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Annual and Mid-Winter National Conventions Records in the Hadassah Archives

Identifier: I-578/RG 3

Scope and Content Note

The Annual and Mid-Winter National Conventions Records include transcripts and summaries of conference sessions and proceedings, departmental and program annual reports (which are generally not financial), speeches, budgets and financial records related to the conventions and conferences, press releases and publicity, lists of delegates attending the conventions, correspondence, including invitations, greetings from non-attendees and registration materials, policy statements and resolutions voted upon at the annual conventions, meetings minutes of the National Board and convention committees, logistical and planning materials, conference and convention evaluations, convention newsletters, and programs and agendas. There is also documentation about awards and certificates given by Hadassah to various public figures.

The official meeting minutes of the National Board meetings starting in 1921 can be found in RG12/Corporate Governance, Documentation and Structure. Minutes from the previous conventions can be found in the reports of proceedings in this record group. These initial convention records are particularly valuable for information about Hadassah’s earliest years. The conference proceedings, also sometimes described by when the sessions took place, such as first day afternoon session, contain a nearly complete record of the events at the conventions and conferences. In the front of many of the sets of convention proceedings from 1938 and 1944-1971 and mid-winter proceedings from 1945-1969, there is a table of contents. The proceedings also include speeches by American and Israeli diplomats and politicians on topics such as American foreign policy, events in the Middle East, Jewish education in the United States and the relationship between American Jews and Israel.

This record group includes material on such subjects as medical and social work in Israel, including the Hadassah Medical Organization, relations with the Zionist Organization of America and other Zionist groups, Youth Aliyah, organizational matters concerning Hadassah, and Hadassah’s reaction to such events as the partition of Palestine, the rise of Nazism, and the proclamation of statehood for Israel. There are speeches and other material by Alice Seligsberg, Louis Lipsky, Irma Lindheim, Haim Yassky, Henrietta Szold, Tamar de Sola Pool, Zip Szold, Reinhold Niebuhr, Nahum Goldmann, Fiorello La Guardia, Abba Eban, Moshe Sharett, Hubert Humphrey, Helen Keller, Golda Meir, Jacob Javits, David Ben-Gurion, Harry Truman, Miriam Freund, and many others.

Records of the votes taken and the resolutions passed at the annual conventions indicate Hadassah’s position on various Zionist, Jewish and American policy decisions through the decades. The resolutions also demonstrate what Hadassah considered the most important issues of the period. This material is useful in illuminating the climate of opinion in Hadassah, which represented an influential, sizeable segment of the American Jewish community.


  • 1914-2011


Language of Materials

This collection is predominantly in English with some material in German, Hebrew, Yiddish, French, Romanian, and Hungarian, mainly in newspaper clippings.

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 fragility or as required by the agreement between Hadassah and AJHS.

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


Historical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="1927 Annual Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey" href="" show="embed" title="1927 Annual Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey"/>

National Hadassah leadership began holding an annual convention in June 1914, two years after the first Hadassah chapter meeting in New York City. This first convention was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Federation of American Zionists (later known as the Zionist Organization of America, or ZOA) in Rochester, New York. The 1915-1918 conventions were held in the same location and immediately following the ZOA conventions. Hadassah was officially amalgamated into ZOA in 1918 but then declared its autonomy at the eighth annual convention in Pittsburgh in November 1921. Hadassah did not hold a convention in 1922, when only the Zionist Organization of America met, but resumed its annual meeting in 1923 and continues to do so as of this writing (2016).

The National Board met each year immediately preceding the convention in a series of pre-convention meetings. The annual convention lasted several days and included educational programs with the latest information on Hadassah’s fundraising and medical projects in Israel, fundraising techniques, and techniques for recruiting new members. There were also speakers about Zionism, Judaism, current events, and Israel, leadership workshops, networking and socializing opportunities, entertainment, and award presentations. The convention was open to Hadassah members as well as delegates representing national, regional and local chapters. These official delegates voted on policy items and budgets and heard the annual reports of the various committees at the national business session, which was generally the last session of the convention. Historically, important business was transacted at these annual meetings, beginning with the official adoption of the name Hadassah at the 1914 convention, and the decision to issue a monthly newsletter to all chapters, the forerunner of today’s Hadassah Magazine, an idea first mentioned at the 1915 meeting and put into practice as of the 1916 meeting.

