Skip to main content

Maurice Jacobs Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-916

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of correspondence between Maurice Jacobs and important Jewish organizations and individuals. The majority of the collection consists of Jacobs' correspondence between organizations such as colleges, universities, and notable local and national Jewish organizations. The collection documents the years 1926 to 1985, with the bulk of the material dating from 1947 to 1985. Besides correspondence, the papers contain clippings, memos, photographs, agendas, reports, and meeting minutes.

The collection is valuable to researchers interested in Jewish organizations in Philadelphia, national Jewish organizations, and Jewish publications.

The collection is in English and Yiddish.

Dates

  • undated, 1926, 1937, 1940, 1944, 1947-1985

Creator

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

Maurice Jacobs (1896-1984)

Dr. Maurice Jacobs was a publisher and a prominent member of many Jewish national organizations. Maurice Jacobs was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on December 25, 1896. He was the son of Samuel Jacobs and Anna Ethel Zuckerman. Jacobs graduated from the University of Maine in 1917. He received the degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hebrew Union College in 1948 and attained his Doctorate of Law degree from the University of Maine in 1965.

In 1950, Jacobs left the Jewish Publication Society and decided to branch out on his own. Jacobs' print shop was called the "United Nations of printers" because its international staff could handle 165 languages, from Afghan to Zulu. Many of its employees were linguists fluent in many languages. The print shop specialized in languages such as Ragoli, Palau, Tshiluba and Hebrew. Jacobs was president of his company from 1950 to 1969, after which he decided to incorporate the company as Maurice Jacobs, Inc.

Jacobs served as a member of many Jewish national organizations. He participated as an associate editor for the Phi Sigma Honorary Biological Fraternity from 1916 to 1921. Jacobs was a trustee of the Delaware Valley College from 1925 to 1955 and was its vice president from 1940 to 1945. He served as executive vice president of the Jewish Publication Society from 1936 to 1950. Jacobs was appointed director to the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods in 1934 and served until 1944. He was the director of the Jewish Chautauqua Society from 1939 to 1944 and continued as honorary director afterwards. Jacobs served as director of the National Jewish Welfare Board from 1940 to 1962. He was a director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research from 1940 to 1962. Jacobs was governor of the American Association for Jewish Education from 1940 to 1964. Jacobs helped co-found and direct the Jewish Book Council of America from 1940 to 1967; he later served as its vice-president from 1958 to 1966. Jacobs became national president of the Phi Epsilon Pi Fraternity in 1945. Jacobs served as chairman of the executive council of the American Jewish Historical Society from 1947 to 1969 and remained an honorary member afterwards. He served as treasurer of the World Union for Progressive Judaism from 1948 to 1955.

Jacobs was actively involved with B'nai B'rith organizations, especially the B'nai B'rith Vocational Service Commission which he served from 1950 to 1962 and later served as honorary member from 1962 to 1969. In 1962, he became a member of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Commission. Jacobs was secretary of the Dropsie College National Advisory Board from 1947 to 1955 and served as president of the Pennsylvania Council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations from 1960 to 1964. Jacobs was a member of the Brandeis University Institute on Contemporary Jewry starting in 1967.

Maurice Jacobs was also professionally affiliated with many Philadelphia organizations. Jacobs served as director of the Advisory Board for Jewish Students Hillel from 1936 to 1959 and honorary director afterwards. He was director of the Jewish Exponent from 1936 to 1939 and later from 1949 to 1960. Jacobs was a trustee of the Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel from 1939 to 1953 and 1953 afterward. He was a director of the United Hebrew Schools in Philadelphia from 1940 to 1958. Jacobs was director of the Council on Jewish Education in Philadelphia from 1945 to 1958. Jacobs was the overseer of Gratz College from 1945 to 1966 and served as its president from 1955 to 1958 and honorary overseer starting in 1966. He was director of the Round Table Club. Jacobs was a director of the American Jewish Committee from 1953 to 1954. He was director of the Akiba Academy from 1953 to 1956. Jacobs served as trustee to the Federation of Jewish Agencies from 1956 to 1962.

Jacobs participated on the editorial advisory boards for a number of Jewish publications, including Phi Epsilon Pi Quarterly (1932-1937), The Jewish Digest (1955- ), The National Jewish Monthly (1955-1960), American Judaism (1963-1967), Brotherhood (1967- ), and Dimensions (1967-1969). He was a contributor to the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, National Jewish Monthly, Jewish Book Annual, and The Jewish Digest.1 In 1935, Jacobs co-authored with Leo M. Glassman the Biographical Encyclopedia of American Jews (AJHS Call #: REF E184.J5 B55).

Maurice Jacobs received numerous citations for service, including the Boston Jewish Advocate in 1940, Jewish Book Council in 1948, National Interfraternity Conference gold medal for distinguished service to American youth in 1954, University Lodge B'nai B'rith in 1955, World Union for Progressive Judaism in 1955, American Jewish Historical Society in 1956, Phi Epsilon Pi in 1956, National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods in 1957, Gratz College in 1958, Keneseth Israel in 1961, Philadelphia B'nai B'rith Vocational Service in 1961, Phi Epsilon Pi Founder's Medal in 1961, Jewish Chautauqua Society in 1964, Pennsylvania Council of the U.A.H.C. in 1964, Beth Torah in 1965, American Jewish Historical Society Lee Max Friedman Award Medal in 1966, and the Jewish Library Association in 1968.2

Jacobs served in the U.S. Navy during World War I as a chief petty officer. He was a member of several societies such as the American Academy for Jewish Research, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Association of Hebrew Professors, Mediaeval Academy of America, American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the American Oriental Society.3

Maurice Jacobs married Elsa Wohlfeld on June 27, 1926, with whom he had two children, Elizabeth (Mrs. Lloyd H.) Klatzkin and Ruth (Mrs. Mel M.) Steele. He was a grandfather to five grandchildren. In 1969, he founded his own publishing company, Maurice Jacobs, Inc., and was its president from 1950 to 1969. Jacobs died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 1984. The collection was donated to the AJHS by Jacobs' grandson, Steven Alan Klatzkin, date unknown.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Who's Who in American Jewry, 1980. AJHS Call # REF E184.J5 W6
  2. 2 ibid
  3. 3 ibid

Extent

7 Linear Feet (14 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Yiddish

Abstract

The collection consists of correspondence between Maurice Jacobs and important Jewish organizations and individuals. The majority of the collection consists of Jacobs' correspondence between organizations such as colleges, universities, and notable local and national Jewish organizations. The collection documents the years 1926 to 1985, with the bulk of the material dating from 1947 to 1985. Besides correspondence, the papers contain clippings, memos, photographs, agendas, reports, and meeting minutes.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Steve Klatzkin, date unknown.
Title
Guide to the Maurice Jacobs (1896-1984) Papers, undated, 1926, 1937, 1940, 1944, 1947-1985   *P-916
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Marvin Rusinek
Date
© 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • November 2020: RJohnstone: 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