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Ronya Schwaab Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-909

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains material related to her activities advocating for Soviet Jews, lecturing on various topics, her trips abroad, and writing reviews for numerous books. It also includes correspondence with family, friends, and various officials in both the public and non-profit spheres of politics and business. The collection contains numerous photographs and certificates that further document her activities and accomplishments.

Dates

  • undated, 1877-2001
  • Majority of material found within 1958-2001

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

Ronya Schwaab, nee Chernin, was born in Loyev, Ukraine in 1909. In 1912, her father left his wife and their four children, for America to seek better employment. The family was to follow but war and revolution prevented them. Having survived the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, Ronya and her family joined her father in New York City, at the age of 14. She attended Theodore Roosevelt High School. At the age of twenty she began studying dance initially under Anna Sokolov before studying under Martha Graham, eventually performing with Anna Sokolov’s Dance Unit from 1929 to 1938. Her collegiate education included the City University of New York and Boston University.

In 1939, she married Eugene Schwaab and together they started a book distribution company catering to universities and libraries. They would have three boys, Eugene, Keene, and Dean. In addition to her work Ronya, was an advocate for a number of issues of social and economic justice in the United States. Beginning in 1965 her focus was the plight of Soviet Jews, after visiting the USSR several times. Her efforts to aid Soviet Jews continued for those coming to the Boston area. Ronya taught them English and helped them find employment. She served as the Chairwoman of the Task Force of Soviet Jewry at Temple Israel. She also served as the President of the New England Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress and the President of the Women’s Division of the Boston Chapter of the American Technion Society. In addition to her advocacy efforts, she wrote numerous book reviews.

Her life’s story is told in her autobiography My Reminiscences. Ronya died on May 21, 2001 at the age of 92.

Extent

6.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Russian

Abstract

This collection documents the life and activities of dancer and activist Ronya Schwaab. The collection contains material related to her activities advocating for Soviet Jews, lecturing on various topics, her trips abroad, and writing reviews for numerous books. It also includes correspondence with family, friends, and various officials in both the public and non-profit spheres of politics and business. The collection contains numerous photographs and certificates that further document her activities and accomplishments.

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged according to form of information being conveyed. Series I: Papers, contains a variety of print material. Series II: Photographs, documents Schwaab's life in visual form. Finally, Series III: Audiocassettes provides information about Schwaab in an audio form.

Related Material

The Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement at the American Jewish Historical Society contains material on the Soviet Jewry Movement that Ronya Schwaab discussed in her papers. The archive is accessible through the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement website.
Title
Guide to The Ronya Schwaab Papers, undated, 1877-2001 P-909
Status
Completed
Author
Finding Aid by Michael D. Montalbano
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.
Sponsor
Funding made possible by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
Edition statement
[This version was derived from RSchwaab.xml]

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