[Return to the Table of Contents]



Correspondence, 1906-1921

2 folders

Cahn owned theaters and opera houses in the northeastern United States.  This business correspondence concerns theater bookings and cancellations.

In English.


Papers, 1945

1 folder

This collection contains a personal letter to Max Fallk, and a receipt from the Young Men's Hebrew Association.

In Yiddish and English.  Gift of Gale Francis.

HERSHEY, BERNARD (ca.18861986)

Papers, 1920 and 1976-1985

2 folders

Bernard Hershey (Hershkowitz) was born in Bucharest, Romania on 1 March 1886.  He was Jewish.  He was apprenticed as a youth to a tailor.  He was conscripted into the army but was sent to the U.S. by his father and uncle.  He came to the United States in 1907, settling in New York's lower East Side.  He returned to Romania briefly during an economic slump in the United States and served briefly in the Romanian Army in the Balkans sometime between 1910 and 1913.  He returned to America permanently in 1913 to avoid the approaching war.  He was drafted into the U.S. Army, but was never inducted before the Armistice.  He became a citizen in 1918 or 1919.

During World War I and for some time after, for a total of six years, Hershey was employed in the Brooklyn Navy Yards making dress uniforms.  He opened his own tailoring business in the Bronx in 1930, and maintained it through several failures until his retirement in ca. 1958 at the age of 72.  During World War II he was employed in the shipyards in Chester, Pennsylvania.

After his retirement Hershey settled in New Rochelle, where he worked as a volunteer at New Rochelle Hospital.  In 1978 he moved to Armonk, New Jersey, to stay with one of his granddaughters and her family.  In 1985 he was honored by the City of Yonkers, which proclaimed 2 March 1985 Bernard Hershey Day.

Hershey was married in 1920 to another Romanian immigrant, Fanny Klein, to whom he was introduced by a local matchmaker.  She died in 1956.  The couple had three children, seven grandchildren, and five greatgrandchildren.

Hershey died in 1986.

The collection contains correspondence, primarily letters of congratulation from government officials on the occasion of his 100th birthday, clippings on the same subject, and a photocopy of the marriage license of Bernard Hershey and Fanny Klein.  Also included is a certificate from the Office of the Mayor of the City of Yonkers, proclaiming 2 March 1985 Bernard Hershey Day.  Of greatest value is a cassette tape of an interview with Hershey which was conducted in 1977 by one of his daughters; in it he discusses his early life, his career as a tailor, the family's strategies for making it through the Depression, New York City neighborhoods affected by the Depression and by urban blight, and the politics of the 1930s and 1940s.  No transcript of the interview is currently available.

Folder 1 contains correspondence and miscellaneous documents from 1920 and 1976-1985.  Folder 2 contains undated clippings, and two from 12 June 1984 and 6 March 1985.  Photographs have been separated to Photo Group 274.

The collection was donated by Mrs. Roslyn Sanford, Hershey's daughter, in 1990.


Papers, 1943-1973

1 folder

The collection contains an affidavit attesting that Hurshman is a natural citizen, photocopies of obituaries, and a letter describing some of the family's history.

In English.  Gift of Mrs. Ethel Weisberg.


Papers, 1877-1900

1 folder

This collection consists of a certificate of fulfillment of military service requirements for Yankel Sholorn Shliomov Kaganov, a Russian Jew, and passports issued in Russia for foreign travel for Kaganov, his wife SheynaGenia Agriela Kaganov, and their young daughters.  It is not clear if the passports were issued for the purpose of emigration to the United States.  Also present is a blank promissory note.  All documents are in Russian; partial English translations are provided.

This collection was donated by Paula Cohen in 1983.

KAPLAN, SAUL (ca. 1877-1943)

Autobiography, 1890-1900

1 folder

Saul Kaplan was a Russian Jewish immigrant to Philadelphia in 1890.  The handwritten, eighty-five page autobiography covers his life from 1890 to his marriage in 1900.  It appears that Kaplan wrote this account toward the end of his life, the late 1930's or early 40's.  He devoted most of his manuscript to his work experience, and painted a very clear picture of the working life of an young immigrant.  The following is a brief synopsis.

