Guide to the Records of the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (Galveston, Tex.). Galveston immigration plan records, undated, 1901-1920


Processed by Rachel A. Wise

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



© 2016, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Rachel A. Wise as MS Word document, July 1999. Electronic finding aid converted to EAD 1.0 by Dianne Ritchey Oummia, November 2001. Description is in English.
April 2005. Finding aid updated to EAD 2002 by Tanya Elder; removed boilerplate entities, removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc. January 2006. Entities removed from EAD finding aid. 20130809 Added link to database. May 2016 Added dao links by Eric Fritzler.

Descriptive summary

Creator: Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (Galveston, Tex.)
Title: Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (Galveston, Tex.). Galveston Immigration Plan Records
Dates:undated, 1901-1920
Abstract: The Galveston immigration records document the attempt of the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau, working in cooperation with several other Jewish organizations, to receive Jewish immgrants through the port of Galveston, Texas rather than New York City. The papers further describe the JIIB's efforts to resettle the immigrants in communities throughout the United States. Papers include ship passenger lists, correspondence, and statistical reports, as well as papers dealing with individual immigration cases.
Languages: The collection is in English, German, Russian, and Yiddish.
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet and 2 oversized folders
Identification: I-90
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Historical Note

In 1907, Jacob H. Schiff established the Galveston Immigration Plan. Schiff coordinated the Industrial Removal Office (IRO) in New York City, and the Jewish Territorial Organization (ITO) in Great Britain, to send Jewish immigrants to the port of Galveston, Texas. The Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (JIIB) was formed in 1907 as the branch of the IRO to receive these immigrants in Galveston and send them to communities throughout the United States.

The IRO was established in 1901 by the United Hebrew Charities of New York, the B'nai B'rith, the Baron de Hirsch Fund, and other Jewish immigrant aid agencies. "Its central purpose was the systematic diversion of Jewish immigrants, on an individual basis, to smaller Jewish communities throughout the United States."1 The IRO aimed to unburden the charity organizations in New York City by sending Jewish immigrants to other communities.

The JIIB, ITO, and the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Relief Organization of German Jews) worked together to bring Jews to Galveston. The JIIB advocated the use of the port at Galveston and sent pamphlets to Europe to convince Russian Jews to come to the United States through the port of Galveston instead of New York City. The ITO helped the Jewish emigrants get from Russia to Bremen, Germany, and from there, the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden cared for the Jewish emigrants and put them on ships for Galveston. Once the Jews got to Texas, the JIIB cared for them, gave them money, and dispersed them throughout communities in the United States.2

The ITO was established in 1905 and was headed by Israel Zangwill. At first Zangwill resisted working with Schiff because he did not want to send Jews to countries in which they would be assimilated.3 The Jewish Colonization Society (ICA) was financed by Baron de Hirsch to help Jews emigrate from Europe. Schiff had hoped that the ITO would work in conjunction with the ICA to help brings Jews to Galveston but, "Zangwill was unwilling to cooperate with non-territorialists like the ICA."4

In 1910, United States immigration officials were wary about the work of the JIIB and about the immigrants who were entering through Galveston. On June 23, 1910, thirty immigrants were refused entry on the grounds that they had been, "induced or solicited to migrate to this country by offers of promise of employment."5 Through political and legal pressure the JIIB was able to convince the government officials to allow these immigrants into the country, and for the JIIB to continue its work.

By 1914, the relationship among the different organizations had deteriorated and Jewish immigrants were no longer sent through Galveston. As well, it had been difficult to convince immigrants to come through Texas instead of New York. In the end, over 10,000 Jews came through Galveston and were helped by the JIIB.6 After 1914, the office in Galveston still functioned as a branch of the IRO to help Jewish immigrants who had already been brought over to America through the Galveston Immigration Plan.

