Cahnman Foundation Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of correspondence and reports relating to the many philanthropic activities of the Cahnman Foundation, meeting minutes from its Board of Directors, and legal documents from the Cahnman estate. Items in this collection reflect the overall planning, funding, and final reports of the multitude of projects taken on (either partially or wholly) by the Cahnman Foundation to physically and intellectually preserve the history of Jewish religion and culture, worldwide.
Most of the correspondence relating to philanthropic foundation activities are either to or from Gisella L. Cahnman (the foundation's creator) and Ira Jolles, who took on many executive roles at the foundation throughout the years. Several folders of correspondence in this collection are marked as 'General correspondence.' These letters arrived similarly organized and include various correspondents seen elsewhere in the collection. Among them are the Center for Jewish History (and its partner organizations), the CUNY Graduate Center, the American Jewish Distribution Committee, the World Monuments Fund, and the Tenement Museum.
- undated, 1951-2018
- Majority of material found within 2000-2017
Language of Materials
The collection is in English.
The collection remains suppressed from public view until 2038.
The files contained within Series I, subseries 3: Financial documents will remain restricted due to their contents.
Werner Jacob Cahnmann (later Cahnman) was born in Munich on September 30, 1902 to Sigwart and Hedwig Cahnmann. He studied at universities in Munich and Berlin before settling in Chicago, IL. There he became an established sociologist and lecturing academic. Gisella Levi was born in Torino (Turin), Italy in 1910. She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics and physics from the University of Torino in 1934. After her immigration to the United States, she held a variety of positions in the health research industry, most notably at the Sloan Kettering Institute. She died in 2003.
Ira Harvey Jolles was born on December 12, 1938 in New York City. He is the son of Harry and Hannah Ruth (Rapaport) Jolles. He served several roles in the executive affairs of the Cahnman Foundation, including president and vice president as well as director and secretary of the Board of Directors. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Rashi Foundation, an independent, private philanthropic foundation dedicated to assisting the underprivileged in Israel.
The Cahnman Foundation dedicated its efforts and funding to supporting organizations in their efforts to study and preserve various avenues of Jewish history, architecture, and literature, and to publish texts illuminating Jewish culture and tradition. The foundation supported many small and large organizations including the American Joint Distribution Committee, the World Monuments Fund, the Center for Jewish History, and its affiliate organizations, the American Sephardi Federation and the Leo Baeck Institute. The Foundation ceased its activities and dissolved in 2017.
4 Linear Feet
This collection contains the records of Ira H. Jolles’ activities with the Cahnman Foundation, a philanthropic organization which funded projects dedicated to the preservation and care of Jewish archives, architecture, and culture. It consists primarily of correspondence relating to funded projects, including their planning and scope. Also included are several years worth of Board of Director meeting minutes and select legal documents from the Estate of Gisella Levi Cahnman.
This collection is arranged in folders by subject/organization and loosely chronologically within. Files were originally similarly grouped by project.
Several promotional DVDs and images on CD were removed to the LBI A/V collection.
Collection material was well grouped and organized upon donation. Relevant folder titles were retained.
- Administrative records
- American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
- Business records
- Cahnman Foundation
- Cahnman, Werner J. (Werner Jacob), 1902-1980
- Centro Primo Levi
- Charity organization
- Columbia University
- Czech Republic
- Jewish architecture
- Jolles, Ira Harvey
- Legal documents
- Marcus, Judith, 1929-2015
- Minutes (administrative records)
- Rashi Association
- Rothschild Foundation Europe
- Tarr, Zoltán, 1929-
- World Monuments Fund (New York, N.Y.)
- Guide to the Cahnman Foundation Collection undated, 1951-2018 (bulk 2000-2017) AR 25836
- Processed by Janine Veazue
- © 2019
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.