Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington | Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum

Collections: Objects of the Month

November 2011:
Photograph of Fred Kolker with President Truman's turkey, 1948

Fred Kolker, 1948Archives Record
Object #: 2001.16.6
Donor: Brenda Pascal
Description: Photograph of Fred Kolker holding knife over turkey's neck, 1948. Paper label reads "President Truman's Turkey/French World's Champion Bicycle Riders/Washington, D.C."

Background: Established in 1930 by Fred Kolker, Kolker Poultry became one of the largest wholesale poultry distributors in the region. In fact, during World War II, Kolker sold all his poultry to the U.S. Army. As Kolker said in an oral history, "My chicken went to our soldiers who were located all over the world...My name, Kolker Poultry Co., was stenciled on each box and the boys from Washington, D.C., wrote me letters, thanking me for the good poultry they received."

Samuel Lehrman and Nehemiah Cohen shake hands

Fred Kolker (wearing hat) and
Mayor Marion Barry (right) at the renaming of the market, 1984

The business was located in the Florida Avenue Market, now called the Capital City Market (just east of the intersection of Florida & New York Avenues, NE). At 81 years old, Fred Kolker was called "the self-styled dean of the market" in The Washington Post. He retired four years later, but remained chairman and president of the company.

The context of the photograph featured here is unknown: Who were these champion cyclists? What was their business with Kolker? What did they have to do with Truman's turkey? Nonetheless, it is timely for the season.

Do you have material documenting a local Jewish-owned business that you'd like to donate to the Jewish Historical Society's collection? Please contact us at info@jhsgw.org or (202) 789-0900.