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Alexander Turney Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25475

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the personal experience of Alexander Turney with a particular emphasis on his childhood in Berlin, his emigration to the United States, and his activities as a tango dancer later in life. Materials include a large amount of photographs, limited correspondence, clippings and programs related to tango dancing, limited materials on family history, and an oral history interview transcript.

Dates

  • 1920-2011

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and French.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Biographical Note

Alexander Turney was born Alexander Teitelbaum on October 30, 1918 in Suwalki (Poland) to Fanny Alexandrovicz (born May 19, 1896) and her husband Joseph Teitelbaum. The couple divorced a few years later, and Alexander and his mother moved to Berlin. While his mother worked, he attended Baruch-Auerbachsche Waisenerziehungsanstalt, a children’s home run by the Berlin Jewish community that took in children from single-parent households. Alexander immigrated to the United States in 1935 and settled in New York, where he changed his last name to Turney. His mother Fanny followed him two years later.

As a young man, Alexander attended City College and eventually settled on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He and his wife Jean (1924-2005) danced together extensively throughout their lives, performing both on stage and as the stars of the short film Tango octogenario (2004).

Extent

0.25 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection documents the personal experience of Alexander Turney with a particular emphasis on his childhood in Berlin, his emigration to the United States, and his activities as a tango dancer later in life. Materials include photographs, correspondence, clippings, programs, limited materials on family history, and an oral history interview transcript.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in rough chronological order.

Related Material

The oral history interview of Alexander Turney is available online.

The book Yiddishland by Gérard Silvain and Henri Minczeles includes a photograph of Alexander Turney’s mother Fanny. This book is available at the LBI Library.

Alexander and Jean Turney’s tango dancing activities were covered by the New York Times in an article by Anemona Hartocollis from January 4, 2004: "Coping: After 55 Years, Still Dancing Cheek to Cheek."

Separated Material

Two video recordings on DVDs were donated as part of this collection: a copy of Tango octogenario and a collection of videos of Alexander Turney. These were both removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection.

A copy of a 1949 Street Guide to Brooklyn created by Alexander Turney’s uncle Jacob Barkan was also removed, as well as a clipping from Jewish Week published May 24, 1996 about Turney’s childhood friend Rabbi Gunther W. Plaut.

Processing Information

Duplicates were removed. The photographs in folder 1 were removed from their original album and placed in archival photograph envelopes. The original photo album was removed because the binding was broken, but the pages with original notes related to the photographs were retained.
Title
Guide to the Alexander Turney Collection circa 1920s-2011 AR 25475
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Leanora Lange
Date
© 2013
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Made 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."

Revision Statements

  • April 02, 2015 : dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States