Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
http://www.bplonline.org
Archives & Manuscripts - Guide to the Collections
The collections of the Birmingham Public Library Archives contain more than 400,000 photographs and 30,000,000 documents, including government records, business records, maps, letters, diaries, scrapbooks and architectural drawings.
Jewish History and Life
The Collections
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Adler, Bertha Marx
Scrapbook, 1888-1889
AR373
Bertha Marx Adler was the daughter of Birmingham merchant Samuel Marx, one of the founders of Temple Emanu-El. In 1892 she married Samuel M. Adler, a Birmingham businessman and investor. This scrapbook is an atlas that Bertha Marx, then a young woman, converted to a scrapbook by pasting items over the pages. The scrapbook primarily contains programs from Birmingham theater productions, but also contains a few programs from Birmingham High School and an order of service from the 1889 dedication of Temple Emanu-El.
Size : 1 flat box
Collection Guide Available : No
Adler, Jeane
Scrapbook, 1912
AR486
Jeanne Adler was the daughter of Samuel and Bertha Marx Adler and resided on Highland Avenue in Birmingham. This scrapbook, entitled “The Girl Graduate: Her Own Book,” contains clippings, photographs, notes from classmates and other memorabilia relating to Adler’s senior year at Birmingham High School.
Size : 1 volume
Collection Guide Available : No
Akenhead, Linda
Survey of Six Historical Religious Structures in Birmingham.
AR758
Photographs and printed material documenting the history and architecture of six downtown Birmingham religious structures: Cathedral Church of the Advent (Episcopal), First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Temple Emanu-El.
Size : ¾ liner foot (2 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Bluttman, Adolf
Photograph Album, 1913-1914 and 1944
AR1669
Adolf Bluttman was a Birmingham tailor. He and his wife Rebecca lived on Birmingham’s Southside. This album contains snapshots and studio portraits. The snapshots show downtown Birmingham, a football game at Rickwood Field, and people swimming in a lake. Most of the images show individuals at home or work, or engaged in leisure activities. Some photographs show individuals in New York City.
Size : 1 linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : No
Cohn Family
Papers
AR1916
The papers include correspondence, photographs, clippings and other material relating to this Birmingham family.
Size : 4 linear feet (4 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : No
Coordinating Bureau of the Jewish Women's Organizations of Birmingham, The.
Records, 1957-2003
AR1803
This collection includes the organization’s constitution and by-laws, correspondence, minutes of meetings and other material.
Size : 1 linear foot (2 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : No
Cowett, Mark
Research Files on Rabbi Morris Newfield
AR1035
This collection contain research files collected by Cowett during the writing of his book Birmingham’s Rabbi: Morris Newfield and Alabama, 1895-1940.
Size : 2 boxes
Collection Guide Available : No
Elovitz, Mark H.
Research Material on Birmingham Jewish History
AR781
Elovitz is an attorney who served for a time as rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1973 Elovitz earned a Ph.D. from New York University with his dissertation “A History of the Jews of Birmingham, 1871-1971.” He later adapted his dissertation into the book A Century of Jewish Life in Dixie: The Birmingham Experience (University of Alabama Press, 1974). The research files contain both primary and secondary sources including newspaper and magazine clippings, oral history interviews, correspondence, and organizational and institutional publications, handwritten research notes, drafts of the dissertation text, and a final draft of the text which was published by the University of Alabama Press. This material covers the years 1872-1977, but a majority of it comes from the period between 1920 and 1970.
Size : 3 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Erdreich, Bloch, and Proskauer Families
Papers, 1870-1987
AR997
The collection contains family correspondence, financial papers, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to the personal, business, and civic affairs of the Erdreich, Bloch and Proskauer families. The collection also contains material relating to the Marx and Schuster families.
Size : 3 reels microfilm
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Grafman, Milton L.
