Guide to the Collection of the American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration,
undated, 1949-1956

Processed by Lyn Slome and Adina Anflick

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.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Adina Anflick as MS Word. April 2002. Electronic finding aid converted to EAD 2.0 by Tanya Elder. May 2003. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration
Title: American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection
Dates:undated, 1949-1956
Abstract: This collection documents the administrative planning, research, publicity, and activities surrounding the American Jewish Tercentenary celebration from its inception in 1948 to its closing in 1955. The collection includes a representation of materials used in planning and presenting the event including correspondence, programs, minutes, proposals, reports, clippings, press releases, filmstrips, photo reproductions of illustrations and a photograph.
Languages: The collection is in English, with a small amount of materials in Yiddish and Hebrew.
Quantity: 4 linear ft., 8 manuscript boxes and 2 oversized folders.
Accession number: I-11
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration (AJTC) (September 12, 1954-June 1, 1955)

On September 12, 1954, the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Jews settling in America was officially launched. The oldest existing congregation in the United States, Shearith Israel in New York City, also known as the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue, conducted a reconsecration service that was attended by over 800 people. The service included a promenade of Rabbis from various part of the US, Europe, and Latin America, a sermon by Rev. Dr. David Sola de Pool, and a procession of 14 Torah scrolls. The ceremony was broadcast over ABC television, and the first in a tercentenary series by the Jewish Theological Seminary began on NBC radio.1 For the next 8½ months, a plethora of programs, radio and television broadcasts, exhibits, and publications was made available on local and national levels, the climax of which was a dinner addressed by President Dwight Eisenhower. The following is an illustration of the range and size of this project:2

The massive three-year undertaking focused on American democratic ideals and Jews' achievements in such opportunities. Although observed in Jewish institutions and conducted by Rabbis and other Jewish leaders, the emphasis was not on Jews' achievements in a Jewish context, but Jews' contributions to American culture, politics, science, etc. The American Tercentenary Committee's emblem, a menorah, had no accompanying Hebrew and used five pointed stars rather than six.3 A brochure outlining the tercentenary events states;

We do not believe that the Tercentenary should be made a vehicle for propagation of any particular ideology in American Jewish life. Some among us may feel strongly that the identification of a Jew is solely in terms of his religion; others may lean toward a different interpretation. The celebration should not be committed to either philosophy. It should be neither Zionist, non-Zionist, nor anti-Zionist. It should not try to formulate or advance any particular definition of Jewishness. The Tercentenary belongs primarily to five million people who regard themselves as patriotic, loyal American Jews, whatever their definition or their philosophy; it should be broad enough to appeal to 158 million Americansג€¦4
Scope and Theme, American Jewish Tercentenary Committee

The image American Jews projected of themselves was both an indication of the world's feeling toward Jews and other minorities, and of future questions American Jewry would address. The threat of communism in the 1950s and the emergence of the United States as a world power developed a need to subdue radicalism and conform to democratic ideals; ideals that stressed civil rights, tolerance, and religious liberty. "Man's Opportunities and Responsibilities Under Freedom" was chosen as the theme for the tercentenary. A criticism could be made of the celebration's timing, a mere ten years after the Holocaust. Small mention is made of the Holocaust in Tercentenary literature. The postwar prosperity gave a boost to American Jews whose fathers suffered from social and employment obstacles. Longheld differences in the Jewish community were fading; class and immigrant/native born distinctions, Zionist and Socialist opinions were being replaced by a shared commitment to the new State of Israel, and a new obstacle: defining one's Jewishness. Did Jews need to downplay Jewish life and culture in order to be accepted as Americans? How could one then connect to the Holocaust as an American Jew? What was American Jews' primary loyalty, United States or Israel? The emission of Zionism, Israel, or Jewish traditions in tercentenary literature prudently leaves these issues unresolved and undefined. 5

Despite the insecurities and open questions the tercentenary suggests, the celebration deeply expressed American Jews' desire to learn more about their history in this country. Although there existed few academic positions for American Jewish Historians in the 1950s, one could say that the same feeling that led to the celebration of the tercentenary came to even greater fruition and expression in the 1960s, with the rise of ethnic studies in universities. 6 Furthermore, the fact Jews could publicly celebrate their anniversary in a country remarkably and unequivocally confirms their place in Society.


