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Zionist Political History Collection in the Hadassah Archives

 Collection
Identifier: I-578/RG 4

Scope and Content Note

The material in this record group was culled from Hadassah's Central Files in the early 1980s by Hadassah's Archivist Lawrence D. Geller and Assistant Archivist Ira Daly to document Hadassah's role in Zionist history. The record group primarily documents Hadassah's relations with other Zionist organizations, governmental bodies, and non-governmental organizations, as well as Hadassah's role in lobbying for Israeli statehood in the 1940s. Other subjects in this record group include the history of Hadassah, in particular the founding and early administration of Hadassah; World War II and efforts to secure immigration for Jews to Palestine; Jewish refugee relief; the founding of the United Nations and the recognition of a Jewish state in Palestine; the partition of Palestine; and relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine and in the Middle East. Post-1948 material concentrates on Hadassah's role in the development of the state of Israel; Israel's relations with other countries; the immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel; the aftermath of the Holocaust; terrorism; and peace in the Middle East.

This record group also has material on key figures in Zionist history such as members of the Hadassah executive (Rose Halprin, Rose G. Jacobs, Denise Tourover, and Marian Greenberg, among others) and members of the executive of other Zionist organizations such as Henrietta Szold (Szold material documents both her Hadassah and non-Hadassah work), David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizmann, Louis Lipsky, Stephen Wise, Abba Eban, and Judah L. Magnes.

Included are articles, clippings, convention resolutions, correspondence, diary extracts, memorandums, minutes, press releases, printed ephemera, publications, reports, and speeches.

Dates

  • 1894-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1925 - 1985

Creator

Language of Materials

This collection is primarily in English with some material in Hebrew.

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

email: reference@ajhs.org

Historical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="American Zionist Medical Unit nurses and the Hadassah Central Committee in New York on the eve of the AZMU departure for Palestine, 1918" href="http://digital.cjh.org/webclient/DeliveryManager?pid=3619619" show="embed" title="American Zionist Medical Unit nurses and the Hadassah Central Committee in New York on the eve of the AZMU departure for Palestine, 1918"/>

Zionism, broadly defined as a nationalist and political movement to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, was the central force behind the creation of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah was founded by Henrietta Szold (1860-1945), a Zionist organizer, educator, scholar, journalist, and editor. Szold, born and raised in Baltimore, organized the first Zionist society in Baltimore in 1893. After the death of her father, Rabbi Benjamin Szold, in 1902, Szold and her mother moved to New York City. There she was elected secretary of the Federation of American Zionists (later the Zionist Organization of America) in 1910.

At the suggestion of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), generally considered the founder of Political Zionism, Jewish women were encouraged to form study groups. The national organization in the United States was named the Daughters of Zion in America. In 1912, Henrietta Szold organized a Daughters of Zion study group in New York City; this chapter was called Hadassah. Under Szold's influence—she adhered to Practical Zionism which emphasized immigration (aliyah) to Palestine, rural settlement, and the establishment of infrastructure to support the settlements such as educational and health care facilities—Hadassah sent two American-trained nurses (funded by Nathan and Lina Straus) to Palestine to establish district nursing in 1913.

The first annual convention of the Daughters of Zion in America was held in Rochester, New York on June 29-30, 1914. There it was decided that the organization would change its name to Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Szold served two terms as the organization's national president. In 1918, in the aftermath of World War I, Hadassah organized the American Zionist Medical Unit (AZMU). Consisting of forty-five physicians, environmental engineers (sanitarians), dentists, and nurses, the AZMU was sent to Palestine to establish healthcare facilities and improve health conditions. The AZMU grew into what is now the Hadassah Medical Organization.

As early as 1918, Hadassah was governed by a Central Committee, which met until 1921. Hadassah's first constitution was adopted at the 8th National Convention in Pittsburgh in November 1921. On December 5, 1921, the first meeting of the National Executive Board of Hadassah was held at the home of Rose G. Jacobs with many founding members of Hadassah in attendance including Henrietta Szold, Alice Seligsberg, Ruth B. Fromenson, Gertrude Rosenblatt, and Lotta Levensohn.

