Guide to the Papers of Bernard C. Ehrenreich
undated, 1871-1971

Processed by Deborah Friedman

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 Deborah Friedman as an MS-Word document. November 1994. PDF document created by Adina Anflick. December 19, 2001. Electronic finding aid converted to EAD 2002 by Tanya Elder. Oct. 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: Bernard C. Ehrenreich (1876-1955)
Title: Bernard C. Ehrenreich Papers
Dates:undated, 1871-1971
Abstract: The Papers of Bernard Calonius Ehrenreich, a Rabbi and civic leader in Montgomery, Alabama, document his life and rabbinate over seven decades and highlights his involvment in a broad range of organizations and activities. The collection is valuable to those researching topics such as Zionism; Progressivism; boys' camps; Montgomery, Alabama's Jewish community; Christian-Jewish relations in the South; and soldiers' correspondence from World War I and World War II. In addition, Ehrenreich's involvment in organizations such as the National Jewish Welfare Board; National American Woman Suffrage Association; Intercollegiate Menorah Association; Federation of American Zionists; and Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity are documented within the collection as well as postcards displaying various Jewish images.
Languages:The majority of the collection is in English with some materials in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and French.
Quantity: 1.75 linear feet. (4 manuscript boxes, 1 oversized folder.)
Accession number: P-26
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Biographical Note

Rabbi Bernard Calonius Ehrenreich

A rabbi and scholar, Bernard Calonius Ehrenreich was born in Kis Szeben, Hungary on June 11, 1876 to an orthodox family. At the age of three Bernard, along with two other siblings, immigrated to the United States.

Educated as a child in the public school system, Ehrenreich had a flair for learning and a desire to continue his education. In 1900, he received both a bachelor's degree in philosophy from New York University as well as a rabbinical degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Known as an organizer throughout his years as a young scholar, Ehrenreich helped found the first Jewish college fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau (Zion Bemispat Tipadeh) in 1898. The fraternity served as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information and was committed to Zionist causes.

His first pulpit, in 1900, was in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at Congregation Beth Israel. Ehrenreich stayed there a year before moving on to Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Pennsylvania. He continued serving his congregations while furthering his education at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1902, he married Irma Bock, and together they had two children, Louis Sigmund and Rosemarie.

In 1906 Rabbi Ehrenreich took the pulpit of Congregation Kahl Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama. Zionism and progressivism pervaded his thoughts and he performed his work with a keen interest and optimism.

Already known for his ability to bring together people, Rabbi Ehrenreich led the community in a wide range of activities. Among the organizations he was involved in were the Federation of American Zionists, Jewish Welfare Board, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, Graduate Menorah Society and American Jewish Congress.

Although his civic duty and link to the community were prevalent in his many activities he never relinquished his commitment to the individual. His interaction with the soldiers of Camp Sheridan was a cornerstone in his life. The dedication and love that he gave to hundreds of boys in the camp is readily seen in the correspondence contained within the collection. These boys also helped Ehrenreich realize a much earlier dream, and he started Camp Kawaga in Wisconsin. This camp, started in 1915, became a summer camp for boys to enrich their lives and awaken their minds.

Rabbi Ehrenreich spent his life working toward the betterment of others. He strived for the ability to join people together and acknowledged the importance of the individual. Echoing throughout his sermons and teachings are messages of Zionism and reform. The people that Ehrenreich influenced is incalculable and when he died on March 11, 1955, he died a successful man having accomplished on one lifetime what many only dream.


Data was compiled from archival documents in the Papers of Rabbi Bernard C. Ehrenreich; Who's Who in American Jewry (1980); Jews of the South by S. Proctor, L. Schmier and M. Stern (pp. 45-63).


June 11, 1876Born in Kis Szeben, Hungary, son of Henry Reuben and Hannah Ehrenreich
1879Immigrated to the United States
1898Founded Zeta Beta Tau (American Jewish Fraternal Organization)
1900Received a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from New York University
Received a Rabbinical degree from Jewish Theological Seminary
1900-1901Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, Atlantic City, NJ
1901-1906Rabbi of Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Philadelphia, PA
1902Married Irma Bock
1904Louis Sigmund (son) is born
1906Rosemarie (daughter) is born
1906-1921Rabbi of Congregation Kahl Montgomery, Montgomery, AL
1915Camp Kawaga opens
1915-1951Director of Camp Kawaga
1917Elected to the American Jewish Congress
March 11, 1955Died

Additional Offices/Honors/Organizations

Central Conference of American Rabbis. Member.
Federation of American Zionist Federation. Recording Secretary.
Graduate Menorah Society. Founder.
International Order of B'nai B'rith. Member.
Israeli Bond Drive, Montgomery, Alabama. Chair.
Jewish Chautauqua Society. Member.
Jewish Welfare Board, Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, AL. Welfare Worker (World War I).
Masons. Member.
Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. Vice-Chair.
Romanian Anti-Semitism. Official Representative protesting at a convocation.

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Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Rabbi Bernard C. Ehrenreich contains documents and paraphernalia spanning approximately seven decades.

The collection is valuable to those researching Zionism; Progressivism; boys' camps; Montgomery, Alabama's Jewish community; Christian-Jewish relations in the South; soldiers' correspondence from World War I and World War II; National Jewish Welfare Board; National American Woman Suffrage Association; Intercollegiate Menorah Association; Federation of American Zionists; Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity; and postcards displaying various Jewish images.

