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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:          BARBARA “BOBBIE” SMITH LEVY

INTERVIEWER:     HARRIET MEYERHOFF

DATE:                     JULY 25, 2000

LOCATION:             SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Barbara (Bobbie) Lee Smith Levy was born in Savannah, Georgia on February 6, 1935 to Kayton and Josephine Smith, both Savannah natives. She was educated at the Pape School, where she was editor of the school paper, President of the class of 1952, and President of the Entre Nous sorority. She later attended Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Barbara married Merrill Levy of Beaufort, South Carolina, and they had three sons, Alan, Robert, and John Bertram (“Bert”), whom they raised in Savannah.

Barbara volunteered as a librarian at the Chatham County Library and supported the Savannah Little Children’s Theatre. She was a member of Congregation Mickve Israel, where she was honored by the Sisterhood as a Woman of Valor. She was also the former president of the Savannah Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women and Voters Service Chairman for the League of Women Voters.

Scope of Interview:

Barbara Levy shares her early life, marriage, family history, and recollections of life Savannah, Georgia in the 1940s and 1950s. She discusses her education at the Pape School as well as life as a Jewish girl in primarily non-Jewish social circles. Barbara recalls growing up in a Reformed family, dating, and observations of Jewish life in Savannah during her teenage years. She discusses her husband’s family, as well as her own family history on both her mother’s and father’s sides. She describes her mother and father’s relationship, as well as their later lives, detailing her mother’s involvement with the Savannah Little Children’s Theatre, as well as her own personal history of volunteerism. Barbara remembers the family business, the Columbia Drug Company, as well as her childhood explorations of River and Bay Streets in Savannah. She talks about life during World War II, how life was affected by the war, and about and her family’s summer home in Isle of Hope.

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