Papers, 1907 – 1995
AR1758
Milton L. Grafman was born in 1907, in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Pittsburgh. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati, earned a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Hebrew Union College, and was ordained in 1933 as rabbi of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, Kentucky. Grafman came to Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham in 1941. He was active in the civic and community life of Birmingham. Grafman was a founder of the organization Spastic Aid of Alabama and helped establish the Institute for Christian Clergy, an organization established to promote understanding and cooperation between Jewish and Christian ministers. Grafman was one of the eight white clergymen that Martin Luther King, Jr. famously replied to in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Though a racial moderate, Grafman was grouped with racial reactionaries and received death threats and hate mail for the rest of his life. Grafman retired from Temple Emanu-El in 1975and died in 1995, in Birmingham. This collection contains files kept by Grafman during his tenure as rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, including copies of The Serviceman, a newsletter published by Grafman for members of the Temple Emanu-El congregation serving in World War II. Funeral sermon files contain biographical information on members of the congregation who died during Grafman’s tenure. Subject files contain correspondence, clippings and other material relating to Jewish life, particularly in Alabama. Office files consist of correspondence, clippings, photographs and other items concerning civil rights controversies of the 1960s and 1970s, the nation of Israel, the administration of Temple Emanu-El, and Jewish education, organizations, and practices.
Size : 8 boxes
Collection Guide Available : No
Hanson, Bette Lee
Oral History Tapes and Photographic Slides
AR929
The interviews in this collection were conducted by Bette Hanson. The interview subjects are Vera Foster, whose husband Dr. Luther Foster served as President of Tuskegee Institute beginning in 1941; Ida Kohlmeyer, a prominent New Orleans painter; and Dorah Sterne,a Birmingham resident and social activist.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Hirsch, Florette Cohn
Papers
AR1788
Florette Cohn Hirsch was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and moved to Birmingham with her family at the age of three. She attended Phillips High School, joined Camp Mary Munger as a music counselor in 1928 and then attended Birmingham-Southern College. She received a teaching certificate and taught music at Birmingham city schools for seventeen years, where she was instrumental in raising money for the music departments. During World War II, Hirsch aided and raised money for the war effort and after the war she raised relief funds for Jewish survivors. Hirsch was a member of the Birmingham Music Club, served as Children's Choir Director at Temple Emanuel, worked on behalf of the Birmingham Civic Opera, the Birmingham Civic Symphony, and the Alabama Symphony, as well as supported Birmingham-Southern College's Fine Arts department. This collection contains a paper, newspaper articles, letters, and awards.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : No
Knesseth Israel Congregation
Cemetery Records, 1908-1948
AR968
This cemetery record contains a listing of burials by lot number, maps and an alphabetical index to names.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : No
Kroman, Edna
Literary Manuscripts, circa 1920s
AR628
Edna Kroman moved to Birmingham with her parents and siblings in 1897. As an adult, Kroman worked as a stenographer and later as a reporter for the Birmingham News. In 1953, she opened the Junior Shop in Homewood and later operated Edmans Shoes in Mountain Brook before returning to writing for the Birmingham News. This collection largely consists of rough drafts and typescripts of articles, stories, and plays by Kroman, written in the 1920s and 1960s. Several of the folders contain rejection slips from Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, and The Saturday Evening Post. Kroman's works often concern social issues such as the education of women, the role of women in society, and anti-Semitism.
Size : ½ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Mendal, Leo and Bertha Mendal
Papers, 1900-1987
AR1896
This collection contains Leo Mendel’s correspondence with his cousin, later wife, Bertha Cohen. Leo Mendel lived in Sheffield, Alabama at the time of their letters, while Berthat Cohen lived in Staten Island, New York. The majority of the letters are to Bertha Cohen from Leo Mendel during the period 1918 to 1922. Many letters discuss Jewish business and community events. The collection also includes 1938 correspondence between Leo Mendel and a cousin in Germany who was attempting to get family members out of Europe to escape Nazi persecution.
Size : 1 linear foot (3 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
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