Record Group 3: Faculty

  • Dates: 1903-1949, (1930s-1940s, Bulk)
  • Size: 2 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 3
  • Languages:
    • English
    • Hebrew
    • Yiddish
    • German
  • Location: Special Collections Reading Room, Jewish Theological Seminary Library.
  • Restrictions: Jewish Theological Seminary records are available for research, with permission, through 1972; records dating from 1973 and afterward are currently closed. For permission to see records of The Jewish Theological Seminary write to: Archivist, Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism, Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Reproduction of fragile items is not permitted; consult the archivist about literary rights.

TK, 12/10/91

Table of Contents:

A Note on Folder Headings

Individual folders are identified in the following way: record group# -- box# -- folder#, as in R.G.1-10-32. Please use this format in citations and when referring to files for any other reason.

Collection Description

 [see caption]
Portrait of the faculty and gradutaing class of 1939. Faculty, seated from left, are: Alexander Sperber, H.L. Ginsberg, Moses Hyamson, Louis Finkelstein, President Cyrus Adler, Louis Ginzberg, Alexander Marx, Israel Davidson, Boaz Cohen.

The Faculty Files, 1903-1949 (the bulk of the material dates from the 1930s through the late 1940s) are a small group of files which mainly contain correspondence by or about Seminary faculty members. They were probably maintained by Joseph B. Abrahams who was the faculty secretary during this period. Faculty members represented include Max Arzt, Boaz Cohen, H.L. Ginsberg, Robert Gordis, Simon Greenberg, Abraham Halkin, Moses Hyamson, Mordecai Kaplan, Saul Lieberman, Alexander Marx, Alexander Sperber, Shalom Spiegel, speech teacher Arleigh Williamson, and others. See the box list, below, for the complete list.

The files chiefly contain correspondence between faculty members and Seminary presidents Solomon Schechter, Cyrus Adler, and Louis Finkelstein and secretary Abrahams concerning administrative, scholarly, and personal matters. Also included in the files are: student attendance records, grades, recommendations, and entrance exams; schedules, press releases announcing the arrival of new faculty members, and immigration work done for foreign born faculty.

Teaching and research related materials include lecture notes, course outlines, copies of exams, roll books, listings of publications, inquiries from the public on academic topics (see H.L. Ginsberg), and typescripts of papers, some with annotations.

Of note are admissions applications, questionnaires, and other material dating from some faculty members' years as students at The Jewish Theological Seminary. See the files for Robert Gordis, Simon Greenberg, and Mordecai Kaplan.

Also of interest are Mordecai Kaplan's files, which include a paper entitled "Toward A Philosophy of Cultural Integration," with notes in the margins. Along with routine material, Kaplan's files also contain correspondence documenting the stresses of his long tenure at the Seminary. Moses Hyamson's file contains correspondence between himself and Solomon Schechter on the possibility of his coming to the United States should he not be elected for the British Chief Rabbinate. Robert Gordis's file includes a discussion of the possibility of using Hebrew as the language of instruction at the Seminary.

Some files document the Seminary's response to some of the events of World War II. The institution's patriotic stance is reflected in several items in Louis Finkelstein's file which were circulated to all the faculty, including a memorandum requesting faculty support for the early graduation of the class of 1943 in order to provide candidates for the military chaplaincy, and a letter stressing the importance of buying war bonds. The Seminary's response to the plight of the German Jews is reflected in materials from Ismar Elbogen's file, which includes correspondence between Louis Finkelstein, Judah Mack and Stephen Wise, on how to make the financial arrangements necessary to employ Ismar Elbogen in their institutions. Some correspondence in the files reveals a lack of understanding of the desperation of the situation of the European Jews during World War Two, and a preoccupation with assisting only prominent German Jews working in Jewish scholarship.

Also interesting are the files of Arleigh Williamson, a speech teacher from New York University, who kept copious notes on the speech habits, social presentation and "cultural level" of his largely poor, foreign-born students.

Box List

Box  Folders  Description  
1  1Arzt, Max
 2Bokser, Ben Zion
 3Chertoff, Paul
 4-5Cohen, Boaz
 6Dinin, Samuel
 7Edidin, Ben
 8Efros, Israel
 9Elbogen, Ismar
 10 Finkelstein, Louis
 11-13Ginsberg, H.L.
 14Ginsberg, H.L., Bible history course outlines
 15Goldfarb, Israel
 16Goldman, Israel
 17Goldstein, Israel
 18-21Gordis, Robert
 22Gordon, Harold
 23-24Greenberg, Simon
 25Halkin, Abraham
 26-27Hyamson, Moses
 28Kadushin, Max
 29-33Kaplan, Mordecai
21Kaplan, Mordecai
 2Levinthal, Israel
 3Levitsky, Louis
 4Lieberman, Saul
 5Lieberman, Saul, reception for, November 17, 1940
 6-11Marx, Alexander
 12Ovsay, Joshua
 13Rosenthal, Henry
 14Sperber, Alexander
31-2Sperber, Alexander
 3Sperber, Alexander and Leon Kraemer, concerning immigration
 4-5Spiegel, Shalom
 6Steinberg, Milton
 7-13  Williamson, Arleigh, speech teacher