December 1948Rev. Dr. David de Sola Pool, leader of Congregation Shearith Israel and officer of the American Jewish Historical Society, proposes the idea of a celebration to the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS)
May 1949AJHS 300th Anniversary Committee meets to discuss provisional plans and time schedules.
April 18, 1950AJHS calls a meeting of representatives of twenty-eight national Jewish organizations to present the plan.
May 1951AJHS approaches the American Jewish Committee regarding funding for a Tercentenary organization to be under the Historical Society's auspices. The Committee on Organization Tercentenary Celebration of Jewish Settlement in the United States, provisional committee, is formed in December.
October 1951Rev. Dr. de Sola Pool, Chairman of the AJHS 300th Anniversary Committee, addresses all national Jewish organizations to begin planning their participation in the Tercentenary. A pamphlet suggesting plans is enclosed.
April 1952Despite degrees of tensions between AJHS and the American Jewish Committee regarding control over the Tercentenary celebration, the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, an independent organization, is incorporated and professional staff begins work.
June 1952The American Jewish Tercentenary Steering Committee begins formulating policy and financial plans. A finance committee strategizes funding opportunities (funding was provided primarily from Jewish Welfare and Federation Funds, individuals, and foundations).
November 1952A membership committee finalizes a National Committee of 300 to represent American Jewry. The steering committee adopts the celebration's scope and theme formulated by the program policy committee.
April 11-12, 1953The National Committee of 300 is invited to attend a National Planning Conference, which discusses plans, finances, and levels of community participation.
July 1953The Office of Historical Information, a joint enterprise of the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee and the American Jewish Historical Society, begins operations.
September 12, 1954The observance is officially launched with a reconsecration service at Congregation Shearith Israel.
June 1, 1955The celebration concludes with a Public Assembly at Carnegie Hall. 7
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Scope and Content Note

This collection faithfully documents the administrative planning, research, publicity, and activities surrounding the American Jewish Tercentenary celebration from its inception in 1948 to its closing in 1955. Although not all the series provide complete records, a good representation of materials is available. A wide variety of research subject may be explored within this collection and may encompass public observance of anniversaries, sources for American Jewish history, Jewish self identity and public opinion of American Jews during the 1950s and post World War II, American press coverage of Jewish events, education available in the 1950s for American Jewish history, Jewish military chaplaincy, Congregation Shearith Israel, the Conference of Historians, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the Committee for the 300th Anniversary of Jewish Settlement in the USA. Individuals represented in this collection include President Dwight Eisenhower, Rev. Dr. David Sola de Pool, Ralph E. Samuel, Morris U. Schappes, David Bernstein, and Hans Lamm.

The collection consists primarily of correspondence, publications, programs, minutes, proposals, reports, and newspaper clippings. Other types of material include speech transcripts, plays, press releases, handwritten notes, filmstrips, photo reproductions of illustrations, and a photograph. There is a small amount of correspondence and newsclippings written in Yiddish or Hebrew.

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The collection is arranged into six 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

There may be some restrictions on the use of the 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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Related Material

Records of the American Jewish Press Association, Records of the Boston Tercentenary Committee (located in Newton Centre, MA), and the Records of the Executive Committee on the Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of the Jews in the United States.

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Appendix: Index to Correspondence, Series III, Office of Historical Information

Subjects and dates refer to materials located in Series III: Office of Historical Information, Box 4 Folder 3 to Box 5 Folder 7.

