Guide to the Florence Mendheim Collection of Anti-Semitic Propaganda,
1917-1994
(bulk 1922-1948)

AR 25441

Processed by Alyssa Carver

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305

Email: http://www.lbi.org/ask

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2012  Leo Baeck Institute
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Alyssa Carver in 2012. Description is in English.
October 14, 2014  Links to digital objects added in Container List. March 19, 2015 Container list updated with further oversized items moved to oversize boxes.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Florence Mendheim (1899-1984)
Title: Florence Mendheim Collection of Anti-Semitic Propaganda
Dates:1917-1994
Dates:bulk 1922-1948
Abstract: This collection of mainly anti-Semitic material was compiled by a Jewish librarian of German descent who infiltrated the pro-Nazi community developing in New York City in the years leading up to World War II. The bulk of the collection consists of publications and printed matter, with the notable exception of narrative reports that describe first-hand experiences and observations of Nazi-affiliated events. Document types include advertisements, event announcements, books, clippings, correspondence, magazines and newspapers, travel guides, political memorabilia, and other print ephemera.
Languages: The collection is in English and German, with some Arabic, French, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish.
Quantity: 9 linear feet + 2 OS boxes
Identification: AR 25441
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note
Portrait of Florence Mendheim circa 1934

Portrait of Florence Mendheim circa 1934

Florence Mendheim was born in Illinois in 1899, but raised in New York where she spent the rest of her life. She was the daughter of German Jewish immigrants and had two brothers. After attending Washington Irving High School, she completed New York Public Library training in 1918, and worked in various NYPL branch locations over the next two decades. Sometime around 1933, Ms. Mendheim began her undercover surveillance of the Nazi-associated group “Friends of the New Germany.” She reported her activities to Rabbi Jacob Xenab Cohen, who was connected with both the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and the American Jewish Congress, but the full extent of this project is not entirely clear. In the course of this undertaking, Ms. Mendheim used at least three pseudonyms: KQX (for correspondence with the Rabbi), Gertrude Mueller (for the Nazis), and Anna Hitler (for conducting genealogical research on Adolf Hitler). After 1936, correspondence between Mendheim and Rabbi Cohen seems to have decreased sharply. Professional correspondence with her library superiors from the mid-1940s indicates that Ms. Mendheim suffered chronic health problems that led to her retirement, although she lived to the age of 85. She observed kosher dietary laws and never married. She was survived by Arthur, her younger brother, when she passed away in 1984.

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Scope and Content Note

Unique manuscript material makes up a small but potentially valuable portion of this collection, while the print material that constitutes the bulk of the collection varies greatly in form and character. Some is obviously anti-Semitic, some is more subtle, but a number of other subjects are represented as well. The connections between these topics may be tangential or may not exist at all. Possibly Ms. Mendheim’s training as a librarian led to an encyclopedic collecting habit, or perhaps items of personal interest became mixed with research files. The origins and custodial history of the collection itself make it difficult to determine. Before coming to LBI, the collection was housed in another repository where it was partially processed, used for a public exhibit, and likely intermingled with other collections (see Series IV, Box 9, Folder 25). The original arrangement, if there was one, is now unknown. Nevertheless, the collection provides rare examples of anti-Semitic rhetoric in 1920s and 1930s America. Evidence of economic, political, and social disquiet appears in a range of media formats, documenting the turbulence of the pre-WWII era through advertisements, calendars, travel guides, local news and popular publications.

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Arrangement

Due to the lack of original order, the collection’s arrangement has been determined by the processing archivist. Of four series, the first two constitute the bulk of the material and have been further divided into subseries according subject matter or place of origin. Series III contains items created by or related to Florence Mendheim specifically, while Series IV documents the use of the collection after being donated to the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.

The overall arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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
email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

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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 Mendheim Family Collection (AR 25010), which was donated to LBI separately, includes materials similar to those in this collection, such as Florence Mendheim’s correspondence and creative writing, and some reports on the Friends of the New Germany.

Rabbi J.X. Cohen’s papers are housed in a number of archives. Documents located in Series IV of this collection indicate that related materials were found at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue’s Edward Klein Memorial Library, likely containing background information on Ms. Mendheim’s undercover activities, but it is not known if SWFS still holds these papers. The Papers of Jacob Xenab Cohen (P-661) at the American Jewish Historical Society might also be relevant.

John Roy Carlson’s Under Cover: My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld of America (Dutton, 1943) may provide additional historical context. Carlson (a pseudonym for journalist Arthur Derounian) conducted an investigation similar to Florence Mendheim’s, but his became the basis for this bestselling non-fiction book.

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Separated Material

The following periodicals were removed from the collection because full runs have already been digitized or are available at the LBI library:

Aufbau (issues dated 1934-1940)
Das Schwarze Korps (1936-1939)
Der Stürmer (1933-1938)

Full issues and clippings from the New York Times, dated 1934-1941, were also removed, because their physical condition would have required extensive preservation treatment and the newspaper is widely available in digital form.

