Guide to the Papers of Dorothy and Ralph LeVine, 1912-2015 (bulk 1920-1969)


Processed by Rachel Lintz

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160



© 2019  American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Rachel Lintz in April 2016. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: LeVine, Dorothy
Creator: LeVine, Ralph
Title: Dorothy and Ralph LeVine Papers
Dates:bulk 1920-1969
Abstract: The collection documents the personal and professional lives of the Dorothy and Ralph LeVine, owners of Airflow Mattress Company in Brooklyn, New York. The materials highlight their mattress and furniture business as well as their personal and social lives as residents of Brooklyn. The collection contains business records, legal documents, administrative records, financial records, trademarks, business cards, fliers, correspondence, stationary, blueprints, photographs, pedigree dog certificates, a diploma, a menu, a yahrzeit calendar, real estate records, an event program, and printing dies.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 1 linear foot (two manuscript boxes and one OS folder)
Identification: P-1011
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Biographical Note

Airflow Mattress group photograph

Dorothy and Ralph LeVine owned and operated Airflow Mattress Company on Bergen Street in Brooklyn, New York during the mid-20th century. The business that eventually became Airflow was started in 1899 by Dorothy’s paternal grandfather, Abraham Schwartz.1 Abraham eventually passed the business (at that time called Schwartz Mattress Company) to his son Joseph, who later handed it down to his daughter, Dorothy.2

Dorothy worked alongside her father and was involved with the business from at least 1941 (and probably earlier).3 She became partners with her father Joseph in 1950,4 and he officially “sold” her the business in 1958 for the sum of ten dollars.5

Dorothy and Ralph married in 1939 and lived in Brooklyn. Their social life revolved around friends, with whom they enjoyed going out to restaurants and vacationing at summer cottages in Succasunna, NJ.6 The LeVines had a daughter, Adrienne, and the family kept pedigreed dogs as pets.

Dorothy and Ralph closed Airflow and retired in 1976.7

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Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the personal and professional lives of the Dorothy and Ralph LeVine, owners of Airflow Mattress Company in Brooklyn, New York. The LeVines are most prominently represented in the collection, with Joseph Schwartz and other family members represented to a lesser extent. The collection is divided into three series. Series I contains papers related to the LeVines’ personal lives. Series II contains materials generated by Airflow Mattress. Series III contains photographs of the LeVines and their family and friends.

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The collection is arranged into three series as follows:

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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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Separated Material

Oversized photographs are housed separately from the main collection due to their size.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Dorothy and Ralph LeVine Papers; P-1011; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

Donated in 2015 by Adrienne Deutsch, daughter of Dorothy and Ralph LeVine.

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Processing Information

Materials were refoldered and rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. Rusty paper clips were removed and replaced when needed. Photographs were re-housed in new archival sleeves.

The folders containing personal and professional documents were roughly organized before processing. Much of the collection's original filing system has been maintained throughout processing. Those documents that were unfiled (loose) have been incorporated with similar subject items. Folder titles were devised by the archivist to enhance access.

The donor affixed Post-It notes to many items in the collection, mostly the backs of photographs, identifying dates, places, or people depicted (usually Dorothy and Ralph). These notes, where available, were transcribed in pencil onto the backs of the items, and the Post-Its discarded.

Four rolled photographs were sent for conservation treatment (humidification) at the Center for Jewish History's Werner J. and Gisella Levi Cahnman Preservation Laboratory.

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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

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: Personal Papers,  1934-2015

In English.
.25 linear feet. Box 1, folders 1-8.
Scope and Content:

Series I, Personal Papers, contains real estate records for the LeVines’ Brooklyn homes, pedigree certificates for pet dogs, a menu for Lundy Brothers restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, Ralph Levine’s diploma from Mechanic’s Institute of New York, and a yahrzeit calendar for Joseph Schwartz. Personal correspondence consists of a telegram to Dorothy and Ralph on the occasion of their wedding, and a handwritten letter from Ralph to Dorothy. In addition, this series contains copies of a family history and item list compiled by the donor, Adrienne Deutsch, as well as copies of her print-outs of a 1906 passenger list for Joseph Schwartz and a 1930 census for the Schwartz family.

