Guide to The Ronya Schwaab Papers,
undated, 1877-2001
(bulk 1958-2001)

P-909

Finding Aid by Michael D. Montalbano

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

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Michael D. Montalbano in May 20, 2011. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Schwaab, Ronya
Title: Ronya Schwaab Papers
Dates:undated, 1877-2001
Bulk Dates:1958-2001
Abstract: This collection documents the life and activities of dancer and activist Ronya Schwaab. The collection contains material related to her activities advocating for Soviet Jews, lecturing on various topics, her trips abroad, and writing reviews for numerous books. It also includes correspondence with family, friends, and various officials in both the public and non-profit spheres of politics and business. The collection contains numerous photographs and certificates that further document her activities and accomplishments.
Languages: The collection is in English and Russian.
Quantity: 6.2 linear feet (5 manuscript boxes and 1 OS1 box).
Identification: P-909
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Biographical Note

Ronya Schwaab, nee Chernin, was born in Loyev, Ukraine in 1909. In 1912, her father left his wife and their four children, for America to seek better employment. The family was to follow but war and revolution prevented them. Having survived the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, Ronya and her family joined her father in New York City, at the age of 14. She attended Theodore Roosevelt High School. At the age of twenty she began studying dance initially under Anna Sokolov before studying under Martha Graham, eventually performing with Anna Sokolov’s Dance Unit from 1929 to 1938. Her collegiate education included the City University of New York and Boston University.

In 1939, she married Eugene Schwaab and together they started a book distribution company catering to universities and libraries. They would have three boys, Eugene, Keene, and Dean. In addition to her work Ronya, was an advocate for a number of issues of social and economic justice in the United States. Beginning in 1965 her focus was the plight of Soviet Jews, after visiting the USSR several times. Her efforts to aid Soviet Jews continued for those coming to the Boston area. Ronya taught them English and helped them find employment. She served as the Chairwoman of the Task Force of Soviet Jewry at Temple Israel. She also served as the President of the New England Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress and the President of the Women’s Division of the Boston Chapter of the American Technion Society. In addition to her advocacy efforts, she wrote numerous book reviews.

Her life’s story is told in her autobiography My Reminiscences. Ronya died on May 21, 2001 at the age of 92.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains material related to her activities advocating for Soviet Jews, lecturing on various topics, her trips abroad, and writing reviews for numerous books. It also includes correspondence with family, friends, and various officials in both the public and non-profit spheres of politics and business. The collection contains numerous photographs and certificates that further document her activities and accomplishments.

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Arrangement

This collection has been arranged according to form of information being conveyed. Series I: Papers, contains a variety of print material. Series II: Photographs, documents Schwaab's life in visual form. Finally, Series III: Audiocassettes provides information about Schwaab in an audio form.

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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

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility. 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 Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement at the American Jewish Historical Society contains material on the Soviet Jewry Movement that Ronya Schwaab discussed in her papers. The archive is accessible through the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement website.

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Custodial History

Collection donated by Daniela Dana, Ronya’s granddaughter, on March 13, 2003 to AJHS.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Ronya Schwaab Papers; P-909; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

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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

 

Series I: Papers, undated, 1877-2001, (bulk 1958-2001)

The series is in English and Russian.
4.07 linear feet (4.75 manuscript boxes and 1 OS1 box). Box 1, Folder 1 to Box 5, Folder 6 and OS1, Folder 1 to OS1, Folder 4.
Arrangement:

This series is arranged primarily alphabetically by record type and then by date of origination. The material in the Book Review folders is organized by the authors' last name of the book being reviewed.