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Scope and Content Note

The Galveston Immigration Plan records comprise material from the office of the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (JIIB) in Galveston, Texas. The bulk of the material is correspondence between members of the Bureau, national Jewish organizations, and international Jewish organizations. Correspondents include Jacob H. Schiff, Rabbi Henry Cohen, Morris D. Waldman, David Bressler, L. Greenberg, Max Kohler, Cyrus Sulzberger, William S. Bennett, Oscar S. Strauss, American Jewish Committee, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany), the Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain), and the Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia). The records also consist of ship passenger lists to Galveston from Germany. These lists include a wealth of names of Russian immigrants as well as statistical reports. Additional material includes business cards, newspaper clippings, reports, papers, telegrams and minutes.

The collection was previously processed; original folder titles have been maintained whenever possible.

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Series II, III and Series I, Subseries A are arranged alphabetically. Subseries B and C of Series I are arranged chronologically.

The records are organized into the following series:

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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.
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011.

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Related Material

For further information on the Industrial Removal Office, the Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau, and the Galveston Immigration Plan, see:

Best, Gary Dean. "Jacob H. Schiff's Galveston Movement: An Experiment in Immigration Deflection, 1907-1914."American Jewish Archives (April 1978): 79

Rockaway, Robert A. Words of the Uprooted Jewish Immigrants in Early Twentieth-Century America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998.

For other archival records related to the Industrial Removal Office and the Galveston Immigration Plan, see:

Max J. Kohler Papers, P-7
Industrial Removal Office, I-91

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For information consult the Archivist.

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In 2000, a database was created from the JIIB records in Microsoft Access 2000, version 9.0. The database can be searched here.

What is included in the database:

The index includes names on the passenger lists filed in the JIIB office correspondence and citations to the source documents. Also included are citations to JIIB correspondence in which individual immigrants are discussed.

What the fields mean:

Name: The immigrant's name as it appears on the source document. When there are variant spellings of a surname, a "see also" reference points to the alternative spelling. If there are variant spellings of a first name, the variant spelling appears in parentheses.

Source: The type of document in which the name is found. The term "Group list" refers to a numbering system used by JIIB to identify each shipload of immigrants. The term "Passenger list" refers to lists found within the JIIB correspondence. The term "Letter(s)" refers to correspondence that mentions individual immigrants.

Location: Where the source document is located in the collection. When requesting information on a particular name, please be sure to include both the Box and Folder numbers.

*The creation of the databases was generously funded through a grant from The Jewish Genealogical Society of New York.

Digitization Note

Collection was digitized in its entirety by Adam Matthew Digital in 2010. The digitized material has been made available for research by the American Jewish Historical Society, on the folder level, in 2016.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Jewish Immigrant Information Bureau (Galveston, Tex.). Galveston Immigration Plan Records; I-90; 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.


Series I: Internal Correspondence, 1906-1920

Languages in the series include English, German, Russian and Yiddish.
1 linear ft.
Scope and Content:

This series comprises correspondence that was written among members of the JIIB describing JIIB work and discussing individual immigrant cases.

Subseries A: Executive Committee, 1910-1913

Subseries languages include English and Russian.

Arranged alphabetically by correspondence and chronologically within folders.

Scope and Content:

The bulk of these letters were written to and from Jacob H. Schiff (Schiff, Jacob H., 1914-1918; Box 1, Folders 7-10). Additional correspondence from the members of the Executive Committee can also be found in Subseries B: General Correspondence.

11Bijur, Nathan1910-1913
  View the folder 
12Cohen, Henry1908-1916
  View the folder 
13Cohen, Henry1917-1920
  View the folder 
14Elkus, Abram1911-1913
  View the folder 
15Kohler, Max J.1910-1911
  View the folder 
16Kohler, Max J.1912-1914
  View the folder 
17Schiff, Jacob H.March-June 1914
  View the folder 
18Schiff, Jacob H.July-November 1914
  View the folder 
19Schiff, Jacob H.1915-1916
  View the folder 
110Schiff, Jacob H.1917-1918
  View the folder 
111Sulzberger, Cyrus L.1907-1915
  View the folder 
112Warburg, Felix M.1913
  View the folder 

Subseries B: General Correspondence, 1906-1917

Subseries languages include English, German and Yiddish.