The quality of newsprint in this collection was generally poor and extremely brittle, which meant some publications and clippings were unidentifiable. Two issues of Der Adler magazine, published in Nazi-era Berlin, were fragmented beyond repair (numbers 19 and 22, 1940).

A number of kosher food guides (dated 1935-1940) were separated to the LBI library, as well as a 1945-1948 run of International Conciliation, a periodical published by the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

A small quantity of memorabilia related to the 1939 New York World’s Fair was also removed.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Florence Mendheim Collection; AR 25441; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Physical arrangement was comprehensive and the entire collection was rehoused in new folders and boxes. Duplicate copies were weeded, and rusted paperclips and staples were removed from delicate or damaged paper. Encapsulations sealed with double-sided tape, found predominantly in Series III and IV, had to be discarded, and all fragile items were placed in plastic sleeves.

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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: Anti-Semitic Publications and Ephemera, undated, 1922-1941

In English and German, with some Russian and Spanish.
Boxes 1-4: 3.75 linear feet + 9 oversized folders.
Arrangement:

Arranged in four subseries: 1: American White Supremacists, 2: German-American pro-Nazi Groups, 3: Germany, and 4: International.

Scope and Content:

Items have been included in this series for a number of reasons. Some are blunt expressions of straightforward anti-Semitism, while others simply pledge support for Germany’s National Socialist government. The vilification of “communism” or “Bolshevism” was a common tactic for camouflaging anti-Semitism and intolerance. Nationalism, patriotism, and national pride are other seemingly harmless terms that appear with frequency. In contrast, many of the ephemeral items in this series have almost no informational content but have been included because they were produced by an anti-Semitic organization. When in doubt, the archivist referred to outside sources and other archival collections to establish that a specific organization was considered a hate group.

While some of the printed matter was widely available and internationally distributed, other material is quite rare, and probably could not have been collected by Ms. Mendheim without her undercover persona.

Subseries 1: American White Supremacists, undated, 1922-1939

In English.
1 linear foot + 4 OS folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical by publication title, organization, or subject.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains periodicals, books, mailings, and other propaganda printed in the United States. In some cases, the influence of Nazism is clear (the widespread use of the swastika is one example), but early anti-Semitic texts like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and The Secret World Government predate Hitler’s regime.

Among the most prolific of the American publishers was William Dudley Pelley, founder of the Silver Legion, Pelley Publishers, and the periodicals Liberation, Pelley’s Weekly, and The Silver Legion Ranger. Another was Robert Edward Edmondson, who printed broadsides and pamphlets at a nearly daily rate as Edmondson Economic Service. Both men were defendants in the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.

A number of smaller local organizations may have been related to each other or to the German-American groups in Subseries 2. The National American newspaper looks like a continuation of the National American Bulletin and shares a mailing address with some fliers from the Nationalist Press Association, but other fliers from the American National Labor Party also claim to be associated with the publication. At the same time, there was an American Nationalist Party, an American Nationalist Press, and an American National-Socialist Movement.

The presence of The Christian Defender (two issues in Box 1, Folder 16), published by George Pagnanelli, is also noteworthy. Pagnanelli was an assumed identity used by John Roy Carlson to gather material for his book Under Cover.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11American Bulletin 1935
12American Bulletin 1936
13American Gentile - newspaper 1935- 1936
14American Nationalist Party - ephemera circa 1937
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1421Blackshirt and The Gentile Front- newspapers 1934-1935, 1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
15Christian Free Press - newspaper 1937-1938
16Christian Mobilizers - ephemera undated
17Committee of 1,000,000 - ephemera, mailings undated, 1937-1938
18Curtiss' Weekly American Bulletin 1940
19Edmondson Economic Service - ephemera, booklets, broadsides undated, 1934-1939
110Healy's Irish Weekly / The Storm - newspaper 1934-1935
111Liberation - weekly journal (Volumes 4-6) 1933-1934
112Liberation - weekly journal (Volumes 7-10) 1937-1938
113Miscellaneous anti-Semitic booklets (1 of 2) undated, 1922-1939
114Miscellaneous anti-Semitic booklets (2 of 2) undated, 1922-1939
115Miscellaneous anti-Semitic event announcements undated, 1934-1939
116Miscellaneous anti-Semitic periodicals 1934-1939
117Miscellaneous anti-Semitic propaganda, ephemera undated, circa 1932-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 471Miscellaneous pro-Nazi / anti-Semitic propaganda (oversized) undated
BoxFolderTitleDate
118National American Bulletin 1936-1937
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 491National American - newspaper 1935-1936
OSL 492National American - newspaper 1938-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
121Nationalist Press Association - leaflets undated
122Pelley Publishers - booklets undated, 1938-1939
123Pelley Publishers - ephemera undated, 1936-1938
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 142Pelley's Weekly - newspaper 1936
OS 1422Pelley's Weekly / Pelley Publishers - newspaper, ephemera 1936
BoxFolderTitleDate
125Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (versions, related publications) undated, 1934-1935
126The Secret World Government (Count Cherep-Spiridovich) 1926
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1653Silver Legion Ranger - newspaper 1933-1934
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1423Social Justice - magazine 1937-1939

Subseries 2: German American Pro-Nazi Groups, undated, 1932-1941

In English.
1.5 linear feet + 1 OS folder.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

Material in this subseries was also printed in the United States but is distinct from the previous subseries in several ways. The language used is predominantly German or a German-English combination, and the few items entirely in English are clearly addressed to German immigrants, about German-American relations, or about Germany in general.

