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The collection consists primarily of correspondence reflecting Calmenson’s involvement in numerous national and local Jewish organizations. The largest quantity of materials is in relation to his work with the United Palestine Appeal (1926-1945, primarily 1926-1929), and the Zionist Organization of America (1919-1952). Among the local St. Paul Jewish organizations, the largest quantity of materials relates to the Emergency Committee for Palestine (1942-1951), and the Zionist Organization of America, St. Paul Chapter (1918-1950). Among his correspondents are Harry S. Truman, H.V. Kaltenborn, and Emanuel Neumann. Among the topics dealt with are the 1929 riots in Palestine, the protest against the Passfield paper, and the establishment of a Jewish army after World War I. The collection also contains materials relating to Calmenson’s private activities, and miscellaneous writings and papers belonging to the Calmenson family.
The National Committee for Labor Israel (NCLI) was an American fundraising organization closely associated with Israel’s federation of labor and trade unions (Histadrut). NCLI provided financial support for the Histadrut’s educational, health, and social programs in Israel through national and regional solicitation campaigns. Major donors included Labor Zionist organizations, American labor unions, and other Jewish community associations. Financial problems eventually led to the dissolution of NCLI, and the bulk of this collection documents its final decades of operation. A large portion of the records pertain to development projects in Israel during the 1960s -1970s.
The collection has been arranged according to the following broad subject areas: personal affairs; speeches, sermons, and articles, both manuscript and published; the Free Synagogue in New York City; the Jewish Institute of Religion; American Jewish affairs; relations between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities; New York City affairs; United States affairs; the press (both Jewish and non-Jewish); world affairs; the American Jewish Congress and World Jewish Congress; refugees; Zionism; Palestine and Israel; arts and letters; and individual corrspondence of a general nature.