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Records of the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (Galveston, Tex.) Galveston Immigration Plan

Identifier: I-90

Scope and Content Note

The Galveston Immigration Plan records comprise material from the office of the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (JIIB) in Galveston, Texas. The bulk of the material is correspondence between members of the Bureau, national Jewish organizations, and international Jewish organizations. Correspondents include Jacob H. Schiff, Rabbi Henry Cohen, Morris D. Waldman, David Bressler, L. Greenberg, Max Kohler, Cyrus Sulzberger, William S. Bennett, Oscar S. Strauss, American Jewish Committee, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany), the Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain), and the Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia). The records also consist of ship passenger lists to Galveston from Germany. These lists include a wealth of names of Russian immigrants as well as statistical reports. Additional material includes business cards, newspaper clippings, reports, papers, telegrams and minutes.

The collection was previously processed; original folder titles have been maintained whenever possible.


  • undated, 1901-1920


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:

Historical Note

In 1907, Jacob H. Schiff established the Galveston Immigration Plan. Schiff coordinated the Industrial Removal Office (IRO) in New York City, and the Jewish Territorial Organization (ITO) in Great Britain, to send Jewish immigrants to the port of Galveston, Texas. The Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (JIIB) was formed in 1907 as the branch of the IRO to receive these immigrants in Galveston and send them to communities throughout the United States.

The IRO was established in 1901 by the United Hebrew Charities of New York, the B'nai B'rith, the Baron de Hirsch Fund, and other Jewish immigrant aid agencies. "Its central purpose was the systematic diversion of Jewish immigrants, on an individual basis, to smaller Jewish communities throughout the United States."1 The IRO aimed to unburden the charity organizations in New York City by sending Jewish immigrants to other communities.

The JIIB, ITO, and the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Relief Organization of German Jews) worked together to bring Jews to Galveston. The JIIB advocated the use of the port at Galveston and sent pamphlets to Europe to convince Russian Jews to come to the United States through the port of Galveston instead of New York City. The ITO helped the Jewish emigrants get from Russia to Bremen, Germany, and from there, the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden cared for the Jewish emigrants and put them on ships for Galveston. Once the Jews got to Texas, the JIIB cared for them, gave them money, and dispersed them throughout communities in the United States.2

The ITO was established in 1905 and was headed by Israel Zangwill. At first Zangwill resisted working with Schiff because he did not want to send Jews to countries in which they would be assimilated.3 The Jewish Colonization Society (ICA) was financed by Baron de Hirsch to help Jews emigrate from Europe. Schiff had hoped that the ITO would work in conjunction with the ICA to help brings Jews to Galveston but, "Zangwill was unwilling to cooperate with non-territorialists like the ICA."4

In 1910, United States immigration officials were wary about the work of the JIIB and about the immigrants who were entering through Galveston. On June 23, 1910, thirty immigrants were refused entry on the grounds that they had been, "induced or solicited to migrate to this country by offers of promise of employment."5 Through political and legal pressure the JIIB was able to convince the government officials to allow these immigrants into the country, and for the JIIB to continue its work.

By 1914, the relationship among the different organizations had deteriorated and Jewish immigrants were no longer sent through Galveston. As well, it had been difficult to convince immigrants to come through Texas instead of New York. In the end, over 10,000 Jews came through Galveston and were helped by the JIIB.6 After 1914, the office in Galveston still functioned as a branch of the IRO to help Jewish immigrants who had already been brought over to America through the Galveston Immigration Plan.


  1. Robert A. Rockaway. Words of the Uprooted Jewish Immigrants in Early Twentieth-Century America. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998): 13.
  2. Gary Dean Best. "Jacob H. Schiff's Galveston Movement: An Experiment in Immigration Deflection, 1907-1914." American Jewish Archives (April 1978): 48.
  3. ibid., 48.
  4. ibid., 48.
  5. ibid., 62.
  6. ibid., 78.


2.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials






The Galveston immigration records document the attempt of the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau, working in cooperation with several other Jewish organizations, to receive Jewish immgrants through the port of Galveston, Texas rather than New York City. The papers further describe the JIIB's efforts to resettle the immigrants in communities throughout the United States. Papers include ship passenger lists, correspondence, and statistical reports, as well as papers dealing with individual immigration cases.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY


In 2000, a database was created from the JIIB records in Microsoft Access 2000, version 9.0. The database can be searched here.

What is included in the database:

The index includes names on the passenger lists filed in the JIIB office correspondence and citations to the source documents. Also included are citations to JIIB correspondence in which individual immigrants are discussed.

What the fields mean:

Name: The immigrant's name as it appears on the source document. When there are variant spellings of a surname, a "see also" reference points to the alternative spelling. If there are variant spellings of a first name, the variant spelling appears in parentheses.

Source: The type of document in which the name is found. The term "Group list" refers to a numbering system used by JIIB to identify each shipload of immigrants. The term "Passenger list" refers to lists found within the JIIB correspondence. The term "Letter(s)" refers to correspondence that mentions individual immigrants.

Location: Where the source document is located in the collection. When requesting information on a particular name, please be sure to include both the Box and Folder numbers.

*The creation of the databases was generously funded through a grant from The Jewish Genealogical Society of New York.

Digitization Note

Collection was digitized in its entirety by Adam Matthew Digital in 2010. The digitized material has been made available for research by the American Jewish Historical Society, on the folder level, in 2016.

Related Material

For further information on the Industrial Removal Office, the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau, and the Galveston Immigration Plan, see:

Best, Gary Dean. "Jacob H. Schiff's Galveston Movement: An Experiment in Immigration Deflection, 1907-1914." American Jewish Archives (April 1978): 79

Rockaway, Robert A. Words of the Uprooted Jewish Immigrants in Early Twentieth-Century America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998.

For other archival records related to the Industrial Removal Office and the Galveston Immigration Plan, see:

Max J. Kohler Papers, P-7

Industrial Removal Office, I-91

Guide to the Records of the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (Galveston, Tex.) Galveston Immigration Plan, undated, 1901-1920
Processed by Rachel A. Wise
© November 2001
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from JIIBGalveston02.xml

Revision Statements

  • April 2005.: Finding aid updated to EAD 2002 by Tanya Elder; removed boilerplate entities, removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc.
  • January 2006.: Entities removed from EAD finding aid.
  • 20130809: Added link to database.
  • May 2016: Added dao links by Eric Fritzler.
  • January 2021: RJ: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States