thiscangobacktothearchives

August 28, 2015

Audiovisual Material

We are happy to report that our entire audiovisual (AV) collection is processed! We have nine boxes of AV materials, including audio reels, cassettes, records, 16mm films, floppy disks, VHS tapes, CDs, wire recordings, and microfilm.

Here’s a breakdown of how we process AV material:

  1. We find AV items mixed in with the regular collection, or acquire larger items (such as the 16mm film reels) in their own containers that are usually not preservation-friendly.
  2. We remove the AV item and place one copy of a transfer form in its original location, and keep the other copy with the item. This way, we can note the intellectual location of the item, even though it will not physically be housed in its correct subgroup and series.
  3. We try to deduce the content of the AV item, and make some decisions regarding the importance of keeping and also digitizing the item. Some items are labeled (though labels aren’t always correct) and some are not. Based on labeling and original location in the collection, if an item seems important — such as Board minutes — we listen to it or view it and, if necessary, create a digital version. Some items may not have content on them at all (blank cassettes, for example), or may have degraded so much that they are unable to be viewed or listened to. These items are weeded from the collection.
  4. In order to be efficient and cost effective when digitizing, we group materials by format and determine the best vendor for the process. We are lucky enough to have much equipment to play and digitize various media here at the Center for Jewish History, including cassette players, record players, disk drives, etc, though we did (and many other repositories do) send out certain formats for digitization. For our films and audio reels, we used MediaPreserve. Once a digital file has been created, we ingest the file into our digital asset management system and gather metadata about the digital version. This digital file has now become its own item in our collection, and is publicly available through the Center for Jewish History’s Digital Collections.
  5. When the digitization process is complete, we carefully rehouse the AV item with its transfer form, usually with materials of the same format, in preservation friendly containers. Some materials (like cassettes and diskettes) can be stored together, while other materials (like 16mm film) are prone to decay and should be housed individually. We also try to keep digitized items in separate boxes for easier retrieval.
  6. We then create a separate AV folder list to keep track of the AV boxes and their contents and location, and connect all digital versions to their physical counterparts through links in our regular folder lists. In addition to our digitized films, below are some links to other digitized AV items of interest in the collection, and in case you forgot what some of these old AV formats look like, at the very bottom are photographs!

FJP Executive Committee Special Meeting on Merger, 1985

UJA Stars for Israel fundraising event at Madison Square Garden (featuring Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits), 1967

UJA Campaign Radio Spots, 1974

UJA Council of Organizations Yiddish Radio Programs, 1976

UJF Taskforce on the Jewish Woman: Conference on Women and Leadership, 1987

UJF Taskforce on Mixed Marriage, Speaker Egon Mayer, 1986

Audio reel

Audio reel

16mm film

16mm film

Wire recording

Wire recording

Video Umatic

Video Umatic

August 12, 2015

Federation films digitized and available online

Filed under: audio-visual material, found in the archives, interesting or noteworthy archival material — thiscangobacktothearchives @ 3:29 pm

After our success with MediaPreserve digitizing a number of sound recordings earlier in the year, we returned back to the vendor to digitize five short films. These films have been reviewed, described, ingested into a digital repository, and are now available through the Center’s Digital Collections.

Five films were selected for digitization:

Dial-a-thon

Screen capture, Dial-a-thon

Screen capture, Dial-a-thon, 1973

Williamsburg Y and Long Island Jewish Hospital

Screen capture, Williamsburg Y and Long Island Jewish Hospital, undated

Screen capture, Williamsburg Y and Long Island Jewish Hospital, undated

UJA-Federation News Release

Screen capture, UJA-Federation News Release, 1974

Screen capture, UJA-Federation News Release, 1974

A Journey into Life

Screen capture, Journey into Life, 1960

Screen capture, Journey into Life, 1960

At Any Given Moment

Screen capture, At Any Given Moment, 1972

Screen capture, At Any Given Moment, 1972

Two of the films, “A Journey into Life” and “At Any Given Moment,” have celebrity narrators, Sid Caesar and Alan King, respectively, to guide and appeal to viewers as part of the Federation’s educational, fundraising, and outreach efforts within the metropolitan New York area.

However, perhaps the greatest find is, among these newly digitized and available resources, the Dial-a-thon footage that captures the exuberance and excitement of a themed fundraising event with hand drawn tigers, ringing telephones, and circus music.

Screen capture, Dial-a-thon, 1973

Screen capture, Dial-a-thon, 1973

We have been able to positively identify Federation President Lawrence B. Buttenweiser, Martha K. Selig, comptroller and soon-to-be Mayor Abraham Beame, and Bess Myerson in Dial-a-thon. If you are able to identify any persons in the five films, please contact us and we can add this valuable information to the description of the footage.

