Guide to the Papers of Harold Silver (1900-), undated, 1922-1927, 1929-1933, 1935, 1946-1977

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 1, 2006. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Silver, Harold, 1900-
Title: Harold Silver papers
Dates:undated, 1922-1927, 1929-1933, 1935, 1946-1977
Abstract: The collection contains personal correspondence, manuscript and printed copies of articles and speeches, photographs and newspaper clippings pertaining to the education and social welfare activities of Silver. A large part of the correspondence is with Maurice J. Karpf, Kurt Peiser and I.M. Rubinow and concerns Silver's studies at the Training School for Jewish Social Work (1925-1934) and his early work in Cincinnati and Detroit Jewish welfare organizations (1930-1934). Subsequent correspondence pertains to Silver's work for the Israel Ministry of Social Welfare (1961-1966).
Languages: The collection is predominantly in English, with some Hebrew.
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)
Identification: P-149
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Biographical Note

Harold Silver

Harold Silver was born on May 18, 1900 to Anchel and Rebecca (Raginsky) Silver in Kliusi, Russia. At the young age of 11, Silver was forced to leave school to help support his family. By 1913, however, the Silver family immigrated to the United States. The experience of having to work as a young boy had a profound impact on Silver. Harold was not only amazed that education in America was free but also compulsory. He soon dedicated himself to a life of social work, looking out for the public welfare of poor children, the elderly, and immigrants.

Silver received his Ph.B. from the University of Chicago in 1922, and then his Masters in Social Service in 1934 from the newly founded Graduate School for Jewish Social Workers. Before receiving his masters, however, Silver was very active in social service. He began as a staff member of the Bureau of Jewish Social Research in New York in 1926 and by 1927 he had become the department head of the Jewish Welfare Society of Philadelphia and an associate editor of the Jewish Social Service Quarterly. In 1930, he began work for the United Jewish Society Agencies in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After earning his masters in 1934, Silver became executive director of the Jewish Society Service Bureau (JSSB), of which he remained director until making aliyah in 1963. Over those 30 years of service work in the Detroit area, Silver transformed the JSSB into Jewish Family & Children Services (JFCS), was chairman of the American Association of Social Worker's Detroit chapter (1934-1935), taught at Wayne University in Detroit, helped found the National Association of Social Workers in 1955, and gained an amiable reputation of being the "dean of social work." Beginning his work at a time when there was no social security for the elderly or welfare for the poor, he was a pioneer in developing services for children, the aged, and newcomers to the United States.

In 1963, when most people his age were retiring, Silver resigned from the JFCS, settled in Jerusalem, and took up a two-year position as consultant for the Israeli Ministry of Social Welfare, touring the country, advising how the newly founded state could cope with the great influx of Jewish refugees. In 1966, Silver became a faculty member of Hebrew University in Israel.

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Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Harold Silver reflect the various organizational and institutional activities in which Harold Silver participated in and managed over through his over 30 years of social work. Though the collection does not preserve the total record of Silver's work, it does bring to light the welfare and community actions taken under Silver's supervision in the United States and in Israel.

The collection is valuable to researchers studying the activities of Jewish social service in the United States between 1940s to the 1960s as well as social welfare in Israel after Silver's immigration there in 1963. The collection includes speeches and articles by Silver, reports of social conditions in Israel, and newspaper clippings of his achievements during his tenure as executive director of the Jewish Family & Children Services in Detroit.

The collection contains correspondence, letters, community service publications, newspaper clippings, awards given to Silver, and photographs. The documents are primarily in English with some letters typed and written 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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Harold Silver donated his papers to the American Jewish Historical Society in 1974.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Harold Silver papers; P-149; 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 Harold Silver, undated, 1922-1927, 1929-1933, 1935, 1946-1977

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.

11Correspondence: A-Zundated, 1927, 1929-1932, 1963request_box
12Correspondence and Printed Materials re: Training School for Jewish Social Work1925-1927, 1933, 1935request_box
13Letters on occasion of resignation from JFCS1962-1963request_box
14Correspondence re: Work for Israel Ministry of Social Welfare1961-1966request_box
15The Jewish Social Service Quarterly1947, 1949, 1954request_box
16Writings and Speeches1946-1959request_box
17Writings and Speeches1960-1977request_box
18Newspaper Clippings1950-1965request_box
19Miscellaneous Awards and Honors1954, 1959, 1962, 1963request_box
110Photographsundated, 1922-1964request_box
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