Guide to the Papers of Philip W. Lown, undated, 1913-1975 [bulk 1944-1974]
 
*P-162

Processed by Lael Dalal and Kelsey Sawyer

American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 226-1245

Email: reference@ajhsboston.org

URL: http://www.ajhsboston.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Lael Dalal and Kelsey Sawyer as MS Word document, May 2012. Finding aid was encoded by Christine McEvilly on July 7, 2012. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lown, Philip W.
Ben-Gurion, David
Kallen, Horace M.
Konvitz, Milton
Goldmann, Nachum
Sachar, Arbam L.
Sonneborn, Rudolf G.
Title: Philip W. Lowan, Papers
Dates:undated, 1913-1975 [bulk 1944-1974]
Abstract: Philip W. Lown was a businessman, philanthropist, and leading figure in the Jewish Community. In 1926, he became a joint owner of the Pilgrim Shoe Company in Auburn, Maine, and later president of Penobscot Shoe Company and Lown Shoes Inc. Starting in 1937 and up to his death, Lown worked philanthropically within the Jewish community, most notably in Jewish education. He served on such boards as the American Association for Jewish Education, the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, and the World Council on Jewish Education. He also founded the Lown School of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Graduate Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis University. This collection contains Lown’s autobiographical and biographical memoirs, writings, speeches, notes, personal correspondence, honors, photographs, and news clippings.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 1 linear foot (2 manuscript boxes)
Identification: P-162
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
Return to the Top of Page

Biographical Note1

Philip W. Lown (1890-1976)

Philip W. Lown was born in Lithuania in 1890, which was then occupied by Russia, on the seventh day of Hanukah. When he was eleven, he attended a rabbinical school in Vilna. At the age of fourteen or fifteen he participated in the Russian Revolution in Lithuania in which he protested the czar and risked the brutality of the Cossacks in 1905. After the Revolution was crushed, he needed to escape the social unrest and poor living conditions so he immigrated to the United States in 1907, part of a mass exodus of Lithuanians from their country during 1868-1914.2

In the United States, Lown found work as a milkman, a paper hanger, and a shoe factory worker in Maine. He hired a private teacher to obtain an elementary education so he could go to Lynn Classical high school at age twenty-two. When he turned twenty-five, Lown attended the University of Maine in 1914 and received his B.S. in 1918 for chemical engineering. When World War I began in 1914, Lown joined the army and worked as a researcher to combat chemical warfare. After he served his new country, he worked for seven years in the textile dyes industry. He proved himself successful in business and purchased a factory. When the business became less profitable he sold it and in 1926 became a joint owner of Pilgrim Shoe Company. He later became president of Penobscot Shoe Company in Old Town, Maine and Lown Shoes, Inc., in Auburn, Maine.

Starting in 1937, Lown invested his profits into the small Jewish community in Maine and tried to help Jews that faced danger in Europe. Until his death in 1976, he worked tirelessly on boards for Jewish education: the American Association for Jewish Education, B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, Maine Jewish Council, World Council on Jewish Education, and the Y.M.C.A. of Auburn, Maine, amongst others. He established Camp Lown in 1946, a summer camp for children that focused on teaching Jewish history and education. He founded the Lown School for Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Graduate Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, became the President and Chairman of Hebrew College in Massachusetts and served as President of the American Association for Jewish Education, the Y.M.C.A. of Auburn Maine, and the Community Chest of Lewiston, Maine. Lown also became involved in Zionist activities and was present at a meeting on July 1, 1945, where he met with David Ben-Gurion and helped plan critical assistance to the Hagana. He received countless awards and honors for his work in Zionism, Jewish education in America, and Jewish communal institutions.

