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Gustav Wurzweiler Foundation Collection

Identifier: AR 25632

Scope and Content Note

The Gustav Wurzweiler Foundation Collection documents the foundation’s financial records and philanthropic activity. The F. Grubel Files (which is now Series I) consist of all correspondence organized and contributed to by Grubel and other board members (chiefly foundation co-Presidents Rabbi Joseph Lookstein and Max Gruenewald). Series I contains correspondence relating to the foundation’s approved grant requests. Included in this correspondence are discussions on dollar amounts, payment plans, and suggestions for possible funding extensions. Series II contains administrative materials relating to the specific running of the foundation. This series includes memos between board members, meeting minutes, and yearly investment and banking documentation, including hand-written ledgers. Series III contains proposals submitted to the foundation for possible grant funding. Documents in this series appear in the form of both short, casual letters to the board as well as lengthy, professionally-created brochures and packets. Series IV contains foundation file copies of responses regarding rejected applications for original funding and/or funding extensions from currently-funded institutions.


  • 1951-1992


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers. There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Historical Note

Gustav Wurzweiler was born in Mannheim, Germany in 1896. After serving in the German forces during World War I, he created a substantial portion of his life’s wealth by establishing his own successful banking firm. In 1941 he immigrated with his parents (and much of his original wealth) to the United States where he continued his life in finance and philanthropy. Wurzweiler died in New York at Lenox Hill Hospital in 1954.

In 1950, Gustav Wurzweiler founded the Wurzweiler Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing financial support to individual Jewish congregations as well as various Jewish cultural, social, and educational agencies in need. By 1970, the foundation had bestowed grants to nearly one hundred institutions of varying disciplines, with the Leo Baeck Institute and Yeshiva University as major beneficiaries. Fred Grubel, the Foundation’s Executive Secretary, maintained its records while based out of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, New York. His contribution, along with those of the foundation’s co-Presidents Rabbi Joseph Lookstein and Max Gruenewald, can be seen on almost every document in this collection. The Foundation’s emphasis on higher education around the world can be seen chiefly in the ongoing certificate, Masters, and PhD programs provided by Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work as well as the Foundation’s dedication to literacy with the creation of the Bar-Ilan University’s Wurzweiler Central Library in Tel-Aviv.


26.75 Linear Feet (52 full manuscript boxes, 3 half-manuscript boxes)


This collection contains the records of the Gustav Wurzweiler Foundation of New York, NY, which funded primarily American Jewish organizations (both religious and secular). It consists primarily of correspondence relating to funded and rejected grant proposals as well as financial records and related documentation.


The current records of the Wurzweiler Foundation Collection consist of both the F. Grubel files (Series I) and other related Foundation records. The F. Grubel files were originally part of Grubel’s filing records during his time as the Foundation's Executive Secretary. While serving this position, Grubel was also the head of the Leo Baeck Institute, and therefore used his office for the filing of both sets of records. When he retired, his papers were stored with other Foundation records off-site. It is now deemed appropriate that these records as a whole return to the LBI archives as one collection, reflecting the many facets of his work with the Foundation and the Institution.

Items in the original F. Grubel files were being re-housed, only. Any rearrangement or editing of dates/names was done for clarification and more concise intellectual order.

Related Material

The LBI Archives holds the The Gustav Wurzweiler Collection, 1965-1970 (AR 4374) and the Fred Grubel Collection, 1883-1999 (AR 3695).

The American Jewish Joint Distribtuion Committee archives has a Wurzweiler foundation file (item ID 1012874) in its 1965-1974 New York Collection.

Separated Material

One videocassette labeled ‘Ch 7 News Tues 3/11/97’ was removed to the LBI AV collection.

Series III: Project Proposals contains two oversized architectural plans that have been placed in the OS boxes for proper storage. These items were originally housed in Box 43/ Folder 8: ‘Women’s Social Service, 1971-1973.' They are now housed in box OS 170 and OSXL drawer 1.

The following items have been deaccessioned from this collection: Petty cash receipts, receipts for office supplies and maintenance, cancelled checks, monthly investment statements, custody account materials, bank statements, and books of check stubs.

Processing Note

All items in this collection were re-housed. Any minor rearrangement or editing of folder dates/names was done for correction and more concise intellectual order. When necessary, files/folders were moved between series; these decisions took place on a case-by-case basis. When original folder titles did not accurately represent the contents within, folders were relabeled and rearranged when appropriate. These decisions also took place on a case-by-case basis. Any loose photographs found in this collection have been placed in archival sleeves and remain in their original folders. Several financial material types have been properly deaccessioned from this collection as per institutional retention guidelines. A more detailed list of these items can be found in the Separated Material note.

Guide to the Gustav Wurzweiler Foundation Collection 1951-1992 AR 25632
Processed by Janine Veazue
© 2015
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

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States