Guide to the Records of the Noah Benevolent Society (1849-1980)
undated, 1852-1979
*I-186

Processed by AJHS Staff

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

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Original inventory created by members of the AJHS staff. Finding aid formally created as an MS-Word document by Adina Anflick. September 5, 2001. Machine-readable finding aid coverted to a PDF file by Adina Anflick. December 18, 2001. Electronic finding aid converted to EAD 2002 by Tanya Elder. September 2003. Description is in English.
May 2005. Finding aid was updated and reconverted in order to match other online finding aids by Dianne Ritchey Oummia.January 2006. Entities removed from EAD finding aid.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Noah Benevolent Society (1849-1980)
Title: Noah Benevolent Society Records
Dates:undated, 1852-1979
Abstract: The Noah Benevolent Society (1849-1980), named after Judge Mordechai M. Noah, provided mutual relief for members, their wives and orphans, and helped with internment costs and burial plots at Cypress Hills and other New York cemeteries. The Society also provided relief for Jews in Morocco and Jerusalem and donated funds to several Jewish charitable institutions as well as the Association for the Advancement of Blind Children. The Society disbanded in 1980 due to dwindling membership. The records of the Noah Benevolent Society contain membership minutes and books, donation and financial records, constitutions and by-laws, newsletters, memorabilia, and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in German and English.
Quantity: 17.35 linear feet. (25 manuscript boxes, 3 20" x 17" x 3" boxes)
Accession number: I-186
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location:
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Historical Note

Noah Benevolent Society (1849-1980)

Seven German Jewish immigrants who wished to provide a forum for mutual assistance and social support founded the Noah Benevolent Society in New York on January 7, 1849. Electing to name the lodge after a representative of American Judaism, they chose Judge Mordecai M. Noah for his "fervent patriotism" and "deep religious feeling," and elected Judge Noah as an honorary member. The lodge sought to provide "mutual relief of its members in sickness, destitution or distress, their interment in a suitable burying ground, the relief of their widows and orphans, and other like benevolent purposes." It quickly grew in membership, and joined the Independent Order Free Sons of Israel that organized in March 1849. In December of that year, Noah Lodge purchased a large plot (Section 1) in Cypress Hills cemetery. Additional grave plots were later purchased in Mt. Hope Cemetery (1883), Cypress cemetery, Section 14 (1912), Mount Pleasant Cemetery (1927), and Beth Israel Cemetery in New Jersey (1947). Noah Lodge No. 1 broke away from Free Sons of Israel over a disagreement over insurance plans in 1870, and chartered its own organization titled the Noah Benevolent Widows' and Orphans' Association. The name of the Association changed to the Noah Benevolent Society in 1916, and also in 1916, the official language for Noah switched from German to English. Please note that the Membership minutes are written in German until 1907, and the Trustee minutes are written in German until 1912.

Noah Benevolent Society stayed true to its mission to help its members and other Jews in need. In 1916, the Herman Brand (a popular Noah President) Welfare Fund Committee was formed to assist impoverished members. In the 1930s, Noah was involved in educating refugees. Through its Committee for Refugees (1939-1941) it created a refugee school and offered special social events. Among the charitable funds Noah contributed include helping Jews in Morocco (1860), Jerusalem (1863), Jewish Federation of Charities (beginning in 1937) and the United Jewish Appeal (beginning in 1939). Noah also annually disbursed small donations to various Jewish charities. In 1963, Noah elected a sponsor charity, and chose the Association for the Advancement of Blind Children.

Having served as a security and close community for its members for 131 years, Noah disbanded in 1980. Unable to financially stay afloat due to a lack of new membership, deaths of its elderly members, and increasing Life Members (members who had been in the Society over 50 years and were not required to pay dues) it was forced to liquidate its assets.

References

Compiled from the records of the Noah Benevolent Society, Ref. #I-186.

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Scope and Content Note

The Records of the Noah Benevolent Society consist of constitutions and by-laws, trustee and membership minutes, anniversary journals, membership books, accountant's reports, financial and statistical reports of the Mordechai Federal Credit Union, newsletters, and photographs that document the Society's activities.

The collection is valuable to researchers studying American German Jewry, benevolent societies, refugee relief, Jewish World War I soldiers, and Jewish philanthropy.

Of special interest in the membership minutes is information on an attempt to form a Noah Legion Post as part of the American Legion, a November 1932 report of the Welfare Fund Committee, a Barter Committee established during the Depression, an unsuccessful attempt in 1944 to have an ambulance plane named "The Spirit of Noah" by selling war bonds, and the Society's efforts in 1963 to aid the Association for the Advancement of Blind Children. Of interest in the newsletters is information on efforts to find jobs for members during the Depression, correspondence from members in the Armed Forces, and the 1939 Noah Summer School for Refugees.

The collection consists of constitution and by-laws, minutes, memorabilia, newsletters, anniversary journals, financial records, a scrapbook, and photographs.

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Arrangement

Informally arranged into one series including minutes, journals, membership books, financial records, directories, newsletters, cemetery listings, memorabilia, and Constitutions and By-Laws; documents appear in chronological order.