In some cases, it may be misleading to describe this material as “American” in origin. Facts in Review, for example, was published in New York by an office of the German Consulate (Box 3, Folder 4). Whether or not this situation was true for other German-American groups became an important question and contributed to the passage of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. Officially, Germany denounced the German-American Bund, but it is unclear if they had been connected to the Nazi government at some point, or to what extent. Relationships between the various German newspapers and their publishing organizations were complex as well, with a number of changes to titles and mastheads evident in this subseries. With the exception of a single newspaper from Philadelphia, everything was printed in New York City.

While there are expressions of anti-Semitism here, the pro-German, nationalist sentiment is more dominant. It is entirely possible that some of the ephemeral items in folders 14 and 15 (Box 3) have no affiliation with Nazism at all, but they have been included for their generally pro-German content.

BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 493Amerikas Deutsche Post - newspaper (1 of 2) 1933-1934
OSL 494Amerikas Deutsche Post - newspaper (2 of 2) 1933-1934
OSL 495Die Amerika Wacht - newspaper 1936-1937
OSL 496Die Brücke / Deutsche Abwehr - newspaper 1933
OSL 497Deutsche Zeitung (1 of 6) - newspaper 1934
OSL 498Deutsche Zeitung (2 of 6) - newspaper 1934
BoxFolderTitleDate
26Deutsche Zeitung (3 of 6) - newspaper 1934
27Deutsche Zeitung (4 of 6) - newspaper 1934
28Deutsche Zeitung (5 of 6) - newspaper 1934
29Deutsche Zeitung (6 of 6) - newspaper 1934
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1652Deutscher Beobachter (1 of 3) - newspaper 1934-1935
OS 1652Deutscher Beobachter (2 of 3) - newspaper 1934-1935
OS 1652Deutscher Beobachter (3 of 3) - newspaper 1934-1935
BoxFolderTitleDate
213Deutscher Kulturkampfbund "Edda" - ephemera undated, 1935-1938
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1652Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter (1 of 6) - newspaper 1935-1941
OS 1652Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter (2 of 6) - newspaper 1935-1941
OS 1652Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter (3 of 6) - newspaper 1935-1941
OS 1651Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter (4 of 6) - newspaper 1935-1941
OS 1651Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter (5 of 6) - newspaper 1935-1941
OS 1651Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter (6 of 6) - newspaper 1935-1941
BoxFolderTitleDate
34Facts in Review - journal 1939-1941
35Friends of the New Germany - ephemera, mailings undated, 1933-1936
36Friends of the New Germany - events, fliers undated, 1933-1936
37German American Bund - ephemera, yearbooks undated, 1937-1940
38German American Business League (DKV) - trade guides undated, 1937-1938
39German-American Commerce Bulletin 1934-1939
310German-American Commercial League (DHV) - ephemera, trade guides 1933-1935
311German American Economic Alliance (DAWA) - ephemera, trade guides undated, 1934-1935
312"German Day" programs 1933-1937
313Junges Volk and Jungsturm - magazines 1934, 1937-1940
314Literary societies and booksellers ephemera undated, 1932-1939
315Miscellaneous commercial and entertainment ephemera undated, 1934-1938
316Miscellaneous German-American groups and events ephemera undated, 1933-1941
317Miscellaneous German-American periodicals 1933-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 472Miscellaneous posters - local German-American events 1934-1940
BoxFolderTitleDate
318Miscellaneous pro-Nazi booklets (English and German) undated, 1934-1939
319Das Neue Deutschland / Die Brücke - newspaper 1933
320Der Stahlhelm Bund - ephemera 1934-1935
321Youth group ephemera, booklets undated, 1935-1939

Subseries 3: Germany, undated, 1924-1941

In German, English, and some Spanish.
1 linear foot + 4 OS folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

Contents of this subseries were produced in Germany, mostly under the Nazi regime. The efficacy of the Third Reich’s propaganda campaign is well documented, but this collection includes some early and less well-known examples, like tourist guides and travel brochures to Germany. Materials are in German unless indicated otherwise by the folder title. Box 4, Folder 15 is the only exception, containing two English issues of the eugenics journal RAK with the translated title Racio-Political Foreign Correspondence.

