Guide to the Papers of Louis E. Shecter (1900-), undated, 1921-1989


Processed by Jason Schechter

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 Jason Schechter as MS Word document, June 5, 2002. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on June 30, 2009. Finding aid written in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator:Louis E. Shecter
Title:Louis E. Shecter, papers
Dates:undated, 1921-1989
Abstract:The collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to the activities of Louis E. Shecter, a Baltimore advertising executive, art collector, and former president of the local branch of the American Jewish Congress. It includes several articles written by him, as well as the replies of 10 U.S. Senators, 1 Representative, and 2 Maryland government officials to Shecter's request that they describe their impression of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in a one-sentence statement.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 1 linear foot (2 manuscript boxes)
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Biographical Note

Louis E. Shecter (1900-?)

In 1918, Louis E. Shecter graduated from City College High School in Baltimore, MD. He began writing for the Baltimore American, but then started in advertising by working at the Joseph Katz Co. Advertising Agency. By 1926, he had transferred to the Hecht Brothers Stores and was the director of advertising. It was not long before Shecter was winning awards for his male clothing advertisements and campaigns. Success came easily to Shecter. He established his own advertising firm Shecter & Levin with his friend Jack Levin.

At an early age Shecter began to gain an eye for artwork - a passion that would influence the rest of his life. For over forty years, Shecter acquired, displayed, and donated paintings and sculptures. He has a particular fascination with bronzes. Settling outside of Baltimore, MD with his wife Rosalyn and sons Allan and Mark, Louis Shecter collected great pieces of artwork. He was very generous with all of his acquisitions, holding exhibitions of his private collections in local Baltimore banks and galleries. He donated large amounts of work to governments, especially the State Department and Menachem Begin, and was visited often by international dignitaries, especially for his ancient Asian sculptures.

More than just an art collector, Shecter was also very involved with human rights and Israel in the 1960s and 1970s. He was chairman of the National Commission on Ratification of the Genocide Convention, vice-chairman on International Affairs for the American Jewish Congress, chairman of the Baltimore Chapter of the Commission to End Arab Discrimination, and president of the Baltimore Branch of the American Jewish Congress. He and his wife Rosalyn visited Israel only six months after the Six-Day War, touring all of the recently gained territory, including the West Bank.

Rosalyn Shecter was a very active person, too. She was an amateur sculptor served as both chairman and vice-chairman of the Maryland Board of Motion Picture Censors. She wrote a book Open Letter to the Supreme Court proposing anti-pornographic legislation. Both she and Louis write prolifically, having their articles in local newspapers. Later in their lives, Rosalyn and Louis Shecter traveled extensively around Europe and Israel.

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Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Louis E. Shecter contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, photographs, and pamphlets concerning Shecter's art collection, his donations of artwork, and his activity in the American Jewish Congress and with Israel later in life. The collection is entirely in English.

Shecter collected art very early in his life and with his success in the advertising industry, he was able to amass a great private collection, specializing in ancient Asian and bronze sculptures. His collections of bronzes were constantly viewed by international dignitaries at his home outside of Baltimore, MD, or on public exhibitions in local Baltimore galleries. Shecter was very generous with his collections and many of the press releases, letters, and clipping in the collection pertain to his various gifts of artwork to museums and government agencies. He donated works to the State Department, the Baltimore Jewish Museum, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore Hebrew College, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art amongst other public institutions.

Shecter also became very involved with the American Jewish Congress and the National Committee for the Ratification of the Genocide Convention in the 1960s and 1970s. There is a detailed account from a trip he and his wife Roslyn took six months after the Six-Day War in 1967 and numerous correspondence with government officials concerning American-Israeli relations. Notable correspondence is held with Menachem Begin, Edward Kennedy, Sen. Jacob Javits, and Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek.

The collection would be of interest to those researching the Jewish experience in Maryland, Shecter's art collection, activities of the American Jewish Congress during the 1960s and 1970s, and Louis Shecter's strong political connections in the United States and Israel. There is also interesting correspondence from U.S. Congressmen detailing their perspective after the assassination of President Kennedy. Photographs of interest were taken with Edward Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Henry Kissinger with Louis Shecter. The collection also holds material concerning his wife - Rosalyn Shecter's position on the Maryland Board of Motion Picture Censors and his son - Mark Shecter's career as an artist. The collection is divided into two boxes.

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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

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Related Material

Shecter, Louis E., Papers, 1921-1982. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH.
Louis E. Shecter collection, 1921-1985. Jewish Museum of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.
Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1965. Special Collections, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Louis E. Shecter, papers; P-165; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

Louis E. Shecter donated his papers to the American Jewish Historical Society in 1967.

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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.

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Papers of Louis E. Shecter, undated, 1928-1983

Boxes 1-2.
1 1 Advertising Career undated, 1928-1930, 1935, 1954, 1958, 1961-1964, 1981 request_box
1 2 Art Collector undated, 1963-1983 request_box
1 3 Published & Unpublished Articles by Shecters undated, 1964, 1967-1969, 1974, 1983 request_box
1 4 National Committee for Ratification of Genocide Convention undated, 1955, 1961-1967, 1970, 1976-1981 request_box
1 5 Material & Correspondence about JFK undated, 1960, 1963-1965 request_box
1 6 Personal Correspondence 1983, 1988-1989 request_box
1 7 Personal Correspondence with H.L. Mencken undated, 1921-1925, 1930 request_box
1 8 Letter to Yuri V. Andropov 1983 request_box
1 9 Correspondence re: The Wisconsin Railroad 1954 request_box
1 10 Correspondence re: Letters & Packages to Menachem Begin 1978, 1980-1983 request_box
1 11 Letter from Sec. Of State George Shultz undated request_box
1 12 Correspondence with Edward M. Kennedy 1982-1985 request_box
1 13 Correspondence with George McGovern re: McGovern Campaign 1972 request_box
1 14 Correspondence re: Anti-Semitism, Racism, Religious Intolerance undated, 1983 request_box
2 1 Miscellaneous Correspondence undated, 1956, 1963, 1965-1984 request_box
2 2 Miscellaneous request_box
2 3 President of Baltimore Branch of the American Jewish Congress request_box
2 4 Rosalyn Shecter request_box
2 5 Open Letter to the Supreme Court by Rosalyn M. Shecter 1970 request_box
2 6 Photographs re: Art undated, 1966, 1975, 1980, 1982 request_box
2 7 Photographs re: General request_box
2 8 Mark Shecter undated, 1957, 1961, 1963-1977, 1979-1983 request_box
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