Sunday, December 21, 2008

Caroline Kennedy's husband and me

First, an explanation of why nothing has been published in this blog during the past two weeks. I have had to assume some care-taking chores for my wife Sybil, who has been ill. This activity has obviously taken priority over blogging. She is now feeling better, and so this first posting since Dec. 8.

I have now been prompted to return to the blogosphere by the news about Caroline Kennedy's sudden interest in becoming a Senator from New York. Specifically, my curiosity has been aroused by the strange absence of any mention of her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, in all the publicity over Ms. Kennedy's political campaign.

I am a political news junkie and have read reams of material about her request to New York's Governor David Paterson that she be considered for appointment to Hillary Clinton's seat in the U.S. Senate. But as I write this, nowhere has her husband's name cropped up.

The news has been filled with personal detail about her being the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, the niece of two U.S. Senators, and other political history of her famed family.

Caroline Kennedy has always been exceedingly shy of publicity and has carefully shielded her three children from public exposure. Her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, has been even more publicity-shy.

As New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams wrote last year: "Besides marrying Caroline Kennedy, what else has he done? I mean...[does} anyone actually know what [Ed Schlossberg} does?"

What he does is own a Manhattan-based company called ESI Design, whose web site describes itself as "one of the world's foremost experiential design firms...we create physical and virtual spaces to interact, exchange ideas and learn from each other." In short, he designs museums and such structures as the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island.

I have a special interest in Ed Schlossberg, and thus my personal curiosity about his role in his wife's unexpected entry into the political arena.

His surname, which in German means "castle mountain," is an uncommon family name. My late mother had first cousins in Cleveland who bore the name. As I recall, one of them was a house painting contractor. I do not remember ever meeting any of them. But if Ed Schlossberg ever had family members in Cleveland, it is likely that he and I have a distant family relationship.

Like me, Caroline Kennedy's husband is the grandson of Jewish immigrants from Czarist Russia. Perhaps that is what stimulated his interest in the immigration history project at Ellis Island.

It is not unusual for Russian Jews to bear German-sounding surnames. Their Yiddish language is heavily based on medieval German, demonstrating that their ancestors lived in Western European, German-speaking territories many centuries ago before migrating to Eastern and Central Europe.

If Governor Paterson does select Caroline Kennedy to be a U.S. Senator from New York, Mr. Schlossberg's anonymity is certainly going to be shattered.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Sylvia K said...

A fascinating post, as always. Have to admit I have wondered why you never heard anything or read anything about Caroline's husband. I don't know that I've ever even seen a photo of him/them together. It will be interesting to see what happens now. Glad to see you back, glad things are going better for Cybil.

Sunday, December 21, 2008 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

Sorry to hear Cybil was ill and very glad to hear she's on the mend!

I'm glad you wrote about this, Mort, because I have been wondering about this, too. It does sound like he and Caroline are well-suited to each other. I think you will see her guarding her children the same way her mother guarded her. Soooo unlike Sarah Palin's hauling out her passle every chance she could get.

While Caroline looks like a Kennedy, I think she is much more like her mother. Jackie really came into her own later in life but still treasured her privacy and did a lot behind the scenes and I think it is the same with Caroline.

I have no problem with her in the Senate and will be watching with interest.

Sunday, December 21, 2008 5:55:00 PM  
Blogger elkit said...

I keep wondering why all the news just talks of "Caroline Kennedy" - isn't her name Schlossberg? Used to be, any news about her would be reported as about "Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg" - now everybody has dropped the Schlossberg. Did she change her name, or is the media indulging in Kennedy worship?

Sunday, December 21, 2008 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

I too wondered. . .inquiring minds, etc. She was always called by both names in the past. Then someone told me they were divorced.

Sunday, December 21, 2008 8:30:00 PM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

She kept her maiden name when she married (so calling her Caroline Kenndy Schlossberg is incorrest) and yes, she is still married according to several thousand sources listed on Google.

Sunday, December 21, 2008 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

I am sorry to hear Sybil was unwell. I'm pleased that she is recovering due to no doubt you loving care and attention.

Interesting post here Mort. I must say that the description of what Mr Schlossberg's company doesn't give me much insight as to what they actually DO. The description they have posted about their company is a bit nebulous. What happened to jobs where people made things we could use or sold things we needed to buy?

Monday, December 22, 2008 5:16:00 AM  
Blogger Lydia said...

I'm happy for you that your wife's health improved under your excellent care!

Caroline Kennedy's husband was dropped into a piece I saw on TV (wish I could recall which piece). All the announcer said was that after she was married she maintained her own last name. That was it. Seems strange in light of comments here regarding the use of Schlossberg in her name in the past.

How fascinating it is to learn more about him and his quite possible relation to you. Yes, should she be successful in this endeavor (and I would like to see that happen) we will definitely hear more about him. I was particularly interested to know about his designing the center at Ellis Island, which has a wonderful website that I've enjoyed many times.

(p.s. I have a little Chanukah-related video at my blog for your enjoyment!)

Monday, December 22, 2008 5:59:00 AM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I remember some years back Caroline Kennedy was many times reffered to as Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.

I aM sending a "Stay well wish" for Sybil.

Monday, December 22, 2008 8:00:00 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I am sorry to read that Sybil has been ill. I do hope she continues to feel well.

I am sure you must be related to Ed Schlossberg in some way as it is an unusual name. He will lose a lot of his privacy should Carolyn win. I feel sure he must be aware of that and still has approved Carolyn's run for the Senate.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found this while I was looking for resources on the use/nonuse of the Schlossberg name because I'm tired of some of my conservative acquantices making a big deal about it.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1002414,00.html

10 Questions For Caroline Kennedy
By Andrea Sachs Monday, May. 13, 2002

WHY DO YOU USE THE NAME KENNEDY ON YOUR BOOKS, RATHER THAN KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG, YOUR MARRIED NAME?

I never actually changed my name. But people call me whatever they call me.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

There was an article a few years ago about Ed Schlossberg in Wired magazine. If you Google Schlossberg / Wired you will find it

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 8:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intersting. I just posted a comment to Rabbi Zevi Zahavy's blog today re Ed Schlossberg's Jewish Identity. It appears there has been gossip that he converted to being Catholic. The Rabbi says that Mr. Schlossberg replied to his blog that he was still Jewish & proud of it. I hope this was not the response of an imposter.

I responded to your blog, the day after Sen. Kennedy's funeral; with a rather negative feeling towards Ed Schlossberg for being such a quiet nebish in re to Jewish Identity issues. Here is this Jewish man, involved in the most famous intermarriage of 20th Century, and nothing is said about him or his Jewish heritage.

I believe Time or Newsweek, several yrs. ago featured a large article about Schlossberg's monumental work on Ellis Island & Jewish Geneology. Sadly, I can't remember just what he did, but I recall he makes it lots easier for Jews from Russia to trace their ancestors. I'm sure one of your readers will have some facinating info on this subject.

While I admired Mrs. Jaqueline Kennedy, there is something about Caroline's secretiveness that I just don't resonate with. I do admit there is nothing logical about my dislike of her discretion; but there it is.

I thank you sir, for providing this very fascinating space for writers & other curious people to come together. I hope your family is in better health, at this time.

Susanne
Philadelphia

Sunday, August 30, 2009 9:34:00 PM  

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