Leaflets from the Deutscher Fichte-Bund (Box 3, Folder 25) are undated, but were likely printed between 1920 and 1940. This collection contains various leaflets numbered from 53 to 572.

Ludendorff Publications (Box 4, Folder 3) includes the writings of General Erich Ludendorff, his wife Mathilde, and other titles from their press.

BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 473The American Illustrated News: Olympic Number (English) 1936
BoxFolderTitleDate
322Antikomintern News Service bulletins (English) 1935
323Der Auslanddeutsche Beobachter - magazine 1932
324Der Deutsche Seemann - magazine 1933-1934
325Deutscher Fichte-Bund - leaflets (English, German, Spanish) undated
326Deutsches Wollen - magazine 1939
327Deutschland - travel magazine 1938
328German travel and tourism booklets (English) undated
329Germany - travel magazine (English) 1934-1938
330Goebbels, Joseph - speeches (English) 1935-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
41Hitler, Adolf - speeches (English, German, Spanish) 1933-1939
42Der Judenkenner - newspaper 1936-1939
43Ludendorff publications (Erich and Mathilde) 1932-1937
44Miscellaneous German booklets 1924-1934
45Miscellaneous German booklets 1935-1939
46Miscellaneous German ephemera undated, 1935-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 474Miscellaneous German ephemera, posters (oversized) undated, 1933
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1424Miscellaneous German newspapers, magazines (oversized) undated, 1933-1936
OS 1425Miscellaneous German newspapers, magazines (oversized) 1938-1941
BoxFolderTitleDate
47Miscellaneous German periodicals 1933-1937
48Miscellaneous German periodicals 1938-1939
49Miscellaneous Nazi booklets 1933-1939
410Miscellaneous Nazi booklets (English) 1933-1939
411Miscellaneous unidentified postcards, photograph, ephemera undated
412Nationalpolitische Aufklärungsschriften - booklets 1 - 7 1935-1936
413Nordland - newspaper 1936-1939
414Passing through Germany - guidebook, 8th edition (English) 1931
415RAK: Rassenpolitische Auslands-Korrespondenz - magazine 1937-1939
416Rosenberg, Alfred - speeches, publications 1933-1938
417Travel brochures, maps, guides to Germany undated, 1933-1939
418Travel brochures, maps, guides to Germany (English) undated, 1936-1939

Subseries 4: International, undated, 1932-1939

In English, German, and Russian.
0.25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains materials from countries other than Germany or the United States. A number of the British publications are the work of L. Fry, who was actively publishing in the U.S. as well (see also Christian Free Press, Box 1, Folder 5). Other items include an Austrian-published book by Franz Haiser and a Russian-language book published in Shanghai by anti-Bolshevist ex-patriots.

BoxFolderTitleDate
419Austrian, Canadian, (Shanghai) Russian anti-Semitic publications undated, 1932-1937
420The Free Press - newspaper 1938-1939
421The Imperial Fascist League - booklets, newspaper 1937-1938
422Militant Christian Patriots - book, booklets undated, 1938
423Miscellaneous British anti-Semitic booklets 1933-1937
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Series II: Related Subject Files and Periodicals, undated, 1928-1953

In English, German, Arabic, French, Italian, and Yiddish.
Boxes 4-9: 4.75 linear feet + 12 OS folders.
Arrangement:

Arranged in seven subseries: 1: Anti-Nazi Campaigns and Refugee Aid Organizations, 2: Civil Rights, Equality, and Tolerance Movements, 3: Jewish Life, 4: Periodicals and General Subject Files, 5: Politics, 6: Religion, and 7: Zionism.

Scope and Content:

While the significance of this portion of Ms. Mendheim’s collection is not always obvious, the remaining material has been retained and divided into smaller subject-based subseries, as described below. Document types consist of periodicals and clippings, propaganda, community news bulletins, books, solicitation mailings from charity associations and societies, and a variety of miscellaneous print formats. Most items were published locally, and international publications are noted in folder titles.

Subseries 1: Anti-Nazi Campaigns and Refugee Aid Organizations, undated, 1932-1939

In English, German, French, and Yiddish.
0.5 linear feet + 1 OS folder.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

Material in this subseries was produced by a number of organizations, small and large, Jewish and non-Jewish, in response to the actions of the Nazi regime in Germany. Among the items of interest are German-language periodicals printed in Berlin, Prague, and Vienna (Box 5, Folder 7), and materials from the German-American group Deutschamerikanischer Kulturverband (Box 5, Folders 1 and 6). Ephemera include cartoons satirizing Hitler and a pin promoting the Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator (Box 4, Folder 29). Folders on European war relief (Box 5, Folders 12-13) differ from the rest in that they do not necessarily represent organized opposition efforts. These are instead subject files compiled of various documents types concerning events in Czechoslovakia, Finland, Greece, and Yugoslavia.