On April 28, 1941, the full national board as well as regional presidents held a mid-year meeting. Hadassah president, Tamar de Sola Pool, referred to this as the second such meeting in the minutes, although it is unclear when the first meeting was held. By January 1945, National Board members had started gathering for a Mid-Winter Conference. These conferences remained smaller than the annual convention and drew fewer delegates but were still important events.


40 Linear Feet (79 manuscript boxes, 1 half-manuscript box, 1 OS1 box)


The Annual and Mid-Winter National Conventions Records document the proceedings and outcomes of the conventions and conferences attended by Hadassah’s National Board as well as by convention delegates from the various regions of Hadassah. The conventions in particular are where local and regional leaders meet with each other and the National Board and learn about Hadassah’s various projects and committees. This record group also includes annual reports from 1926-2001.


Folders have been arranged chronologically by convention or conference, then alphabetically. Dates, other than for correspondence, often refer to the dates of the conference, rather than the folder contents. Folder titles that contain the word ‘including’ indicate that more than just the listed contents, particularly in regards to reports, speeches and correspondence, can be found in the folder. Starting with the 1987 convention and 1988 mid-winter conference, a majority of materials for the conventions, including programs, agendas, In Memoriam handouts, delegate guides, and financial reports can be found in folders labeled ‘convention kits.’ Items that had been previously separated out of the body of the collection, including annual reports, information about awards and proceedings of the business sessions have been left together and now make up Series III: Special Materials.

The collection has been arranged in three series as follows.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

The Hadassah Archives, of which the Annual and Mid-Winter National Conventions Records (RG 3) are a part, are on long-term deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society.

Previous Finding Aids and Concordance

This finding aid supersedes the arrangement found in the previous paper inventory. 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:

Related Material

The Guide to the Hadassah Archives on Long-term Deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society, which describes the entire collection, can found here:

Within the Hadassah Archives, convention and conference materials may be found in RG12 Corporate Governance, Documentation and Structure, where the minutes of the national board are located, RG 19 Microfilm, RG18 Photographs, RG 15 Hadassah Functions and Operations Records in Subgroup 2, Series II, subseries 7, for convention events and publicity materials, RG 17 Printed Materials and Publications for several publications originally printed and distributed at the annual conventions, RG 25 Audio and Moving Images Materials, and RG 22 Artifacts and Memorabilia. Additional information about convention locations and themes can be found in this document, collected from sources within the collection:

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

In December 1999, Hadassah and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) entered an agreement placing the Hadassah Archives on deposit at AJHS for its safekeeping and maintenance. In November 2000, the Hadassah Archives were moved to AJHS under the management of the Director of the Hadassah Archives, Susan Woodland. In 2014, under a new agreement between Hadassah and AJHS, the Hadassah Archives were placed on long-term deposit at AJHS.

An inventory for conventions and conferences from 1914-1971 was prepared by Ira Daly in December 1983 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Materials were added to the collection after each annual convention and mid-winter conference until 2011 and box and folder lists reflecting these contents were added to the inventory. In 2016, the materials in RG 3 were reprocessed and intellectually rearranged. Description from a collection-level Scope and Content note from the previous inventory was revised and additional collection-level description was added. Twenty-two series from the original inventory, covering the conventions and conferences from 1914-1971, were divided between the conventions and conferences series. Approximately one linear foot of unprocessed material was newly processed.

Boxes were consolidated to save space and reduce damage to the material. Boxes and folder numbers were renumbered to create uniform numbering across the entire record group and a concordance was created linking the previous box and folder numbers to the new numbers. Some boxes were replaced and many of the folders were also replaced. Plastic clips and deteriorating plastic sleeves were removed. In general, folder titles were not changed, although some additional description was added when the original title did not fully represent the folder’s contents.

Guide to the Annual and Mid-Winter National Conventions Records in the Hadassah Archives 1914-2011 I-578/RG 3
The finding aid was prepared by Rachel S. Harrison in 2016
© 2016
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
Edition statement
[This version was derived from HadassahConventions_I-578RG3.xml]

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States