American Jewish Historical Society

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New Finding Aids for the American Jewish Historical Society

What is a Finding Aid?

A finding aid is the fruit of an archivist’s painstaking work of culling, sorting, ordering and describing a collection of historical records. Like a book jacket it summarizes the importance of a collection (Scope Note) and like an index it lists the specific contents (Box lists). The finding aid places the materials in historical context by providing information about the author or institution (History/Bio note) that created the collection. It presents all the information the user needs to provide access to the processed materials.

We think finding aids are wonderful research tools and we are proud to let you know when we create new ones. Below are a few of our newest finding aids, many from collections newly opened to researchers.


Institutional Collections — New York, NY

Please click on collection title to view the finding aid.

I-8: Training Bureau for Jewish Communal Service (New York, N.Y.) Records, undated, 1941-1956, 1961 [Posted 2013-02-28]

The Training Bureau for Jewish Communal Service trained graduate social workers for positions in Jewish welfare agencies from 1947-1951. The collection includes correspondence, reports, minutes, and publicity files on the organization. It also includes materials on the course including curricula, syllabi, lecture outlines, student records (some restricted), and evaluation materials.

Click here to view the finding aid


I-433: United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York. Collection, undated, 1915-2004 [Posted 2014-01-09]

United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community since 1917. More than 60,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world. Projects relate to health and human services, aging and vulnerable populations, Jewish education, and disaster relief.

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I-542: Trees and Life for Vietnam Records; undated, 1971-1973; 1990 [Posted 2013-02-07]

This collection is comprised of photographs, one bank book, pamphlets, clippings and personal correspondence regarding the organization, Trees for Vietnam (later named Trees and Life for Vietnam). Trees and Life for Vietnam's goals came out of the Jewish Campaign for the People's Peace Treaty, which sought to establish a treaty of peace between the United States and North Vietnam from the late 1960s to the early 1970s.

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I-543: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Soviet Jewry Collection; undated, 1965, 1967, 1970-1971, 1977-1978, 1981 [Posted 2013-02-28]

The collection reflects the involvement in the American Soviet Jewry movement of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America. The materials include pamphlets, newsletters, reports, play scripts, poetry, correspondence and photographs.

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I-544: Central Committee Knesseth Israel Charity of Rabbi Maier Baal Haness Donation Records; undated, 1924-1950 [Posted 2013-04-24]

This collection is comprised of correspondence and financial documents from and to the Central Committee Knesseth Israel Charity of Rabbi Maier Baal Haness from 1924 through 1950. The charity was a Jewish charity formed in 1924 in both Israel and the state of New York with the purpose of collecting contributions to help the state of Israel and American Jews. The collection contains charity donation records from 1924 through 1950.

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I-547: Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans Records, undated, 1949-1952, 1961, 1974-1985 [Posted 2013-4-11]

The Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans (JFSGNO) was a social service agency created in 1948 to establish and preserve the self-sufficiency of Jewish families. The collection focuses on the JFSGNO's work to resettle Jews from the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s, often in cooperation with similar agencies, such as Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), United Service for New American, and United Jewish Fund. Also included are lists of the Displaced Persons who arrived from Eastern and Western Europe by ships to the port of New Orleans in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and materials on resettling of refugees from Southeast Asia in the 1970s-1980s. The documents include ship manifests, memos, agendas, correspondence, clippings, policy statements and procedures, statistics, congressional reports, programs and budgets.

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I-548: American Soviet Jewry Movement Oral Histories Collection; 2008-2011, 2013 [Posted 2013-06-13]

The collection contains audio and video interviews with activists of the American Soviet Jewry Movement, former Refuseniks and Prisoners of Conscience.

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I-548: The White Jew Newspaper; August 9, 1879 [Posted 2013-08-08]

The White Jew is a four-page newspaper with articles written somewhat tongue-in-cheek regarding the banning of certain ?vulgar? Jews from August Corbin?s Manhattan Beach resort in Coney Island, NY in 1879.

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I-550: Camp Massad Records; undated, 1944-2003 [bulk 1949-1990] [Posted 2014-02-19]

Founded by Shlomo and Rivka (Wolman) Shulsinger, Camp Massad was the pre-eminent Hebrew camp in the United States. Massad's aim was to help campers learn the Hebrew language and to develop a deep appreciation for their Jewish heritage and culture, accomplished primarily through a totally immersive Hebrew language experience. Opened in 1941 as a day camp in Far Rockaway, New York, Camp Massad grew to a total of three sleep away camps in Pennsylvania, the last of which closed its doors in 1981.