BoxFolderTitleDate
424American Committee for Anti-Nazi Literature undated, 1938
425American Jewish Congress - anti-Nazi material undated, 1933-1938
426American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee - ephemera 1933-1938
427American League Against War and Fascism undated, 1935
428The Anti-Nazi Bulletin / Economic Bulletin - periodical 1934-1940
429Anti-Nazi clippings, ephemera - American undated, 1933-1941
BoxFolderTitleDate
51Anti-Nazi ephemera - German-American undated, 1933-1937
52Anti-Nazi ephemera - Jewish organizations undated, 1934-1939
53Anti-Nazi ephemera, literature - international undated, 1933-1936
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1426Anti-Nazi ephemera, periodicals (miscellaneous oversized) 1933-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
54Anti-Nazi Federation of New York undated, 1934-1936
55Anti-Nazi literature - booklets, pamphlets 1933-1940
56Anti-Nazi periodicals - German-American 1933-1939
57Anti-Nazi periodicals - international 1933-1938
58Anti-Nazi, pro-tolerance periodicals - American 1937-1939
59Anti-Nazi rally (Madison Square Garden) December 13, 1939
510Citizens' Rally Against Oppression (Carnegie Hall) December 9, 1938
511Committee to Aid Victims of German Fascism (national and local) undated, 1933-1935
512Czechoslovakia war relief - clippings, ephemera, and pamphlets 1938-1940
513European countries - conditions and relief efforts - booklets, clippings, ephemera 1934-1945
514The Idealist - periodical 1936-1941
515Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights undated,1937-1940
516Refugee aid 1941-1943
517Refugee aid - Jewish organizations 1934-1939
518United Jewish Appeal for Refugees 1939-1940
519Washington Heights Anti-Nazi Committee undated, 1934-1935

Subseries 2: Civil Rights, Equality, and Tolerance Movements, undated, 1931-1945

In English.
0.25 linear feet + 1 OS item.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This subseries is closely related to the previous one except the materials do not directly address Nazi ideology or actions. Organizations represented here likely shared common ground with those above (or were, in some cases, the same groups), but this material engages a broader range of concerns. Although efforts to combat anti-Semitism were galvanized by the conflict in Europe, Jewish groups were already conscious of the issue. An increasingly diverse American population was the topic of the radio series “Americans All – Immigrants All,” produced by President Roosevelt’s Office of Education (see Box 5, Folder 23) to describe the cultural contributions of ethnic minorities in the United States. These cultural encounters were not without conflict, however, as documented by early stages of the American Civil Rights movement (Box 5, Folders 25 and 28).

BoxFolderTitleDate
520Advocacy against anti-Semitism undated, 1933-1943
521Advocacy against anti-Semitism (Jewish organizations) undated, 1932-1940
522American Jewish Congress - campaigns against anti-Semitism 1933-1938
523"Americans All--Immigrants All" radio series ephemera 1938-1939
524Anti-Defamation League (B'nai B'rith) - booklets, ephemera undated, 1933-1938
525Civil liberties, equality, and race - ephemera 1934-1940
526Interfaith religious organizations, events - clippings, ephemera, periodicals 1931-1940
527National Conference of Jews and Christians - bulletins, ephemera 1933-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 475"Plymouth Rock and Ellis Island" by Louis Adamic - broadside undated
BoxFolderTitleDate
528Southern Conference for Human Welfare undated, 1945
529World Alliance for Combating Anti-Semitism (London) undated

Subseries 3: Jewish Life, undated, 1932-1953

In English, German, and Yiddish.
1.5 linear feet + 2 OS folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

Ms. Mendheim was active in the Jewish community and it is likely that much of the material collected in this subseries was of personal interest to her. A large portion comes from the American Jewish Congress, as well as community newspapers and local synagogues. Reactions to the pro-Nazi sentiment at home and the disquiet abroad are evident throughout.

BoxFolderTitleDate
530American Jewish Congress - annual session May 20-23, 1933
531American Jewish Congress - annual session October 29-31, 1938
532American Jewish Congress - annual session February 10-12, 1940
533American Jewish Congress Courier - periodical 1933
534American Jewish Congress - emergency conference on Poland June 10, 1937
535American Jewish Congress - executive committee meeting August 20-21, 1933
536American Jewish Congress - news bulletins and statements 1932
537American Jewish Congress - news bulletins and statements 1933
538American Jewish Congress - news bulletins and statements 1934
539American Jewish Congress - news bulletins and statements 1935
540American Jewish Congress - news bulletins and statements undated
541American Jewish Congress - mailings, print ephemera undated, 1933-1953
542B'nai B'rith ephemera 1937-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
61Educational and entertainment ephemera (Jewish) 1934-1941
62Free Synagogue announcements and bulletins 1933-1940
63German-Jewish businesses and organizations - ephemera undated, 1934-1938
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1427Idishe Bilder (אידישע בילדער) - periodical (Latvia) 1937
BoxFolderTitleDate
64The Jewish Center Bulletin 1937-1941
65Jewish community events and synagogue announcements - ephemera 1933-1947
66The Jewish Forum - periodical 1938-1940
67Jewish Frontier - periodical 1934-1937
68Jewish life - booklets and information 1935-1939
69Jewish life - clippings 1932-1940
610Jewish periodicals 1933-1943
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1428Jewish Periodicals (oversized) 1935-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
611Jewish Review - newspaper (1 of 3) 1939
612Jewish Review - newspaper (2 of 3) 1939
613Jewish Review - newspaper (3 of 3) 1939
614The Jewish Spectator - periodical 1937-1939
615Jews in the military - ephemera and periodical 1934-1937
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1655The New York Jewish News - newspaper 1937-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
617Temple of Solomon model by Jacob Jehuda circa 1939

