Victoria (Zetlin) Russman Pordes Collection
Scope and Content Note
The Victoria (Zetlin) Russman Pordes Collection holds the correspondence, personal, and professional papers of Victoria Pordes, along with other members of her family, especially her sister Anna (Zetlin) Jarosik. Much of the collection consists of correspondence, notably the personal family correspondence between Zetlin siblings. In addition, the collection includes official, and educational papers, postcards, photographs, scrapbooks, tourism materials, immigration and citizenship papers, notebooks, address books, diaries, and other items. The collection is arranged based upon the original order established by Eva Steiner Moseley.
Correspondence of Victoria Pordes will be found throughout the collection. Although Series I includes some professional correspondence, the bulk of the collection's correspondence is located in Series II, the largest area of the collection. This series includes correspondence with other family members, including most of Victoria Pordes's siblings and her mother, along with more distant family such as her sister's children and a cousin. Especially extensive are the letters of her brothers Hesse and Lyova. Correspondence with personal friends comprises a smaller portion of this series. Letters exchanged with family and friends often revolve around family and personal news, health, travels, and briefer mentions of current events. Series III contains some correspondence as well, notably Victoria Pordes's letters to her husband Rudolf while away from home, but also including some correspondence with Rudolf Pordes regarding his time at Camp les Milles and regarding his artwork, as well as correspondence about their residences. Correspondence of Anna Jarosik is located in Series V.
Personal papers of Victoria Pordes will be found primarily in Series I and Series III. Series I contains documentation of her education, immigration, and professional work, along with official documents. Such papers include birth, marriage, and death certificates; school and training certificates; and lists relating to her employers. A notebook of recipes is also present. Series III contains later personal papers, deriving from the years of her marriage with Rudolf Pordes. This material consists of material on their homes and documenation related to Rudold Pordes's death and estate.
The travel of family members is a topic well-represented in this collection, with most series relating to it. The letters of Series II often mention family members' travels, especially the letters of Lyova Zetlin, who visited many areas in the United States, especially in the western United States. He frequently provided his sister with photographs of the places he saw. Series III includes similar letters from Victoria Pordes to her husband, describing trips she took to see her brother Hesse in Israel. Routine correspondence with hotels and some tourism material and notes will be found in Series IV, documenting trips Victoria Pordes took with her sister Anna Jarosik. Similar material comprises Series VI, but this series is documented more comprehensively, with the addition of photographs and more detailed notes and itineraries, along with photo albums and scrapbooks.
Documentation of the life of Anna Jarosik is encompassed in Series V. Here are personal papers of Anna Jarosik, such as diaries, along with her personal correspondence, including with her sister Victoria Pordes as well as with her brother and some close friends. This series also holds official documents such as birth, marriage, and divorce documentation, as well as immigration paperwork. Well documented in this series is her education as a teacher of young children in Austria, England, and the United States, along with correspondence and documentation regarding her employment.
- 1903-2002, 2013
- Majority of material found within 1946-1986
- Moseley, Eva Steiner (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is primarily in German and English, with some Hebrew and a very small amount of Russian.
Open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
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 Notes<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Photograph of sisters Anna Jarosik and Victoria Pordes" href="http://digital.cjh.org/webclient/DeliveryManager?pid=2156397" show="embed" title="Photograph of sisters Anna Jarosik and Victoria Pordes"/>
Victoria (Zetlin) Russman Pordes was the third of five children of Selig Selikov Zetlin, orginally from Vitebsk, Byelorussia, and Esther Geselevna Zetlin. Selig worked for the Russian railway and the family was well off, with a house and coach, a coachman, and other servants. After Russia's defeat by Japan in 1905, there was an increase in pogroms, and Esther and four children (Hesse, Isabella, Victoria, and Lyova) emigrated to Vienna. Victoria was the middle of five siblings: Hesse, Isabella, Victoria, Lyova, and Anna.
Victoria Zetlin, born April 7, 1903, wanted to be a librarian but could not afford the training and so became a bookkeeper. In Vienna she worked mainly for Jacob Engel, who had a wholesale drygoods business. Victoria Zetlin's marriage to Emil Russmann (she generally dropped the second n) in November 1937 was for citizenship purposes only; they were divorced in May 1938. She was the first to immigrate, in the fall of 1938. At first she packed medicines in jars and bottles at Purepac but she soon began a series of jobs as bookkeeper in advertising agencies. In August 1949 she married Rudolf Pordes, a furrier. They lived first on West 108th Street, then on College Avenue in the Bronx, and finally on Long Island, where Rudolf Pordes died of heart failure in July 1980. Victoria Pordes soon moved to Isabella House in Washington Heights, where she died of a heart attack in June 1986.
Hesse Zetlin, the eldest of the five children of Esther and Selig Zetlin, was born in Kursk, Russia, on April 19, 1897. Hesse studied when he could but during World War I the children were excluded from school as enemy aliens. In the 1920s he moved to Prague, where he met and married Ina. They soon emigrated to Palestine, where Hesse worked as an engineer. He outlived Ina and his second wife, Ethel, and died in an old age home on December 11, 1979.
Isabella Zetlin Steiner came to the United States in 1939 with her husband and children, where she opened a dressmaking business.