Click here to view the finding aid




Personal Collections — New York, NY

Please click on collection title to view the finding aid.

P-527: Justine Wise Polier and Eleanor Roosevelt Correspondence Collection; 1938-1972 [bulk 1938-1962] [Posted 2014-02-19]

This collection contains correspondence between Judge Justine Wise Polier and Eleanor Roosevelt sent between 1938-1962, with additional correspondence sent between Judge Polier and other individuals through 1972. The bulk of the correspondence between the two women is of a personal nature. There is also correspondence relating to US political and social concerns including WWII immigration quotas, Jewish refugees from various countries, settlement houses, education for racial minorities, and the Civil Rights Movement.

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P-971: Fred Greene Papers, undated, 1989-1990, 1992-1993 [Posted 2013-05-31]

The papers of the Soviet Jewry activist, Rabbi Fred Greene, contain materials pertaining to the Soviet Jewry movement produced by local Long Island, NY, organizations, such as the Long Island Federation of Temple Youth and the Coalition to Free Soviet Jews, as well as national organizations such as the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and Hadassah. Included are newsletters, pamphlets, fliers, buttons and a haggadah. Also included are news clippings pertaining to Soviet Jewish emigration from the U.S.S.R.

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P-972: Harry Lerner Papers, undated, 1979-1980 [Posted 2013-05-31]

Harry Lerner, a children?s books publisher, who, with his wife Sharon Lerner, was an activist of the American Soviet Jewry movement in the Minneapolis area. The materials include newsletters, articles, memos, haggadahs, profiles and lists of Soviet Jewish Prisoners of Conscience and Refuseniks.

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P-973: Alan L. Cohen Papers; 1989, 1993 [Posted 2013-06-13]

The collection contains photographs and video recordings taken by Kansas City, Missouri rabbi, Alan L. Cohen, during his trips to visit the Jewish Communities in the Former Soviet Union in 1989 and 1993. Included in Rabbi Cohen?s papers are photographs of a protest demonstration organized by Refuseniks in front of the Moscow Kremlin in 1989.The collection contains photographs and video recordings taken by Kansas City, Missouri rabbi, Alan L. Cohen, during his trips to visit the Jewish Communities in the Former Soviet Union in 1989 and 1993. Included in Rabbi Cohen?s papers are photographs of a protest demonstration organized by Refuseniks in front of the Moscow Kremlin in 1989.

Click here to view the finding aid


P-974: Murray Levine Papers; undated, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1984-1985, 1990 [Posted 2013-07-11]

Papers of Murray Levine, a rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, MA, worked extensively to help resettle Jewish immigrants arriving from the former Soviet Union and traveled to the Soviet Union to deliver spiritual and material support to Soviet Jewish Refuseniks. The materials include photographs and slides, trip reports, notes, memos, clippings, Refusenik profiles, a notebook with coded names of Soviet Jews, and correspondence, including a letter of support from Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

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P-975: Jack Minker (1927- ) Papers, undated, 1962, 1972-1997, 2002-2003, 2005-2006, 2008-2011 [Posted 2013-08-05]

The collection documents the activism of Dr. Jack Minker, a leading authority in artificial intelligence, on behalf of foreign scientists whose human rights and scientific freedom were violated. The bulk of the collection focuses on Soviet Jewish Refuseniks, such as cyberneticist Alexander Lerner, mathematicians Victor Brailovsky and Anatoly Sharansky, and a dissident human rights activist, nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov. The documents include manuscripts, correspondence, memos, notes, publications, news clippings, and photographs.

Click here to view the finding aid




Institutional and Personal Collections — Boston, MA

Please click on collection title to view the finding aid.

P-963: Arthur Green (1941-) Papers; undated, 1965, 1978-2003[Posted 2013-04-24]

Professor Arthur Green is a Reconstructionist rabbi, author, and teacher. He is the former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) and currently is dean of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. The collection contains personal and professional correspondence, articles, and manuscripts. Some student work and correspondence is included but is currently restricted.