Subseries 4: Periodicals and General Subject Files, undated, 1926-1950

In English and German.
1 linear foot + 6 OS folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains nationally distributed periodicals and those smaller publications excluded by other series. In most cases these are related to the broader topics of war, anti-Semitism, international events, and economic policy. Even library staff publications (Box 6, Folder 24; Box 7, Folders 12, 17-19), which would seem to be most closely related to Ms. Mendheim’s professional life, engage in debates about organized labor, “fascist” management practices, patriotism, and freedom of expression versus hate speech.

Local African-American newspapers (Box 6, Folder 19) may have interested Ms. Mendheim for other reasons, but articles on anti-Semite Sufi Abdul Hamid (otherwise known as the “Black Hitler of Harlem”) are clearly relevant.

Issues of New Masses magazine include a ten-part series on American anti-Semitism that covers some of the hate groups represented in Ms. Mendheim’s collection (Box 7, Folders 15-16). Bulletins from the Institute for Propaganda Analysis (Box 7, Folder 22) likewise identify and discuss publications in Series I of this collection.

The National Association of Manufacturers’ You and Industry booklet series (Box, Folder 22) meanwhile explain subjects like the superiority of “The American Standard of Living” and “The American Way,” perhaps following the advice of reports issued by General Motors claiming that public relations is “Industry’s No. 1 Job” (Box 7, Folder 5).

Print ephemera in this subseries are predominantly commercial in nature, connected to advertising and entertainment. Among these are tourism-related materials (separate from Series I, Subseries 3) promoting travel to Austria, Bermuda, Cuba, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, South America, Switzerland, the U.K., and within the U.S. One tourist’s guide, dated 1950, invites visitors to the newly minted State of Israel.

Subject files compiled on other countries or regions (India, Poland, Russia, and the Near East) contain a variety of material types, from advertisements and concert programs to newsletters, articles, clippings, magazines, government reports, and books, such as Gandhi’s My Appeal to the British.

BoxFolderTitleDate
618Advertisements - books and magazines undated, 1935-1941
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1656African-American newspapers 1934
BoxFolderTitleDate
620Asia magazine 1937-1938
621Birth control and contraception - booklets and ephemera 1933-1939
622British Ministry of Information / Information Services - booklets and periodicals 1941-1944
623The Catholic Worker - periodical 1936-1939
624The Class Mark - New York Public Library communist league periodical 1935-1938
625Clippings - anti-Semitism and Nazis 1933-1938
626Clippings - general interest and politics 1933-1940
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 476Clippings - general interest and politics (oversized) 1934-1940
BoxFolderTitleDate
71Clippings - Hitler 1933-1937
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1429Clippings - New York Post 1938-1940
BoxFolderTitleDate
72Clippings - Palestine undated, 1936-1938
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1654The Daily Worker - periodical 1933-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
74Economic and financial news periodicals 1938-1940
75Economics and industry - annual reports, articles, ephemera 1933-1945
76Educational events, debates, and lectures - ephemera 1933-1940
77Entertainment ephemera - art, dance, music, and theater 1934-1941
78Foreign Policy Association - bulletins and ephemera 1937-1940
79Foreign policy - booklets 1938-1946
710India - booklets, clippings, and ephemera 1938-1945
711Labor, Socialist, and Union periodicals 1936-1940
712The Library Lions - New York Public Library staff periodical 1937-1941
713The Nation - magazine 1934-1936
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 14210Neue Volks-Zeitung - German-American newspaper 1933-1937
BoxFolderTitleDate
714New History - Bahai periodical 1937-1943
715New Masses magazine (1 of 2) 1934
716New Masses magazine (2 of 2) 1934-1938
717New York Public Library - clippings, ephemera, and pension information 1926-1947
718New York Public Library Staff News 1928-1946
719New York State employee and government information 1936-1946
720Periodicals - general interest 1933-1941
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 477Periodicals - general interest (OS) 1933-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
721Poland - appeals, clippings, and reports 1933-1944
722Propaganda - analysis and reports 1935-1939
723Russia and the Soviet Union 1934-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 14211Schweizer Illustrierte Zeitung - magazine (Switzerland) 1941
BoxFolderTitleDate
724Spanish Civil War 1937-1938
725Syria, Turkey, and the Near East 1936-1938
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 14212Today (Journal of Public Affairs) - periodical 1934-1935
BoxFolderTitleDate
726Travel brochures and tourist guides - European and international 1936-1950
727Travel brochures and tourist guides - the U.S. and the Americas undated, 1933-1939
728Travel brochures and tourist guides - to Germany 1935-1938
729Wiener Magazin (Austria) 1937
730Works Progress Administration adult education courses undated
731World Events (Nofrontier News Service) - periodical 1936-1939
732You and Industry booklet series 1938

