SO WHO WAS SOL FEINSTONE?
Sol Feinstone was born in 1888 in the small town of Lida, Lithuania. When Sol was a young boy, he did not go to school. He was very poor and he worked all day to help his father. Sol’s mom died when he was very young. Sol’s dad was a Torah scribe. The Torah is the Hebrew name for the Old Testament. Sometimes, people were mean to Sol and his family because they were Jewish. Sol, however, was a very lucky kid. When he was 14 years old, he managed to come to America on a large ship to join his older brother and sister. Sol was an immigrant who came to America, the “land of opportunity,” to find a better life.
It took nine long days for Sol to reach Ellis Island in the New York Harbor by ship. He did not know how to speak a word of English; he only spoke Yiddish and Russian. The only clothes he had with him were the clothes he was wearing. The only money Sol had with him was one Indian Head penny he found rolling on the floor of the ship. A very kind Irish woman gave small Sol two rolls with a delicious piece of chocolate – all for that one penny. Even after Sol grew up, he never forgot that very generous woman… the very first American he had ever met! He got his first job making coats for six dollars a week!
Sol had a real love of nature. He decided to study chemistry and forestry and he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1915 and a Masters Degree in 1916. Sol was awarded honorary Doctorate degrees from other universities too. As Sol grew older, he became very interested in studying about different governments from all over the world. Do you believe that Sol eventually became a millionaire?! He was very wise to invest his money in real estate and construction.
Living free in America was something that Sol really valued. Sol began to collect important papers on the history of our country, especially the American Revolution. Sol’s collection grew and grew, and so did his passion for the history of our great nation. When Sol was in his eighties, he opened The David Library of the American Revolution right in Washington Crossing. Sol presented his library to the United States of America as a special Bicentennial gift, including over 300 original hand written letters by George Washington himself! The David Library of the American Revolution is situated right next to Sol Feinstone’s home, where he lived with his lovely wife Rose. Sol’s historic 1880’s home is situated on Buckstone Farm, which is very close to where George Washington crossed the Delaware. Sol lived there until he died at 92 years old.
Sol Feinstone donated more than 28 acres of land to our great school and built our school library! He also built many other libraries, contributed to organizations that help minorities, and awarded many scholarships at other schools throughout our country.
Did you know that each and every year, thanks to Sol Feinstone himself, 5th and 6th graders at our school participate in an essay contest called the Heritage American History Awards? Sol said, “The purpose of the awards is to instill in our youth a love of our heritage and pride in our country, and with it remind ourselves, parents, and teachers alike, of what kind of people we are.” You may be a winner!
Sol’s great wish was for all of the children at Sol Feinstone Elementary school to be proud of who they are! Sol believed that we must respect each others’ differences, no matter how we look or what religion we practice. If Sol were here today, he would encourage each and every one of us to think for ourselves and to learn as much as we can about our world firsthand.
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