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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:          HARRIET (CRANMAN) MEYERHOFF

INTERVIEWER:      ERIC MEYERHOFF

DATE:                     AUGUST 18, 2003

LOCATION:            SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Harriet Meyerhoff was born June 23, 1946 in Savannah, Georgia to Edward and Zelda Yadley Cranman. The couple also had a son, Jerard, Harriet’s brother. Harriet went to Charles Ellis Elementary School, and attended college at Georgia State University, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education.

Harriet married Eric Meyerhoff on September 9, 1973 at the B’nai B’rith Jacob Synagogue in Savannah. Together they raised two children, Mark and Margot. After college, and while her children were in school, Harriet worked as a schoolteacher in Savannah. Later, inspired by Eric’s work in historic architecture, she left teaching and became a licensed tour guide, starting her company, Personalized Tours of Savannah. Harriet led individual and group tours of her hometown until 2019, when her husband’s health began to decline.

Scope of Interview:

Harriet Meyerhoff relays her family history, and contributions from her brother, Jerald Cranman. She describes the emigration of her paternal grandparents, Dora and Jacob Cranman, from Russia to Montreal and Utica, NY to Savannah, as well as her father’s recollections of life in Savannah in the early 20th century. She recounts how her parents met at Tybee Island in the 1930’s and describes family life for Jewish families on the beach in the mid-1900’s, detailing the social and racial nuances in the relationships between families like hers and their black nurses. Harriet remembers her father’s businesses, Cranman's Pawn Shop and Cranman's Sporting Goods and his involvement with the community. She describes the businesses of West Broad Street (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard) and recalls West Broad’s Sweet Daddy Grace parade and the Civil Rights marches of the 1960’s.

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