Subseries 5: Politics, undated, 1934-1941

In English with some German and Yiddish.
0.25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This subseries consists primarily of political propaganda, much of it concerning the 1940 presidential contest between Franklin D. Roosevelt (running for his unprecedented third-term) and Republican Wendell Willkie. Related patriotic memorabilia includes miniature American flags and pins with campaign slogans for and against both candidates.

Many of the “anti-communist” groups, including America First and American Patriots, were accused of anti-Semitism or included accused anti-Semites in their membership (such as Charles Lindbergh). Debate on immigration policy (Box 7, Folder 37) was similarly affected by anti-immigration arguments based on the perceived threat of communist influence.

BoxFolderTitleDate
733America First - ephemera undated, 1934
734American Patriots, Inc. - ephemera undated, 1939
735Anti-communist booklets and ephemera 1937-1939
736Anti-war organizations and events - ephemera undated, 1937-1940
737Immigration policy 1939-1940
738Labor, Socialist, and Union movements - booklets and ephemera undated, 1934-1941
BoxFolderTitleDate
81Patriotic ephemera and government information 1933-1940
82Politics - anti-Roosevelt propaganda undated, 1936-1940
83Politics - Communist Party propaganda undated, 1933-1940
84Politics - local election propaganda undated, 1936-1946
85Politics - pro-Roosevelt propaganda undated, 1936-1940
86Politics - Wendell Willkie propaganda (1 of 2) undated, 1939-1940
87Politics - Wendell Willkie propaganda (2 of 2) undated, 1939-1940

Subseries 6: Religion, undated, 1926-1941

In English, Italian, and Yiddish.
0.25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This subseries includes religious tracts of an evangelical nature as well as periodicals and other religious readings with less conspicuous intentions. It is not clear if Ms. Mendheim was personally interested in exploring different faiths or if she saw something troubling in the publications aimed specifically at a Jewish audience. The Seventh-day Adventists, for example, printed their leaflet series This Generation in both English and Yiddish editions, and the American Board of Missions to the Jews published tracts with Yiddish text as well. Also included is a Yiddish translation of the Gospel of John, distributed by the British and Foreign Bible Society (Box 8, Folder 14).

The Piedmont Announcements, published by a small Congregationalist college in rural Georgia, don’t appear overtly anti-Semitic, but the college itself came under fire at a later date for accepting funding from an Aryan-supremacist organization.

BoxFolderTitleDate
88Astrology, mysticism, and occult religion - ephemera and periodicals undated, 1936-1939
89Atheism, Ethical Culture, and Humanism - ephemera and publications undated, 1939-1940
810Catholic booklets, ephemera, periodicals 1934-1941
811The Converted Catholic - periodical 1940
812The Paulist Press - religious pamphlets undated, 1937
813Piedmont College - announcements and religious bulletins 1938-1943
814Religious tracts and ephemera - Christian, Jehovah's Witness, and Messianic Jews undated, 1926-1937
815Seventh-day Adventist ephemera and periodicals 1932-1934

Subseries 7: Zionism, undated, 1933-1948

In English, German, Arabic, and Yiddish.
1 linear foot + 2 OS folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

A large quantity of material in Series II is related to the topic Zionism, and the bulk of this solicits support and donations for various Zionist organizations. The language of these solicitations often positions Jewish emigration to Palestine as the only rebuttal to the persecutions of the Jews during World War II.

Among the earlier Zionist publications was the German newspaper Jüdische Rundschau (several issues, Box 8, Folder 23) which ceased publication after the Kristallnacht pogroms. Aside from this and a few publications from England or Palestine, the majority of these Zionist materials were created in New York.

On the other hand, anti-Zionist literature was also produced in both New York and London, by the Arab National League and The Arab Centre (Box 8, Folders 18-19). Additional, miscellaneous Arabic-language material (Folder 20) includes a New York newspaper called Al-Bayan and unidentified correspondence on stationery with a Cairo address.