Saul Kaplan immigrated to the United States at the age of thirteen from imperial Russia.  Embarking from Memel, Prussia, Kaplan had a relatively uneventful voyage, with the exception of having his money stolen.  Upon landing in New York, Kaplan traveled to Philadelphia, to join his older brother who had migrated at an earlier date.

Kaplan remained in Philadelphia working in various factories and stores until 1893 or 1894.  What was supposed to be a brief trip to New York to visit his brother turned into an extended stay.  After holding numerous odd jobs in Brooklyn, Kaplan's sisterinlaw got him a jobin sweatshop assembling pants.  Observing that the garment industry was expanding, combined with Kaplan's own expertise at a sewing machine, he decided to go into business for himself as a garment subcontractor.

Kaplan was able to win some small contracts, but his profits were meager and the business soon folded.  After getting another job and learning to operate new machinery (double needle sewing machine), Kaplan again ventured out on his own.  Purchasing some new equipment double needle sewing machines, he boosted productivity and made a small profit.  However, due to the burden of running a large shop and fluctuations in the garment industry, Kaplan sold his share of the company to his partner in 1899 or 1900.

The autobiography ends when Kaplan was approximately twentythree, having lived in the United States for ten years.  He bought a shoe store, which later failed, and married his girlfriend Ethel at the turn of the century.

Donated by Arnold H. Rosenburg, 1985.


Scrapbook, 1940-1941

1 item

The Morning Friehiet was founded in 1922 under the editorship of Mossaye J. Olgin, a Socialist.  The paper emerged from the postWorld War I struggles between Social Democrats and Socialists in the Socialist party as an alliance of leftwing Socialists and Communists against the conservative Social Democrats and the more mainstream paper the Jewish Daily Forward.  The Morning Friehiet was intended to appeal to Jewish workers in particular, and during the 1930s vigorously opposed the "breadandbutter" unionism of labor leaders such as president David Dubinsky of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and Sidney Hillman, head of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA).  The paper promoted cultural events and political discussion as well as news and editorials.  It was published primarily in Yiddish.

The scrapbook contains items clipped from the Philadelphia edition of the paper from 1940-1941.  Most articles are in Yiddish.  Those in English deal with the history of the paper and its celebration of the paper's nineteenth anniversary and the sixtieth birthday of Israel Amter.  Included are programs from several events (in Yiddish) and a flyer (in English) calling for the release from prison of Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist party.

The original is too fragile for handling; a photocopy is available.

Gift of Max Whiteman.


Records, 1920-1933

1 volume

The volume contains minutes.

In Yiddish.  Gift of Maxwell Whiteman.


Document, 1887

1 item

This receipt was issued in Philadelphia to Moses Wallenstein for the receipt of fortysix dollars to be transmitted to Lube Wallenstein at a location in Russia, possibly towards the price of passage to America.

In German and English.


Papers, 1923

Bernard Rachman (born Baruch Rachmilevich in December, 1908) came to the United States in September 1923 from Korostishev (Russia).  He entered the country through Ellis Island.  Jennie Rachman was born in Russian Poland and came to the United States in 1921.  Bernard Rachman was naturalized in 1929.  The Rachmans settled in Philadelphia.  He returned to the U.S.S.R. in 1929 via England and Finland on vacation, and to visit relatives.  The Rachmans visited the U.S.S.R. ca. 1972 and again in 1974.

This collection consists of papers related to the passage of Bernard Rachman to the United States in August and September 1923: quarantine certificates, a visa, and other documents.

The collection was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Rachman in 1983.  Materials are in Russian and Polish.


Papers, 1893-1908

1 folder

Solomon Rubin, a Russian Jew, was naturalized in Philadelphia in 1920.  His wife Bertha and son Charles were living with him in the city.  It is not clear where the other Rubin children, Harry, Louis, Dora, and Benjamin, were.

The collection consists of a small number of documents pertaining to Solomon Rubin's immediate family: a certificate for Solomon's naturalization, documents verifying the births of Harry and Dora, the certificates themselves, and a certificate testifying to Solomon's completion of Russian military service.  The papers are in Russian, with the exception of the naturalization certificate which is in English.

The collection was donated by Linda Rabban in 1983.


