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Elizabeth S. Plaut Collection Addenda

Identifier: AR 25488

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials related to the family history of Elizabeth Strauss Plaut that constitute addenda to the Papers of Elizabeth Strauss Plaut (AR 25309) and the Elizabeth Plaut Addenda Collection (AR 10087) held at the Leo Baeck Institute Archives. The collection consists mainly of family photographs of the Abraham and Strauss families. Also included are drafts, off-prints, and copies of Elizabeth S. Plaut’s articles on the topic of genealogical research, correspondence between Plaut and various family members and archives, her notes regarding family history, a few family papers.

The photographs in the collection include both formal portraits of individuals and families from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century as well as informal photographs, many of which were taken during leisure time in New York City, vacations to London and Venice, and Therese and Harry Strauss’ honeymoon to Miami in 1906.

The family papers in the collection include clippings of engagement announcements and obituaries, business cards for Elizabeth Plaut’s grandfather Victor Abraham, particularly from his time as the embroiderer to the Queen of England in the late 19th century, and a menu for the 50th wedding anniversary of William and Pauline Strauss held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York in 1920. Also included in this folder are copies of pages from a Pentateuch that was given as a wedding gift to Elizabeth S. Plaut’s parents, Therese and Harry Strauss, in 1906. These pages include copies of the cover, dedication, title page, and notes about the births, marriages, and deaths in Plaut’s immediate family.


  • circa 1840s-2010


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is 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 "Request" button.

Biographical Note

Taken from the biographical note written in 2008 by Dianne Ritchey for the Guide to the Papers of Elizabeth Strauss Plaut, with a few additions.

Elizabeth Strauss was born on October 12, 1910 in New York City, the second child of Harry Strauss and Therese Abraham Strauss. A few years after the birth of his daughter, Harry Strauss died of typhoid fever and Therese Strauss relocated with her children to her family home in Cincinnati, where the family resided with her parents, Victor and Emma Abraham.

Elizabeth Strauss attended the University of Cincinnati, where she majored in zoology. While continuing to study for her teacher's certificate, she met W. Gunther Plaut, a recent immigrant from Germany who was studying at the Hebrew Union College. They were married on November 10, 1938.

The following September, the couple moved when Gunther Plaut became assistant rabbi of the Washington Boulevard Temple in Chicago. There Elizabeth Plaut started a Judaica shop in addition to her duties as rebbetzin. In 1942, the couple had a son. The family moved several times due to Gunther Plaut's various assignments as a chaplain in the U.S. Army during World War II. After a return to Chicago, where the family expanded to include a daughter, they moved to St. Paul, Minnesota when Gunther Plaut became rabbi at the Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation. The family remained there for thirteen years. During this time, Elizabeth Plaut was also very active as the rabbi's wife. In addition, in 1952 she created "Holiplay," a children's game about the Jewish holidays. The family made its last relocation when Gunther Plaut became rabbi for the Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Ontario, a much larger congregation than that in St. Paul.

It was during the early 1970s that Elizabeth Plaut became involved in documenting the genealogy of the Strauss, Plaut, and related families. Over the following three decades she accumulated numerous family trees and voluminous research on the family history, collecting information from family members as well as print sources and archival records. This work culminated in the publication of articles in genealogical periodicals such as Search and Toledot, as well as in three books.

Elizabeth Strauss Plaut died on September 13, 2003 (16 Ellul 5763).


0.5 Linear Feet


This collection contains materials related to the family history of Elizabeth Strauss Plaut (1911-2003). Family photographs make up the bulk of the collection. Other materials include Plaut’s notes and correspondence regarding genealogy, several of Plaut’s articles about genealogical research, and a few family papers.


The collection is arranged by document type. The photographs were separated by family according to their original order.

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Related Material

This collection consists of addenda to the Papers of Elizabeth Strauss Plaut (AR 25309/MF 932) and the Elizabeth Plaut Addenda Collection (AR 10087), both held at the LBI Archives.

Separated Material

A CD holding digital versions of most of the photographs included in the collection was removed to the LBI A/V Collection. The Pentateuch donated with the collection was removed to the LBI Library, although copies of the cover, title page, dedication, and notes were retained in this collection.

Processing Information

Duplicates were removed. Materials were rehoused into acid-free archival folders. Where adhesive notes had been attached to materials, copies were made of the notes onto non-adhesive paper and the original notes removed. Where an entire journal or magazine was donated, Elizabeth Plaut’s article in that publication was copied and retained in the collection while the original publication was removed.

Guide to the Elizabeth S. Plaut Collection Addenda circa 1840s-2010 AR 25488
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing ade possible by the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support "Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History." Digitization made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Revision Statements

  • April 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