Aboab, Isaac (Rabbi): 8/27/54
African-American Jews: 5/10/54, 5/18/54, 5/20/54, 5/21/54, 5/24/54, 6/3/54, 6/9/54, 6/21/54
Claibourne, 7/15/54
Alexander, Moses (Gov. of Idaho): 5/13/54
American Hebrew: 5/18/54
American Heritage: 4/2/54
American Israelite: 5/18/54
American Jewish Archives:
Publications, 9/1/54
American Jewish Artists: 7/20/53, 4/5/54, 4/16/54, 4/27/54, 4/29/54, 5/5/54, 5/19/54, 6/21/54, 8/12/54
Graphic Artists, 4/6/54, 4/7/54, 4/8/54, 4/15/54
American Jewish Historical Society:
Executive Council minutes, 5/24/54
Membership solicitations, 5/3/54, 5/14/54, 5/17/54, 5/20/54, 5/28/54, 6/1/54, 8/2/54, 8/11/54, 8/12/54, 9/8/54, 9/20/54, 9/21/54, 9/22/54, 9/25/54, 9/27/54, 10/15/54, 10/21/54, 10/22/54, 10/26/54, 11/4/54, 11/10/54, 11?/22/54, 12/2/54, 12/3/54, 12/9/54, 12/29/54
Philosophy of Tercentenary, 7/9/54
Research projects at AJHS (general information), (folder 3)
Tercentenary advertisement, 7/10/54, 8/24/54, 9/7/54, 9/9/54
American Jewish History:
"Brief Review of American Jewish History" (article, folder 4)
"Picture of American Jewish Life 100 Years Ago" (article, folder 4)
"Jewish Oddities in America" (article, folder 4)
Jews in American, Pre-revolutionary period, 11/2/54
"Reading List on American Jewish History" (article, folder 4)
"Three Hundred Years of American Jewish History," 12/53
American Jewish Tercentenary Pamphlets/publications:
On Local Exhibits, 7/9/54, 7/26/54, 8/1/54
Program Materials Catalogue, 8/26/54
American Zionist Council: 6/21/54, 6/30/54, 7/1/54
Anti-Semitism: 5/18/54, 12/2/54
Arkansas: 10/20/53
Ben Israel, Menasseh: 8/27/54
Bettmann Archive:
Exhibit material, 6/10/54
Blaustein, Jacob: 8/4/54, 8/10/54, 8/12/54, 8/13/54
Board of Delegates of American Israelites: 8/18/54
Carigal, Haim Isaac (Rabbi): 3/24/54, 3/26/54, 4/1/54, 4/2/54, 4/7/54, 3/8/54, 4/12/54, 8/6/54, 8/17/54
"Rabbi Carigal and President Stiles" (article, folder 4)
Frontier, 10/19/53
Columbus, Christopher: 8/30/54, 9/17/54
"Jews Who Paved the Way for Columbus" (article, folder 4)
Congregation Beth Ahabah (Richmond, VA): 9/13/54, 9/14/54
Congregation Beth Shalom (Richmond, VA): 9/3/54, 9/14/54
Congregation B'nai Israel (Cincinnati, OH): 9/3/54, 9/14/54
Congregation Shaaray Hesed: 9/3/54, 9/14/54
Congregation Shearith Israel (New York, NY): 10/5/54
Stratford, 4/9/54
Contribution of American Jews to Civilization: 12/7/54
De Lucena, Abraham (Rabbi, NY):
Family tree, 4/26/54
De Sola, Abraham: 3/17/54, 3/23/54, 3/24/54, 3/26/54, 3/31/54
De Torres, Luis: 9/18/53, 9/23/53
Dentistry: 9/15/54
Dictionary of American Jewish Biography: 8/14/53, 10/8/54,10/21/54
Einhorn, David (Rabbi): 11/16/54, 11/18/54, 12/29/54
Einstein, Albert:
Exhibit material, 6/3/54, 6/16/54, 6/17/54, 6/18/54, 6/22/54, 7/30/54, 8/4/54, 8/9/54, 8/12/54, 8/20/54
Emanuel, David: 7/12/54, 8/2/54
"Jewish Contributions to Engineering" by Jacob Feld, 8/10/54
Everyman's Guide, by Norton Belth: 6/14/54
American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, 4/7/54, 4/15/54, 4/22/54, 5/5/54, 5/13/54, 5/14/54, 5/17/54, 5/18/54, 5/21/54, 5/23/54, 5/24/54, 5/25/54, 5/27/54, 5/28/54, 6/1/54, 6/4/54, 6/7/54, 6/9/54, 6/10/54, 6/11/54, 6/14/54, 6/15/54, 6/21/54, 6/30/54, 7/2/54, 7/7/54, 7/8/54, 7/9/54, 7/12/54, 7/21/54, 8/4/54
AJTC's manual on exhibits, 8/4/54
Exhibits by others, 12/2/54, 12/5/54
Franklin, Benjamin: 3/20/54, 3/26/54 (newsclipping), 3/29/54, 4/6/54, 8/20/54
Atlanta, 8/9/54, 8/11/54
Germany, Jews: 8/25/54
Gershwin, George: 8/17/54
Gottlieb, Richard J.H.: 8/12/54
Gratz family: 8/6/54
Gratz, Rebecca, 8/5/54, 8/10/54
Hahn, Michael: 7/12/54
Hall of Fame: 4/9/54, 4/22/54
Hart, Isaac: 8/10/54
Hays, David: 9/7/54
Hays, John and Jews in Romania: 12/20/54
Heine, Heinrich: 5/20/54
Hertzl, Theodore: 6/18/54, 7/1/54, 10/11/54
Hillel, Abba (Rabbi): 8/17/54
Historical Essay Contest: 4/10/54, 5/20/54
Holocaust Claims Conference: 7/8/54, 7/30/54, 8/2/54, 10/15/54
Terre Haute, 8/21/54
