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Irene E. Barbasch Collection

Identifier: AR 25592

Scope and Content Note

This small collection is fragmentary and should be considered in relation to the papers of Lilian Singer (AR 25363) as both women are present in each collection. What is contained in this collection only documents specific parts of the subject’s life and does not offer a comprehensive history of Irene Barbasch.

The correspondence covers the period between 1944 and 1946. Much of it concerns food rations or Irene’s efforts to secure affidavits from her American cousins that would enable her to emigrate. The bulk of the correspondence addressed to Irene consists of passionate love letters signed by someone named “Marshall,” whose identity cannot be determined from these materials.

Photographs are the other dominant material type. Only a few are annotated with names or dates, but they appear to document a wide range of places and periods. These offer a more intimate view of the two women, their relationship, and their families, particularly in the 1960s.


  • 1883-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1973

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

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<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Portrait of Irene E. Barbasch (right) and Lilian P. Singer (left), undated" href="" show="embed" title="Irene E. Barbasch (right) and Lilian P. Singer (left); undated photo"/>

Irene Estelle Barbasch was born in 1915 in Manchester, England (U.K) to Henry Barbasch and Maud Kersh. She was the eldest of three sisters, followed by Sybil (born 1918) and Audrey (1922). Relatively little personal information about Irene is contained in this collection, but she served in the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War and experienced the privations of war-time rationing along with the rest of the U.K. Correspondence dated 1945-1946 shows that she struggled for years to obtain travel papers allowing her to immigrate to the United States, where she intended to study chiropractics at Lincoln College in Indianapolis. Other documents and photographs indicate that she was a resident of Kentucky by 1954 and eventually earned the title of Doctor.

By the end of the 1950s, Irene had met Dr. Lilian Singer (née Popper), a Jewish war refugee originally from Brno who practiced medicine in Europe, India, and Pakistan before settling in the U.S. Dr. Singer and Dr. Barbasch lived together in Erlanger, Kentucky until Lilian’s death in 1977. Irene remained in their home, where she had established her naturopathy practice, until her death in 2008 at age 93.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection contains the correspondence of Dr. Irene E. Barbasch written mainly in England during and just after WWII, as well as photographs and other documents pertaining to her relationship with Dr. Lilian P. Singer of Brno (Czech Republic).


Arranged alphabetically by document type.

Related Material

Please see the Lilian Singer Collection, AR 25363. Having lived together for about 18 years, the papers of Dr. Barbasch and Dr. Singer were intermingled. After Irene’s death, Lilian’s archives were donated to LBI on the recommendation of her niece, Anne Kelemen, and the items in this collection weren’t properly identified at that time. There is some overlapping coverage of Irene Barbasch and Lilian Singer in both collections.

AR 25012 and AR 25012 A, the Robitscher Family Collection and Addenda, may also contain relevant information concerning Lilian Singer's niece and extended family.

Processing Information

Duplicate photos and envelopes were weeded. Photographs found grouped in envelopes remain together but were transferred into archival sleeves and envelopes before being placed in folders. The broken glass plate negative of Dr. Singer’s diploma was placed in protective housing to stabilize it and prevent further damage.

Guide to the Irene E. Barbasch Collection 1883-2006 (bulk 1940-1973) AR 25592
Processed by Alyssa Carver
© 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • June 9, 2014 : Link to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States