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P-977: Eliot Snider Papers; undated, 1905-2007 [bulk 1950-1990] [Posted 2013-11-12]

Eliot Snider was President of Massachusetts Lumber and involved in several regional and national organizations, including the Young Presidents Organization, Beth Israel Hospital of Boston, Massachusetts, and the National Council of Economic Education (NCEE). This collection contains documents and artifacts pertaining to Eliot Snider?s business, philanthropic, and family activities, including photographs, meeting minutes, operational records of Massachusetts Lumber, financial ledgers, and blueprints.

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P-931: Steven Kellerman Synagogue Photographs Collection; undated, 1980s-1990s [Posted 2014-03-12]

At the time these photographs were taken in 1981 and 1985, Steven Kellerman was a machinist with an interest in synagogue history. This particular collection of photographs started with Kellerman?s visits to former synagogues in Dorchester and Roxbury, Massachusetts; the project expanded to include most of Massachusetts and other states.

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I-96: Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Boston, Massachusetts, Records, undated, 1886-1977 (Bulk dates 1938-1954) [Posted 2013-01-16]

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was founded in New York City in the 1880s by the Russian Jewish community of New York in response to the influx of Russian Jewish immigrants fleeing the pograms in the Pale of Settlement in Russia and Eastern Europe. In 1889, a shelter which was used to house many of the immigrants adopted the name ?Hebrew Sheltering House Association.? This organization merged with HIAS in 1909 and by 1914, had branches operating in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The Boston office of HIAS was chartered in 1904 under the leadership of Harris Poorvu, Hyman Pill, Abraham Alpert, Meyer Bloomfield, Max Wyzanski and Samuel L. Bailen. Harris and operated autonomously from the national office in New York, even after their merger in 1916. HIAS ensured that Jewish immigrants had access to holiday and religious services and kosher food; provided shelter and social services; and assisted immigrants with finding employment and schools, often on short notice. This collection contains the individual case files of immigrants who received assistance from the Boston office of HIAS, ship manifests, tracer correspondence, scrapbooks, passenger lists and photographs. Some later individual case files remain restricted (those dated after 1960) and researchers will require permission from the archivist of AJHS New England Archives in order to view them.

Click here to view the finding aid


I-249: Women's Palestine Agricultural Association Records; undated, 1933-1968 [Bulk 1954-1968] [Posted 2013-11-12]

The Women's Palestine Agricultural Association, Palagrass, was an organization founded in Boston in the 1920s. Inspired by the work of Rahel Ben-Zvi, Palagrass was established to aid in the agricultural development of Palestine, and later, Israel. This collection contains correspondence, financial records, programs, photographs and membership information.

Click here to view the finding aid


I-313: Chelsea-Revere Hebrew School Records; undated, 1939 - 1981 [Posted 2013-04-24]

The Chelsea-Revere School was established by Monas Berlin in 1896 and served the Chelsea, Massachusetts Jewish community until 1979. The collection contains the records of the institution and its activities including meeting minutes, financial records, correspondence, personnel manifests, memos, publications, memorial documents, and school function notices, as well as press materials in the form of newspaper clippings.

Click here to view the finding aid


I-442 and I-442A: Temple Emanuel (Andover, Mass.) Records; 1939-2004 [Posted 2013-11-12]

Temple Emanuel was founded in 1920 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It began by serving a small immigrant Jewish community that has since grown to an affluent and lively congregation of about 600 families. This growth occurred largely under the tenure of Rabbi Harry A. Roth, who lead the congregation from 1962 until 1990 and oversaw the temple?s move to Andover, Massachusetts. This collection includes correspondence, photographs, and sermons.

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I-534: Farband Labor Zionist Order, Boston, Massachusetts Branch, Records; undated, 1941-1984< [Posted 2013-11-12]

The Farband Labor Zionist Order was a Jewish fraternal organization founded in 1910 and chartered in New York in 1913. With branches across the United States and Canada, it functioned as a mutual aid society aligned with the Socialist and Zionist political party Poale Zion. The material in the collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications, press releases, photographs, meeting minutes, brochures, and memos.

Click here to view the finding aid


For a complete Boston finding aid listing, please visit: http://ajhsboston.org/collections/.

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This section was last updated on April 1, 2014
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