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United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York collection

 Collection
Identifier: I-433

Scope and Content Note

United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York is the organization that resulted after three mergers over the course of the 20th century. This collection incorporates the surviving historical records of the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities, the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies Joint Campaign and United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York.

The United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York collection is comprised of five subgroups:

Subgroup I: Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (FJP), 1909-1986. Found here are the files of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York (FJP) and its predecessor organizations: the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies (1917-1944) and the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities (1909-1944). Approximately half of the entire collection consists of the records of FJP. The survival of hundreds of feet of files may be attributed to the records management acumen of Seymour J. Pomrenze, who worked as a consultant for FJP for several decades.

Subgroup II: United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York (UJA), bulk approximately 1930s-1986. The records of UJA from before the 1986 merger with FJP are scarce, but a snapshot of some departments will be found here. UJA files may exist elsewhere but it is unclear exactly where, if they exist at all, and were not part of this archive project. UJA before the merger therefore appears underrepresented in the collection.

Subgroup III: United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies Joint Campaign (UFJC), bulk approximately 1972-1986. Between about 1974 and 1986, FJP and UJA held joint campaigns; some records related to fundraising and the projects that were funded by the joint campaigns survive in the Joint Campaign subgroup.

Subgroup IV: United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York (UJF), bulk 1986-2000. These files date from the time of the merger in 1986 through about 2000, the end date for this archives project. Files more recent than 2000 are considered active and continue to be held by UJA-Federation; please contact the organization directly at contact@ujafedny.org in relation to information about the organization after 2000.

Subgroup V: Oral History Project, bulk 1981-2004. The Oral History Project was started by FJP and continued after the merger; it was an effort to capture an oral record of leaders from both UJA and Federation as well as individual affiliated agencies.

Dates

  • 1909-2004

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in English with some material in Yiddish.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

This finding aid is fully searchable by using your browser’s search function, or by using the control-F function.

Because of the size of the collection and of the finding aid, the actual box and folder lists are in a separate Container List, linked to this finding aid at the start of each Scope and Content Note at every level where folders exist, with this sentence:

The complete container list for the entire collection is found in this downloadable Excel file.

Once you know which boxes you would like to request, click on the “Aeon Links” column to go directly to the box request form. You will need to be logged in as a reading room patron in order to request boxes. Please note: although each folder in the container list has a link, each box you want to see should be requested only one time. Material will be delivered on the box level only, not the folder level.

Alternatively, follow directions here for requesting boxes through the catalog: http://www.cjh.org/p/135

How to Use Container List: The Container List is a very large Excel spreadsheet. The first page you see when you click on the link to the Container List is a hierarchical outline for the entire collection. This outline links to each of the sheets in the spreadsheet, identified by tabs at the bottom. Please note that some subsubseries (or subseries, or subsubsubseries, etc.) are combined in one tab in the container list; the link in the outline will take you to the right sheet; you can search within the sheet to find the specific box you are looking for by using the control-F function.

To search the entire spreadsheet at one time (that is, to search every sheet), click control-F, then click on “options”, then set the “within” field to “workbook”. Because of limitations in Excel, you will need to set this to workbook every time you open the Container List and want to search the entire spreadsheet.

Given the amount of archival materials, the collection (except for the oversize and miscellaneous boxes) is housed at an off-site storage location, within a climate and humidity controlled environment. Please be advised that you will need to request this material at least two (2) business days in advance to use any material in the Lillian Goldman Reading Room. Providing as much notice as possible before a visit would be helpful. Boxes can be requested through the box and folder listings in the Container List. For further information, please e-mail reference@ajhs.org.

Please note that oversized materials, artifacts and folders in miscellaneous boxes that are pointed to in the finding aid or on folders are stored in-house; these materials do not need to be requested before your visit but can be requested as you need them.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

email: reference@ajhs.org

Historical Note

In 1986, the merger of United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York with the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York (“Federation”) resulted in the creation of one organization that exists “To ensure the continuity of the Jewish People, to enhance the quality of Jewish life and to build a strong and unified Jewish community – in New York, in Israel and throughout the world.”1

Beginning at the end of the 19th century the federation model was adopted by Jewish communal leaders around the country as a successful way to bring together affiliated social service agencies, consolidate their administrative functions, reduce duplication in services, raise funds efficiently and better serve the needs of the community. The Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City was formed in 1917.

In 1939, the leaders of three national Jewish organizations already involved with aiding Jewish refugees and immigrants formed United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in the days after Kristallnacht to combine efforts in aiding European Jews. By 1942 a local New York had office opened to solicit funds from the New York Jewish community. Eventually, by the early 1970s, it became clear that it would be more efficient to combine the local UJA and Federation campaigns. The UJA and Federation campaigns officially merged in 1974, and a final and complete merger of the two organizations occurred in 1986.

The combined organization at first maintained most of the existing organizational structure of both UJA and Federation: departments and committees continued the community services aspects of what had previously been Federation’s work with local agencies, and other departments and committees continued the overseas planning and programming in Israel and among Jewish communities in need around the world. Fundraising and campaigns, which had been merged in 1974, continued to raise funds in unified campaigns with one Distribution Committee allocating the funds according to a negotiated formula.