11Secondary Materials—Collection Research2010-2015request_box
13LeVine Residential Records—Leases, Electrical Certificates, Invoices, Blueprints1942-1965request_box
14Restaurant Menu—Lundy Brothers, Brooklyn NYUndatedrequest_box
15Pedigree Dog Certificates—American Kennel Club1947-1969request_box
16Yahrzeit Calendar—Joseph Schwartz1961request_box
17Mechanics Institute Diploma and Graduation program—Ralph LeVine1934request_box
18Cemetery Records—Ralph LeVine1962request_box
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Series II: Professional Papers, 1940-1976

In English.
.25 linear feet. Box 1, folders 9-18.
Scope and Content:

Series II, Professional Papers, is comprised of Airflow Mattress legal documents, including a bill of sale, annuity, partnership agreement, closing statement, other agreements, general release, warranty deed, contract of sale, business certificate, lease, insurance records, a Dun and Bradstreet report (with errors, according to the collection donor), trademarks, stock certificates, a program from a business dinner in honor of Joseph Schwartz, real estate records, fliers, stationary, and business cards. The contents of a company minute book were removed from a deteriorating binder and retained, while the binder itself was discarded. Also included are four metal and wood-mounted printing die-cuts.

19Contracts and Certificates—Airflow Mattress1941-1976request_box
110Trademarks—Airflow Mattress1956-1963request_box
112Events—Dinner Program for Associated Bedding Manufacturers of Greater New York1940request_box
113Dun and Bradstreet Report—Airflow Mattress [Contains errors - see Donor Materials, Box 1, Folder 1]1955request_box
114Fliers, Brochures, Business Cards, Stationery—Airflow MattressUndatedrequest_box
115Minute Book—Airflow Mattress1941-1960request_box
116Stock Book—Airflow Mattress1942-1958request_box
117Stock Certificates Common Book—Airflow Mattress1942-1958request_box
118Printing Dies—Airflow MattressUndatedrequest_box
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Series III: Photographs, Undated, 1912-1960

In English.
.5 linear feet. Box 2, folders 1-11 and oversized folder 1 of 1.
Scope and Content:

Series III, Photographs, is comprised mostly of family snapshots in Brooklyn and on vacation in Succasunna, New Jersey and Miami Beach, Florida, as well as studio portraits and restaurant group portraits (with artwork frames). The exceptions are folder 11, which contains Airflow-related snapshots, and the oversized folder, which contains oversized group portraits of the furniture/bedding industry. Also of note are folders 4-6, which contain snapshots arranged in an album, chronologically for the most part, by the donor. The order of these images was maintained; the photo sleeves are numbered 1-84. Of note regarding dates in this series is folder 2, which contains a reproduction of an undated photo which may be pre-1900.

21Snapshot Album—Dorothy LeVineUndated [1920s-1930s]request_box
22Photographs—LeVine Family and FriendsUndated, 1912-1940srequest_box
23Photographs—LeVine Family and FriendsUndated, 1949request_box
24Snapshot Album—LeVine Family and Friends—Part 1 of 3Undated, 1926-1945request_box
25Snapshot Album—LeVine Family and Friends—Part 2 of 3Undated, 1943-1950request_box
26Snapshot Album—LeVine Family and Friends—Part 3 of 3Undated, 1950-1960request_box
27Group Portraits—Restaurants—LeVine Family and FriendsUndated, 1942-1955request_box
28Studio Portraits—Dorothy LeVine, Joseph SchwartzUndated [1920s]request_box
29Studio Portraits—Dorothy and Ralph LeVineUndated [1940s-1950s]request_box
210Studio Portraits, Photographs—LeVine FriendsUndatedrequest_box
211Photographs—Airflow MattressUndated, 1940srequest_box
MAP1 of 1OS Group Portraits—Association Dinners, Graduations, Outings1927-1944request_box
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