| Postscript to The Synagogues of Dorchester by Richard Heath, September, 2004.
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Obituary for Benjamin Klingsberg, Boston Globe, January 3, 1987.
Restaurateur Benjamin Klingsberg; politicans flocked to his G & G Deli.
Benjamin Klingsberg, whose G&G Delicatessen on Blue Hill Avenue was a fixture in Mattapan Jewish community life and in Boston politics for more than 35 years, died New Year's Eve in Beth Israel Hospital after a lenghty illness. He was 76.
Mr. Klingsberg, whose sandwiches and clientele have been immortalized by a dozen authors and hundreds of politicians, operated the G&G deli from 1952 until it was closed in mid-1968, its menu and its style falling victim to changing times.
Beginning during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and continuing through the 1966 gubernatorial battle between John A. Volpe and Endicott Peabody, the G&G was a traditional campaign stop for corned beef, cheesecake, handshakes and political banter.
On election eve, politicians and followers by the thousands flocked to the 350-seat G&G to be seen and heard from atop the tables and counters as well as, later in the evening, from the kleig-lighted platform traditionally erected beneath the towering red neon sign outside by the old Ward 14 Democratic Committee.
Every President from Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy as well as every mayoral candidate from James Michael Curley forward could count at least one appearance at the G&G, locate in the middle of what was the city?s largest ward.
As the crowds grew over the years ? to a peak of 20,000 for an appearance by vice presidential candidate Hubert H. Humphrey in 1964 ? streets around the G&G at 1106 Blue Hill Av. had to be blocked to traffic for tow blocks in all directions during major political visits.
?It was just like ?The Last Hurrah,?? Mr. Klingsberg?s son, Samuel, recalled.
?And my father was completely impartial,? he said. ?He was a life-long Democrat, but he once told me that he believed that everyone including Republicans, is entitled to a corned-beef sandwich.?
Mr. Klingsberg?s memorabilia included letters of thanks and appreciation from Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, former governor Volpe and former ambassador and Cabinet member Elliot L. Richardson, as well as from unsuccessful presidential candidates, Adlai Stevenson and Humphrey.
John W. McCormack, the congressman from South Boston [and part of Dorchester] and Speaker of the House, was considered a favorite among the G&G?s political regulars. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was photographed making sandwiches at the G&G during a Senate campaign.
And Samuel Klingsberg also recalled Humphrey?s eating two corned beef sandwiches at the counter during his 1964 visit, then stuffing two more in his suitcoat pockets. ?He asid he liked them a lot better than the rubber chicken he got at the banquets.?
The G&G additionally was the home base of Julius Ansel, the Ward 14 boss who served as state senator, representative and Boston city councilman before his death in 1965. Ansel went so far as to put the G&G?s telephone number on his business cards, ?originally without permission, but later with my father?s OK,? Samuel Klingsberg said.
Mr. Klingsberg was born in Boston and after graduation from Dorchester High School worked for others in the restaurant business before opening the Causeway Cafeteria in the West End in 1938.
He became a partner in the G&G in 1952 as the delicatessen?s founders, Irving Green and Charles Goldstein, were contemplating retirement. He became sole owner a few years later.
From 1968 until his own retirement in 1974, Mr. Klingsberg owned and operated the Eatwell Cafeteria in the Park Square building downtown.
He was a founder and the first president of the Boston Restaurant Owners Assn. and a member of several Mattapan and Dorchester business and civic organizations.
A member of the Zerrubabel Lodge of Masons in Quincy and the Aleppo Temple Shrine, he was a 32d degree Mason.
Mr. Klingsberg leaves his wife Louise (Miller); two sons, Harold of Newton Centre and Samuel of Chestnut Hill; a daughter, Sheila Reilley of Brookline, and six grand-children.
Services will be held at noon tomorrow at the Levine Chapel, Brookline. Burial will be in the Walnut Hill Cemetery, Chestnut Hill.
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Created: August 6, 2005 Modified: August 6, 2005