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Perlmann Family Collection

Identifier: AR 886

Scope and Content Note

The Perlmann Family Collection holds papers of members of the Perlmann and the related Spiero, Jolowicz, and Lewald families. It consists of correspondence, genealogical research, family trees, typescripts including biographies and other articles, newspaper clippings, official documents, a few postcards and photographs, a memorial book and a few pamphlets.

Genealogical information on the connections between the Perlmann family and others will be found throughout the first series. The first folder of the collection contains Sabine Gova's genealogical research, biographies of various relations and her detailed and extensive family tree. Among Herbert Perlman's personal papers is a description of the family's connection to Eduard von Simson, first president of the German Parliament. A folder on Heinrich Spiero includes documents on the link between the Spiero and Wehle families.

The most prominent individuals in this collection are the family members Herbert Perlman and his cousin once removed Sabine Gova. In addition to genealogical work, writings by both of these individuals will be found in Series I. Gova's other writings relate to her own life or to her work as an art historian. Herbert Perlman's writings often pertain to various religious discussions; his correspondence provides documentation of his travel from England to the United States and his desire to leave Louisiana. His personal papers include some official or professional documents. Other family members' papers largely consist of official documentation such as birth, death, marriage or registration certificates. Some material in this series relates to Spieroweg, a street named for Heinrich Spiero in Berlin.

Series II holds material on the city of Königsberg along with other papers on various subjects.


  • 1863-1979
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1979


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and French.

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

Herbert Perlman (born Perlmann) was born in 1886 in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), where his grandfather Heymann (also called Heimann or Heinrich) had been a rabbi. Herbert Perlman was the son of Eli (also Ely or Elias) Perlmann and his wife Luise (or Louise) Perlmann née Jolowicz and became a businessman and insurance agent. In 1939 he left Königsberg for England; in 1941 he came to the United States. After first settling in Alexandria, Louisiana, he later moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he married Lilian Philipps in 1949. He died in Chicago in 1980.

Sabine Gova (born Spiero) was born in 1901, the daughter of the author, professor and literary historian Heinrich Spiero and his wife Olga née Jolowicz. During the time of Nazi Germany Heinrich Spiero was for a number of years the president of the Reichsverband nichtarischer Christen, later the Paulus-Bund. His daughter Sabine became an art historian and lived in Paris after 1933 until she fled from occupied France to Casablanca in the summer of 1940. By the late 1940s she had come to the United States where at one point she worked as a translator with the Research Committee of the United Nations and later became a professor of art history in Jersey City and New York. By 1968 she had returned to France, where she died in 1980.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Perlmann Family Collection consists of papers of members of the Perlmann and related families, including the Spiero and Jolowicz families. It includes genealogy and biographies of these families and also of members of the related Lewald and Simson families. Some material on the city of Königsberg is also present. The collection consists of correspondence, genealogical research, family trees, biographies, articles, newspaper clippings, official documents, a few postcards and photographs, a memorial book and a few pamphlets.

Other Finding Aid

An eight-page inventory lists each item in the collection. Most collection items are numbered in reference to this previous inventory.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety with the exception of selections from folders 2, 11, and 12, which are only available onsite due to copyright concerns.

Related Material

The LBI Library includes several books by family members such as Heinrich Spiero and Fanny Lewald. A biography by Sabine Gova on her father Heinrich Spiero is present in the LBI Memoir Collection, ME 199.

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the Photograph Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Ilse Turnheim in November 1979, when an item-level inventory was created for it, with each folder constituting a series. In June 2013 it was reprocessed in preparation of the EAD finding aid. The previous folders were retained except for folder "II. Weitere Familienpapiere" which was further subdivided into folders for Eli Perlmann, Luise Perlmann, and Other Family Members. Folders of Series I were organized alphabetically.

Guide to the Papers of the Perlmann Family 1863-1979 AR 886
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
© 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 PerlmannFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • July 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