Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert E. Asher
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
ROBERT E. ASHER
Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date: November 10, 2000
Copyright 2001 ADST
Q: Bob, let's start at the beginning. Tell me when and where you were born and something about your family.
ASHER: I was born in Chicago on the south side in October 1910, which makes me 90 years old. So, forgive me if I forget some things. My parents were married in January 1910, which may say something about their knowledge of birth control, since I was born in October. I am the oldest of four children. My father, Louis E. Asher, was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1877. My mother was born in Karlsr�he, Germany, in 1883, and came here when she was about nine years old with my grandparents. My mother died of cancer when I was nine, after a long illness, and left my father with four children, aged three to nine. Fortunately, although he was born in poverty, he became a very successful businessman, and was able to get help to take care of the children and enable him to carry on. I think all of us suffered in some psychological way from this early death of my mother and from her two years of illness in the house. Doctors coming and going, no loud noises from the children, and a rather gloomy atmosphere.
Q: What was the background of your father?
ASHER: He was born, as I said, in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1877, the youngest of five children, in a Jewish family at a time at which there probably were only a half dozen Jewish families in Jackson.
Q: But there were quite a few throughout the South?
ASHER: Yes, especially in Savannah, Charleston and, to a lesseextent I believe, in Atlanta and New Orleans.
Q: It's amazing, they were very much an integral part of thcommunity.