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Jesse B. Calmenson, papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-359

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists primarily of correspondence reflecting Calmenson's involvement in numerous national and local Jewish organizations. The largest quantity of such materials relate to the United Palestine Appeal (1926-1945, primarily 1926-1929), the Zionist Organization of America (1919-1952), the Emergency Committee for Palestine (1924-1951), and the Zionist Organization of America, St. Paul Chapter (1918-1950).

Among the his correspondents are Harry S. Truman, H.V. Kaltenborn, and Emanuel Neumann. Topics include the 1929 riots in Palestine, the protest against the Passfield Paper, and the creation of a Jewish army after World War I. Materials relating to Calmenson's private activities, e.g., the Cosmopolitan Bank in St. Paul, the Stameshkin family, the George Alexander Wilson Estate, as well as miscellaneous writings and papers belonging to the Calmenson family, are interspersed among the series.

The papers are valuable to researchers concerned with: the history of the Zionist movement, St. Paul and Minnesota Jewry, Palestine history, and U.S. charities.

Types of materials in this collection include: agendas, announcements, articles, ballots, bulletins, bylaws, ceremonial dedications, certificates of incorporation, correspondence, financial statements, interview notes, invitations, meeting minutes, memoranda, newsclippings, notarial documents, petitions, photographs, pledges, posters, press releases, programs, questionnaires, radio scripts, receipts, reports, resolutions, telegrams, and wills.

The documents are mostly in English, although there are some materials in German.

Dates

  • undated, 1903-1952, 1966, 1978-1979, 1981, 1995-1996

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at mmeyers@ajhs.org.

For reference questions, please email: inquiries@cjh.org

Biographical Note

Jesse B. Calmenson (1892-1952)

Jesse B. Calmenson was born on December 1, 1892 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Cain and Annie (Cohen) Calmenson. He received his Bachelor of Laws degree at the St. Paul College of Law in 1915, and remained there to practice law until his death. He married Bertha Sloan in 1918 and they had one daughter, Betty Anne.

Calmenson was a lawyer as well as a communal leader in St. Paul. An active member of the American Jewish Congress, Zionist Organization of America, and associate editor of the American Jewish World, he served as secretary to the campaign committee of all Zionists from 1914 until his death; the Calmenson family was synonymous with Zionism in St. Paul.

In terms of his legal public life, after receiving his law degree, he was admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1921, and the U.S. Board of Tax Appeals in 1924. A member of the Minnesota State, Ramsey County Bar Associations and the American Lawyers Guild, he was director of the Herbert Manufacturing Company and the Merchants Investment and Loan Corporation.

Calmenson was active in many local and national Jewish organizations. The president of the first chapter of the American Jewish Congress in St. Paul in 1916, he was appointed as a member of the national advisory committee of the United Jewish Campaign in 1926, and became a legal advisor to the Department of Rural Credit of State of Minnesota in 1932.

His service to the Jewish community of St. Paul includes such positions as: Regional Director of the United Palestine Appeal in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota; a member of the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Home for the Aged of Northwest; President of the local branch of B'nai Brith; Chairman of the St. Paul Zionist District; President of the Jewish Educational Center Talmud Torah; Associate Editor of the St. Paul American Jewish World (1912-52); co-founder and vice-president of the local United Jewish Fund; and Chairman of the Bureau of Jewish Education.

Further affiliations include: the St. Paul Association of Civic and Commercial Affairs, the St. Paul Minnesota and American Bar Associations; the St. Paul Zionist District; the American Jewish Committee; the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America (HIAS); the Jewish Publication Society; the Joint Distribution Committee; the League of Nations Non-Partisan Association; the National Child Labor Committee; the National Conference of Jews and Christians; the Refugee Coordinating Council; the United Palestine Appeal; Temple Aaron and Sons of Jacob; and the Zionist Organization of America.

He was known for his Jewish community work, as well as for his general community and civic participation.

Calmenson's private activities documented in this collection include: his involvement with the Stameshkin family and the George Alexander Wilson Estate; his services as Vice-President and Director of the Cosmopolitan State Bank in St. Paul; his interest in amateur dramatics; and his interest in and gardening.

Chronology

1892
Jesse B. Calmenson born in St. Paul, Minnesota
1912
Became associate editor for the American Jewish World in St. Paul
1915
Obtained his LLB degree
1915
Began practicing law
1916
Became president of the first chapter of the American Jewish Congress in St. Paul
1918
Married to Bertha Sloan
1921
Admitted to practice in U.S. Supreme Court
1924
Practiced before U.S. Board of Tax Appeals
1925-1928
Regional director of the United Palestine Appeal in Minnesota, as well as North and South Dakota
1926
Member of national advisory committee of the United Jewish Campaign
1932
Became legal advisor of the Department of Rural Credit of State of Minnesota
1939
Honored by members of local Jewish War Veterans as the Jewish "Man of the Year"
1940
Picked for 2nd annual certificate of honor awarded by the St. Paul post of the Jewish War Veterans
1952
Calmenson dies

Extent

3.5 Linear Feet (7 manuscript boxes, 1 oversized folder)

Abstract

The collection consists primarily of correspondence reflecting Calmenson’s involvement in numerous national and local Jewish organizations. The largest quantity of materials is in relation to his work with the United Palestine Appeal (1926-1945, primarily 1926-1929), and the Zionist Organization of America (1919-1952). Among the local St. Paul Jewish organizations, the largest quantity of materials relates to the Emergency Committee for Palestine (1942-1951), and the Zionist Organization of America, St. Paul Chapter (1918-1950). Among his correspondents are Harry S. Truman, H.V. Kaltenborn, and Emanuel Neumann. Among the topics dealt with are the 1929 riots in Palestine, the protest against the Passfield paper, and the establishment of a Jewish army after World War I. The collection also contains materials relating to Calmenson’s private activities, and miscellaneous writings and papers belonging to the Calmenson family.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Jesse B. Calmenson (1892-1952), undated, 1903-1952, 1966, 1978-1979, 1981, 1995-1996   P-359
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Marvin Rusinek
Date
© 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • June, October 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
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New York NY 10011 United States