Record Group 9: Jewish Theological Seminary Regional Branches

Series : A, Mid-Atlantic (Philadelphia) Region

  • Size: 2.25 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes and Scrapbooks: 1 box, 5 scrapbooks
  • Languages: English
  • Gift Of: Elyce B. Teitelman, Jewish Theological Seminary, Mid-Atlantic Region, Philadelphia
  • Date: August 8, 1991
  • 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, 3/12/92

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.

Historical Note

The Philadelphia Branch of The Jewish Theological Seminary was founded in 1886 or 1887 in order to raise funds for the newly founded Seminary. To better fulfill this goal, the Philadelphia Branch reorganized its fundraising efforts in 1944, coordinating its activities with those of several other local Jewish organizations, including Philadelphia congregations and synagogue men's clubs, women's leagues and young people's leagues. In order to facilitate this new joint campaign, these organizations rented a central office and set up guidelines for the distribution of their proceeds. Later, the Philadelphia Branch changed its name to the Jewish Theological Seminary, Mid-Atlantic Region.


Collection Description

The Philadelphia Branch files, 1935-1983 (the bulk of the material dates from the 1940s) are a small group of files that contain information about much of the fundraising activity for the Seminary conducted in the Philadelphia area. Included are minutes; examples of form letters and other material used during campaigns; reports; administrative documents; scrapbooks; photographs; and publications.

The material used during campaigns consists primarily of advertisements for fundraising events and examples of solicitation letters; the reports document the status of fundraising efforts; administrative documents include items generated by the central office, such as an agreement between the Seminary and the Branch concerning the allocation of campaign funds, leases, pledge lists, and cancelled checks; scrapbooks are composed primarily of news clippings pertaining to Seminary and Philadelphia campaign activities; most of the photographs depict award ceremonies and dinners, and include both members of the Philadelphia Branch and important Seminary personalities; and the main publication included in this collection is The Weekly Messenger (Jan. 17, 1949 - May 18, 1951), a newsletter devoted to campaign activities.

Of particular interest are the Executive Committee minutes for March 17, 1938 to May 5, 1940, which contain an abstract of Seminary president Louis Finkelstein's address to the organization on May 5, 1940.

Also significant for understanding the history of the Philadelphia Branch are the Executive Committee minutes for April 1, 1935 to May 7, 1937, which contain a transcript of a speech about the history of the Branch through 1937; and the Administrative Committee Minutes for March 2, 1944 to October 28, 1946, which contain a description of the reorganization of campaign activities in 1944.


The following items were removed from the collection: A copy of Louis Finkelstein's letter to his colleagues from London, July 22, 1969, which has been added to the file for Louis Finkelstein in the Ratner Center vertical files; a copy of the text of Louis Finkelstein's White House sermon June 29, 1969, also added to Finkelstein vertical file; a group of Seminary Messages , 1959-1983, mainly published in the Philadelphia Enquirer, transferred to Ratner Center Oversize Documents Box .

Box List

Box Folder(s) Description 
11-3Administrative Committee, March 2, 1944 - April 29, 1953
 4-8Executive Committee, April 1, 1935 - March 22, 1956
 9-16II. Campaign Forms, 1947-1953
  III. Adminstrative Documents, 1943-1946
 17-20Administrative documents, 1943
 21Agreement between Seminary and Philadelphia Branch concerning allocation of funds raised by campaign, 1944
 22Bank deposits, 1943
 23Cancelled checks, 1943
 24Correspondence and lists of contributions, 1943
 25Lease, Crozer Building, 1944-1946
 26Pledge lists, n.d.
 27 and Oz. photo box 1IV. Photographs, 1965-1983
 28-30V. The Weekly Messenger, Jan 17, 1947 - May 18, 1951
 31VI. Philadelphia Campaign Report, 1954
 32VII. A Layman's Guide to Conservative Judaism, Ca.1967
 Packages 1-5VIII. Scrapbooks, 1954-1965