Industrial Removal Office: 8/6/54
Israel Bonds Campaign: 6/21/54, 6/24/54
Jewish American Women: 10/16/53, 10/19/53, 10/20/53, 2/26/54, 4/26/54, 8/21/54, 8/24/54, 8/27/54
Jewish Communities in US: 12/14/54
Jewish Cooking: 12/13/54
Jewish History Week:
Request for dates, 12/21/53, 2/24/54, 2/26/54
Press release, 3/23/54
Literature for, 4/14/54, 4/30/54
Preparation for 1955, 12/1/54, 12/9/54, 12/14/54, 12/16/54
Jewish Labor Movement: 3/10/54, 5/11/54, 6/21/54, 7/8/54
Jewish Peace Fellowship: 6/24/54, 6/29/54
Jewish Welfare Fund: 8/18/54
Jews in the States:
Requests for, 3/1/54, 3/17/54 [TX, KS, LA, NJ, AR, OK, MO see also 3/15/54, MS, FL see 3/24/54]
Responses, AR 3/29/54, NJ 3/31/54; OK 3/4/54, 3/15/54, MO 3/11-3/15/54, TX 3/3/54, 3/15/54, 3/30/54
Jews, Portraits: 8/26/54
Lamm, Hans: 6/21/54
Law and Politics: 12/6/54
Lazarus, Emma: 3/2/54, 3/4/54,3/23/54, 5/4/54, 5/5/54, 5/20/54, 9/16/54
"Emma Lazarus and Her Poem on the Pedestal of the 'Statue of Liberty'" (article, folder 4)
Learsi, Rufus:
Book review of The Jews In America: A History by Dr. Hans Lamm, 6/14/54, 7/28/54, 8/2/54
Levi, Alexander: 10/14/53
Levin, Lewis Charles: 5/19/54, 6/10/54, 6/14/54
Levy, Asser: 9/21/53, 11/17/53, 3/2/54, 3/12/54, 3/17/54, 8/13/54, 8/19/54, 10/24/54, 10/25/54
"References to Asser Levy in 'The Records of New Amsterdam' from 1653-1674," (article, folder 4)
Levy, Simon M.: 12/15/54
Levy, Uriah Phillips: 7/19/54, 7/22/54, 7/26/54, 8/2/54, 8/20/54, 8/24/54, 10/6/54
Library Committee:
Annual Librarian Report, 2/15/54 April 1953
Report, 4/27/53
Lincoln, Abraham (Pres.): 10/5/54
Lopez, Aaron: 8/5/54, 8/10/54
Lyons, Jacques Judah (Rev.): 3/17/54, 3/23/54, 3/24/54, 3/26/54, 3/31/54
Marshall, Louis:
"Louis Marshall," (article, folder 4)
Maryland: 7/21/53
Baltimore, 3/9/54
"The Jews of Baltimore," (article, folder 4)
Boston, 8/20/54, 8/23/54, 8/24/54, 8/25/54
Cape Cod, 11/3/53, 11/12/53
New Bedford, 7/22/54, 7/26/54, 7/29/54, 8/2/54, 11/10/54
Medicine: 4/9/54
Mendes-France family: 11/5/54, 11/11/54, 11/12/54, 11/15/54, 11/17/54, 11/18/54, 12/1/54
Michelson, Albert A.: 10/6/54
Pontiac War, 10/20/53
Military Participation: 5/17/54, 5/20/54, 5/24/54, 5/25/54, 5/26/54, 6/4/54, 6/11/54, 6/16/54, 6/18/54, 8/26/54
Minnesota: 12/3/54, 12/7/54
Mississippi: 10/22/53
Frontier, 10/19/53
Kansas City, 5/11/54
List of Congregations and Rabbis, 7/30/54, 8/12/54, 8/13/54
St. Louis, 6/22/54
Mitchell, Hyman and Levy: 10/20/53
Mordecai, Abram (founder of Montgomery, AL): 10/20/53, 7/12/54, 7/21/54
Morgenthau, Morgan Sr.: 5/11/54, 5/13/54
Morteira (Mortara), Saul Levi (Rabbi): 8/27/54
Naar, David: 9/30/53
National Jewish Monthly:
Space in, 3/12/54
"Nation's 10 Outstanding Young Men": 9/8/54, 9/16/54
New Jersey:
"Early Jewish Pioneers of NJ", 9/28/53
Eastern Union County, 5/10/54, 8/2/54, 8/5/54, 8/12/54, 12/29/54
Elizabeth, 7/29/54, 7/30/54, 12/29/54
"Jewish Life in New Jersey" (article, folder 4)
Newark, 5/13/54, 6/4/54
Sommerset County, 9/21/54, 9/22/54
Verona-Cedar Grove, 7/19/54
New Mexico:
Frontier, 10/19/53
New York:
Bronx 4/22/54, 4/23/54
"Jews in the Bronx" (article, folder 4) Brooklyn, 10/8/53
"The First Jewish Cemetery in New York" (article, folder 4)
"The First Synagogue in New York City" (article, folder 4)
Hudson, 3/25/54, 3/26/54
"Jewish Pioneers in the Construction of New York City" by Helen Hirsch, 8/10/54
Social Welfare Law (New York State), 7/19/54, 7/21/54, 7/23/54, 7/30/54, 8/4/54
Synagogues, 8/11/54, 8/12/54
Noah, Mordecai Manuel: 3/10/54, 5/5/54, 8/5/54
Ararat, 8/5/54, 8/10/54, 8/31/54, 9/8/54, 9/15/54, 9/17/54
"Mordecai Manuel Noah" (article, folder 4)
Nobel Prize: 5/26/54, 6/9/54, 6/10/54, 6/16/54,11/4/54, 12/27/54
Office of Historical Information:
Annual Librarian Report, 2/15/53
Committee of OHI, invitation to attend meeting, 11/23/53, 1/6/54
Announcement of, 10/22/53 Establishing of, 8/23/54
Financial arrangement for, 7/13/53
Lamm's assignments for week, 2/25/54
