Guide to the Papers of Herbert Gorfinkle (1923-2000), undated, circa 1850s-2000 (with gaps)
 
*P-904

Processed by Stephanie Call

American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 226-1245

Email: reference@ajhsboston.org

URL: http://www.ajhsboston.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Stephanie Call as MS Word document, March 4, 2011. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on March 28, 2011. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Herbert Gorfinkle
Title: Herbert Gorfinkle, papers
Dates:undated, circa 1850s-2000 (with gaps)
Abstract: Herbert Gorfinkle was the eldest child and only son of Colonel Bernard and Frieda Gorfinkle of Newton, Massachusetts. Born in 1923, Gorfinkle came of age during World War II and entered the U.S. Army while an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire. As a Tech 5 combat engineer, Gorfinkle was responsible for clearing landmines ahead of his advancing unit. He was also a trained army photographer, and aside from his letters home, he documented his years in the War with photographs. A soldier under General Dwight Eisenhower, Gorfinkle participated in the Normandy Invasion and was among the troops that liberated Buchenwald in 1945. This collection includes correspondence and photographs from Gorfinkle’s service in World War II, photographs of Bernard Gorfinkle’s serviced during World War I, and a collection of family carte de visites, cabinet cards and tintypes.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 2 linear feet (1 document box, 1 oversized box)
Identification: P-904
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located at AJHS, Boston, MA.
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Biographical Note

Herbert Gorfinkle (1923-2000)

Herbert Gorfinkle was the eldest child and only son of Colonel Bernard and Frieda Gorfinkle of Newton, Massachusetts. Born in 1923, Gorfinkle came of age during World War II and entered the U.S. Army while an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire. As a Tech 5 combat engineer, Gorfinkle was responsible for clearing landmines ahead of his advancing unit. He was also a trained army photographer, and aside from his letters home, he documented his years in the War with photographs. A soldier under General Dwight Eisenhower, Gorfinkle participated in the Normandy Invasion and was among the troops that liberated Buchenwald in 1945.

Gorfinkle graduated from the University of New Hampshire, but during the war he attended Cornell University in New York for engineering training and University of Oxford in England. He received his Masters in Business Administration from New York University's School of Retailing in 1948.

Following the war, Gorfinkle married Constance Golub. They had three daughters, Jeanne, Anne and Elisabeth. Gorfinkle was President and Founder of Edwards Stores of Boston. An active boater, he was Chairman of the Harbor Development Committee in Hingham, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Coast Guard Auxiliary and Commodore of the Metropolitan Yacht Club.

Gorfinkle died on June 11, 2000 at the age of 77.

Chronology

1923Herbert Gorfinkle born to Bernard and Frieda Gorfinkle.
1943-1945Enters World War II and through training becomes a Tech 5 and army photographer.
1947Graduates from the University of New Hampshire.
1948Graduates from New York University's School of Retailing.
June 11, 2000Herbert Gorfinkle dies at age 77.
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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains photographs, ephemera and letters from Herbert Gorfinkle to his parents and younger sisters, Ruth and Sara, about his experiences in World War II. Most of the letters were re-typed by Bernard Gorfinkle's secretary, although a few handwritten, original letters remain. Gorfinkle captured his experiences as both a photographer and soldier. Unfortunately, not all the photographs are labeled, which makes identification difficult. Gorfinkle was also an amateur artist and sent humorous sketches home to his family. In addition to the materials documenting World War II, there are also yearbooks, photographs and a diploma from the University of New Hampshire documenting Gorfinkle's education. Gorfinkle also inherited family photograph albums consisting primarily of cabinet card and carte de visite photographs of the Milontaler and Gorfinkle families, although there are also a few tintypes included, as well. The Milontalers and Gorfinkles were related through marriage (Herbert Gorfinkle's mother was Sarah Millionthaler, who married Harris Gorfinkle.) The majority of these photographs are not identified.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged into four series as follows:

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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 Director of Library and Archives 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

The Papers of Col. Bernard L. Gorfinkle, P-664
The Milontaler Family Papers, P-553

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Herbert Gorfinkle, papers; P-904; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

Gift of Constance Gorfinkle and Jeanne Gorfinkle Wiley, January 2011.

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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.

 

Series I: Education, circa 1930s, 1940-1950 (with gaps)

English.
Box 1, Folders 1-5; Box 2, Folder 1 (OS).
Scope and Content:

This series contains yearbooks from the New York University School of Retailing and Worcester Academy, a diploma from the University of New Hampshire, photographs of Gorfinkle's school classes and basketball team, and a photographic essay of Cornell. There is also one oversized folder of photographs in box 2.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 “Cornell in Pictures” 1943-1944
1 2 New York University School of Retailing 1948
1 3 Photographs circa 1930s, 1948-1950
1 4 University of New Hampshire Diploma 1947
1 5 Worcester Academy Yearbook 1940
BoxFolderTitleDate
2 1OS Photographs circa 1930s
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Series II: General, 1936, circa 1950s-1960s, 2000

English.
Box 2, Folders 6-9.
Scope and Content:

This series includes Herbert Gorfinkle's Bar Mitzvah certificate, a yearbook for the Cedar Crest Camp for Boys and miscellaneous photographs taken at various social occasions. Also in this series are obituaries for Herbert Gorfinkle.

BoxFolderTitleDate
2 6 Bar Mitzvah Certificate 1936
2 7 Cedar Crest Camp for Boys- “The Chronicle” 1936
2 8 Photographs circa 1950s-1960s
2 9 Obituaries 2000
2 Cabinet Card Photograph Albums undated
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Series III: Gorfinkle/Milontaler Family, undated, circa 1850s-1969 (with gaps)

English.
Box 2, Folders 10-15; Folder 2 (OS).
Scope and Content:

This series includes photographs and documents inherited by Herbert Gorfinkle but originally belonging to his father, Bernard, and the Milonataler and Gorfinkle families. Folders labeled "Bernard Gorfinkle" include photograph albums from World War I, oversized portrait photographs and a scrapbook about the family's interest in the history of Jews in the North End of Boston. This series also includes the cabinet cards carte de visites and tintypes of the two families.

BoxFolderTitleDate
2 10-12 Bernard Gorfinkle undated, 1914-1919, circa 1940s-1950s, 1969
2 13-14 Family Albums circa 1850s-1910s
2 15 Misc. Photographs circa 1850s-1910s
2 2OS Bernard Gorfinkle circa 1915-1919, 1949
2 2OS Bernard Gorfinkle/Medals undated
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Series IV: World War II, 1940-1945

English.
Box 1, Folders 16-23.
Scope and Content:

This series has the typescripts of and some original letters written by Herbert Gorfinkle, sent to various family members back in Massachusetts. The letters sent to his father, Colonel Bernard L. Gorfinkle, are the most honest and detailed about Herbert's experiences during World War II. These letters are contained in the scrapbooks, kept by Bernard Gorfinkle by request of his son. The scrapbooks also include photographs and sketches. Also in this series are photograph albums with photos taken during the War, and a literary magazine with stories and sketches by soldiers.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 16 Army Specialized Training Program Certificate 1944
1 17 “Chronicle: War Carnival Issue” 1943
1 18 Photograph Album circa 1940s
1 19 Photographs circa 1940s
1 20-23 Scrapbooks circa 1940s, 1943-1945
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