BoxFolderTitleDate
816American League for a Free Palestine - appeals, bulletins, ephemera undated, 1946-1947
817Antifa / Jewish-Arab solidarity 1936-1937
818The Arab Centre / Palestine Information Centre (London) - ephemera and pamphlets 1936-1938
819The Arab National League - booklets and ephemera 1936-1937
820Arabic-language ephemera and newspaper undated, 1937
821Biro-Bidjan and the Freeland League - ephemera undated
822Jewish National Fund - appeals, bulletins, ephemera undated, 1945
823Jüdische Rundschau - newspaper (Berlin) 1934, 1937
824League for the American Hospital in Palestine - ephemera 1937-1938
825The New Palestine - newspaper 1936-1939
826New Zionist Organization of America - appeals and ephemera 1937-1940
827Non-Zionist Jews - ephemera 1938-1948
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 478Palestine - clippings, ephemera, periodicals, and posters (oversized) 1939-1942
OSL 479Palestine - New York Herald Tribune foldout (oversized) 1934
BoxFolderTitleDate
828The Palestine Mandate - book 1936
829Pro-Palestine Federation of America - appeals and ephemera 1938
830The Pro-Palestine Herald - periodical 1932-1939
831United Palestine Appeal - ephemera and mailings 1937-1947
832Zionism - booklets in Yiddish 1937
BoxFolderTitleDate
91Zionism - books and booklets 1935-1937
92Zionism - books and booklets (from Jerusalem) 1936-1937
93Zionism - books and pamphlets 1938-1947
94Zionism - books and pamphlets (from London) 1936-1938
95Zionist Organization of America - ephemera and publications (1 of 2) 1937-1947
96Zionist Organization of America - ephemera and publications (2 of 2) 1937-1947
97Zionist organizations - appeals, bulletins, ephemera (1 of 2) undated, 1934-1948
98Zionist organizations - appeals, bulletins, ephemera (2 of 2) undated, 1934-1948
99Zionist periodicals 1933-1947
910Zionist periodicals (in Yiddish) 1939-1940
911Zionist periodicals (from Palestine) 1936-1939
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Series III: Personal and Professional Files, undated, 1917-1947

In English, with some German and Yiddish.
Box 9: 0.35 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This series contains manuscripts and documents related to Florence Mendheim, her family, and her work. This includes personal and professional correspondence, drafts of her own creative writing, educational records, and first-hand narrative accounts of meetings of the Friends of the New Germany.

These last items (Box 9, Folders 21-22) are presumably copies or drafts of the reports she submitted to Rabbi J.X. Cohen, but this is a matter of some mystery, as are many of the details of their correspondence (Box 9, Folder 14). Among these curiosities is a set of photographs taken in Berlin in 1936 of roads, street signs, and an empty park. The accompanying inventory, from Cohen, indicates three photos are missing.

Additionally, a number of aliases appear in this series. In their correspondence, Ms. Mendheim and Rabbi Cohen used the code names KQX and JXC respectively (although not consistently). When attending Nazi meetings or rallies, Mendheim assumed the name Gertrude Mueller (or Müller) and used a different mailing address (see Box 9, Folder 17). She adopted a third pseudonym, Anna Hitler, in order to contact potential family members of Adolf Hitler living in the United States.

The miscellaneous contents of Box 9, Folder 18 include numerous business cards and contact lists the archivist could not identify as personal, professional, or related to undercover work. Other print items in this folder are placed here because they are heavily annotated by Ms. Mendheim and seem to have been used for note-taking.

Library staff publications and the New York State employee materials located in Box 7, Folder 19 are closely related to Ms. Mendheim’s professional correspondence. Professional awards include bronze and silver NYPL service medals.

BoxFolderTitleDate
912Correspondence 1934-1944
913Correspondence - A.B. Elias (Pro-Palestine Federation) 1937-1938
914Correspondence and expense reports - Rabbi J.X. Cohen undated, 1933-1940
915Correspondence - Hitler genealogy research 1933
916Correspondence - professional (New York Public Library) 1917-1947
917Correspondence - undercover (as Gertrude Mueller) 1933
918Miscellaneous notes undated
919Nazi office diagrams and application forms undated, 1933-1934
920Professional awards and certificates 1917-1947
921Undercover reports 1933-1934
922Undercover reports (incomplete) undated
923Writings undated, 1933-1940
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Series IV: Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Exhibit, 1992-1994

In English.
Box 9: 0.15 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

The last series postdates the bulk of the collection and contains documents that describe the collection’s accession by the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and its subsequent use in a public exhibit, as well as some materials created for the exhibit. These include photographs, guest book comments, and local newspaper reviews of the show, entitled The New York Nazis and the Synagogue Spy, or: What’s a Nice Jewish Girl Doing in a Place Like This? Background and biographical information on Ms. Mendheim was supplied by her brother Arthur, who donated the collection and sat for an oral history interview. Notes from the interview are included, but not the audio tape.

BoxFolderTitleDate
924Accession, background, and research material 1992-1994
925Exhibit documentation - clippings, correspondence, photographs, press releases 1992-1994
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 14213Photograph of Florence Mendheim circa 1934 (oversized print) 1993
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