Press clippings clearinghouse, 11/19/54
Press release, 10/15/54
Reports, 10/5/53, 11/10/53, 5/1/54, 10/15/54, 3/55
Reports by Hans Lamm, 8/6/54, 8/10/54, 8/12/54, 8/14/54
Secretary, 8/2/54
Status, 6/1/54, 6/10/54, 6/29/54, 7/16/54, 7/17/54, 7/22/54, 7/25/54, 10/15/54, 11/4/54, 11/9/54, 11/19/54, 12/2/54, 12/23/54, 12/31/54
Subcommittee, 6/23/54, 6/24/54
YIVO Institute, 6/20/53, 7/1/53
Frontier, 10/19/53
Olympic Games: Torch, 6/29/54
Papeper, Sheftall: 3/16/54, 6/9/54
Lancaster, 8/11/54, 9/19/54, 12/8/54, 12/10/54
Philadelphia, 8/4/54
"The Pittsburgh Jewish Community" (article, folder 4)
Schaefferstown, 3/24/54, 3/25/54, 3/29/54, 3/31/54, 5/25/54, 8/11/54, 9/19/54
Phillips, Jonas: 8/5/54, 8/10/54
Phillips, N. Taylor: 8/30/54
Polhemus, Johamres Theodorus (Rev.): 9/15/53, 4/22/54, 4/23/54
Radio and TV Programming: 3/12/54, 3/26/54, 4/2/54, 4/26/54, 4/28/54, 5/3/54, 5/5/54, 5/7/54, 7/15/54, 8/2/54, 8/4/54, 8/13/54, 9/1/54, 9/2/54, 1019/54, 10/24/54
Reading list:
"Reading List on American Jewish History" (article, folder 4)
Rhode Island: Newport, 8/11/53
Russel, Philip Moses: 7/8/54
Carvalho, S.N. (author of Incidents of Travel and Adventures...): 8/5/54
St. Charles (1654): 3/23/54, 3/24/54, 4/5/54
Salomon, Haym: 10/15/53, 8/11/54, 9/2/54, 9/7/54, 9/9/54, 9/10/54, 9/14/54, 9/20/54, 11/16/54
Scientists: 5/14/54
Seixas, Gershom (Rev.): 8/12/54, 8/17/54
Sholtz, David: 7/12/54
Simpson, Sampson: 8/5/54, 8/10/54
South Dakota:
Frontier, 10/19/53
Speaker's Manual (Anti-Defamation League): 4/29/54, 4/30/54, 5/17/54, 5/24/54, 5/26/54, 7/5/54, 7/6/54, 6/10/54, 6/16/54, 7/19/54, 7/21/54, 7/23/54, 7/28/54, 8/27/54
Statistics: 12/3/54
US and Jewish Population Figures, 5/26/54, 6/4/54, 6/11/54, 6/15/54 7/2/54, 8/13/54, 8/25/54
Stiles, Ezra: 3/24/54, 4/1/54, 4/2/54, 4/7/54, 3/8/54, 4/12/54, 8/6/54, 8/17/54
"Rabbi Carigal and President Stiles," (article, folder 4)
Stuyvesant, Peter (Gov.): 8/3/54
"Governor Peter Stuyvesant on the Jews of New Amsterdam," (article, folder 4)
Sutro, Adolph (Mayor of San Francisco): 9/18/53, 3/3/54, 3/9/54, 3/15/54, 3/18/54, 3/23/54, 3/24/54, 3/25/54
"Sutro, Adolph Heinrich Joseph," (notes, folder 4)
"Adolph Sutro-Pioneer-Planner-Politician-Philanthropist," (article, folder 4)
Twelve oldest in US, 9/17/54, 9/20/54, 9/23/54, 9/17/54, 10/26/54
Theater, US: 11/11/54, 11/15/54
300th Anniversary Dinner: 9/12/54, 9/16/54, 10/21/54, 10/22/54, 11/18/54
Addresses, 12/2/54
Time Line for Sept. 1654 and 1825: 8/25/54
Touro, Judah: 8/5/54, 8/10/54
Touro Synagogue (Longfellow Poem): 8/4/54, 8/5/54, 8/27/54
23 Jews, Names of (Sept. 1654): 7/14/54
Union of American Hebrew Congregations: 8/4/54, 8/6/54, 12/21/54, 12/23/54
Number of members, 6/25/54
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations:
Number of members, 6/25/54
United States Diplomats, District Attorneys, Senators, List of: 5/12/54
United States, leading Jews: 12/9/54, 12/13/54
United States Presidents:
Attending Synagogue services, 10/9/53, 10/22/53
Passage of bibles used in Inaugurations, 4/22/54
Select letters from, 8/4/54, 9/16/54
United States Public Service, Jews in: 7/7/54
United Synagogue of America:
Number of members, 6/28/54
Colonial, 8/14/53
Virgin Islands:
Jewish Governor, 7/12/54, 7/29/54
Waksman, Selman N.: 8/17/54
Washington, George: 8/5/54, 8/17/54
Washington State:
Marcus, 3/24/54, 3/25/54
Welfare Funds and Federations: 1/29/54, 3/19/54, 5/24/54, 6/21, 54, 7/30/54, 12/7/54, 12/29/54
West Point Military Academy: 7/16/54, 7/20/54, 7/21/54, 8/16/54, 8/24/54, 12/15/54
West Virginia: 11/4/54
Racine, 12/2/54, 12/24/54
Wouk, Herman: 5/19/54, 6/10/54
Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein Medical School, Time Capsule for: 3/22/54, 3/24/54
YIVO Institute: 6/18/54
YW & MHAs: 12/29/54
Yulee, David Levy (Senator): 6/17/54, 7/12/54
Zionism: 10/20/53, 6/18/54, 6/21/54, 6/30/54, 7/1/54
American Zionist Council, 6/21/54, 6/30/54, 7/1/54
First Zionist Congress at Basle, 5/20/54

