Guide to the Papers of Manuel F. Lisan (1882-1968), undated, 1902-1911, 1920-1927, 1936, 1946-1958, 1968-1969

Processed by Jason Schechter (January 3, 2002)

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161



© 2018, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on December 01, 2006. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lisan, Manuel F., 1882-1968
Title: Manuel F. Lisan papers
Dates:undated, 1902-1911, 1920-1927, 1936, 1946-1958, 1968-1969
Abstract: Contains a typescript of memoirs (some sections in several drafts) covering the period until 1907 and describing Lisan's youth in Russia, his journey to America, his early years in Philadelphia, and his travels throughout Pennsylvania. The memoirs also relate in some detail Lisan's Zionist activities in Russia and America and his reaction to world Jewish events. Includes also correspondence covering the years 1902-1969 dealing with Lisan's Zionist activities, as well as announcements (1909-1910) of the Maccabean Zionist Society in Philadelphia and receipts and a Land Certificate from the American Zion Commonwealth and a share certificate from the Jewish Colonial Trust.
Languages: The collection is predominantly in English, with some Hebrew.
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)
Identification: P-138
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Biographical Note

Manuel Lisan

Manuel Lisan was born on December 3, 1882 to Feivel and Chase (Russacoff) Lisan near Odessa, Russia. As a child in Russia he attended yeshiva, before coming to the United States in 1900. Back in Russia, Lisan began to associate himself with the Zionist movement in the face of the oppressive climate for Jews in Czarist Russia. In Odessa, he was a member of the Zionist Youth Organization.

Upon immigrating to the United States, Lisan settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and became a garment manufacturer and retailer. He also instantly joined the Zionist movement there. He served as a member of the Committee on Propaganda & Organization for the Federation of American Zionists in 1907, was an organizer of many Zionist societies across Pennsylvania, and was a member of the Zionist Organization of America and the Federation of Jewish Charities. He died in 1968.

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Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Manuel Lisan reflect Zionist activities in the United States in the first-half of the twentieth century, up to and continuing after the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. The collection consists mostly of drafts and chapters from Lisan's memoirs retelling his experiences in Czarist Russia, his life as a Zionist in Philadelphia, and the struggle for establishing a Jewish state culminating in Israel's founding.

The collection is valuable to researchers studying the activities of Zionists in the United States, mainly the Maccabean Zionist Society in Philadelphia as well as the experience of being a Zionist when many thought the idea of a Jewish state as madness. Lisan's memoirs also tell of his journey to the United States, recounts of the Pogrom of 1903, and the Eastern European immigrant experience in the United States.

The collection consists mostly of drafts and chapters from Lisan's memoirs, but also includes Zionist documents and publications from the 1910s and 20s and various correspondences. The documents are primarily in English with minimal publications and correspondence in Hebrew.

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The collection consists of a single series arranged by topic.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

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Manuel Lisan donated his papers to the American Jewish Historical Society in 1972 and 1973.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Manuel F. Lisan papers; P-138; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Access Points:

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Papers of Manuel F. Lisan, undated, 1902-1911, 1920-1927, 1936, 1946-1958, 1968-1969

The collection is in English and Hebrew.
0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)

The folders are arranged by topic.

Scope and Content:

See the collection Scope and Content note.

11Reminiscences of Russia and Early Days in Americaundatedrequest_box
12Kishev Pogromundatedrequest_box
13Various Chapters on Zionist Activities in Philadelphiaundatedrequest_box
14Chapter: A New Start in Lifeundatedrequest_box
15Zionist Correspondence1902, 1905-1911, 1921-1927, 1948-1951, 1953-1958, 1968-1969request_box
16Miscellaneous Personal Items and Photograph1910, 1936, 1946-1947, 1958request_box
17Miscellaneous Zionist Documents1902-1903, 1909-1910, 1920-1921request_box
18Miscellaneous Papersundatedrequest_box
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