The Marjorie Goldwasser Wyler Papers
Scope and Contents
The Marjorie Goldwasser Wyler Papers document the work of Marjorie Wyler throughout her fifty-five-years as the Director of Public Relations for the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS). The collection also details Wyler’s volunteer work, both before and after retirement, as well as her personal writings and correspondence. The bulk of these materials relate directly to Wyler’s time as Executive Producer of the Eternal Light program from 1944 to 1993. Also of note is a substantial collection of correspondence between Wyler and Dr. Louis Finkelstein, Chancellor of the JTS from 1940 to 1972.
Series I contains a small selection of personal items including correspondence, bibliographic materials, photographs, and a childhood yearbook.
Series II is comprised of documents relating to Wyler’s work at the JTS and other religious organizations. These materials include broadcast catalogues, program ideas and proposals, professional correspondence, and various writings.
- undated, 1915-2009
- Majority of material found in 1950-1995
The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility or privacy.
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 email@example.com.
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Biographical / Historical
Marjorie Goldwasser Wyler was born in New York City on September 23, 1915, to Israel and Edith Goldwasser. Despite their German Jewish descent, Marjorie and her two younger siblings did not receive a formal Jewish education. Marjorie’s interest in religious studies was sparked while attending Bryn Mawr College, where she received her B.A. and M.A. in philosophy. She then continued her graduate studies at the New School’s University in Exile under the tutelage of Jewish philosopher Paul Weiss. Following in her parents’ footsteps, Marjorie would devote the next sixty years of her life to a career in education and public service.
After a brief time as Principal of Public School #20, Marjorie began her tenure at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in 1938 -- the same year she married Wilfred Wyler. As the Director of Public Relations, Marjorie pioneered the presentation of Judaism in America through public broadcasting. Eternal Light began as a radio program in 1944 with a goal of explaining Judaism in a “non-evangelical, non-emotional way.” The award-winning program expanded to television in 1948, incorporating visual storytelling into its teachings of history and theology. Eternal Light made use of a variety of television formats including interviews, dramas, and current affairs segments. Among the program’s most popular shows were the annual holiday specials – a highlight of Marjorie’s career. She would eventually become immersed in all aspects of Eternal Light, her work reaching far beyond the role as the show's Executive Producer.
Marjorie’s position within the Department of Public Information extended to all public programming. This included corresponding with the press, public speaking engagements, and collaboration with other nonprofit organizations. When Eternal Light ended its nearly fifty-year run in 1993, Marjorie retired from the seminary but continued her involvement with such organizations as the UJA-Federation and the Jewish Child Care Association. She volunteered much of her time to the newly established Jewish Museum and would remain active in the religious and communications field until her death on July 22, 2002.
Marjorie Goldwasser Wyler brought Judaism to the American public and provided thousands of individuals with a connection to their heritage. Her legacy is continued by her daughter, Ruth Wyler Messinger, and is echoed throughout the American Jewish community.
2 Manuscript Boxes
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Ruth Messinger.
- Community organization
- Conservative Judaism
- Finkelstein, Louis, 1895-1991
- Jewish Theological Seminary of America
- Manuscripts (documents)
- Public relations
- Radio programs
- Television broadcasting
- United Jewish Appeal--Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York
- Guide to the Marjorie Goldwasser Wyler Papers
- Ruby Johnstone
- © 2021
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Description is in English.
Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository
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