thiscangobacktothearchives

May 26, 2015

Straw Hats – a summer story

Filed under: found in the archives, interesting or noteworthy archival material — susanwoodland @ 4:30 pm

After a sunny and warm Memorial Day, our thoughts are turning to summer hats.

In 1940, one or more of Federation’s affiliated homes for the aged purchased 75 straw hats, presumably for their male residents, through Federation’s Joint Purchasing Agency.  The letter below was sent to a Mr. Bernstein, probably in the Joint Purchasing department, encouraging swift payment to the hat company.  Hopefully the check was in the mail and crossed with this letter.

1940 Lowenstein correspondence

1940 Lowenstein correspondence

The letter survived because it ended up in the files of the Executive Vice-President (EVP) Solomon Lowenstein.  Lowenstein’s surviving files are fragmentary, taking up fewer than 4 boxes – just a small portion of his correspondence and subject files considering he was EVP at Federation from 1920 until his death in 1942. (His title was Executive Director from 1920-1935, but under both titles he was the professional leader of Federation for 22 years.)

The company that supplied the hats was Adam Hats, a manufacturer and retailer of what seems to have been many styles of men’s hats.  In 1940 Adam Hat Stores’ administrative offices were at 651-659 Broadway, a block and a half north of Houston Street and less than 2 1/2 miles from 47th street.  Not far for a check to travel.

Attached to the letter was a copy of the invoice:

invoice

invoice, $59.38 for 75 straw hats

In 1940 Federation supported a few “old age homes” in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including the Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged on west 105th and 106th streets in Manhattan, now called Jewish Home Lifecare.  The correspondence refers to a generic “Home for the Aged”, leading us to believe that the hats were sent to several different senior residences.

We saw no mention of women’s hats in the files, but presumably they were ordered from a women’s hat maker, and presumably the check for those hats found its way more promptly to its destination.

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May 14, 2015

Surprise: more Special AIDS Project boxes!

Filed under: interesting or noteworthy archival material — Heather Halliday @ 12:36 pm

It was only after the first nine Special AIDS Project boxes were completely processed that we discovered four additional boxes on the project among the few remaining unprocessed boxes in the warehouse. We missed them the first time around because these were not labeled “AIDS” or “Simha Rosenberg” as the others had been, but “Caring Commision” instead. These additional four boxes became just two boxes in the course of processing, bringing the subseries total up to eleven boxes. The overall date range for these additional boxes is 1986 – 2001, with the bulk of material landing in the mid-1990s – 2001, which is a bit later than the first nine Special AIDS Project boxes.

articles

Articles from the Special AIDS Project subseries

Nearly one full box of this additional Special AIDS Project subseries is printed materials – pamphlets, journal and magazine articles, newspaper clippings, white papers and scholarly reports. Some of these publications were authored by UJF, most were not. Usually, an archivist would weed heavily this type of non-unique published material, but this group of materials has been retained in its entirety, weeding only for duplicate copies, in part because it demonstrates clearly the thorough organization of the Special AIDS Project and the sharp focus of Project Coordinator Simha Rosenberg upon its goals. This printed matter is organized by topic and an index listing citations of each item is included. Another reason I chose to retain this material is that archival material relating to AIDS from this era is rather rare. Impassioned activists struggling in the midst of a terrifiying new crisis and medical researchers dealing with an epidemic in triage-mode were not always able to save the important documents that archivists could later declare to be “of enduring value.” At last year’s Society of American Archivists annual meeting, this particular point was articulated by all the speakers at a session called “Preserving the Epidemic: Making Accessible HIV/AIDS History.” For an excellent summary of that session, see this l’Archivista blog post. Rosenberg and her colleagues clearly used this material as an active reference resource. Today and in the future, it can provide researchers insight into how the disease and was perceived, what the issues of prevention were, how society and the Jewish community reacted to it, and what HIV and AIDS services were being offered during the later 1980s through the 1990s.

AIDS comic book

Comic book on AIDS prevention published by the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1987.

Bye Keith

Tribute to Keith Haring on the back of the April 1990 issue of The Body Positive magazine

Besides the printed materials, the other additional material is comprised of various subject files, including a bit of material from Rosenberg’s successors, Roberta Beer and Renanit Levy.

May 7, 2015

New sound recordings available online!

Filed under: audio-visual material, interesting or noteworthy archival material — thiscangobacktothearchives @ 2:41 pm

Earlier in the year, we selected and digitized 40 reel-to-reel tapes with the vendor MediaPreserve, these recordings have been ingested into the Center for Jewish History’s digital repository. You can find all of these wonderful recordings in two different ways, either searching for individual recordings on the Center’s Digital Collections portal or the recordings can also all be found aggregated here, and we will soon be adding a link on our project webpage on the American Jewish Historical Society website.

Given that the sound recordings were digitized from reels, there are recordings from each of the philanthropic organizations that merged to become UJA-Federation of New York, including a Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York recording of the Board of Trustees dinner in honor of Joseph Willen and Dr. Maurice Hexter, 1967, a United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York 1967 recording of the Stars for Israel at Madison Square Garden with Robert F. Kennedy, Jacob Javits, Jack Weiler, and Mayor John Lindsay speaking, and a series of radio commercials from the UJA-Federation Joint Campaign in 1974.

Front of audio reel, 1967

Front of reel from Federation Board of Trustees dinner in honor of Executive Vice Presidents Willen and Hexter, 1967

One of our next steps as the project winds down will be making another series of sound recordings available online, another 30 audiocassettes!

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