folder 3
To top

Spencer Orgell letters to Boys, 1947, undated

  • Box 2, folder 4
To top

Spencer Orgell letters to David Orgell, 1947-1948, undated

  • Box 2, folder 5
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Spencer Orgell letters to family, 1947-1948

  • Box 2, folder 6
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Letters to Spencer Orgell, 1947-1949, undated

  • Box 2, folder 7
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Kackie Orgell letters to parents, 1947

  • Box 2, folder 8
To top

Spencer Orgell Silversmiths advertisements, undated

  • Box 2, folder 9
To top

Orgell family papers, 1955-1956, undated

  • Box 2, folder 10
To top

Spencer Orgell Silversmiths receipts, 1947-1948, undated

  • Box 2, folder 11
To top

Photographs, undated

  • Box 2, folder 12
To top

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

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