Lown received his Doctorate at University of Maine and Brandeis University. His first wife, Anna, was born in New York in 1900. His second wife, Sally Lown, was also dedicated to Jewish education and was present with Lown in many of his activities. He worked with the same organizations into his late eighties, up until his death on November 1, 1976 at Miami Beach.3

Chronology

1890 Born in Lithuania.
1901 Attended Rabbinical School in Vilna, Lithuania.
1905 Participated in Russian Revolution in Lithuania.
1907 Arrived in Boston, Massachusetts.
1911 Attended Lynn Classical High School.
1914 Served in United States Army as a researcher to combat chemical warfare.
1914-1918 Attended University of Maine and received B.S. in Chemical Engineering.
1926 Became joint owner of Pilgrim Shoe Co.
1937 Became involved in Jewish Education in New England.
1939 Helped to form Maine Jewish Council for United Jewish Appeal.
1946 Camp Lown opened in Oakland, Maine.
1953 Chairman of the Second National Conference for Jewish Education.
1955 President of American Association for Jewish Education.
1959 Chairman, Program Committee, B’nai B’rith Hillel Committee.
1961 Received Henrietta Szold award from Boston University.
1961 Received the 14th Annual T. Kenyon Holly Memorial Plaque.
1972 Lown School for Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Graduate Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies opened at Brandeis University.
1976 Died at Miami Beach on November 1st.
Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

The Philip W. Lown Papers contain minutes, correspondence, speeches, photographs and newspaper clippings related to Lown’s activities in the American Association for Jewish Educations, B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, Brandeis University, Hebrew College, Maine Jewish Council, World Council on Jewish Education, Y.M.C.A. of Auburn Maine, and in various Zionist activities.

The collection also contains autobiographical memoirs and notes, biographical notes, Lown’s writings, speeches, personal correspondence, and honors. Correspondence contains the educational views of many prominent American Jewish scholars, including Horace M. Kallen, Milton Konvitz, Nachum Goldmann, Abram L. Sachar and Rudolf G. Sonneborn. A handwritten letter from David Ben-Gurion, as well as photographs of Lown with Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, are also in the collection.

Return to the Top of Page

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into two series as follows:

Return to the Top of Page

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
email: reference@ajhs.org

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

Papers of Israel Bernstein, P-51, undated 1945-1968

Records of Hebrew College, I-451, 1928-1996

Brandeis University Archives and Special Collections

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Philip W. Lowan, Papers; P-162; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

Return to the Top of Page

Acquisition Information

Accession information unknown.

Return to the Top of Page

Access Points

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

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.

 

Series I: Personal Papers, undated, 1913-1974

English
Box 1, Folders 1-2.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series includes personal correspondence, autobiographical papers and memoirs, as well as biographical notes written by various authors, including Philip Lown’s brother Jacob.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 Biographical Data undated, 1958-1970
1 2 Correspondence 1913-1974
Return to the Top of Page
 

Series II: Professional Papers, undated, 1934-1975

English
Box 1-2, Folders 3-8 and 1-8
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series contains materials pertaining to Lown’s professional life, his activities and close associations with various organizations, including Brandeis University, the American Association for Jewish Education, and the Maine Jewish Council. Also included are correspondences, speeches, photographs, newspaper clippings, and honors and awards for these many activities.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 3 Honors and Awards 1934-1973
1 4 News clippings 1945-1971
1 5 Organizations/American Association for Jewish Education 1950-1974
1 6 Organizations/B’nai B’rith Hillel 1955-1956
1 7 Organizations/B’nai B’rith Hillel 1957-1975
1 8 Organizations/Brandeis University 1955-1975
BoxFolderTitleDate
2 1 Organizations/Camp Lown 1945-1967
2 2 Organizations/Hebrew College 1960-1971
2 3 Organizations/Maine Jewish Council 1944-1946
2 4 Organizations/World Council on Jewish Education 1944-1946
2 5 Organizations/YMCA Auburn, Maine 1944-1953
2 6 Photographs undated, 1950-1970
2 7 Writings and Speeches 1943-1973
2 8 Zionist Activities 1945-1973
Return to the Top of Page