UJA-Federation has evolved through several strategic plans to adapt to a changing local Jewish community and a changing world. In 2015 its mission remains similar to what it was soon after the 1986 merger: “Through UJA-Federation of New York, you care for people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen communities in New York, in Israel, and around the world.”2

See the UJA-Federation of New York collection webpage for quick links to photographs, audio recordings and other digital objects, a timeline, an interactive map of Federation agencies, the archives project blog and this finding aid. Two other documents researchers may want to use as guides to names that are used in the finding aid:

A spreadsheet of professional staff, with information gleaned from the files about their work at UJA-Federation or its predecessors.

A spreadsheet of lay leaders from UJA-Federation and its predecessors.

Both spreadsheets are in draft form but may be helpful in identifying names of the many people associated with UJA-Federation from 1909 to 2000.

Footnotes
  1. 1 United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, One Vision: The Strategic Plan for UJA-Federation of New York (New York: UJA-Federation of New York, 1993), 5.
  2. 2 http://www.ujafedny.org/who-we-are/our-mission/, accessed August 11, 2015

Extent

2324.25 Linear Feet (2021 Bankers Boxes, 24 oversize boxes and 5 oversize folders)

Abstract

United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York is the organization that resulted from the mergers of various New York federations with the New York office of UJA. UJA-Federation and its predecessor organizations have been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community since 1917, and in overseas Jewish communities since 1939. The largest section of this collection covers the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and its predecessor organizations in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. Important subject areas include Federation’s work with their affiliated agencies including detailed budget files through most of the 20th century; UJA’s programs in Israel and campaigns in New York during the 1960s and 1970s; an overview of the UJA-Federation Joint Campaign 1974-1986; and the day to day work of the successfully merged organizations 1986-2000.

Arrangement

To access the section of the finding aid for a specific subgroup, click on any of the links below. The UJA-Federation of New York collection is very large, and is arranged hierarchically. The outline below shows the 5 subgroups that are part of this collection. The individual subgroup sections of the finding aid will explain in detail the arrangement of each subgroup, will include detailed descriptions of the series and subseries, and will have links to the complete Container List to the collection, which can also be found in this downloadable Excel file.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Note

United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc. donation through deed of gift, 2011. Originally 3232 bankers boxes; after processing, the total is 2021 bankers boxes, 24 oversize boxes and 5 oversize folders.

Related Materials

The UJA-Federation of New York website is periodically captured by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, and as of 2015 includes snapshots from 2000 to 2015 that may include helpful information not included in the UJA-Federation collection itself. The snapshots can be viewed here: https://web.archive.org/web/*/https:/www.ujafedny.org. Please note that the Wayback Machine may not render the website exactly as it appeared on the live web at the time, and that AJHS has no control over how often the site was crawled or how it displays now.

There is a list of related collections on the collection webpage.

Digitization Note

A selection of material has been digitized from the Records of the UJA-Federation of New York, including photographs, oral histories, printed material, sound recordings, maps, minutes and films. The digitized material is available through the container list and through the Center for Jewish History’s Digital Collections portal. Box 815, Folder 21 has been digitized as part of an ongoing digitization-on-demand program at the Center for Jewish History. The complete container list for the entire collection is found in this downloadable Excel file.

Public Relations Photographs

Legacy Photographs

Oral Histories

Printed Material

Sound Recordings

Maps

Minutes - UJA-Federation

Minutes - United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York

Minutes - Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities

Films

Processing Information

The United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York Collection has been minimally processed at the folder level, which means that folder titles are listed and searchable, but individual documents have not been examined or arranged in chronological order within a folder. In the interest of making this large collection available to researchers in a timely manner, archival material may not have been refoldered and metal fasteners (particularly staples) may not have been removed. Original folder titles have been maintained as often as possible while imposing overall order, clarity and accessibility to the collection.

Because of the time and space limitations of this project, archivists worked with only a few hundred boxes at one time. Processed boxes were sent to storage before bringing in a new group of boxes. When related material was found later, folders were added intellectually to the folder list, but not placed physically in the same intellectual order of the container list. When requesting boxes, please note the correct box numbers for folders within a series you would like to see, as they may not be in consecutive boxes.

Please note it is possible to search the entire container list of folders in one global search of the entire workbook. The complete container list for the entire collection is found in this downloadable Excel file.

Researchers are invited to contact reference@ajhs.org with further questions regarding the collection; the reference staff of the American Jewish Historical Society should be able to direct researchers to the likely location of relevant archival material.

Researchers who use these collections and have descriptive information to add to the finding aid should contact reference@ajhs.org.

We would like to thank our volunteers on this project, Hanka Ablin, Evelyn Leicher, Mimi Lester, Sheldon Moline, Madeleine Okladek, and especially Jane Foss who has volunteered at the American Jewish Historical Society for many years in invaluable ways.
Title
Guide to the Records of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, 1909-2004   I-433
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Susan Woodland, Eric Fritzler, Heather Halliday, Leah Edelman, Marvin Rusinek and Vital Zajka
Date
© 2015
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
This four-year processing project has been generously funded by United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York in partnership with the American Jewish Historical Society.

Revision Statements

  • January 31, 2017.: Soviet Jewry Campaign posters added to Subseries II, Series 3 Scope and Content Note by Tanya Elder.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States