An interesting note containing only algebraic calculations turned up recently in the Budget files, perhaps calculated by Jack Applebaum or by someone who worked for him as Assistant Budget Director or between 1971 and 1977 when he was Budget Director. It is titled, “Difference between the two methods”. It’s unclear what the two methods were or which one won out.
March 22, 2013
March 15, 2013
While processing the subject files of Executive Vice President Stephen Solender this morning, I encountered a folder called David’s Party. The contents of the folder contain the preparation and planning for the retirement of the David Sacks as Distribution Committee Chairman, including song lyrics that praise Mr. Sacks to the tune of the musical Oklahoma’s “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top.”
Admittedly, it did take me a moment to piece together how the lyrics might work with the tune. If you need a refresher on the tune, please click here. There were several other songs from Oklahoma (with new lyrics) utilized to commend the retiring chairman, like “Oklahoma,” and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!”
A little bit of lightheartedness for a Friday. The tune, accompanying lyrics, and the creation of the D.C. Entertainment Squad for the party provide insight into another side of UJA-Federation’s Distribution Committee.
March 14, 2013
“Some Aspects of Federation History” is the title of Part I of a 1954 report by H. L. Lurie, entitled, “Jewish Communal Organization”. The ‘federation’ mentioned in the title of Part I does not specifically refer to The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York (FJP); as explained in the preface, “The term ‘federation’ is used as a generic term for all local communal organizations which have [as] their objective the planning and/or the financing of Jewish social welfare programs or meeting other common needs or local responsibilities on a city-wide or large area basis.”
Lurie was for many years the Executive Director of the Bureau of Jewish Social Research in New York, which was a forerunner of CJFWF, of which Lurie was also Executive Director. Many of his publications from the 1930s are available online from the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
H. L. Lurie prepared this study for the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds (CJFWF) with a planned Part II which would “analyze and interpret the major aspects, basic problems and trends in Jewish community organization” as of 1954. The first chapter of Part I delves into a very brief and very general history of the Jewish population in the United States in terms of how its social and economic needs had been addressed and met – mostly through very small congregational, social, fraternal and mutual aid societies serving very specific parts of the community. By 1875 Jewish immigration to the United States had begun to expand tremendously. “With this growth of population we reach a stage of complexity of group organization where the need for coordination … becomes obvious to the … leaders in communal service.”
The “Jewish Communal Register of New York City“, published in 1918, listed an astonishing 3,637 separate Jewish organizations, according to Lurie. It was at this point that the welfare and relief societies began to merge, in order to better serve a larger and more diverse Jewish community. In New York City, United Jewish Charities was established in 1874 from the “merger of two congregational relief societies, two agencies operating under secular auspices, a neighborhood relief organization and an agency providing fuel to needy families. Other small relief societies later joined this merger …” This and other mergers in New York and elsewhere “did not result in federations; the several agencies were consolidated, losing their separate identities … Federation [was] defined as a coming together of agencies which continued their separate existence and autonomy but cooperate for a common purpose such as central fund raising or planning was a later development which was first initiated in Cincinnati and Boston in 1895.”
This report, because it was published by CJFWF, will be transferred from the UJA-Federation of New York collection to the CJFWF collection, I-69, also at the American Jewish Historical Society.
March 7, 2013
Within the files created by the Budget Department at FJP, in addition to hundreds of boxes of Annual Agency Files, Financial Reports and other final documentation of the FJP budget over 70 years, there are many boxes (probably 40-50 or more once we’re done) that simply fall into a subseries we are calling, “Budget Department Subject Files”.
Within these Subject files is a diverse assortment of topics, in folders that sometimes contain 40 years’ worth of documents on one subject. This attests to the Budget Department staff’s consistency in indexing, filing and workflow through the decades, due at least in part to the longevity in tenure of many employees of the Budget Department, particularly under the directorship of Jerome Saltz.
One example is a folder labeled in neat penmanship, “Fuel – Coal or Oil”; the date range of the documents extends from 1925 through 1949.
In the folder there is a 1926 letter from Maurice R. Spear, Treasurer of Spear & Co., Inc. Real Estate, quoting coal prices to Mr. Harry Kottler of Federation.
In 1926 the Budget Director at FJP was Solomon Cutler; Mr. Spear seems to have been misinformed about the spelling of his name – hopefully the prices quoted were more accurate.
The coal prices are based on various sizes and qualities of coal – pea coal, nut coal, stove coal, soft coal, coke, etc. We don’t have a copy of Solomon Cutler’s original inquiry to Spear & Co., but presumably it was a general inquiry as to cost for the winter of 1926-1927.
In 1940 the Budget Department prepared a chart showing the cost of fuel, whether coal or oil, by agency, arranged by Functional Groups, comparing costs in 1938, 1939 and 1940. Perhaps this study was again because of the high cost of fuel and a planned discussion on whether to convert more institutions to oil from coal. Most agencies on this list were still using coal in 1940.
By 1942 the United States government was strictly controlling the availability of oil for non-residential buildings, and there was correspondence between Maurice Hexter, Executive Vice-President of FJP, and the presidents of many of the non-residential agencies as to the possibility of their converting quickly back to coal. Coal was thought at that time to not be as efficient, and the conversion costs back to coal burners were not necessarily trustworthy. Below is page 1 of a memo with information arranged by agency with remarks as to whether they would “continue to receive sufficient oil for its needs” and if not, then an estimate as to the cost of conversion to coal.
It’s not clear from the file if any conversions back to coal took place; there is a gap in the folder from 1943-1948. By June 1949 there were just 8 Agencies listed still using coal. (By comparison, an article in the New York Times from 1995 states that 25% of New York City’s schools still used coal 50 years after this study.) In 1949, the focus on fuel in Federation’s Budget Department had shifted from the availability of coal to the price of oil. Below is a chart of monthly prices of a barrel of oil “at Bayonne”.
For additional information on fuel costs at specific FJP agencies, it is possible to find other data elsewhere in the collection, particularly in the annual agency files, where fuel was generally a line item in the budget.