July 28, 2015

Publicity Program and Record for 1929 of Federation

Filed under: audio-visual material, early history, Federation people — Tags: , — thiscangobacktothearchives @ 12:03 pm

Isidore Sobeloff, the Director of Public Affairs for the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York, compiled a scrapbook of material that his department created in 1929. The scrapbook was held by the Sobeloff family and was recently donated by Susan Sobeloff to the UJA-Federation of New York Archives Project in March. Since March, the scrapbook underwent preservation treatment and has been digitized and made available online.

Available along with many other digitized minutes, oral histories and photographs ingested within the Center for Jewish History Digital Collections, the digitized version of the scrapbook captures the order and feel of the original material. Before digitization, the scrapbook underwent a series of preservation actions in the Werner J. and Gisella Levi Cahnman Preservation Laboratory, including unbinding the book and separating fragile, deteriorating newspaper clippings from acidic pages and one another. The Preservation Lab took photographs of the scrapbook before digitization and these photographs can be viewed as part of the digitized version of the scrapbook under the label, “Scrapbook before preservation treatment.”

The scrapbook, in many ways, reads both like the history of a tumultuous campaign year and, also, like an artist’s portfolio, highlights his decisions as the director. Clippings mention Federation agencies and fundraising effort and publications illustrate how the department was the ambassador or mouthpiece for the philanthropic organization.

Front cover, 1929

Front cover of Publicity Program and Record for 1929 of Federation

The scrapbook documents the activities of Sobeloff and the Public Affair Department during a time period for which we have very little archival material, both before the Public Affairs Department started to be called the Public Relations Department and before the Federation merged with the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities to become the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York.

Mailing from Federation

1929 Mailing to Pledgers, “When you said that…”

In addition to the wonderful campaign information related to outreach to new members and a significant effort to further democratize Federation, the scrapbook is filled with allusions to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the difficulties associated with fundraising in the midst of the largest economic downturn in United States history. For instance, he offers that:

As we look back at 1929, we must divide the planned program into the period referred to until now and the period from immediately after the market collapse until the end of the year. Out of all the confusion came the decision that our public had to be convinced that giving to Federation was a constant all-year-round problem unaffected by outside factors; that regardless of business conditions, the work of healing and mercy must go on.

The scrapbook details some of the decisions made to prompt campaign pledgers and workers to give and meet their commitments both in spite of the crash and, ironically, to help deal with even greater need because of the crash.

Mailing from Federation, 1929

Mailing to Pledgers, “Federation’s Deficit has been Decreased to 900,000!”

Later, Mr. Sobeloff relocated to Detroit to become the executive director of the Detroit Federation. His oral history is digitized and available. In his oral history interview, Sobeloff recounts his training in Jewish communal service, time as Director of Public Relations for Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York, and his experience as a communal leader in Detroit from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Special thanks to Susan Sobeloff for her donation of the scrapbook to the American Jewish Historical Society on behalf of the Sobeloff Family.

June 19, 2015

Lots of UJA-Fed Photos Now Viewable Online

Good News! We now have nearly 500 images from the UJA-Federation collection selected, digitized, cataloged, and available online! Believe it or not, this represents just a small selection of all the photographs in the collection. It contains 71 bankers boxes of photographs from each of the four subgroups of the collection (Federation, UJA, Joint Campaign, and UJF). Each box holds an average of 850 prints, so, we estimate the grand total of photographs to be around 60,000.

The dates of the photos range from as early as the 1910s up to as recently as the 2000s, with the bulk of the material landing in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Both UJA and Federation sought to document and promote their accomplishments, events, and prominent personalities through these images. As these institutions merged, the Joint Campaign and UJA-Fed continued the practice of documenting their activities and their people, so researchers will have an unusually rich visual record of the whole organization to draw upon.

While the majority are black and white 8 x 10″ prints, many other sizes and formats, such as 35mm color slides, various types of color polaroid prints, and negatives of all sizes, are included as well. Below are a precious few for you to sample, but be sure to check out all the digitized photos in our digital gallery when you a chance.

aa-i433-ph-fjp-003

Campers at Hebrew Orphan Asylum Camp

Sophie Tucker, 1965

Sophie Tucker, 1965

“My Dad Upped His Pledge,” 1977

Rosenwald and Tisch at Special Gifts Dinner, 1974

Rosenwald and Tisch at Special Gifts Dinner, 1974

Silbert donating to Israel Emergency Fund, approximately 1970s

Silbert donating to Israel Emergency Fund, approximately 1970s

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!

