December 24, 2013

Christmas greetings

Filed under: Federation people, found in the archives — susanwoodland @ 10:02 am

A surprising message from Federation Board of Trustees member Frank A. Weil to Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin:

A pleasant Christmas season

A pleasant Christmas season

The records indicate that Frank A. Weil was a member of the Distribution Committee and Trustee at Large of Federation’s Board of Trustees from 1965-1968.  He was also Secretary of Federation in the mid-1970s.  An attorney, he was a senior partner of the Washington law firm of Ginsburg, Feldman, Weil and Bress.  He was Chairman of the Finance Committee and Chief Financial Officer of Paine Webber, Inc. from 1972 -1977, and he headed the International Trade Administration of the United States Department of Commerce from 1977-1979.

Rabbi Trainin was hired by Federation in 1954 as an adviser on Religious Affairs.  In his more than 30 years at Federation, Rabbi Trainin created the Department of Religious Affairs, the Committee on Religious Affairs and the Commission on Synagogue Relations.  This letter was found in Rabbi Trainin’s correspondence in his files from the Religious Affairs Department.  Later posts will delve into more detail on his work at Federation.

December 16, 2013

Budget Files complete!

Filed under: the process of archival processing — Tags: , , , , , — thiscangobacktothearchives @ 1:25 pm

The processing of the budget files is now complete!  The files of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are the largest series in the entire collection. The budget files themselves are over 500 linear feet after being processed (that’s over 5 football fields!).  The budget files consist of a variety of budgetary files such as annual agency files, Budget Department subject files, financial reports, agency financial reports, audited agency reports, Distribution Committee reports, functional committee reports, Greater New York Fund files, and Financial Experience of Affiliated Societies files.

Of significance to researchers is the completion of the annual agency files.  This means that agency files from 1917-2000 are now available to researchers, spanning 84 years and 9 decades.  The files cover the entire Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (FJP) lifespan, plus 13 years of UJA-Federation (UJF) files after the merger, from 1986 to 2000. This sub-subseries is the largest of any in the collection. The files comprise 293.5 linear feet (294 bankers boxes and over 8,000 folders).  The processing of the agency budget files is the culmination of more than a year’s work of arduous processing by a single archivist. The FJP Annual Agency Budget Files finding aid is now available online ( and the files are available for research.

This sub-subseries will be indispensable to researchers seeking information about a particular agency that Federation funded in a particular year or across many years.  In addition to the expected budgetary details, the files give a snapshot of the scope of Federation’s work in any given year or decade.  Without even looking at the files themselves, the folder lists are evocative of the time they represent just in the names of the agencies (Brightside Day Nursery – Auxiliary Guild, 1917; Recreation Rooms and Settlement, 1918; Hebrew Orphan Asylum – Ladies’ Sewing Society, 1919).  Because Federation provided funding where the need was greatest, it is possible to see the evolution of social services in the boroughs of New York City as more funding was provided by the government and as the City as a whole became wealthier.  Initially saving a poor population from starvation with funds for Passover food, and by supporting hospitals, care of the elderly and of orphans, Federation grew to support a more middle-class Jewish community that had spread out to Long Island and Westchester with summer camps, community centers and Jewish education, while continuing to support formerly Jewish hospitals in neighborhoods that remained poor.

We will continue to post more about our progress on the project as more series and subseries are completed.

December 11, 2013

Winking Eye, Fake Moustache, and Other Novelty Items Unearthed in Federation Public Relations Series

Processing the archival materials of Bob Smith’s Public Relations Department at FJP certainly was fun!

ImageThe paper false moustache pictured above was included with a packet of materials prepared by the PR Department for a Federation Dial-A-Thon event that took place sometime between 1960 and 1965. This event apparently had and “old time” theme and the PR team must have thought various board members and celebrities pitching in to make fundraising phone calls while wearing these disguises would make for memorable photographs. We will find out if any such pictures survive when we complete processing the FJP photographs.

To fully appreciate the promotional item from the FJP PR series below, you must take a few seconds to watch this short video.

ImageThis type of image is called a lenticular print. You may call it a “flicker picture,” though if, like me, you were born in the 1960s or 1970s and remember encountering some of these things as prizes in Cracker Jack boxes. It is a little like an analog version of a GIF file in that it combines two separate images to create the illusion of motion. The curved ridges on the surface of the lenticular print are what fuse the images together. More recently, lenticular print technology has evolved to incorporate more images per print for the illusion of a greater degree of motion and even three-dimensionality. This card was included as an insert in an invitation for an event the Great Neck division held in 1963.

ImageThis inventive item designed and produced by the PR department helped Federation donors calculate their contribution and see in very concrete terms the good that their money did the community. A circular piece inside the card could be rotated to reveal various contribution levels, multiplied by the number of agencies affiliated with FJP and described what their gift paid for in the small windows on the right of the card.

These are just a few examples of lively and surprising fundraising items contained within the FJP PR series. If any of you have received similar silly mailings over the years, we’d love to see them.

December 6, 2013

JASA Journal Bronx

Filed under: found in the archives — thiscangobacktothearchives @ 1:21 pm
Front cover of JASA Journal Bronx, 1977

Front cover of JASA Journal Bronx, 1977

In processing the files of various Federation consultants on medical care and care of the aged, I encountered an agency-published journal, almost a zine, created by the Jewish Association for Service for the Aged (JASA) in 1977. At the time of the journal, the Association was less than ten years old and closely affiliated with the Federation’s goal of providing care and assistance to the Jewish elderly in the metropolitan New York area.

Providing services to the aged in all five boroughs of New York, there is a report found alongside the journal that outlines the programs offered in the Bronx:

JASA’s services in the Bronx falls into two major categories: individual services (casework) and group services…Group services include six JASA-sponsored programs, five of them co-sponsored with synagogues and the sixth located in a housing project. Two of these programs operate one day a week, three meet twice a week and one is open five days a week. An additional eleven independent programs that have no government funding receive help through the JASA Recreation Program for the Elderly, in the form of teachers, lecturers, entertainers, and trips.

The journal features contributions from each of the Bronx programs in the form of recollections, advice, advertisements, poetry (both in fixed rhyming form and free verse), editorials, reactions to current events, and a report on a visit to the Bronx Zoo. The journal, which might perhaps be considered ephemera, offers a significant amount of information relating to the concerns, beliefs, and desires of those participating in the JASA programs and the elderly in the New York area, including their thoughts on a New York City blackout, crime, poverty, and loneliness. These thoughts were sometimes expressed as poetry (written by Anna Kaminsky):

Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling
Answer the phone when it rings.
Hello, my friends, everywhere
Do not fret – do not care
Dry your tears – wipe your eyes
You’re in for a big surprise.
Meet new friends – Join the crowd
Only laughing is allowed.
Have to go – fun’s in store
When you walk through JASA’s door.

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