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Solender Family Papers

Identifier: P-554

Scope and Content Note

The Solender Family Collection documents the professional achievements and to a smaller extent the personal lives of members of the Solender family who were influential in the field of Jewish Communal Services since the 1920s. Family members that are the most influential and prominently represented in the collection include Samuel Solender and his son Sanford Solender.

Materials dealing with the personal of the Solender family (in addition to Samuel, Sandford, and Stephen Solender) constitute a small portion of the collection and are sporadic and fragmentary. They consist of correspondence, documents pertaining to religious and secular education of various members of the family, immigration and travel documents, wills, and materials pertaining to the family’s estate. Additional materials document Sanford Solender’s trips to India, Africa, and Eastern Europe, clippings, photographs, and oral history interviews with Sanford Solender.

The larger extent of the collection deals with the exceptional professional careers of the Solender family, primarily of Samuel and his son, Sanford.

Because Samuel and Sanford Solender played such important roles at the YM and WHA of Washington Heights, Council Education Alliance, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, and the National Jewish Welfare Board, there is a wealth of minutes from the meetings of the Board of Directors and various Committee’ meetings of these organizations.

Samuel and Sanford Solender’s professional affiliation with other Jewish organizations providing communal services is further documented by correspondence, published materials, and official documents.

Additionally, there are Samuel Solender’s addresses, radio transcripts, speeches, and studies conducted under Samuel Solender while at the YM and WHA of Washington Heights.

Sanford Solender’s legacy as an exceptional organizer and vivid orator is illustrated by the abundance of his writings that include addresses, eulogies, manuscripts of articles and published articles, and speeches. Some of the manuscripts collected here are unpublished manuscripts.

The collection also includes VHS and audio cassettes recorded at a number of conventions and conferences, and photographs. Most of the photographs were taken during official presentations, dinners, meetings, and conferences and include photographs of Sanford Solender with individuals prominent in Jewish communal services as well as politicians such as Hillary Clinton, former US President Gerald Ford, former New York Governor George Pataki, former New York Mayors David Dinkins Rudolph Giuliani, and other dignitaries.


  • 1890-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1918 - 1990


Access Restrictions

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

Box 16, Folder 19 is restricted.

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

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Sanford and Stephen Solender at Chemicals trade division annual dinner (1987)" href="" show="embed" title="Sanford (far left) and Stephen Solender (far right) at Chemicals, Coatings, and Plastics dinner (1987)"/>

Samuel Solomon Solender (1890-1961) was one of the leading figures in the Jewish communal field. He was born in New York. Upon receiving a B.S. at Columbia University’s Teachers College as well as a special diploma in Vocational Education and Industrial Arts, Samuel Solender taught industrial arts at the Hebrew Sheltering Orphan Asylum. He eventually became the Principal of the Technical Schools at Pleasantville, NY for the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society.

Following the end of World War I, Samuel Solender obtained a position as training supervisor for the Federal Board of Vocational Education. Additionally, he held the post of Executive Director of the Jewish Children’s Society in Baltimore before become Executive Director of the YM and YWHA of Washington Heights, position he held for over thirty years.

As the head of the YM and YWHA of Washington Heights, Samuel Solender was instrumental in the initiation of a number of outstanding contributions to the Y. Under Solender's leadership, the YM and YWHA changed from a primarily athletic organization to one which also provided a variety of cultural and educational activities.

Samuel Solender died in New York in 1961.

Sanford Solender (1914-2003) was born in Pleasantville, NY to Samuel and Catherine Solender (neé Goldsmith). In 1935, Sanford married Ethel Klonick and together they had four children: Stephen, Peter, Ellen, and Susan. He received his BS degree from NYU in 1935 and became a social worker and graduated with a MS from Columbia University in 1937. Prior to joining the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Solender had progressively more responsible jobs in the Jewish communal field: Director of Activities at the Neighborhood House, Brooklyn; the assistant Headworker at the Bronx House and the Headworker at Madison House (1935-1942); Executive Director of the Council for Educational Alliance in Cleveland (1942-1948); Director of the Bureau of Personnel and Training/Director of the Jewish Community Center Division of National Jewish Welfare Board (1948-1960); and Executive Vice-President of the National Jewish Welfare Board (1960-1970).