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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
email: reference@ajhs.org

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Related Material

Mordecai Manuel Noah (1785-1851) Collection, undated, 1816-1851. Ref. # P-75.

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Provenance

The Noah Benevolent Society donated its records to the American Jewish Historical Society in 1981.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Noah Benevolent Society Records; I-186; 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.

 

Collection Box List, undated, 1852-1979

Languages include German and English.
17.35 linear feet
Arrangement:

Informally arranged into one series by minutes, journals, membership books, financial records, directories, newsletters, cemetery listings, memorabilia, and Constitutions and By-Laws; documents appear in chronological order.

Box 1 was originally named 1B.

Box 28 was originally named 1A

Scope and Content:

The collection represents the entirety of the records of the Noah Benevolent Society including Membership and Trustee Minutes, Membership Books and Directories, Financial Records (including Trial Balances and Mordechai Federal Credit Union records), Newsletters, and Constitutions and By-Laws. Also included are memorabilia items such as Anniversary Journals (50th-125th), an entertainment scrapbook, photographs, and a "Book of Gold" (record of donations). Of interest also is a listings ledger from the Cypress Hill Cemetery, documenting internments from 1850-1956. See the collection Scope and Content Note for more information concerning the collection.

The Membership minutes are written in German until 1907, and the Trustee minutes are written in German until 1912

Membership Minutes, 1852-1971

Box TitleDate
1 Membership Minutes1852-1856
1 Membership Minutes1868-1875
Box TitleDate
2 Membership Minutes1875-1889
Box TitleDate
3 (OS 1) Membership Minutes
[See Oversized Materials]
Aug. 1889-Jan. 1899
Box TitleDate
4 Membership Minutes1899-1907
4 Membership Minutes1914-1923
Box TitleDate
5 Membership Minutes1923-1930
Box TitleDate
6 Membership Minutes1930-1936
Box TitleDate
7 Membership Minutes1936-1942
Box TitleDate
8 Membership Minutes1942-1962
Box TitleDate
9 Membership Minutes1963-1971

Trustees Minutes, 1852-1974

Box TitleDate
9 Trustees Minutes1852-1958
9 Trustees Minutes1876-1905
Box TitleDate
10 Trustees Minutes1905-1938
Box TitleDate
11 Trustees Minutes1938-1945
Box TitleDate
12 Trustees Minutes1945-1948
Box TitleDate
13 Trustees Minutes1949-1954
Box TitleDate
14 Trustees Minutes1954-1961
Box TitleDate
15 Trustees Minutes1962-1967
Box TitleDate
16 Trustees Minutes1967-1974
16 Trustees Minutes Index1927-1944

Anniversary Journals, ca. 1902-1977

Box TitleDate
17 Anniversary Journals, 50th-125thca. 1902-1977

Membership Books, ca. 1961-1965

Box TitleDate
17 Membership Book1861-1873
Box TitleDate
18 Membership Book1873-1892
18 Membership Book1930-1934
Box TitleDate
19 Membership Book1934-1941
Box TitleDate
20 Membership Book1941-1948
Box TitleDate
21 Membership Book1948-1965

Financial Records, 1862-1870,, 1964-1973

Box TitleDate
21 Financial Records1862-1870
Box TitleDate
22 (OS 1) "Trial Balance" Ledgers
[See Oversized Materials]
1964-1967
22 (OS 1) "Trial Balance" Ledgers
[See Oversized Materials]
1964-1971
22 (OS 1) "Trial Balance" Ledgers
[See Oversized Materials]
1970-1973
Box TitleDate
23 Mordecai Federal Credit Union1959-1960

Membership Directory, 1960

Box TitleDate
23 Membership Directory1960

Newsletters, 1927-1979

Box TitleDate
23 Newsletters1927-1943
Box TitleDate
24 Newsletters1944-1960
Box TitleDate
25 Newsletters1961-1979

Cemetery Listings, 1950-1956

Box TitleDate
26 (OS 1) Cypress Hill Cemetery Listings Ledger
[See Oversized Materials]
1850-1956

Other materials, 

Box TitleDate
27 Entertainment Scrapbook1935-1939
27 "Book of Gold"1926-1967
27 Memorabiliaundated
27 Photographsundated

Constitutions and By-Laws, 1906-1968

Box TitleDate
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1906
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1917
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1922
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1930
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1936
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1950
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1960
28 Constitutions and By-Laws1968
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Oversized Materials, 1850-1956, 1964-1971

3 oversized boxes (20" x 17" x 3").
Arrangement:

The materials reflect items from the collection that are housed separately from the main collection due to their size.

Scope and Content:

The following materials are located in Oversized 1 (OS1).

Box TitleDate
3 (OS 1) Membership MinutesAug. 1889-Jan. 1899
Box TitleDate
22 (OS 1) "Trial Balance" Ledgers1964-1967
22 (OS 1) "Trial Balance" Ledgers1964-1971
Box TitleDate
22 (OS1 ) "Trial Balance" Ledgers1970-1973
Box TitleDate
26 (OS 1) Cypress Hill Cemetery Listings Ledger1850-1956
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