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Boris Smolar Papers

Identifier: P-588

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials pertaining to the life and career of Boris Smolar, a journalist and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and an author of children's books.

Includes his major newspaper columns: "Between the Lines," "Between You and Me," etc. (1934-1985), and English, Hebrew, and Yiddish articles that appeared in various journals and newspapers. There is also correspondence with the JTA staff and the following organizations: American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Historical Society, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation, Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds Jewish National Fund, Jewish Welfare Board, National Conference of Christians and Jews, ORT, State of Israel Bonds, United Jewish Appeal, United Nations, Yiddish Writers Union, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; the newpapers: Aonde Vamos, The Day, El Diario Israelita, The Daily Forward, and The World; and the following individuals: William Haber, Joseph Leftwich, Abram L. Sachar, Philip Slomovitz, John Slawson, Leivy Smolar, and Jack D. Weiler. Of interest is correspondence concerning Chaim Nachman Bialik.

The collection also contains personal documents, addresses, literary writings in Yiddish, Yiddish children's books, manuscripts in English and Yiddish, and background information on the Council of Jewish Federations' Smolar Award for Jewish Journalism, and on various subjects, including Albert Einstein, the Anti-Defamation League's book The Troublemakers, and Jews in various countries.


  • undated, 1913-1985


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

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

Boris Smolar was born on May 27, 1897 in Rovno, now Rivne, Ukraine, to Eliezer Levy and Miriam Smolar. He served in the Russian Army and worked as a war correspondent during World War I. He was also a member of the Rovno Relief Committee, aiding Jewish refugees fleeing the war. He immigrated to the United States in 1919 where he attended the Haven School in Chicago and then the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. At the same time, he was a member of the editorial staff at the Chicago branch of the Jewish Daily Forward. He joined the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 1924, where he worked as the European correspondent, mainly in Berlin. He was also able to establish a JTA office in Moscow in 1928, from where he was able to report upon the experiences and problems of Soviet Jewry. Smolar also covered the situation in pre-State Palestine. He was promoted to the position of the editor-in-chief of the JTA in 1939, a position he held until his retirement in 1967, when he became editor-in-chief emeritus. He wrote several books for children and for adults in Yiddish and Hebrew as well as weekly newspaper columns for the JTA and for the Jewish Daily Forward. Boris Smolar died on January 31, 1986 in Roosevelt Hospital in New York, at the age of 88. His wife of 50 years, Genia Smolar, had died fifteen hours earlier, in the same hospital.


20 Manuscript Boxes

10.0 Linear Feet

Language of Materials





This collection contains materials pertaining to the life and career of Boris Smolar, a journalist and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and an author of children's books.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Note

Gift of Leivy Smolar in 1987.

Related Material

The YIVO and American Jewish Historical Society's library collections contain several books by Boris Smolar, including Soviet Jewry Today and Tomorrow and Kindervelt. In addition, the YIVO Archives hold the Records of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, RG 562.

Guide to the Boris Smolar Papers, undated, 1913-1985 P-588
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Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2017-02-03: PDF box list converted to dsc. Finding aid encoding revised. Biographical Note and Related Materials added. Rachel S. Harrison
  • 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