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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Bennett Feldman

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 288, 291-292 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Bennett Feldman, one of the foremost merchants of Little Falls and an active factor in the business of B. Feldman & Sons, is a native of Russia, where he spent the first twenty years of his life. Leaving his family in the old country, Bennett Feldman came alone to America to seek his fortune in the New World, and here by long and patient toil he made a place for himself in the business world that is today highly honored and respected. For a long time after his arrival in this country he made his living as a pack-peddler, carrying his wares on his back from farmhouse to farmhouse through the country. At the places where he stopped at night he would get into conversation with some one who could help him with his English and in this way he learned to speak the language of his adopted country. Thirty-two years ago he opened a small furniture store in Little Falls with the modest capital he had managed to save from his hard-won earnings and from this humble beginning built up the large establishment that today bears his name. In this country Mr. Feldman became acquainted with Miss Rosa Hertzberg, who was born and reared in Russia, not far from his native town, and eventually the two young people were married. Mr. Feldman has two brothers in this country today: H. Feldman, who is doing a good business as a furniture dealer in Utica; and M. Feldman, who has furniture stores in Amsterdam and Johnstown, New York.

Five sons were born to Bennett and Rosa Feldman. Harry is an ex-service man with a distinguished war record in the American Expeditionary Forces, having seen nineteen months of active service overseas. He went abroad with the "Fighting First" as a member of the Third Machine Gun Battalion, First Division, Regular United States Army, and had the privilege of being among the first to go over the top at Cantigny, which was the first engagement in which American troops took part. One of the first of the American soldiers to see active service abroad, he was among the last to leave, for he was in the Army of Occupation and did not receive his honorable discharge until August, 1919, nearly a year after the cessation of hostilities. In January following his return to civilian life he went into the business of his father and brother.

Abe Feldman, a native of Little Falls and an alumnus of Cornell University, also served during the World war as sergeant in the Seventy-sixth Division and was stationed at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. Owing to the fact that the armistice intervened before he received his embarkation orders, he did not see service abroad.

Arnold Feldman likewise did his bit for his country in the recent crisis. He was attached to the "Granite State" and was honorably discharged from the navy with the rank of ensign after the close of the war. Born in Little Falls, he is a graduate of the Little Falls high school and at the time of his enlistment was manager of a branch of the Aeolian Music Company at Providence, Rhode Island. He is now a member of the firm of Vought & Company, a large bond house of New York city, where he makes his home. His wife was formerly Miss Kathleen Baker of Newburgh, New York, and they have one child, Beatrice Jane Feldman.

Richard Feldman, who was born in 1901, pursued his education in the Little Falls high school and in Syracuse University.

Mannie Feldman, the eldest of the five sons of Bennett and Rosa Feldman, was born in Little Falls, on the 26th of July, 1887, and pursued his education in the grade and high schools of his native city. In 1911, when he was twenty-four years of age, his father made him a partner in his furniture business, changing the name to B. Feldman & Son. By this time the little store, started nearly twenty years before at the corner of West Main and Fourth streets, had undergone many changes and after several moves to larger quarters to accommodate its rapidly growing business had just been located in the building at the corner of Albany and Second streets, where it has remained ever since. When Mr. Feldman first went to this location his business occupied the first, second and fourth floors, but ere long it was utilizing the entire building, including the basement, and had spread to a three-story annex in the rear. In the spring of 1922 the building was purchased by B. Feldman & Sons, as the firm had come to be known, and the property thus acquired includes the lot and dwelling house adjoining on Second street. This property provides the firm with room for expansion when it becomes necessary, and that day is apparently not far off. Some idea of the volume of business done by this firm may be obtained from the fact that it sells its goods in four counties and enjoys a very extensive out-of-town trade, which fact is helpful to local business in general. A motorized truck service has been maintained by the Feldman-firm for the past few years and deliveries of goods are made not only to all of the nearby towns and surrounding country, but as far west as Rome and as far east as Amsterdam. The thousands of feet of floor space available to the firm enable it to carry in stock at all times a large supply of goods, including complete lines of furniture, rugs, linoleum, victrolas, etc. Throughout a large trade territory the name of B. Feldman & Sons stands for honest goods and fair prices. No firm of any kind could enjoy the growth and prosperity which have come to this concern except through winning and retaining the confidence of the buying public. In recent years much of the credit for this remarkable advance has been due to Mannie Feldman, the first of the sons to join his father in the business, for the older man has practically withdrawn from active participation in the management and leaves the responsibility for its present progress with his sons. As the result of a number of years' experience in the store, in which he has studied the business from every conceivable angle, Mr. Feldman has come to have the same command of the furniture trade in all of its essentials as his father, and is thus well qualified to succeed him in the management of this large enterprise.

At Albany, New York, on March 5, 1914, Mr. Feldman was united in marriage to Miss Beulah Holzheimer Straus of Amsterdam, New York. To them have been born two children: Arthur Straus Feldman, whose birth occurred on the 20th of March, 1915; and Robert Feldman, whose natal day was September 20, 1918.

Mannie Feldman is one of the young business men of Little Falls who is taking a deep interest in the Chamber of Commerce, which plans to do much to benefit the community along business and civic lines. He votes with the republican party. Fraternally Mr. Feldman is identified with the Elks, the Odd Fellows, the Loyal Order of Moose and the Royal Arcanum, while his membership in the Little Falls Country Club denotes an interest in the very popular game of tennis.

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