Material includes correspondence, memoranda, minutes, ledgers, newspaper clippings, speeches, photographs, postcards, scrapbooks, telegrams, pamphlets, and other publications and handwritten notes. Of special interest is the scrapbooks documenting Ehrenreich's career, from 1898-1952 that contains newspaper clippings, his published articles and addresses, correspondence, programs, telegrams, memorabilia, and photographs (Box 1, Folders 1 and 2; see also Box 2, Folder 5 and Box 3, Folder 1, 3 and 5 for biographical information). Other unique items include correspondence from Jewish soldiers (World War I: Box 3, Folders 14-15; Box 4, Folders 1-2 and World War II: Box 3, Folder 4); letters from parents and campers at Camp Kawaga (Box 1, Folder 4); Irma Ehrenreich's women's suffragette movement material (Box 3, Folder 2), documents pertaining to Jewish life in Montgomery, Alabama (Box 1, Folders 1 and 2; Box 2, Folder 6 and 12); a photograph of World War I soldiers at a Seder in Montgomery, Alabama (Box 1, Folder 5); and Ehrenreich's collection of postcards portraying Jewish subjects (Box 3, Folders 6-13).

The majority of the collection is in English. The postcard collection contains some German (Box 3, Folders 6-7) as well as French and Yiddish (Box 3, Folder 12). In addition, there is a Yiddish newspaper clipping (Box 1, Scrapbook), an extract of German letter from the Actions Comite in the Federation of American Zionists (Box 2, Folder 7), and a Latin college diploma (Oversized Folder).

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The collection is divided into four boxes. Folders in each box are separated according to subject matter.

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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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Related Material

Related materials can be found in the Papers of the Ehrenreich Family, P-096 and in the Papers of the Gottheil Family, P-049.

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The Papers of Bernard Ehrenreich were donated to the Society by his wife, Irma Bock Ehrenreich (date unknown) and his daughter, Rosemary E. Krensky (1967.004).

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Bernard C. Ehrenreich Papers; P-26; 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, 1876-1955

The majority of the collection is in English with some materials in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and French.
1.75 linear feet

See collection Arrangement Note.

Scope and Content:

See collection Scope and Content Note.

1 1Scrapbook (includes correspondence)undated, 1898-1952 request_box
12Scrapbook (includes correspondence)undated, 1917-1952request_box
13National Jewish Welfare Boardundated, 1918request_box
14Camp Kawagaundated, 1917-1941request_box
1 5Photographsundated, 1911 request_box
21Central Bureau of Federation of Zionist Societies of Greater NYC / Diary undated, 1897-1901request_box
22Correspondence, World War Iundated, 1917 request_box
2 3 Correspondence, World War Iundated, 1918 January -Aprilrequest_box
24 Correspondence, World War Iundated, 1918 May -1919 Februaryrequest_box
25 Zeta Beta Tau - Members of the Rho Chapter undated, 1931-1951request_box
2 6Jewish Community of Montgomery, Alabamaundated, 1910-1940request_box
2 7Minutes from the Executive Committee of Federation of American Zionists1909-1910request_box
28New York University, Class of 1900[1900]request_box
29Correspondence with Stephen S. Wise and Louis Waterman Wise1904-1949 request_box
2 10Camp Kawagaundated, 1931-1947request_box
211Correspondence with Leon J. Obermayerundated, 1927-1956request_box
2 12 Correspondence with Henry Horwitz in re: Intercollegiate Menorah Association 1915-1917request_box
3 1Personal Correspondence / Citizenship Papers / Memorabiliaundated, 1905-1942request_box
32National American Woman Suffrage Association (Irma Bock Ehrenreich - materials relating to women's suffrage movement)undated, 1913-1914request_box
33News clippings and Obituaries1901-1955request_box
34World War II Correspondence and Ephemeraundated, 1943-1947 request_box
35Miscellaneous Correspondence (includes letters from Mordecai Kaplan) undated, 1919-1971request_box
36 Collections of Bible Scenes (in German)undatedrequest_box
37Images / Postcards, Selected pictures undated, 1871request_box
38Images / Postcards, Selected pictures: Genesisundatedrequest_box
39Images / Postcards, Selected pictures: Mosesundated, 1908request_box
310Images / Postcards, Selected pictures: Ten Commandments - Decalogueundated request_box
3 11Images / Postcards, Selected pictures: Enforced Dress of Jews undatedrequest_box
312 Images / Postcards, Selected pictures: Modern Palestineundatedrequest_box
313Images / Postcards, Selected pictures: Philanthropists and Scholarsundated request_box
3 14-15World War I Letters from Soldiers (4f) undated, 1918-1919request_box
41-2World War I Letters from Soldiers (4f)undated, 1918-1919 continuedrequest_box
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Oversized Materials (Diplomas and Certificates), undated, 1900-1949

The series is in English with one ordination certificate in Hebrew.
1 oversized folder

Arranged by size of material. All materials are located in OSF1 storage.

Scope and Content:

Contains oversized diplomas or certificates.

Box TitleDate
OSF1 Diploma, B.A., Philosophy, New York University1900
OSF1 Two Diplomas/Ordinations, Jewish Theological Seminary, one in English and one in Hebrew1905
OSF1 Citation from Adath Jeshurun Literary Society in Philadelphia1906
OSF1 Certificate from Executive Committion for General Zionist Affairs for service during World War Iundated
OSF1 Jewish Welfare Board for Service [in recognition of his service in World War I] undated
OSF1 Diploma, M.A., Hebrew Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary1949
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