Scope and Content:

This series contains material related to her activities advocating for Soviet Jews, lecturing on various topics, her trips abroad, and writing reviews for numerous books. It also includes correspondence with family, friends, and various officials in both the public and non-profit spheres of politics and business.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 Booklets 1877-1991
1 2 Certificates and Awards undated, 1958-2000
BoxFolderTitleDate
6 (OS1) 3 Certificates and Awards undated, 1985-1988
6 (OS1) 4 Certificates and Awards - Plaques 1985 December
BoxFolderTitleDate
1 3 Clippings (1 of 2) undated, 1969-1999
1 4 Clippings (1 of 2) undated, 1969-1999
BoxFolderTitleDate
6 (OS1) 2 Clippings undated, 1996-2001
6 (OS1) 1 Clippings 1963-1972
BoxFolderTitleDate
1 5 Clippings - Soviet Jewry undated, 1967-1998
1 6 Correspondence and Cards undated
1 7 Correspondence and Cards 1959-1979
BoxFolderTitleDate
2 1 Correspondence and Cards 1980-1989
2 2 Correspondence and Cards 1990-1997
2 3 Correspondence and Cards 1998
2 4 Correspondence and Cards 1999
2 5 Correspondence and Cards 2000-2001
2 6 Correspondence and Cards - Ronya Schwaab Scholarship 1990-1998
2 7 Ephemera undated, 1999
2 8 Events - Concerts 1974-1992
2 9 Events - Plays undated, 1974-1979
2 10 Events - Tribute Dinner - Women's Division American Technion Society 1985-1987
BoxFolderTitleDate
3 1 Events - Tribute to Pavel Chumak 1996
3 2 Events - Women Whose Lives Span the Century 1997-1998
3 3 Flyers and Announcements - Advertisements undated
3 4 Flyers and Announcements - Events undated, 1955-1999
3 5 Manuscript - Saul - A Play by Howard Zilbur 1988
3 6 Research and Writings - Book Reviews - Assorted undated, 1959-1970
3 7 Research and Writings - Book Reviews - A-B undated
3 8 Research and Writings - Book Reviews - C-H undated
3 9 Research and Writings - Book Reviews - J-N undated
3 10 Research and Writings - Book Reviews - O-Sa undated
BoxFolderTitleDate
4 1 Research and Writings - Book Reviews - Sc-Y undated
4 2 Research and Writings - Essays and Book Reviews undated
4 3 Research and Writings - Essays (1 of 2) undated, 1978-1999
4 4 Research and Writings - Essays (2 of 2) undated, 1978-1999
4 5 Research and Writings - Israel undated, 1967
4 6 Research and Writings - Lectures undated
4 7 Research and Writings - Memoir - American Jewish Congress 1972-1977
4 8 Research and Writings - Memoir - Drafts (1 of 2) undated
4 9 Research and Writings - Memoir - Drafts (2 of 2) undated
BoxFolderTitleDate
5 1 Research and Writings - Memoir - Manuscript undated
5 2 Research and Writings - Memoir - Political Connections undated, 1994
5 3 Research and Writings - Notebooks undated
5 4 Research and Writings - Temple Israel 1979-1996
5 5 Travel Log - Trip to Israel 1964-1992
5 6 Travel Log - Trip to the Soviet Union 1969
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Series II: Photographs, undated, 1942-2001

The series is in English.
0.1 linear feet (0.25 manuscript boxes). Box 5, Folder 7 to Box 5, Folder 13.
Arrangement:

The bulk of these photographs were not organized into recognizable groups. An attempt was made to organize them by the event, or object, being documented in the photograph. The series has been arranged alphabetically by those groupings.

Scope and Content:

This series visually documents the activities, events, and people that were part of Ronya Schwaab's life. The series contains numerous photographs of her family and her trips abroad. The file of scanned images is comprised of family photographs that have not been included in the collection. The majority of the photographs in this series do not contain any identifying script to describe what the image has captured, however there are a few that do.

BoxFolderTitleDate
5 7 Assorted undated, 1942-2001
5 8 Assorted - Large Prints undated, 1972
5 9 Trips to Israel 1992 and 1999
5 10 Portraits undated, 1999
5 11 Women Whose Lives Span the Century Exhibit 1997-1998
5 12 Women's Division of the American Technion Society undated, 1999
5 13 Scanned Images undated
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Series III: Audiocassettes, 1983 November 20

The series is in English.
0.0 linear feet (1 audiocassette). Box 6 (OS1), Folder 5
Scope and Content:

This series contains the recording of a memorial service held at Temple Leo Baeck.

BoxFolderTitleDate
6 (OS 1)5Audiocassette1983 November 20
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