Between 1970 and 1981, Sanford Solender was the Executive Vice-President of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in New York. During his eleven years at the helm of the Federation, Solender was involved with the merging of the Federation and United Jewish Appeal (UJA) campaigns into a formal joint campaign (UFJC). During the disastrous fiscal crisis of the 1970s, Solender personally worked with New York City and New York State agencies to ensure that as much money as possible was retained in their distributions to Federation’s social service agencies. Solender judiciously helped Federation modernize from the organization it was under Hexter and Willen into one capable of dealing with the drug crisis, women’s issues and civil rights. For the second half of Solender’s tenure at Federation he was also the Executive Vice-President at the Joint Campaign.

In 1986 his son Stephen became Executive Vice-President of the newly-merged UJA-Federation of New York.

Sanford Solender died in 2003.

Stephen David Solender (1938- ) was born in New York City. Stephen's father, Sanford, was Executive Vice-President of the Federation of New York from 1970-1981. Both Stephen and Sanford emulated Sanford’s father Samuel who, for nearly thirty years served as executive director of the Washington Heights-Inwood YM-YWHA in their leadership within the Jewish community.

Stephen Solender grew up in Mt. Vernon, NY and like his father and grandfather before him, graduated from Columbia University. Stephen majored in sociology and chose social work as a profession graduating from the New York School of Social Work at Columbia in 1962.

Stephen Solender worked for the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago from 1962 to 1969, serving as teen worker and program director. In 1969, he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where he worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee as Director of Community Centers and Summer Camps. In 1975, Stephen returned to the United States to become Director of Social Planning and Budgeting at the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, and became President in 1979.

In 1986, Stephen Solender moved to New York to help oversee the merger of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies into the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York, the largest local Jewish Federation in North America and one of the country's largest private philanthropies. He served as the organization's Executive Vice President for thirteen years, from 1986 to 1999. Stephen David Solender then succeeded William Kahn as EVP of Federation during the merger transition.

Stephen Solender played a key role in the formation of the United Jewish Communities in 1999, created through a merger of the national offices of the Council of Jewish Federations, the United Israel Appeal, and the United Jewish Appeal. UJC became the central funding and social service system for the American Jewish community; Stephen Solender was selected as its first President and CEO and serves now as its President Emeritus. This organization is now known as the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

Stephen Solender has been involved with other organizations, serving on boards and committees for the World Council of Jewish Communal Service, Hebrew Union College, Brandeis University, Yeshiva University, the Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service and the United Hospital Fund, among others.

Note: Biographical notes used by permission of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York Collection.


13.25 Linear Feet (Box 1, Folder 1 - Box 27, Folder 5; Box 73, AV collection)

Language of Materials



The Solender Family Papers document the professional achievements and to a lesser extent, the personal lives, of the members of the Solender family. The Solender family has been influential in the field of Jewish Communal Services since the 1930s. Family members that are most prominently represented in the collection include Samuel Solender (1890-1961), his son Sanford Solender (1914-2003), and his grandson Stephen Solender (1938- ).

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Related Material

AJHS holds and has digitized oral histories with Sanford Solender (aa-i433-solender-sanford) and Stephen Solender (aa-i433-solender-stephen).

A taped discussion between Benjamin Buttenwieser and Sanford Solender on Jewish Issues (aa-i433-buttenwieser-solender) has also been digitized.

The United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York (I-433) and National Jewish Welfare Board (I-298 ) collections contain material related to the Solenders.

Guide to the Solender Family Papers, 1890-2003 P-554
Processed by Yakov Illich Sklar
© 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • September 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States