Page 82 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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The Board of Delegates of American Israelite Papers is a con-
geries of the complete surviving documentation of the first success-
ful national communal organization in the United States that
functioned in the latter half of the 19th century. Involved in
protecting Jewish rights at home and abroad, it also attempted
to advance the cause of Jewish life in the United States.
The Emma Lazarus Collection contains the original manuscript
notebook of the famous poetess whose sonnet appears on the base
of the Statue of Liberty.
In its effort to preserve documents pertaining to American
Jewish history, the Society undertook an extensive project to
microfilm the Mayor’s Court Papers found in the County Archives
of New York City which are in a very poor physical state and in
danger of complete erosion. Over 94,000 documents were micro-
filmed, containing information on Jews in New York City begin-
ning with the Colonial Period, but primarily concentrated in the
19th century. In addition to the photocopies of the documents,
approximately 12,000 index references to this material were
prepared for the researcher.
In the Twent ieth Century
The largest portion of the Society’s manuscript collections
represents the papers of individuals and institutions important
in American Jewish history during the present century. The
following individual manuscript collections are of special im-
portance for the scholar:
The Cyrus Adler Papers, relating to Jewish cultural and reli-
gious life in the United States; the papers of Philip Cowen,
editor of the
American Hebrew,
devoted to the treatment of Jews
in foreign countries and American involvement in these activities;
the papers of Louis Marshall, providing much information on
immigration in the United States and especially Jewish involve-
ment in immigration legislation; the collection of Simon Wolf,
who served as unofficial lobbyist for the American Jewish com-
munity in the United States Congress, replete with information on
anti-Semitism in the United States and abroad; the papers of
Adolphus S. Solomons, dealing with the early establishment of
the American Red Cross of which Solomons was a founder and
officer. Of the several collections of Jews involved in American
politics, typical are the papers of Judge Jonah J. Goldstein, who
was active both in Jewish communal work and in New York
political life.
The Society is especially rich in material regarding the history
of Jewish social work in the United States. W ithin its archives