Jonah J. Goldstein Papers
Scope and Content Note
This collection primarily reflects Goldstein’s professional life and organizational affiliations. In addition to providing a general cross-section of the social, political, and legal landscape of New York in the first half of the 20th century, this collection covers such subjects as New York City court reform in the 1930s, female and juvenile offender laws, 1950s and 1960s drug legislation, Jewish education, and local charities engaged in outreach to Jewish youth.
A substantial portion of the material was generated via celebrations of Goldstein; events thrown by the organizations he supported. Many of the plaques, poems, songs, and scrapbooks in the collection were dedicated or gifted to him in connection with these celebratory events.
Language of Materials
The collection is in English, with a small amount of material in Yiddish.
The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.
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Jonah Jamison Goldstein was born April 6, 1886 in Ontario, Canada to Abraham Getzel and Chaia (Jamison) Goldstein. His family moved to Madison Street on New York’s Lower East Side in 1891. Between 1905 and 1910, young Goldstein became a leader in the Educational Alliance, the Jewish Big Brother Movement, and the East Side Neighborhood Association. In 1907, Goldstein graduated from the New York University Law School, and opened a legal practice with his brother, and other lawyers. Goldstein claims that his law firm was one of the first in New York City to extend employment to African-American lawyers in 1919, and female lawyers in 1921.
In 1931, Goldstein was appointed to the bench of the New York City Magistrates’ Court. While in that position, he authored The Family in Court (1936), which advocated for the extraction of domestic relations cases from the criminal court system. In 1939, he was elected Judge of the New York County Court of General Sessions and would be the judge presiding over the controversial Morris U. Schappes case of 1941.
During his tenure as judge, he successfully pushed for reforms in the city court’s handling of domestic relations, women, and youthful offenders. After his 1956 retirement from the Court of General Sessions, he remained active in legal affairs.
Judge Goldstein ran for New York City Mayor in 1945 on the Republican-Liberal-City Fusion ticket, losing to William O’Dwyer.
Goldstein was actively involved in such organizations as the Grand Street Boys’ Association, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, the New York Jewish Committee of the Boy Scouts of America, the Jewish Education Association, and the University Settlement.
In 1920, Goldstein married Harriet B. Lowenstein: a lawyer, advisor to Felix Warburg, and comptroller of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Harriet Goldstein died in 1961, and Jonah, six years later in July 1967.
American Jewish Yearbook (Necrology, p. 608), 1968. Accessed August 2, 2010: http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/1968_15_DirectoriesLists.pdf
Biographical Materials, 1940-1967; Jonah J. Goldstein Papers; P-61; Box 1; Folder 2; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.
12 Linear Feet (7 manuscript boxes, 1 half-sized manuscript box, 4 oversized boxes (3 OS1, 1 OS2), 2 card file boxes, 1 MAP-1 folder)
The Jonah J. Goldstein Papers chronicle Goldstein’s roles as a New York City judge (1931-1956) as he pushed for court reform in the 1930s; as he lead and founded local organizations, especially those devoted to the prevention of juvenile delinquency in the Jewish community; as the New York City mayoral candidate on the Liberal-Republican-City Fusion ticket in 1945; and as a voice for drug law reform in the 1950s and 1960s.
Materials include correspondence, speeches, scrapbooks, photographs, awards, campaign posters, audiotapes and clippings.
The collection is arranged into six series. The first two, Personal and Legal, represent the two topical categories into which the collection loosely breaks down. The last four series are dictated by format.
These papers were donated to AJHS by Beatrice (Jonah Goldstein's daughter) and Jules Gordon in 1968.
- Boy Scouts of America
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Domestic relations courts
- Drugs -- Law and legislation
- Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York
- Goldstein, Jonah J., 1886-1967
- Grand Street Boy's Club (New York, N.Y.)
- Juvenile delinquency
- Law -- History
- New York (N.Y.)
- New York (N.Y.) -- Politics and government -- 1898-1951
- New York (State). City Magistrates' Court (New York)
- New York (State). Court of General Sessions (New York County)
- New York (State). Criminal Court (New York, N.Y.)
- Plaques (flat objects)
- Political posters
- Speeches (documents)
- United States
- Jonah J. Goldstein Papers
- Processed by Rachel Miller as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.
- © 2010
- 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 JonahGoldstein.xml
- April, June 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup.
Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository
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