I Claman

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I. Claman
97 Orchard St. N. Y.

When Irving Claman registered for the World War I draft in 1917 he declared that he was 24 years old, born in New York City 25 December 1892, lived at 110 Forsyth St., New York City, and that he ran a shop for stove supplies at 97 Orchard St. 25 years later he registered for the World War II draft in 1942, and he declared that he was 49 years old, born in New York City 25 December 1893, lived at 989 E. 9th St., Brooklyn, and that he was employed at Irving Claman, 94 Orchard St. So in 25 years he lost one year off his life, and moved his business from one side of Orchard St. to the other.

The first entry for a Morris Claman in New York city directories was that of Morris Claman, furniture, at 51 1/2 Baxter St., Manhattan, in 1889. He continued at this address as both furniture and stoves through 1896, then moved to 94 Allen St. until 1900. He appeared in the 1900 U. S. Census living at 94 Allen St., when he was recorded as born July, 1872, in Russia, immigrated 1890, stove dealer. By 1902 his business moved to 118 Orchard St., then in 1910 to 97 Orchard St. In Trow's New York City Directory of 1911, the business was described as "stove repair supplies, ranges, heaters," and it was listed in the New York telephone directory of that year as "Claman M, Stove Repr Supls ... 97 Orchard [telephone number] 6694 Orchard." Morris Claman was recorded in the 1910 and 1920 U. S. census reports, as well as the 1900 census. In 1920 he lived at 110-112 Forsyth St., Manhattan. His family consisted of his wife, Esther, his son, Irving, age 25, born New York, and three daughters, Anna, age 23, Lena, 20, and Beatrice, 18.

Morris Claman continued his business at 97 Orchard St. through 1917. However, in 1915 he was joined by Irving Claman (1892/93-1962), who seems to have taken over as sole proprietor after 1917. The two Clamans were father and son, and lived together at 110 Forsyth St. from 1912 into the 1920s. Morris Claman disappeared from city directory listings after 1917. The business dealing in stove repair supplies was located at 97 Orchard St. from 1910 to 1917. In 1918 Irving Claman moved across the street to 94 Orchard St. He stayed in business at that address for nearly forty years, 1922 to 1961.

In 1922 Irving Claman at 94 Orchard St. was joined by Julius L. Claman (1901-1987). Julius L. Claman was also Morris Claman's son, and Irving Claman's brother. He was nine years old in the 1910 U. S. Census, where he was called Jacob. I have found no trace of him in the 1920 census, but he was recorded in the 1930 census as Julius Claman, age 29, born New York, living at 941 East 12th St., Brooklyn. His occupation was given as "Proprietor, Shoe Supplies." "Shoe" may be a census taker's error for "stove." In 1930 Julius Claman lived with his mother, Esther, age 50, a widow, born in Russia. And he had three sisters, Lena, age 23, Beatrice, 21 and Anna, 31. This fits well with Morris Claman's family in 1900, which consisted of his wife, Esther, age 28, born Russia, and daughters, Anna, 10, Leana, 3, and Bessie, age 1, all born in New York.

This coal chute cover on 8th Ave. in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn shows the 94 Orchard St. address of I. Claman, as well as the inscription "Stove Repairs." Similar covers are found on Grand St. in Chinatown and on Bedford St. in the West Village. The covers at 108 Washington Place and 25 E. 13th St. also show the address, 94 Orchard St.

The building at 97 Orchard St. was the subject of a "biography" by Andrew S. Dolkart, Biography of a Tenement House in New York City: An Architectural History of 97 Orchard Street, 2007. The author did not mention I. Claman as a tenant of one of the building's storefronts. 97 Orchard is now (2010) home to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Visit their website at Tenement Museum.

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