April 9, 2015

Happy Passover (Part 2)!

As we arrive at the last few days of the festival of Passover, we wanted to take the opportunity to share with you this novel Passover-themed fundraising appeal envelope that looks just like matzo! This and other samples of direct mail fundraising appeals can be found within the UJF Marketing and Communications subseries.

Passover fundraising mailer, 1998.

Passover fundraising mailer, 1998.

The UJA-Federation Archivists wish you a chag sameach and a joyous Passover!

February 25, 2015

“Uncle Henry” and the Irene Kaufmann Settlement

In processsing any collection as massive as that of the UJA-Federation of New York, an archivist is bound to encounter files that fall slightly beyond the expected scope of the project once in a while. Case in point: a folder found in the Federation Photographs sub-series titled “Irene Kaufmann Settlement.” Here is one our favorite images from this folder:

Irene Kaufmann Settlement

Milk give away event at Irene Kaufamann Settlement in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 1927

This file contains 16 other photographs, as well as historical background on the Irene Kaufmann Settlement (IKS), and biographical information on Henry Kaufmann.

When I first encountered the folder, I presumed IKS was one of over a hundred organizations in the New York City area that Federation had funded during the 20th Century. I had seen appearances of the Kaufmann surname in various other parts of the collection and I knew that FJP of New York funded the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, a group of day camps with locations in Rockland County, Suffolk County, and Staten Island, which are still in operation today.

hkc 061453 100

Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds dedication invitation, 1953

After that first cursory glance, however, I realized that IKS was actually not located in New York City – or even anywhere nearby – but rather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Henry Kaufmann, known affectionately to many as “Uncle Henry,” became wealthy through his family’s successful downtown Pittsburgh department store, Kaufmann’s. Henry put up the initial capital to build the Irene Kaufmann Settlement in 1909, naming it after a daughter of his who had met an untimely death. He continued to contribute funding to IKS over the years, as did the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Pittsburgh. A short history of IKS can be seen here on the Rauh Jewish Archives of the Heinz History Center’s website. This is the same person after whom the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in the New York City area are named. Kaufmann retired relatively early from the retail business in 1913 and devoted the remaining four decades of his life to philanthropic giving in Pittsburgh and New York, so it is easy to see how a file on a Pittsburgh community center found its way into the UJA-Federation of New York archives.

Program for a Henry Kaufmann birthday celebration at Irene Kaufmann Settlement

Program for a Henry Kaufmann birthday celebration at Irene Kaufmann Settlement

January 6, 2015

The Late Mario Cuomo

Filed under: audio-visual material, found in the archives — Heather Halliday @ 12:19 pm

UFJCportMarioCuomo

As New Yorkers and other gather today to pay their last respects to former Governor Mario Cuomo at his funeral, I remembered having seen his image in some of the photograph sections of the collection I have processed. The portrait above is from a subseries of portrait photographs found in the Joint Campaign Public Relations files. This subseries ranges from the 1950s through the early 1980s and includes the faces of many well-known actors, musicians, and politicians, especially those based in New York. Fortunately, these portrait files were relatively well organized and in good condition when I encountered them, with the names of individuals featured in them listed clearly. When our project is complete, researchers will be able to easily search the finding aid for names like that of Mr. Cuomo and his contemporaries to see if this collection happens to hold an image of their research subject. In the case of Mario Cuomo, researchers need not stop at the Joint Campaign portrait subseries; he attended quite a few UJA-Federation events over the years, especially in the 1970s when he was active in local city politics, and he appears in photographs from some of these events.

December 17, 2014

Happy Hanukkah from the UJA-Federation Archives team!

Filed under: audio-visual material — Tags: , — Heather Halliday @ 9:00 am

UFJC.leadership.development.council.candles.1977Young Leadership Development Council, December 11, 1977. From the Joint Campaign Public Relations Department Photograph files.

 

FJP.dreidelChildren molding dreidels from plastalene, 1970s. From FJP Public Relations Department Photograph files.

 

November 25, 2014

“Happy Thanksgiving (and would you consider a pledge?)!”

Filed under: audio-visual material, found in the archives — Heather Halliday @ 10:00 am

Federation took the occasion of Thanksgiving to ask its constituency to consider donating, as evidenced by the following graphic materials found in the Public Relations series. Dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, these slips of paper would have been inserted into mailed items.

FJP.thanksgiving.bill.stuffer

Thanksgiving mail inserts from the FJP Public Relations, 1960s.

 

FJP.thanksgiving

Thanksgiving mail insert from the FJP Public Relations files, undated.

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