Skip to main content

Sobel Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25147

Scope and Content Note

The Sobel family collection contains seven folders which tell a lot about the family's history, not only in the form of a very detailed genealogical description, but also through letters of family members. The collection does not include original documents but only photocopies of such.

The first folder contains very detailed descriptions of members of seven generations of the Sobel and Auerhaim families, written by Norman T. Sobel, one of Isador Sobel's sons. The families are closely connected, as both Norman's grandfathers, Semel Sobel and Solomon Auerhaim, married into the same family (Kunz), and one of the sons of the Sobels married one of the Auerhaim daughters and gave birth to Norman and his brothers. There is no record of direct descendents of either of the brothers.

The second and third folders contain correspondence which deals with the family's history and cemetery arrangements. The main focus of the first part is on the communication of Isador Sobel and his cousin Emil Caro, both trying to recollect their family's history as accurately as possible. Occasionally, they discuss current family issues, such as the flight of family members from "Nazi hell" to the U.S. and tell about interesting events from their journeys. In addition to the cemetery correspondence, the third folder also contains photocopies of two death certificates, one of Henry Sobel, the other of Abraham Levin.

Folders four, five, and six consist of documents about four family reunions between 1937 and 1951, a photocopy of Helen Sobel’s Certificate of Secondary Education and of Recommendation for Admission to the School of Practical Arts, and Norman T. Sobel's last will with detailed instructions for his funeral arrangements. The last folder contains photocopies of photographs of the family.


  • Creation: 1914-1983
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1938-1939


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

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 "Reserve" button.

Use Restrictions

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

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Elias Sobel, the eldest (known) Sobel of the family, was born in 1764 in Poland, emigrated to Koschmin in the Prussian province of Posen, now Poland), got married and had at least two sons, Samuel (born in 1800) and Nathan. Samuel's son Semel (born in 1834) was the first member of the Sobel family to arrive in the United States in 1851. After entering the tailoring business, he became a manufacturer of shirts and in 1865 he opened a dry goods s tore in Pennsylvania. Four years later, he and his family moved to New York, where he, after once again returning to Pennsylvania for a period of twelve years, died in 1918. Semel Sobel married Cecilia Kunz (also originally from Posen, Germany) in 1855, and they had eleven children, one of which was Isador Sobel (born in 1858). Isador, born in New York, was sixteen when he and his family moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he started studying law in 1886. Two years later, he formed the law firm Brainerd & Sobel, and from 1892 he practiced alone (with one minor interruption) until his son Jeffrey M. Sobel joined him in 1919. Isador married his cousin Emma Auerhaim in 1891 and they had four sons (Jeffrey Mortimer in 1892, Samuel E. in 1893, Norman Tyler in 1899, and Sidney Amos in 1901), one of which, Samuel, died in infancy.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection consists of documents of and about the Sobel family, including the family's genealogy, correspondence (primarily about the family's history), family reunions, a detailed will of a family member, and photocopies of photographs.


The collection is arranged in one series.

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Guide to the Sobel Family Collection 1914-1983 AR 25147
Processed by Alexandra Weinschenker
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Digitization made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany
Edition statement
This version was derived from SobelFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • June 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States