Jewish ethnographic expedition of S. A. An-sky.
The social environment in shtetls was not uniform. The financial aristocracy consisted of Jews who owned or leased an enterprise (factory, mill etc.) or establishment (such as a wayside inn). Middle-class Jews were in trade. The third group was people of industrial or mechanical arts. The kaptsonim (poor ones) were unskilled Jews: coachmen, baggage handlers, water carters etc. These groups had further hierarchy levels inside them.