Guide to the Papers of Ruth R. Dresner
1912 - 1993

AR 25392

Processed by Dianne Ritchey

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2011 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Michael Simonson and Dianne Ritchey in April 2011. Description is in English.
January 17, 2012  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Dresner, Ruth
Title: Ruth R. Dresner Collection
Abstract: The Ruth R. Dresner Collection comprises research material and writings about the well-known Jewish social worker Bertha Pappenheim. It includes copies of articles, offprints and clippings on her in addition to a dissertation on her work and some correspondence concerning the accumulation of research on her life and work. Material on the German stamp issued in her honor and some photographs are also present.
Languages: The collection is in German and English .
Quantity: 0.25 linear ft. + 1 oversized folder
Identification: AR 25392
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Ruth Rapp Dresner is a social worker who studied at Fordham University. In addition to her master's dissertation on Bertha Pappenheim, Bertha Pappenheim: The Contribution of a German Jewish Pioneer Social Reformer to Social Work: 1859-1936, she has also published the article The Work of Bertha Pappenheim in Judaism: a Quarterly of Jewish Life and Thought in 1981.

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Scope and Content Note

The Ruth R. Dresner Collection contains research material on Bertha Pappenheim as accumulated by Ruth Dresner. The bulk of the collection consists of unpublished and published articles on her life and achievements, including Ruth Dresner's dissertation on her. Other papers include a small amount of research material along with material on the Bertha Pappenheim stamp, notes and one folder of images, mostly photographs.

Most of the papers of this collection consist of secondary research materials on Bertha Pappenheim, including unpublished articles, clippings, offprints and Ruth Dresner's dissertation. These items provide biographical details on Pappenheim, especially focusing on her social work, the work of the Jüdischer Frauenbund and the home for unwed Jewish mothers and their children she founded at Neu-Isenburg. Pappenheim's research into and efforts to curtail the practice of white slavery, the practice of selling or tricking destitute women into prostitution, in Eastern Europe is also frequently encountered. Unpublished articles, including Ruth Dresner's dissertation on Bertha Pappenheim, are located in Series II: Writings, while the published works are in Series III: Research. Among the papers of Series III are also two letters by Bertha Pappenheim, copies of a few articles by her, and a folder of unidentified photographs. Series III also holds Dresner's notes on Pappenheim's Sisyphus Arbeit, her book concerning her travels while investigating white slavery. One folder in this series concerns the stamp issued by the German government in Bertha Pappenheim's honor.

Series I consists of only folder and primarily holds Dresner's letters related to her research into Bertha Pappenheim, as well as letters from others also researching Bertha Pappenheim. This series also includes some copies of correspondence of Dora Edinger, biographer of Bertha Pappenheim.

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The collection is arranged into three series.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

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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

Related Material

The LBI Library contains a number of books on Bertha Pappenheim. In addition, Bertha Pappenheim is well-represented in the Leo Baeck Institute Archives in the form of original correspondence and research material.

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Separated Material

Several books and publications were removed to the LBI Library prior to processing the archival collection.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Ruth R. Dresner Collection; AR 25392; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

The collection was processed in March 2011 in preparation of the EAD finding aid. Folders were assigned titles based on their contents, and were grouped together to form series. Description was added to the finding aid and some preservation work was undertaken on crumbling newspaper clippings. Some publications were previously removed from the collection to the LBI Library.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.


Series I: Correspondence, 1955-1993

This series is in German and English.
1 folder.
Scope and Content:

This series, comprising only one folder, holds the correspondence of Ruth Dresner, as well as that of other individuals collected by her.

Correspondence with Ruth Dresner here focuses on her research of Bertha Pappenheim. Letters to her request copies of her dissertation or mention the sending of articles to her. A letter from Irma Pappenheim discusses her genealogical research on Bertha Pappenheim, another includes an invitation to an event marking the hundredth anniversary of Bertha Pappenheim's birth.

This series also contains some copies of correspondence of Dora Edinger, biographer of Bertha Pappenheim. These letters relate some details of Bertha Pappenheim's life.

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Series II: Writings, 1939-1955

This series is in German and English.
0.1 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series II includes unpublished writings on Bertha Pappenheim, including the writing of Ruth Dresner.

Among the manuscripts in this series are two folders of short articles. The first folder holds several articles by unidentified authors. These articles center on such subjects as women's rights, children's welfare, and historical Jewish women. One manuscript consists of the text of a talk given by Irene Pappenheim in 1939 for the Jahrzeit of Rabbi Nobel. Another discusses the raising of children in Judaism, with emphasis on the role of mothers. Copies of A. Joerger's articles provide biographies for individuals involved in social welfare, among them Bertha Pappenheim, who were featured in a series of West German stamps that came out in the late 1940s and 1950s.

The final folder of this series contains Ruth Dresner's dissertation for her master's degree in social service at Fordham University. This work details the important features of Bertha Pappenheim's work. It includes a history of social work in Germany, especially in regards to social efforts on behalf of women and children and the establishment of the Mutter- and Kinderschutz programs there. It continues on to detail programs begun by Bertha Pappenheim such as the home for unwed mothers and children at Neu-Isenburg. Special attention is given to Bertha Pappenheim's travel and work in Eastern Europe in order to end the institution of white slavery and her efforts to mobilize Jewish awareness of this issue.

12Articlesundated, 1939
13Articles – Helfer der Menschheit1952-1955
14Dissertation – Bertha Pappenheim: The Contribution of a German Jewish Pioneer Social Reformer to Social Work: 1859-19361954
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Series III: Research, 1912-1989

This series is in German and English.
0.15 linear ft. + 1 OS folder


Scope and Content:

Series III comprises research material on Bertha Pappenheim. It includes copies of various articles, offprints and numerous clippings pertaining to her life or work. Additionally included are some articles by Bertha Pappenheim and a few letters by her as well as notes and copies of photographs.

Among the copies of published articles written about Bertha Pappenheim is one by Ruth Dresner, that describes the connection between her family members and Pappenheim. Many of the articles and clippings in this series provide biographical details for Bertha Pappenheim. Copies of Pappenheim's own articles include a copy of a story for Purim and two articles concerning the roles of Jewish women and girls.

This series also contains two handwritten letters by Pappenheim to a "Frau Darmstaedter." One of these discusses her car, another a painting of her.

One folder contains Ruth Dresner's notes on Pappenheim's famous work Sisyphus Arbeit, her description of her travels in Eastern Europe investigating the Jewish involvement in white slavery, so named because, like the Greek mythic figure Sisyphus, Pappenheim felt the work was an impossible task. It seems likely these notes were incorporated by Dresner into her dissertation in Series II.

The final folder of Series III comprises copies of various unidentified photographs. Several of these include large groups of individuals, mostly women; these photos possibly depict meetings of the Jüdischer Frauenbund, which was founded by Bertha Pappenheim in 1904.

15Articles and Offprints about Bertha Pappenheimundated, 1958-1981
16Articles and Offprints by Bertha Pappenheimundated, 1912
17Bertha Pappenheim Correspondence1928
18Bertha Pappenheim Stamp1955
19Clippings about Bertha Pappenheim1928-1959
OS 134Clippings about Bertha Pappenheim – Oversized1932-1979
110Notes – Sisyphus-Arbeitundated
111Visual Materialundated
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