Bush (Busch), Isidor

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BUSH (Busch), ISIDOR (1822–1898), journalist, political liberal, and viticulturist. Bush was born in Prague, the son of Jacob Busch, partner of the Hebrew printer Anton von Schmid. He entered the printing profession at the age of 15 under the influence of M.H. Letteris, who worked for his father as a proofreader, and became interested in Hebrew literature. For a number of years he published yearbooks in German to which well-known Jewish writers contributed. In 1842 he initiated the Jahrbuch fuer Israeliten, the first almanac by Jewish authors for a Jewish public. Together with I.S. Reggio he published the Hebrew-German Bikkurei ha-Ittim ha-Ḥadashim (one issue, Vienna, 1845), and edited its German section, stressing in his preface the need to disseminate the Hebrew language. In 1848 he and Letteris published the weekly Oesterreichisches Centralorgan fuer Glaubensfreiheit, Kultur, Geschichte und Literatur der Juden and he also issued Mikhtevei Ivrit, a compilation of Hebrew letters (1847).

He participated in the revolutionary movements of 1848 and, after their failure, fled to America. In New York City in 1849, he became a bookseller and publisher-editor of the liberal German weekly lsraels Herold, which soon failed. He then moved to St. Louis, where his wife's relatives, the well-known Taussig family, had already settled. Bush engaged in a number of business ventures, only one of which, the introduction of viticulture, seems to have been genuinely successful. At various times he was also a grocer, real estate promoter, banker, actuary, hardware dealer, and railroad executive. However, his major interests were cultural, political, and communal. He was a founder of Congregation Beth El, a leader in B'nai B'rith, and a popularizer of Jewish learning. He served as a St. Louis alderman in 1866 and as a member of the Board of Education from 1881 to 1884. In 1865 Bush was secretary of the Missouri State Board of Immigration, for which he had been prepared by his presidency for 12 years of the St. Louis German Immigrant Aid Society. His most notable political activity was as a Republican member of the Missouri state constitutional conventions during the Civil War, in which he warmly supported the Union cause and abolitionism in an area where large numbers of Confederate sympathizers lived.


Kisch, in: hj, 2 (1940), 65–84; Wax, ibid., 5 (1943), 182–203; B.W. Korn, Eventful Years and Experiences (1954), 240; Ruzicka, in: Juedisches Archiv, 1 no. 1–2 (1928), 16–21.

[Bertram Wallace Korn]