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The Papers of Sam Camhi

Identifier: ASF AR 14

Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Sam Camhi are largely comprised of materials related to Mr. Camhi's involvement and membership with numerous Jewish organizations. These materials primarily include correspondence, newsletters, and circulars as well as compact discs, audio cassettes, and photographs. Some of the more prominent organizations in the collection include The American Sephardi Federation, the Congregation Shearith Israel, and the Los Angeles Sephardic Home for the Aging (LASHA). Much of Sam Camhi's involvement with the Congregation Shearith Israel involved frequent correspondence with Rabbi Marc Angel. Also included are the notes and drafts for articles published in "The Concordian," by Concordia-Argonaut and records collected on Judaism (especially Sephardic Jewry).

Items of note include documents written in Rashi script and in the Ladino language.


  • 1957-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1980-2008


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, Hebrew, and Ladino.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

American Sephardi Federation, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Born on November 22, 1920 in Chicago, Sam Camhi grew up in Chicago and moved to New York City during his teenage years. As a young adult during the Depression, Camhi apprenticed in the textile trade. In 1942 he was drafted into the U.S. Army as a Private and served overseas in an administrative role following the end of the war. When he was discharged from his military position in 1946, he had climbed to the rank of First Lieutenant in the Air Force. In 1948, Camhi moved to San Francisco where he was invited to join the Concordia-Argonaut Club, a primarily Ashkenazi Jewish institution dating back to the 1850s). He remained a member of the club for over forty years, and wrote numerous articles for their monthly publication The Concordian.

The parents of Sam Camhi immigrated to the United States from Turkey in 1906. The family settled in a small Spanish-Judeo community in Chicago and maintained their traditions by speaking Ladino at home. Growing up in a Sephardic family and community, Sam Camhi developed an interest and devotion to the study of Sephardim culture and history. His appreciation for Sephardic music stemmed from his father, who played the mandolin during Camhi's youth. Sam Camhi was married for 37 years and later in life befriended a woman of Sephardic heritage from Aden, whose Jewish community is considered by some to be the oldest surviving community of Judaism. Many of these details of Camhi's personal life appear in his research and records found throughout this collection.


4 Linear Feet (7 manuscript boxes and 1 card box)


The Papers of Sam Camhi are comprised of correspondence, research, and newsletters from his involvement in numerous Jewish organizations, especially those related to Sephardim. Also included are various audio recordings of Sephardic folksongs.


This collection is arranged into two series based on item types.

  1. Series I: Subject files, undated, 1957-2010
  2. Series II: Audio recordings, undated, 1984-2003

Acquisition Information

The Papers of Sam Camhi were donated to the American Sephardi Federation by Mr. Sam Camhi sporadically between 2000 and 2010.

Related Material

Additional materials located at the American Sephardi Federation (ASF) related to Sam Camhi and Sephardim can be found in the following locations:

  1. ASF AR-6 American Sephardi Federation Records, 1972-1978, 1983-2000
  2. ASF AR-6[a] Records of the World Sephardi Federation, 1975-1998

Separated Material

Several objects have been moved from this collection to the ASF Museum Collection, including two pieces of embroidered textiles, silverware, and various pocket baubles.

Guide to the Papers of Sam Camhi, 1957-2010 ASF AR 14
Processed by Kaitlyn Medley
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.
Edition statement
This version was derived from SamCamhi.xml

Revision Statements

  • 2018:: Additional physical processing (including the integration of accretion files and the deaccessioning of duplicate published materials and sensitive financial statements) and EAD editing by Janine Veazue.

Repository Details

Part of the American Sephardi Federation Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States