Skip to main content

Louis E. Shecter, papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-165

Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Louis E. Shecter include: correspondence; newspaper clippings; magazine articles; photographs; and pamphlets concerning Shecter's art collection, his donations of artwork, and his activity in the American Jewish Congress and with Israel later in life. The collection is entirely in English.

Shecter began collecting art very early in his life, and, with his success in the advertising industry, he was able to amass a great private collection, in which he specialized in ancient Asian and bronze sculptures. His collection of bronzes were constantly viewed by international dignitaries at his home outside of Baltimore, MD, or on public exhibitions in local Baltimore galleries. Shecter was very generous with his collections and many of the press releases, letters, and clippings in the collection pertain to his various gifts of artwork to museums and government agencies. He donated works to the State Department, the Baltimore Jewish Museum, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore Hebrew College, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, amongst other public institutions.

Shecter was very involved with the American Jewish Congress and the National Committee for the Ratification of the Genocide Convention in the 1960s and 1970s. There is a detailed account from a trip he and his wife Roslyn took six months after the Six-Day War in 1967, and numerous correspondences with government officials concerning American-Israeli relations. Notable correspondence is with Menachem Begin, Edward Kennedy, Sen. Jacob Javits, and Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek.

The collection would be of interest to those researching the Jewish experience in Maryland, Shecter's art collection, activities of the American Jewish Congress during the 1960s and 1970s, and Louis Shecter's strong political connections in the United States and Israel. There is also interesting correspondence from U.S. Congressmen detailing their perspective after the assassination of President Kennedy. Photographs of interest were taken with Edward Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Henry Kissinger with Louis Shecter. The collection also holds material concerning his wife - Rosalyn Shecter's position on the Maryland Board of Motion Picture Censors and his son - Mark Shecter's career as an artist. The collection is divided into two boxes.

Dates

  • undated, 1921-1989

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

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

Louis E. Shecter (b. 1900)

In 1918, Louis E. Shecter graduated from City College High School in Baltimore, MD. He began writing for the Baltimore American, but moved to working in advertising at the Joseph Katz Co. Advertising Agency. By 1926, he had transferred to the Hecht Brothers Stores, where he was director of advertising. It was not long before Shecter was winning awards for his male clothing advertisements and campaigns. Success came easily to Shecter. He established his own advertising firm Shecter & Levin with his friend Jack Levin.

At an early age Shecter began to gain an eye for artwork - a passion that would influence the rest of his life. For over forty years, Shecter acquired, displayed, and donated paintings and sculptures. He had a particular fascination with bronzes. Settling outside of Baltimore, MD with his wife Rosalyn and sons Allan and Mark, Louis Shecter collected great pieces of artwork. He was very generous with all of his acquisitions, holding exhibitions of his private collections in local Baltimore banks and galleries. He donated large amounts of work to governments, especially the State Department and Menachem Begin, and was visited often by international dignitaries, especially for his ancient Asian sculptures.

More than just an art collector, Shecter was also very involved with human rights, and Israel in the 1960s and 1970s. He was chairman of the National Commission on Ratification of the Genocide Convention, vice-chairman on International Affairs for the American Jewish Congress, chairman of the Baltimore Chapter of the Commission to End Arab Discrimination, and president of the Baltimore Branch of the American Jewish Congress. He and his wife Rosalyn visited Israel only six months after the Six-Day War, touring all of the recently gained territory, including the West Bank.

Rosalyn Shecter was a very active person, too. She was an amateur sculptor served as both chairman and vice-chairman of the Maryland Board of Motion Picture Censors. She wrote a book Open Letter to the Supreme Court proposing anti-pornographic legislation. Both she and Louis write prolifically, having their articles in local newspapers. Later in their lives, Rosalyn and Louis Shecter traveled extensively around Europe and Israel.

Extent

1 Linear Feet (2 manuscript boxes)

Overview

The collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to the activities of Louis E. Shecter, a Baltimore advertising executive, art collector, and former president of the local branch of the American Jewish Congress. It includes several articles written by him, as well as the replies of 10 U.S. Senators, 1 Representative, and 2 Maryland government officials to Shecter's request that they describe their impression of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in a one-sentence statement.

Acquisition Information

Louis E. Shecter donated his papers to the American Jewish Historical Society in 1967.

Related Material

Shecter, Louis E., Papers, 1921-1982. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH.

Louis E. Shecter collection, 1921-1985. Jewish Museum of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.

Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1965. Special Collections, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Louis E. Shecter (1900-), undated, 1921-1989 *P-165
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Jason Schechter
Date
© 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • April 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

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