Interview with Louise Wile, Joseph S. Wile, August 15, 1984
Project: Lexington Jewish Community Oral History Project
Interview SummaryIn this interview, Louise Wile and Joseph Wile share their past experiences with the interviewers Ruth Kessler, Hellen A. Paritz, and Carolyn B. Weinberg. Born in Lexington, Joseph Wile was raised Jewish and went to the Maryland Avenue Temple in Lexington. Upon graduating from college, Joseph worked at his father’s shop, Wolf Wile. Originally from Louisville, Louise met Joseph at Wolf Wile and moved with him to Lexington after they got married in 1932. Louise was not raised Jewish, and Joseph lightheartedly mentions their religious differences in a poem he wrote to Louise for their anniversary. Louise and Joseph describe the various factors that influenced the shop’s business as well as the downtown community as a whole. They mention the impact of the Great Depression and Prohibition and go into detail about how Lexington developed following World War II. At the time, they claim, their shop was the first piece of modern architecture in Lexington, and more infrastructure came after. Other prominent Jewish-run shops and stores in general existed at the time too, and the Wiles explain how many of the nearby shops eventually either split locations or moved entirely to the malls away from downtown. All the while, Wolf Wile stayed a single old-fashioned shop. Joseph became very involved with Temple Adath Israel and at one point had Quality Street named at his suggestion.
Joseph S. Wile
Helen A. Paritz
Carolyn B. Weinberger
Interview LC SubjectJews--Kentucky--Lexington. Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington Lexington (Ky.) Families. Jewish children Jewish families. Entrepreneurship Jewish businesspeople Small business--Kentucky Small business--Ownership Jews--Identity. Judaism. Religion Depressions--1929 United States--Economic conditions--1918-1945. World War, 1939-1945
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Wile, Louise Interview by Ruth Kessler. 15 Aug. 1984. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Wile, L. (1984, August 15). Interview by R. Kessler. Lexington Jewish Community Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Wile, Louise, interview by Ruth Kessler. August 15, 1984, Lexington Jewish Community Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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