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Papers of Philip Bernstein (1911-1995)

 Collection
Identifier: P-877

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Philip Bernstein, a Jewish communal professional and a leader of American Jewish cultural, civic, and philanthropic life, contain addresses, agendas, articles, budgets, by-laws, correspondence, interviews, minutes, newspaper clippings, photographs, reports, resolutions, speeches, and telegrams. Bernstein's writings and professional papers document his role in the establishment of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the National Jewish Community Relations Council as well as his years with the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. There are also articles and speeches written and delivered over a 50-year span from the 1940s to the 1990s. The collection contains valuable information about many Jewish communal organizations, including unpublished documents concerning the merger of the United Jewish Appeal and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. The papers are valuable to researchers studying Jewish history, anti-poverty programs, Jewish communal service, interfaith activities, Israel and Zionism, public welfare, and social policy.

The collection is in English and Yiddish.

Dates

  • undated, 1932-1995

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English with some 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. Permission to quote from the collection must be obtained from the originating source.

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

Biographical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Philip Bernstein (1911-1995)" href="http://digital.cjh.org/webclient/DeliveryManager?pid=3976923" show="embed" title="Philip Bernstein (1911-1995)"/>

Philip Bernstein was born June 6, 1911 in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Jacob and Anna (Golufchin) Bernstein. He graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1932, where he was the student director of the Hillel. He received a Master's of Science degree in Social Administration from the School of Applied Social Sciences at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1934. Bernstein was the Executive Secretary of the Cleveland Jewish Community Council and the Assistant Director of the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation from 1934-1943, during which time he also taught social administration classes at Western Reserve University.

Bernstein began his career with the national office of the Council of Jewish Federations (later the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds (CJFWF)) when he and his family moved to New York in 1943. Bernstein was the Director of Field Service for CJFWF from 1943-1947 and the Associate Director of Field Service from 1947-1955, when he became the national Executive Director, a role he held from 1955-1967. He was the Executive Vice President from 1967-August 1979, when he retired. After his retirement, he served as the executive vice-president emeritus and a consultant for CJFWF from 1979 until his death in 1995.

During his many years with the CJFWF, Mr. Bernstein helped to establish the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the National Jewish Community Relations Council, helped to reorganize the Jewish Agency for Israel and helped to design Project Renewal, a joint program of the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, which combats poverty in Israel. He also provided professional guidance for the 1986 merger of the New York Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and the New York United Jewish Appeal, which created the world's largest Jewish communal service organization. In addition, he served on the boards of the National Advisory Committee of the AFL-CIO Community Services Committee; the Brandeis University Institute of Contemporary Jewish Affairs, Advisory Committee; the Citizens' Crusade against Poverty; the Council for Social Planning and Progress Development; the Empire Housing Foundation in New York; the Interreligious Committee Against Poverty, Social Welfare Assembly; the National Assembly for Social Policy and Development; the National Conference on Social Welfare; the National Health and Welfare Retirement Association; the National Interfaith Consultation on Social Welfare, Steering Committee; the School of Advanced Social Studies, Board of Overseers; the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Ad Hoc Committee on Public Welfare; was the Chairman of the Social Services Division of the United Jewish Appeal-New York Federation of Jewish Philanthropies; was the Chairman of the Executive's Conference of the National Social Welfare Assembly; and was the president of the National Conference of Jewish Communal Services.

Bernstein received honorary degrees from Western Reserve University, Baltimore Hebrew College, and Hebrew Union College. In 1981, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by his alma mater, the School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

In addition to his 1983 book To Dwell in Unity: The Jewish Federation Movement in America Since 1960, Bernstein published numerous articles both in Jewish and general publications, such as the Journal of Jewish Communal Services, Harper's Magazine, The Nation, Opinion, B'nai B'rith Magazine, American Hebrew, Christian Century, Encyclopedia of Social Work, American Jewish Yearbook, Social Work Yearbook, and many others.

Philip Bernstein and Florence Michaelson were married on June 12, 1938 in Cleveland. They had two sons, Joel and Paul, and a daughter, Judith. Philip Bernstein died on November 18, 1995 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City at age 84.

Extent

7 Linear Feet (14 manuscript boxes)

Overview

The papers of Jewish civic leader Philip Bernstein contain writings and professional papers related to his career with the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, including his participation in the establishment of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the National Jewish Community Relations Council, and his work with many other Jewish communal organizations, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Joint Distribution Committee, the United Jewish Appeal, and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

Donated by Florence Bernstein in December 1998.

Previous Finding Aids and Concordance

This finding aid supersedes the November 2009 finding aid. A concordance has been created linking the box and folder numbers from that inventory to the current arrangement. It has been provided for reference and can be used to track previous citations. The concordance can be found here: http://digital.cjh.org/3976924

Related Material

The YIVO Archives holds the Records of the National Conference of Jewish Communal Service (RG 338). The American Jewish Historical Society Library has a copy of To Dwell in Unity: The Jewish Federation Movement in America Since 1960. The AJHS Archives holds the Records of the Institute for Jewish Life (I-168), the Records of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. Oral History Collection (I-59), the Records of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds (I-69), the Records of the National Conference for Soviet Jewry (I-181, I-181A), the Records of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York Records (I-433), and the Solender Family Papers (P-554).

Separated Material

There is no information about materials that are associated by provenance to the described materials that have been physically separated or removed.

Processing information

The collection was processed by Harriet Obus and Marvin Rusinek in 2009 and a finding aid was created in November 2009. At that time, one linear foot of materials from Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein (1901-1985) was inadvertently included in the collection. In August 2016, the materials related to Rabbi Bernstein were removed from this collection. Plastic clips and deteriorating plastic sleeves were removed. Boxes were consolidated to save space and reduce damage to the material. Folders were renumbered and a concordance was created linking the previous box and folder numbers to the new numbers. Biographical information and additional collection-level description was revised to better represent the life and career of Philip Bernstein the civic leader.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Philip Bernstein (1911-1995), undated, 1932-1995 P-877
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Harriet Obus and Marvin Rusinek. Additional processing by Rachel S. Harrison
Date
©2016
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.
Edition statement
[This version was derived from P-877 PBernstein.xml]

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

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