Papers, 1894-1950

2 folders

This collection consists of several letters, insurance and tax documents, deeds, and personal items such as a savings account passbook.  Included are an 1896 naturalization certificate and two passports for Aaron Rubin, a Russian Jew.  Also present is an 1894 indenture for the sale of a plot of land in Philadelphia by Edward and Charlotte Collins to Louis Paul.

The bulk of the collection consists of mortgagerelated papers concerned with a building originally owned by Bella Rubin.

The collection was donated by Suzanne Root in 1983.


Memoirs, n.d.

2 folders

Isaac Shamus was born in 1874 in Ritziv in the province of Volhynia, in Russia.  His parents were Orthodox Jews.  His father dealt in farm produce, primarily eggs.  Isaac was one of five children, and was educated in the Orthodox tradition.

When Shamus was fourteen he began work as an apprentice to a local carpenter.  He married a girl from a nearby town, but the marriage was unhappy and she refused to give Shamus a divorce.  He decided to emigrate to America, hoping to send his wife money and thus persuade her to agree to a divorce.  Shamus traveled first to London, where he worked as a cabinet maker for five years and succeeded in obtaining his divorce.  He then returned to Ritziv and married again.  The couple remained in the area, operating a furniture business until ca. 1905.  The decline of the business prompted Shamus' departure for the United States, where he worked as a carpenter and construction worker and sent money to his wife and parents.

In 1910 Shamus returned to Russia, where he continued the furniture business.  In 1913, economic conditions worsened and Shamus returned to the United States.  He initially settled in New York, but moved about to work on construction jobs as a carpenter on Long Island, in Newark and Dover, Delaware, and in Philadelphia.

In ca. 1918, Shamus and his brotherinlaw jointly purchased a house in Newark, NJ, and their wives and children joined them in the United States.

Shamus and his wife had a total of four children: Benjamin, Morris, Nora, and another son.  Shamus continued to work as a carpenter and cabinet maker until 1954.  He died in 1956.

The original memoir is in Yiddish; the collection also includes an English translation.  Among the subjects addressed by Shamus in the memoir are the difficulties of observing Orthodox Jewish holidays in the context of a workweek structured by gentiles, his own and family members' religious activities and education, and communication with family members in Russia.

The collection was donated by Benjamin Shamus in 1983.


Letter, 1915

1 folder

This collection consists of a letter "to whom it may concern" from Samuel M. Blitzstein, a Philadelphia ticket agent.  The letter verifies that a ticket was purchased from that office for Schulim Slobidanski for passage from Libau via New York to Philadelphia, and that Slobidanski was on board the S.S. Norge when it sank en route in 1904.  A handwritten note on the front of the letter indicates that the ship struck an iceberg and sank off the coast of Scotland.

The letter was donated by Sonia Metzger in 1983.


History, 1975

2 folders

The first members of the StrickAbramowitz family in America came to the United States around the turn of the twentieth century from Romania and Poland.  This collection consists of a research paper on the family, taped interviews and their transcripts, and photocopies of a questionnaire and related correspondence, all generated in the course of research conducted by Gloria Ruth Strick Fine on the history of her family.

These materials provide an unusually detailed picture of an extended Jewish family.  The interviews in particular are an important source of information on the immigrants' efforts to adapt to life in the United States, to achieve financial success, and to aid relatives in the old country; included are questions about political activity, personal relations within the family and daily life.

The collection was donated by Mrs. Gloria Strick Fine in 1984.

UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration)

Booklet, n.d.

1 item

This collection consists of a publicrelations cartoon booklet put out (presumably by UNRRA) to solicit donations for efforts in Europe by United Jewish Appeal on behalf of Jews displaced by World War II.


Narrative, 1940

1 folder

This narrative describes the journey of the Barenbaum family to the United States in 1893 from their village in Russia, a short distance from the city of Uman.  The family settled in Philadelphia.  The bulk of the narrative is concerned with their trip through Europe, but includes some of young Dora's initial impressions of America.

The collection was donated in 1974 by Dr. William Glicksman through Mr. Lawrence Naftulin.


Papers, 1957-1968

1 folder

The collection includes Whiteman's notes on Jewish calendars, two letters, and a flyer for his book Mankind and Medicine.

In English.  Gift of Maxwell Whiteman.