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Compiled by American Jewish History Society Staff during and after the celebration.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection; I-11; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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1. 300, October 1954, no. 20, American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection, I-11, Box 6/Folder 2, Collection of the American Jewish Historical Society, Newton Centre, MA and New York, NY.

2. Final Report of the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, submitted to Tercentenary Committee of 300 on July 14, 1955, American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection, I-11, Box 1/Folder 7.

3. "The Late Tercentenary: A Minority Opinion," by Dr. Morris A. Landes, The Jewish Criterion, December 9, 1955, pg. 53-54, American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection, I-11, Box 8/Folder 5.

4. Scope and Theme, American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection, I-11, Box 6/Folder5.

5. Goren, Arthur A. The Politics and Public Culture of American Jews. Bloomington: Indiana Univerity Press, 1999, pgs. 186-204.

6. Neusner, Jacob. The Academic Study of Judaism: Essays and Reflections. Ktav Publishing, 1975, pgs. 7-8.

7. Compiled from the American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection, I-11.

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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: American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, undated, 1952-1955

The series is in English.
Box 1.

Material is arranged chronologically by type.

Scope and Content:

Composed of correspondence, minutes, reports, and a speech transcript; this series provides a limited view into the workings of the independent committee founded in April 1952. The American Jewish Tercentenary Committee developed many working committees; the following are represented in this series: Committee on Organization, Steering Committee, National Tercentenary Committee of 300, Committee on Research and Publications, and the Committee on Military Participation. Material concerning the National Planning Conference that took place in April 1953 is also located here. Of interest is the evolution of the celebration's scope and theme, greetings from Catholic organizations, a table of contents for the US Information Agency Tercentenary packet, and a request (not to be fulfilled) for a US Commemorative stamp to be issued. Of note: the mention of a 10 volume documentary history of the American Jews was never completed. In 1963, the Jewish Publication Society of America published one section, The Jews of the United States, 1790-1840, edited by Joseph L. Blau and Salo W. Baron, in three volumes.

11Bylaws, draft of call for celebration, etc.[undated, 1953]request_box
12Minutes of Tercentenary Steering CommitteeJune 1952-October 1953request_box
13Minutes and reports of Tercentenary Committee on Research and Publications November 1952-October 1953request_box
14Committee on Military Participation [1954-1955]request_box
15CorrespondenceOctober 1951-December 1953 request_box
1 6 Correspondence1954request_box
17Correspondence 1955request_box
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Series II: American Jewish Historical Society, undated, 1949-1954

The series is in English.
Boxes 2-3.