Lyova (Leo, also called Lowa by family and friends) Zetlin was born in Kursk in late July (26th?) 1904 and emigrated to New York in 1939. He served briefly in the Army Corps of Engineers but was soon discharged, due both to poor eyesight and to his skill as an engineer, which enabled him to do war work. He worked for ship-building companies, mainly in New Orleans, and later specialized in air-conditioning. In addition to New Orleans, he lived, and in some cases worked, in Berlin, New Hampshire; Portland, Maine; Portland, Oregon; Tampa, Florida; San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In the early 1950s he bought a small house in Montrose, California, near Los Angeles. From here he took numerous trips, mainly to mountains and national parks, first by train or bus, later by car. He climbed mountains, photographed them and associated scenery, developed and printed the photos himself, and compiled albums with clever captions. Aside from a very occasional trip with nephew Paul Steiner (son of his older sister Isabella), these outings were evidently solo affairs. He also traveled in Mexico and in Greece, Italy, and possibly other Mediterranean countries. He lived alone for most of his life. He died in July 1969 at the age of 65, after a stroke and other ailments.
Anna Zetlin was born January 27, 1906 in Vienna. After completing high school she began a two-year course as a kindergarten teacher in Austria. Upon its completion she took classes in psychology, education, child psychology, and psychoanalysis, and also opened her own kindergarten. In 1933 Anna was involved in a severe skiing accident that necessitated the amputation of her leg and the use of an artificial leg for the rest of her life. On May 10, 1930 she married Josef Jarosik; they divorced in 1939 due to Anna's being Jewish and Josef being Aryan and the related societal and financial pressures of this. In the spring of 1939 she left Vienna for England to wait for her American quota number in order to join her siblings in the United States. In Lincoln, England she taught at a nursery school, volunteered as part of the fire watch, continued her education, and gave lectures in child psychology and the care of mentally disabled children. She came to the United States in 1946, and in 1949 received her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and in 1953 her Master's in Psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University. From 1946 through 1953 she was employed as a preschool and kindergarten teacher at various schools in New York City and in July 1953 became education director at a childcare center in Brooklyn, New York. In February 1958 she became director of the Lillian Sklar Filler Day Care Center of Brooklyn, a position she held until 1972. In her later years she often traveled with her sister Victoria or on her own to visit friends. Anna Jarosik died in July 1996.
For brevity, Victoria (Zetlin) Russman Pordes is often referred to in this finding aid as Victoria Pordes, Anna (Zetlin) Jarosik as Anna Jarosik.
2.75 Linear Feet
The Victoria (Zetlin) Russman Pordes Collection holds the correspondence, personal, and professional papers of Victoria Pordes, along with other members of her family, especially her sister Anna (Zetlin) Jarosik. Much of the collection consists of correspondence, notably the personal family correspondence between Zetlin siblings. In addition, the collection includes official, and educational papers, postcards, photographs, scrapbooks, tourism materials, immigration and citizenship papers, notebooks, address books, diaries, and other items.
This collection is arranged in seven series in the following manner:
- Introduction: Collection Information, 2013
- Series I: Victoria (Zetlin) Russman Pordes Papers, 1903-1998
- Series II: Correspondence 1937-1986
- Subseries 1: Family, 1938-1986
- Subseries 2: Friends, 1937-1986
- Series III: Papers Related to Victoria and Rudolf Pordes, 1942, 1948-2002
- Series IV: Other Papers, 1963, 1981-1986
- Series V: Anna (Zetlin) Jarosik, 1906-1995
- Subseries 1: Papers 1906-1995
- Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1947-1992
- Series VI: Trips and Vacations, 1947-1984
- Subseries 1: Photographs, Correspondence, and Trip Materials, 1947-1984
- Subseries 2: Ephemera, undated, 1953-1976
Other Finding Aid
The arrangement of this collection is based on a previous finding aid whose order was established by Eva Steiner Moseley. This finding aid is in the final folder of the collection and includes some further biographical details, including personal commentary and recollections, on family members, especially Hesse and Lyova Zetlin. It also contains more analysis and examples of Lyova Zetlin's use of language in his letters, which may be helpful for resarchers to view prior to reading his letters. Much of the collection's biographical note and the subseries description for Series II: Subseries 1 is based upon this finding aid.
The collection was arranged based upon the original order established by Eva Steiner Moseley, which provided order for the first five series. Much of the collection's biographical note and the description of the letters of Lyova and Hesse Zetlin were based upon her description of them, will description of the remainder of the collection was based upon observation of the materials.
- Early childhood teachers
- Emigration and immigration
- England -- Emigration and immigration
- Jarosik, Anna, 1906-1996
- Jewish families
- Lists (document genres)
- Long Island (N.Y.)
- Maps (documents)
- New York (N.Y.)
- Notes (documents)
- Pordes, Rudolf, 1906-1980
- Pordes, Victoria, 1903-1986
- Steiner family
- United States -- Emigration and immigration
- Vienna (Austria)
- Zetlin family
- Zetlin, Hesse, 1897-1979
- Zetlin, Lyova, 1904-1969
- Guide to the Papers of Victoria (Zetlin) Russman Pordes 1903-2002, 2013 AR 25583
- Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
- © 2014
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Edition statement
- This version was derived from Victoria_(Zetlin)_Russman_Pordes.xml
- April 2015:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.