Guide to the Papers of Rabbi David B. Alpert (1899-1982), 1924-1981

Reprocessed by Judith Garner and Stephanie Call (December 2007)

American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 226-1245



© 2015, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on December 19, 2007. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Alpert, David B. (1899-1982)
Title: David B. Alpert papers
Abstract: Rabbi of Boston. Diaries containing notes and reflections on religious and personal matters, on a trip to Israel and Europe, and on current political events. Includes general observations of a hospital chaplain and background information on patients at Boston City Hospital where Alpert served as the Jewish chaplain; includes material from the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis and the Eastern New England Conference of Liberal Rabbis. Material also consists of a scrap book containing newspaper editorials by Alpert, 1945-1949, a booklet containing hand-written notes on the first meeting of Central Conference of American Rabbis in Israel, 1970, as well as newspaper clippings pertaining to the biography of the rabbi and a short, reflective essay, 1979.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (5 manuscript boxes)
Identification: P-82
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located at AJHS, Boston, MA.
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Biographical Note

Rabbi David B. Alpert (1899-1982)

Rabbi David Alpert was born in Boston in 1900. A graduate of Boston University College of Liberal Arts, Harvard Divinity School and the Jewish Institute of Religion, Alpert was the first Boston born Rabbi and the youngest to be appointed to his own congregation. After serving in World War I, at the age of 24, Alpert was appointed Rabbi of Congregation Beth Hasholom in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. By the 1930s he was living in the Boston area, where he was involved in Jewish chaplaincy at local hospitals, mental health institutions, and in 1947, the State Department. Among those institutions served by Alpert were Boston City Hospital, Jewish Memorial Hospital, Wrenthem State School, Walter E. Fernald State School, Worcester State Hospital, Foxborough State Hospital, and Grafton State Hospital. A prolific writer, Alpert had numerous articles published in local Jewish newspapers. He and his wife Jeannette had a son, Frank. Alpert died in 1982.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection includes numerous diaries written by DBA from the 1940s to early 1980s. In addition to the diaries, the collection also contains copies of newspaper articles penned by DBA on Jewish issues, as well as minutes and notes from various rabbinical conferences. DBA's Jewish chaplaincy work is reflected in the newsletters and correspondence written on behalf of the institution, although the bulk of newsletters is from Boston City Hospital.

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The collection is divided into two series, as described below:

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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 Executive Director 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

Jewish Memorial Hospital and Rehabilitation Center (Roxbury, Mass.), I-336

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); David B. Alpert papers; P-82; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to AJHS between 1970 and 1980 by Rabbi David B. Alpert.

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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.


Series I: Diaries, 1946-1959, 1963-1981

The Series is in English.
1.75 linear feet. Boxes 1-4.


Scope and Content:

This series contains the many diaries and journals kept by DBA throughout the majority of his rabbinical career. One diary includes a note to his son, Frank, to either destroy the diaries upon DBA's death or donate them to Hebrew Union College. In his diaries, DBA not only reflects on religious and philosophical readings, but also writes of his feelings of isolations within the Jewish community and among his peers.

1 1-3 Diaries 1946-1959 request_box
2 1 "Bedside notes based on the Prophet Jeremiah while in the Hospital" 1963 request_box
2 2 Diaries 1964-1968 request_box
2 3 "At the Desk" 1969 request_box
2 4 Diaries 1969-1970 request_box
3 1-7 Diaries 1970-1977 request_box
4 1-5 Diaries 1977-1981 request_box
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Series II: General, 1924-1937, 1945-1954, 1958-1967, 1970, 1979

The Series is in English.
0.75 linear feet. Boxes 4-5.

Alphabetical by folder and chronological.

Scope and Content:

This series includes numerous newsletters written by DBA when he was the Jewish Chaplain at Boston City Hospital and Jewish Memorial Hospital, as well as conference material and notes from rabbinical conferences. News clippings, which were once part of a scrapbook, are also included, and contain many articles and letters to the Editor written by Alpert from the 1920s to 1950s.

4 6 Boston City Hospital: Correspondence: Misc. Materials 1952-1954 request_box
4 7 Central Conference of American Rabbis: Notes on First Conference 1970 request_box
4 8 "Citations" 1962-1967, 1979 request_box
5 1 ENECLRA (Eastern New England Conference of Liberal Rabbis): Meeting Minutes & Notes 1958-1959 request_box
5 2 ENECLRA: Correspondence of Miscellaneous Materials 1958-1959 request_box
5 3 Massachusetts Board of Rabbis: Correspondence and Meeting Minutes 1960 request_box
5 4 Massachusetts Board of Rabbis: Correspondence, Meeting Minutes and Miscellaneous Materials 1961-1962 request_box
5 5-7 News Clippings 1924-1937, 1945-1951 request_box
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