Material is arranged chronologically by type.

Scope and Content:

The American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), deeply involved in the planning from the beginning, continued to have a role in the project after the incorporation of the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee. This series records the growth of the Society's plans for the celebration, beginning with Rev. Dr. de Sola Pool's first mention of the need for a celebration in 1948, through the temporary Tercentenary committee AJHS organized, documenting the tensions that occurred between AJHS and the American Jewish Committee, and describing the work the Society conducted on various Tercentenary projects. Among the significant material in this series concerns the incorporation of the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, minutes of a meeting of representatives of National Jewish Organizations convened by AJHS in 1950, AJHS' provisional plans and time schedule created in 1950, a report by American Jewish Committee Vice-President Ralph E. Samuel, plans for a Dictionary of American Jewish Biography, correspondence describing the Office of Historical Information (see also Series III), and the program for the Conference of Historians held in 1954 (the proceedings of the Conference of Historians was published in vol. 46, no. 3 of Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society). Types of material in this series include correspondence, working and final drafts of pamphlets and proposals, meeting minutes, handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, and press releases.

21Correspondence: Tercentenary Committee and Lee M. Friedman (AJHS) [1951-1953]request_box
22Correspondence: American Jewish Tercentenary Committee and AJHS [1950-1955]request_box
23-4AJHS Tercentenary Committee: Correspondence1949-1950 (2f)request_box
25-6AJHS Tercentenary Committee: Correspondence1951-1952 (2f)request_box
27AJHS Tercentenary Committee: Correspondence regarding organizations, activities1953 [1949, 1953-1954]request_box
31-2AJHS Tercentenary Committee: Conference of HistoriansSeptember 1954, [1953-1954] (2f)request_box
33-4AJHS Tercentenary Committee: Conference of Historians[1954] (2f) request_box
3 5AJHS Tercentenary Committee: Conference of Historians[1954] request_box
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Series III: Office of Historical Information, undated, 1953-1955

The series is in English.
Boxes 4-5.

Material is arranged chronologically by type.

Scope and Content:

Supported jointly by the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee and the American Jewish Historical Society, the Office of Historical Information handled research requests, distributed educational material, assisted in the programming for National Jewish Week, and provided factual checking for the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee. This series is primarily composed of correspondence to and from the Office, in regards to research. A subject index of the correspondence, from Box 4, Folder 3 to Box 5, Folder 7, is available in the Appendix. Other material within this series includes articles, financial reports, and newspaper clippings.

4 1Newspaper clippings about the Office of Historical Information [1954]request_box
42Office of Historical Information: Financial reports[1953-1954]request_box
43Office of Historical Information: Reports and Correspondence1953 request_box
44Miscellaneous articles written by Office of Historical Information[undated, 1954] request_box
4 5Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[one document is restricted] [January and February] 1954 (2f)request_box
46Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[one document is restricted][March] 1954request_box
47Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[April] 1954request_box
48-9 Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc. [May] 1954 (2f)request_box
410Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc. [two documents are restricted][June] 1954request_box
411Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc. [one document is restricted][July] 1954request_box
51-2Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc. [one document is restricted in folder 1] [August] 1954 (2f)request_box
53Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[September] 1954 request_box
5 4Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[October] 1954request_box
55Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[November] 1954request_box
56Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[December] 1954request_box
57Office of Historical Information: Correspondence, etc.[undated, 1955]request_box
58Office of Historical Information: H. Lamm to Salo Baron [July-October 1954]request_box
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Series IV: Published material, undated, 1953-1955

The series is in English with some materials in Hebrew.
Boxes 6-7.

Within each subject, material is organized chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This series encompasses publications produced by the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee and offers a sampling of materials created by national Jewish organizations. Of significance in this series is a complete run of AJTC's newsletter 300 (Box 6, Folders 1-3). Educational materials, including filmstrips, created by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations are also of interest. Other appealing items consist of advertisements for special tercentenary book publications, a fact sheet on Jewish Chaplains in the military, how to manuals such as a Community Manual produced by AJTC for local Tercentenary committees, an article introducing the Tercentenary menorah symbol, an illustration on a Manischewitzmatza box of the arrival of the first group of Jews, and the program for the Public Assembly formally ending the celebration. Proposals, drafts and final issues of pamphlets, a photo reproduction from an illustration, newsclippings, plays, press releases, and a speech in Hebrew complete the series.

