Used with permission, University of Wisconsin - Parkside Archives

Bessie and Irving Wallace and
            Yetta and Sonny Shamberg

Verso: Top L to R

Mom [Bessie Wallace] & sister Yetta Shamberg

Irving & Sonny
[Sonny is Bernard D. Shamberg - 1915-1966]

Mother & I went from
Kenosha, Wisc. to Chicago,
to Denver, Colorado, to see
relatives - five years later.
This was taken in Chicago.

Irving Wallace
October 16, 1967 -

According to Irving Wallace: A Writer's Profile by John Leverence, Irving Wallace (1916-1990), American best-selling novelist and screenwriter, was named after his maternal grandfather (Yitzhak Meir), a bookkeeper and Talmudic scholar in Narewka. Bessie LISS Wallace, Irving Wallace's mother, born in Narewka in 1890, was one of six children. She emigrated to the United States in 1907.
She was seventeen years old when she accompanied her brother Bernard and her sister Gertrude on a
journey from Narevka to the port of Bremen. 'I'll never forget Bremen,' she told her children years later.
'There, for the first time in my life, I saw electric lights. It was the most modern city in the world, and,
after it, even the cities in America were disappointments.' ... A fourteen day crossing in third class was
followed by a train ride to Chicago; Bessie LISS was there reunited with her older sister Yetta. (p. 10)
Yetta LISS Shamberg, Bessie's older sister, had immigrated with her daughter Bertha, her first born, a few years earlier. Bertha was born in 1900 in Jałówka, near Narewka. Yetta and Bertha went to Chicago to meet, respectively, their husband and father, Emil Shamberg, who had emigrated c1900-1901, following his brother Morris (Monas). Searching ship manifests, I found the arrival record for Baruch (Bernard) LISS, but not for Bessie. Residing in Bialystok, Bernard then traveled from Bremen to Baltimore,  arriving December 1906, en route to Chicago to join his brother-in-law Schamberg.   There is also a 1910 Ellis Island Passenger record for Samuel (Schlomal?) LISS from Narewka  who also departed from Bremen, on his way to Chicago to join his brother Baruch (Bernard). Emil Shamberg owned Imperial Dry Cleaners in Chicago with his brother Morris. Bernard, who worked in the same business, later moved to Denver, Colorado, where he opened his own dry cleaning establishment.  Gertrude (Gittel), another sister of Bessie's, who married Morris Rudy (Rudnicka), from the 1920s, was living in Denver as well.
Evidently, Narewka provided the connection by which Wallace's parents would first meet. Irving Wallace: A Writer's Profile (p. 13) states that Bessie LISS met her future husband Alex Wallace (Wallechinsky) in Chicago at the wedding of one his step-sisters, who was marrying a man from Narewka. Born in Chicago, Wallace was raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin[See index of Chicago, Cook County, Marriage Records for Alex Wallace and Bessie LISS  (1913) and Samuel LISS and Rebecca Pollen (1916)], as well as the Colorado Marriage Record Report for Bernard LISS and Rose Tobias (1914).

Emil and Yetta Shamberg Gravestone Yetta Liss Shamberg 1947
Yetta and Emil Shamberg Gravestone in Waldheim Cemetery, Chicago
Father of Yetta (Yente) is Yitzhak Meir for whom Irving Wallace was name.
Courtesy of R. B. Shamberg
Yetta Liss Shamberg
Courtesy of R. B. Shamberg

Irving's aunt Yetta (c1877-1953) is buried in Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago with her husband Emil Shamberg;
his uncle Bernard (c1882-1963) and his wife Rose are buried in Aurora, Colorado. (See grave of Bernard LISS -
Baruch ben reb Yitzhak Meir in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry - JOWBR).


"Irving Wallace," Contemporary Authors: Autobiography series, Volume 1. Gale Research Company, 1984, p. 373.
Irving Wallace article from 2005 Notable Wisconsin Authors, on the WLA - Wisconsin Library Association) website.
Irving Wallace: A Writer's Profile (by John Leverence, Introduction by Jerome Weidman), Popular Press, 1974.
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR)

Memorial for Irving Wallace on Find-A Grave website

US Census (1900, 1910, 1920, 1930) on and

Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920, and Colorado Statewide Marriage Index, 1853-2006, on

A Sense of History: the Descendants of Nissen Shanberg and Related Families. unknown: R.B. Shamberg, 1985, on A Sense of History: the Descendants of Nissen Shanberg and Related Families [database on-line], Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

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