Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West

Mint Condition. Out of Print Hardcover.

Harriet and Fred Rochlin
Hardcover First Edition (1984)
Price: $50.00


In the late-1970s I was fully engaged in researching and writing articles about Jewish pioneering in California, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. By then, Fred was avidly collecting photographs and doing interviews with Southwestern Jewish pioneers or their descendants. At the suggestion of my then agent, Richard Kahlenberg, I wrote a book proposal for an illustrated social history on Jewish pioneering in the Arizona Territory, and added twenty of the distinctive images Fred had gathered. Soon after, Richard called to report our proposed book was just right for Don Ackland, Los Angeles publisher of the glossy Rosebud Books, "Publications of Special Interest, Regional and Guide Books, Pictorial and Art Publications." We dined with Don, attended his wedding, and according to my file, received a spec sheet that listed our book as: 8" x 10", 256 pages, 175 half tones, bibliography, index, et al. Delivery Spring, 1982, 15,000 copies.

In 1980, I accompanied Fred, a health facilities architect, to a conference in Boston. While there, I called Robie Macauley, a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin, whom I' d met as an attendee at a week-long conference on creative writing. His speedy response was: "Your proposal for the history book on Jews in the West is on my desk. Come to my office, I want to talk to you." We leafed through the articles and photographs, I augmenting the visuals with more recent tidbits. He eventually asked how I felt about widening the geographical scope to include the entire Far West, to do a book with Houghton Mifflin as publisher, and Rosebud as co-producer. I confessed it sounded great to me, but I'd have talk to Fred and Ackland. My letter to Robie dated December 7, 1980, reads: "I agree to the need to expand the geographic scope and wonder why we didn't think of that." I also noted that I was preparing an outline suitable for the proposal Ackland was writing.

Neither my memory nor my files reveal when and why Rosebud was replaced by Knapp Press as co-producer. What I did know was that Houghton Mifflin was an old and prestigious publisher with a reputation for fine Western history; Robie was senior editor on the project; Knapp produced beautiful, high quality books, and had hired the skilled and cultivated Pamela Mosher, formerly with Rosebud, to serve as local editor. Our task was to give our outstanding teammates the richest stories, the most distinctive photographs, along with two-page spreads that established on sight that Jews had helped transform the region, and were themselves transformed. The book was released in hard cover in 1984, and went through ten printings in trade paper, totaling 47,500 copies. After twenty-six years in print, the rights reverted to the author.

In 2014, Pioneer Jews was re-issued in an Authors Guild edition by iUniverse. Several valuable new features were added, including updated contact information for 64 of the 219 period photographs and newly-obtained facts about the image on page 172 of a semi-nude woman long misidentified as Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, 47-year companion of Wyatt Earp.

For information on the 2014 edition, return to the Books & Art page.


Product Description

Houghton Mifflin Company (Sept 1984 - Jan 2010)
ISBN 0-395-31832-7
244 pages
Hardcover First Edition (1984), $50.00
Includes dusk jacket.

For synopsis and reviews, see the listing for the 2014 trade paperback edition.