6 1Newsletter, (no. 1-11)January-December 1953request_box
62Newsletter, (no. 12-22) January-December 1954request_box
63Newsletter, (no. 23-25) January-March 1955request_box
64News Releases[1953-1954]request_box
65-7 Pamphlets and brochures published by the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee[1953-1955] (3f) request_box
6 8Published material[1953-1955]request_box
71-3Materials published for local observance of Tercentenary [by the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee][1953-1955] (3f)request_box
74Miscellaneous[undated, 1952-1954]request_box
75Photographic reproduction of diorama depicting arrival of first group of Jews in New Amsterdam; Photographic reproduction of a view of Recife, Brazil in 17th century[undated, 1954-1955]request_box
76American Jewish Archives, Union of American Hebrew Congregations-Tercentenary Publications[undated, 1952-1954]request_box
77Union of American Hebrew Congregations filmstrip-"Through the Years: Jewish Women in American History" (including typed copies of texts) [undated, 1954]request_box
78Union of American Hebrew Congregations filmstrip-"Judah Touro-Friend of Man" (including teacher's guide) [undated, 1953]request_box
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Series V: Newspaper clippings, undated, 1952-1955

The series is in English and Yiddish.
Box 8.

Material is arranged by language chronologically.

Scope and Content:

Articles and newsclippings in English and Yiddish from National, Jewish, and Christian press are contained within this series. Reflections and criticisms regarding the Tercentenary's philosophy are of interest, as well as press coverage of President Eisenhower's Tercentenary Dinner speech. A majority of the newsclippings concern activities and historical writings, and include text of speeches and educational guides. A special issue of the children's magazine World Over and New York Teachers News is located here. In addition to writings, there is a press photograph, of Rabbis and Presidents of the fourteen oldest Jewish congregations in the US posed at Carnegie Hall.

81Newspaper clippings and material in English(1952-1953)request_box
82Newspaper clippings and material in English (Oversized-OS1F and OS2F)(January-August 1954)request_box
83Newspaper clippings and material in English (Oversized-OS1F)(September 1954) request_box
8 4Newspaper clippings and material in English(October-December 1954)request_box
85Newspaper clippings and material in English(undated, 1955) request_box
8 6Newspaper clippings and material in Yiddish(1952-August 1954) request_box
8 7Newspaper clippings and material in Yiddish(September-December 1954)request_box
88Newspaper clippings and material in Yiddish(undated, 1955) request_box
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Series VI: Observance and Activities, undated

The series is in English.
Boxes 9-10.

Material is arranged by geographically or by organization within each subject.

Scope and Content:

An insight into the variety and geographical range of events and publications can be glimpsed in this series which contains invitations, minutes to local Tercentenary meetings, exhibit catalogs, souvenir journals, religious programs, and bibliographies from National and Local Jewish, Christian, Universities and public organizations. A significant representation of the Shearith Israel Tercentenary programs and the National Tercentenary Dinner is available. Of interest is the program for the West Point Plaque dedication, and a manual created by a left wing organization called the Committee for the 300th Anniversary of Jewish Settlement in the USA. Research corrections and results as well as additional postcard invitations are located in Morris U. Schappes' folder (Box 9, Folder 3).

91Committee for the 300th Anniversary of Jewish Settlement in the USA[undated, 1953-1955]request_box
92Correspondence in Yiddish from other organizations[undated, 1953-1955]request_box
93Correspondence and material of Morris U. Schappes regarding activities, research, and historical sources[undated, 1953-1955]request_box
94National Tercentenary Dinner, exhibits [undated, 1954-1955]request_box
95State and Local Tercentenary Activities
(Arizona - Connecticut)
96State and Local Tercentenary Activities
(District of Columbia-Massachusetts)
97State and Local Tercentenary Activities
(Michigan-New Jersey)
98State and Local Tercentenary Activities
(New York City and State)
[undated, 1954-1955]request_box
101State and Local Tercentenary Activities
[1952, 1954-1955]request_box
102-3 Congregation Shearith Israel Tercentenary[1953-1955] (2f)request_box
104Tercentenary activities-Universities[1954-1955]request_box
105Tercentenary activities of various Jewish organizations[1953-1955]request_box
106Tercentenary activities of various Jewish organizations[undated, 1946, 1952-1955] request_box
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Oversized Materials, undated, 1954

Oversized - OS1F

82The Jewish Record, American Jewish Tercentenary IssueJanuary 21, 1954request_box
83Intermountain Jewish NewsSeptember 23, 1954request_box
83The Jewish CriterionSeptember 24, 1954request_box

Oversized - OS2F

82"Tercentenary Leaders Visit President Eisenhower: Partial Press Coverage"request_box
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