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains monthly immigration statistics that were sent between the office of the IRO in New York City and the JIIB. Included with these statistics are copies of ship passenger lists of immigrants who came through Galveston from Germany. The bulk of the ship passenger lists in this collection, however, are found in Series II: External Correspondence Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden, Germany (Boxes 3-4, Folders 67-76, and OSF2). The term "Group Number" used in Subseries B: General Correspondence represents numbers given to different ships that brought Jewish immigrants to Galveston.

113CorrespondenceDecember 1906-March 1907
  View the folder 
114CorrespondenceApril-June 1907
  View the folder 
115CorrespondenceJuly-December 1907
  View the folder 
116CorrespondenceJune-July 1908
  View the folder 
117CorrespondenceAugust-September 1908
  View the folder 
118CorrespondenceOctober 1908
  View the folder 
119CorrespondenceNovember-December 1908
  View the folder 
120CorrespondenceJanuary-February 1909
  View the folder 
121CorrespondenceMarch-April 1909
  View the folder 
122CorrespondenceMay 1909
  View the folder 
123CorrespondenceJune 1909
  View the folder 
224CorrespondenceJuly 1909
  View the folder 
225CorrespondenceAugust 1909
  View the folder 
226CorrespondenceSeptember 1909
  View the folder 
227CorrespondenceOctober 1909
  View the folder 
228CorrespondenceNovember-December 1909
  View the folder 
  View the folder 
  View the folder 

Subseries C: Waldman - Bressler Correspondence, 1906-1914

Subseries languages include English, German and Yiddish.

Arranged chronologically and consists of correspondence between the two men.

Scope and Content:

Among the issues discussed are engaging more territory, situations in communities currently employing immigrants and problems transporting immigrants by rail. The subseries includes some ship passenger lists, statistics and budgets.

  View the folder 
232CorrespondenceJanuary 1907
  View the folder 
233CorrespondenceFebruary 1907
  View the folder 
234CorrespondenceMarch 1907
  View the folder 
235CorrespondenceApril 1907
  View the folder 
236CorrespondenceMay 1907
  View the folder 
237CorrespondenceJune 1907
  View the folder 
238CorrespondenceJuly 1907
  View the folder 
239CorrespondenceJuly 1907
  View the folder 
240CorrespondenceJuly 1907
  View the folder 
241CorrespondenceAugust 1907
  View the folder 
242CorrespondenceSeptember 1907
  View the folder 
243CorrespondenceOctober 1907
  View the folder 
244CorrespondenceOctober 1907
  View the folder 
345-47CorrespondenceNovember 1907request_box
348-51CorrespondenceDecember 1907request_box
352-54CorrespondenceJanuary 1908request_box
355CorrespondenceFebruary 1908request_box
356CorrespondenceMarch 1908request_box
357CorrespondenceApril-December 1908request_box
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Series II: External Correspondence, undated, 1905-1917

Languages included in the series are: English, Russian, German and Yiddish.
1.25 linear ft. and 2 oversized folders

The series is arranged alphabetically by folder and chronologically within folders.

Scope and Content:

This series comprises correspondence between the JIIB and national and international organizations and individuals who did not work directly for the JIIB and reflects work on behalf of the JIIB to bring Jewish immigrants from Russia, through Germany, to the United States. The ship passenger lists in Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden, Germany (Box 3, Folder 67; Box 4, Folders 68-76, OSF2) provide a wealth of names of immigrants who came to America through the port of Galveston. Discussion of the fate of specific individuals can be found in General Correspondence (Box 3, Folders 62-66) and in Jewish Charity Organizations (Box 4, Folders 77-83). State Mental Hospitals (Box 5, Folder 108-109) contains information on two Jewish immigrants who became wards of the state in mental hospitals.

Series II: External Correspondence also contains correspondence between the JIIB and the ITO in Great Britain. (See Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain), Box 4, Folders 84-95). The ITO correspondence includes letters from Israel Zangwill regarding work with the IRO the JIIB, and the ITO.

