MILWAUKEE – Nathan Gould and Irving Rhodes founded the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle in 1921 to unite and support the Jewish community in Milwaukee.
Starting his career as a lawyer, Gould earned his degree from the University of Michigan. There, he met Samuel Rhodes, who introduced him to his future business partner, Samuel Rhodes’ brother Irving Rhodes.
Gould and Rhodes bought the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, and the paper’s success led them to establish other papers for Jewish communities in Kansas City and Indianapolis.
Gould detested Indianapolis and set his sights on moving to Milwaukee and starting a weekly paper there, according to a tribute written by Gould’s friend Robert Hess following Gould’s death.
According to Hess, Gould approached him about starting a paper in Milwaukee in 1920, asking what the chance of success might be. Hess invited him to lunch with the Sholom Aleichem Circle, which at the time was “a force, a power and a very fair representation of Jewish life in the community” to meet potential readers and advertisers, and “Nate came, Nate saw, Nate conquered,” Hess wrote.
The paper took off in December 1921, and “for two decades, ‘Irv’ was the man on the street, providing the wherewithal, and Nate was the man at the desk, giving the paper its tone, its dignity and his incomparable editorials,” Hess wrote.
Gould wrote every editorial appearing in the Chronicle for those two decades until he fell ill with a streptococcic infection six months prior to his death.
The paper had some tough years in the beginning.
“The reader may well imagine the antipathy of many to this new cultural and distinctly Jewish venture,” George Peizer, executive director of the Jewish Center of Milwaukee at the time of Gould’s death, wrote in tribute to Gould.
But Gould and Rhodes stuck with it.
“Philosopher, writer and speaker that (Gould) is, he has devoted throughout these years his energy, time and talents to every Jewish cause of importance,” Peizer wrote. “There is hardly a single communal undertaking which has not been aided by the gift of his pen, his pleading voice and his store of wisdom and understanding.”
Irving Rhodes sold the paper to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation in 1972.