As Hadassah grew in membership and in political savvy, its relationship to American, European, and Palestinian/Israeli Zionist organizations changed and evolved. The response of Hadassah and other Zionist organizations to world events that greatly affected Jews, such as World Wars One and Two, also influenced Hadassah's relationships with other Zionist organizations as well as directed Hadassah's activities in the United States and in Palestine. Prior to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, Hadassah focused its efforts on establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine; chiefly lobbying for the immigration of Jews to Palestine, helping Jewish refugees displaced by the World Wars, and fundraising for the establishment of infrastructure to support Jewish settlement in Palestine. Post-1948, Hadassah turned its attention to the development of the state of Israel such as constructing two medical centers, facilitating the growth of both a medical school and a nursing school, establishing educational facilities, and supporting Youth Aliyah.

Extent

24.25 Linear Feet (44 manuscript boxes, 1 half-manuscript box, and 1 oversized folder)

Overview

The material in this record group was culled from Hadassah's Central Files in Israel in the early 1980s to document Hadassah's role in Zionist history. Originally formed from a Zionist women's study group, the first Hadassah chapter in New York had a strong relationship with the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA; then known as the Federation of American Zionists). The material in this record group documents Hadassah's relationship to the ZOA and to other Zionist organizations in the United States, Europe, and Palestine/Israel, particularly in the years leading up to Israeli statehood in 1948. Other subjects addressed in this record group include the founding of Hadassah; World War II, particularly relating to Jewish emigration and refugees; the founding of the United Nations and the debate over recognition of a Jewish state; the partition of Palestine; and Arab-Jewish relations. Included are articles, clippings, convention resolutions, correspondence, diary extracts, memorandums, minutes, press releases, printed ephemera, publications, reports, and speeches.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Previous Finding Aids and Concordance

The printed finding aid from 1984 provides a wealth of information that may of interest to researchers. It can be found here: http://digital.cjh.org/3619620. Please note that the arrangement is no longer valid.

The concordance links the former box and folder numbers from the 1984 finding aid and addendum inventory to the current box and folder numbers in the 2016 finding aid. The concordance is provided for reference and can be used to track previous citations of material in the Zionist Political History Collection in the Hadassah Archives (I-578/RG 4). The concordance can be found here: http://digital.cjh.org/3619621.

Acquisition Information

The Hadassah Archives, of which the Zionist Political History Collection in the Hadassah Archives (I-578/RG 4) is part, are on long-term deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society.

Microfilm

The Hadassah Archives include a record group comprised of microfilm, RG 19—Microforms. Series I, Subseries 4 contains reels related to Zionist political history.

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: http://digifindingaids.cjh.org/?pID=2916671.

Zionist political history material can be found throughout the Hadassah Archives.

Separated Material

Oversized material was separated and stored in an oversized box. Folder-level notes connecting the items to their original folders and context were added when items were separated.

Bibliography

Books and other material pertaining to Zionism and Zionist history, as well as the two books by Marlin Levin on Hadassah documented in this record group (Balm in Gilead and It takes a dream: the story of Hadassah), can be found by searching the catalog of the Center for Jewish History. http://search.cjh.org

Processing Information

The Zionist Political History Collection in the Hadassah Archives was originally organized in the early 1980s by Lawrence D. Geller and Ira Daly who worked for Hadassah as Archivist and Assistant Archivist, respectively. Hadassah had received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to organize its records and produce guides for several record groups. The guide (or finding aid), Zionist Political History in the Hadassah Archives, 1894-1957 was published in 1984.

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.

In 2016, the Zionist Political History Collection in the Hadassah Archives was intellectually rearranged from fourteen series to four series and addendum material was incorporated into the new arrangement. Description from the 1984 finding aid was reused and/or revised and incorporated into the 2016 finding aid as much as possible. Series description was added and collection-level notes pertaining to acquisition, processing, access and use, separations, microfilm, preferred citation, previous finding aids and concordance, and related material were added as well. Many folder titles and dates were revised to be compliant with the archival descriptive standard, Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS).

The boxes were consolidated to save space and reduce damage to the material (slumping) and most plastic paper clips were removed. Boxes and folders 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. Unprocessed materials were also incorporated into the collection.
Title
Guide to the Zionist Political History Collection in the Hadassah Archives 1894-2003 I-578/RG 4
Status
In Progress
Author
The finding aid, based upon a 1984 finding aid by Lawrence D. Geller and Ira Daly, was prepared by Patricia Glowinski in 2016
Date
© 2012
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.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

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