359Bennett, William S.1908-1911request_box
360Department of Commerce and Labor1910-1916request_box
361Department of Commerce and Labor, Oscar S. Strauss1907-1908request_box
362Generalundated, 1907request_box
363Generalundated, 1908request_box
364Generalundated, 1909request_box
365Generalundated, 1910request_box
366Generalundated, 1911-1917request_box
367Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)December 1906-April 1907request_box
468Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)May-June 1907request_box
469Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)July 1907request_box
470Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)August-December 1907request_box
471Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)1908request_box
OSF2124Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)1908request_box
472Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)January-June 1909request_box
473Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)July-December 1909request_box
474Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)1910request_box
475Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)January-June 1911request_box
476Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)July 1911-September 1914request_box
477Jewish Charity Organizations: A-Z1907-1914request_box
478Jewish Charity Organizations: American Jewish Committee1910-1914request_box
479Jewish Charity Organizations: Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants1911-1914request_box
480Jewish Charity Organizations: Federation of Jewish Charities of Kansas City, MO1914request_box
481Jewish Charity Organizations: Hebrew Benevolent Society of Baltimore1909-1910request_box
482Jewish Charity Organizations: Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society1909-1916request_box
483Jewish Charity Organizations: Rock Island County Humane Society1911request_box
484Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)December 1907request_box
485Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)January-April 1908request_box
486Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)May-October 1908request_box
487Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)November-December 1908request_box
488Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)January-June 1909request_box
489Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)July-December 1909request_box
490Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)January-May 1910request_box
491Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)June-August 1910request_box
492Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)September-December 1910request_box
493Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)January-March 1911request_box
494Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)April-June 1911request_box
495Jewish Territorial Organization (Great Britain)July-October 1911request_box
496Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1907-1908request_box
497Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)January-April 1909request_box
598Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)May-August 1909request_box
599Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)September-December 1909request_box
OSF1123Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1909request_box
5100Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1910request_box
OSF1123Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1910request_box
5101Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)January-April 1911request_box
5102Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)May-August 1911request_box
5103Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)September-December 1911request_box
5104Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1913-1915request_box
OSF1123Juedische Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1913-1915request_box
5105Newspapers: A-Z1907-1910request_box
5107Railroads, "Immigrant Fares"1905request_box
5108State Mental Hospitals, Iowa1915-1917request_box
5109State Mental Hospitals, New York1916request_box
5110Wolf, Simon1910-1914request_box
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Series III: Subject Files, undated, 1901-1912

The language of the series is English.
.25 linear ft.

It is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

This series includes minutes, newspaper clippings, business cards, papers, reports and statistics. Within this series are minutes and reports of organizations that members of the JIIB were involved with such as the Ellis Island Committee (Box 5, Folders 114-115), the Galveston Committee (Box 5, Folders 116-117), and the National Jewish Immigration Council (Box 5, Folder 119). Also included in this series are papers written in response to the deportation of Jews from the port of Galveston, Texas in 1910 (Deportation Appeal, Box 5, Folder 113). This series also contains important statistics, compiled by the JIIB, of the number of Jews that came through Galveston during the first year of the Galveston Plan (Removal Statistics, Box 5, Folders 121-122). There are no names associated with these statistics, and no names of Jewish immigrants in this series.

5111Business Cardsundatedrequest_box
5112City Analysisundated, 1901request_box
5113Deportation Appeal1910request_box
5114-115Ellis Island Committee: Reports and Minutesundated, 1909request_box
5116Galveston Committee: Minutes1907-1910request_box
5117Galveston Committee: Minutes1911-1914request_box
5118Galveston Immigration Movement: Papersundated, 1908request_box
5119National Jewish Immigration Council: Minutes1912request_box
5120Newspaper Clippingsundated, 1910request_box
5121-122Removal Statisticsundated, 1907-1908request_box
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Separated Oversized Materials, 1908-1915


Arranged by size of material.

Scope and Content:

The materials here represent large items removed from the collection and placed in large-materials storage.

OSF1123Judisch Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1909request_box
OSF1123Judisch Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1910request_box
OSF1123Judisch Emigrations-Gesellschaft (Russia)1913-1915request_box
OSF2124Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)1908request_box
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