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Guide to the Benjamin Weinberg Papers
1922-1981 (Bulk 1922-1940)
  MS 686

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jan Hilley

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 04, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Benjamin Weinberg
Title: Benjamin Weinberg Papers
Dates: 1922 - 1981 (Bulk 1922-1940)
Abstract: Correspondence, photographs, official documents, newspapers and memorabilia belonging to Benjamin Weinberg (1896-1949), a Jewish immigrant, born in Russia, who became a banker in New York City and participated in the activities of many Jewish relief organizations.
Quantity: 1.25 Linear feet (4 boxes)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Material Specific Details note: 1.25 linear feet (4 boxes)
Call Phrase: MS 686

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Biographical Note

Born in Odessa, Russia, in 1896, Benjamin Weinberg served in the Imperial Russian Army but fled during the Bolshevik revolution. He lived for some time in Poland, graduating from the Polish Institute of Commerce and Banking of Warsaw (1926) and working for the Jewish newspaper Der Moment (Warsaw). He left Poland for Canada where he continued to write for Jewish newspapers (e.g.,  Jewish Daily Eagle). By 1927, he was living in the United States and writing articles for such Jewish newspapers as  Novoye Russkoye Slovo and  The Jewish Daily News.

His primary career was in banking. He was employed at a succession of firms including the International Madison Bank and Trust Company of New York, Chatham-Phoenix Bank and Trust and the Modern Industrial Bank of New York. After working as a financial consultant for ten years (1937-1947), he became chairman of the advisory board of the Pennsylvania Exchange Bank of New York and was subsequently made a vice president.

Throughout his adult life, he was associated with Jewish relief organizations, most actively as a member of the board of directors of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). He was elected honorary secretary in 1944 and, at the time of his death in 1949, was its associate treasurer. He made a number of trips to Europe before and after World War II under the auspices of the HIAS. In addition, he was a member of the executive committee of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress. He was the chairman of the United Jewish Appeal's Russian division as well as an executive member of the Sea Gate Zionist District. Other affiliations included Fellows of Odessa, Inc., American Friends of Aviation Israel and the Masons.

Prior to his immigration to the United States, he married Rachelle Wajnberg. They had one son, Arnold Jay Weinberg.

Additional information may be found in Mr. Weinberg's obituary in the New York Times, November 25, 1949.

Historical Note

Although Benjamin Weinberg belonged to many organizations, the most prominent within these papers is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), also referred to within the collection as the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America.

Formed by the 1909 merger of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Hebrew Sheltering House Association, HIAS is an international service for Jewish immigrants and refugees. The original Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was established in New York City in 1902 by Russian Jews to provide meals, transportation and jobs for new arrivals. The organization also helped with legal entry, reception and care. The Hebrew Sheltering Society began in 1889 to provide temporary housing for Jewish immigrants without relatives in the states. There was a soup kitchen and clothing was provided to any needy Jew. After the merger of the two organizations, their efforts expanded to include religious services, concerts and installation of a kosher kitchen on Ellis Island; an employment bureau; and reduced rate rail tickets for those immigrants who were bound for other U.S. cities. By 1914, branches of HIAS existed in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston. An office was established in Washington, D.C.

The restrictive National Origins Quota of 1924 made it very difficult for HIAS to rescue many refugees during World War II, but the organization did provide services to those who were able to immigrate and, after the war, was instrumental in evacuating the displaced persons camps and helping to resettle approximately 150,000 people in 330 U.S. cities, as well as Canada, Australia and South America. In August and September of 1949, Benjamin Weisberg made a survey of HIAS operations in Europe and Israel.

More information about the HIAS, its history and its current operation, may be found at its website http://www.hias.org.

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Scope and Content Note

The Benjamin Weinberg Papers include correspondence, both personal and business; a variety of official documents; more than two hundred photographs; newspapers and newspaper articles; and memorabilia from several European trips. The material dates from 1922 through 1971 with the bulk falling between 1923 and 1940.

Much of the collection is in Polish. Other languages include English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, German and Italian. Within the collection, Mr. Weinberg is referred to by two different names - Benjamin Treiger (spelled in various ways depending upon language) and Benjamin Weinberg

Arrangement

The Benjamin Weinberg Papers have been divided into the following series:

  1. Series I: Correspondence, 1923-1981, undated
  2. Series II: Official Documents and Papers, 1923-1938, undated
  3. Series III: Photographs, 1932-1938, undated
  4. Series IV: Newspapers, 1926-1948
  5. Series V: Ephemera, 1926-1971, undated

Most of the material is arranged chronologically. See the series descriptions for specific details.

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Purchase by The New-York Historical Society, 2002.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Library Director
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Benjamin Weinberg Papers, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1923-1981, undated

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains over two hundred pieces of correspondence - letters, telegrams and postcards. Within each folder the items are arranged in chronological order

The contents of the first folder (Box 1, Folder 1) document business transactions conducted in Poland beginning in early 1923 and continuing through the end of 1925. Mostly written in Polish, there are also Russian, German and French letters. At the time of this correspondence, Mr. Weinberg was using the name Benjamin Treiger. Some of the letters are signed by his father-in-law, A.J. Wajnberg.

Many of the letters in the other correspondence folders relate to immigration and travel issues and are written in English. There are also Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Italian items. Correspondence after 1949 consists of letter and postcards written to Mrs. Weinberg. Box 1, Folder 5 contains letters of introduction from newspapers, a bank and Jewish organizations. All are in English.

Box 1, Folders 6 and 7 contain telegrams. In Folder 6 there are also letters and a few cards that were bound within the book of telegrams. Original order is maintained.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence, Business (Poland), 1923-1925 (Polish, Russian, German, French)
1923-1925
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence, 1926-1928 (Polish, English)
1926-1928
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence, 1934-1938 (Polish, Yiddish, English)
1934-1938
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence, 1947-1957 (Polish, Italian, English)
1947-1957
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence, Letters of Introduction
1926-1938
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence, Telegrams, Bound (Polish, Yiddish, English)
1925, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence, Telegrams, 1938-1939 (English, Polish)
1938-1939
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence, Alienated Envelopes(English, Polish)
1936-1981, undated

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Series II: Official Documents and Papers, 1923-1938, undated

Scope and Contents note

Documents are arranged according to the last name used. Box 1, Folder 9 contains such items as passports, identity documents and other papers. Also included are several business cards. All reflect some variation of the name Treiger. Several relate to Mrs. Treiger (Weinberg).

Folder 10 contains a variety of papers including such items as an official Affidavit of Identity issued by the U.S. Department of State, a power of attorney, an insurance policy, and travel documents involving Weinberg and his family.

There is overlap in the years during which Mr. Weinberg used each name. Documents as late as 1934 use Treiger, while some items as early as 1927 (Travelers Insurance card) are identified as Weinberg.

Many of the documents are written in English; however Polish, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew are also represented.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Official Documents, Treiger (Polish, Russian, English, Yiddish)
1923-1934, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Official Documents, Weinberg (English, Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish)
1927-1938, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Official Documents, Alienated Envelopes (English, Polish)
undated

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Series III: Photographs, 1932-1938, undated

Scope and Contents note

There are more than 240 photographs in this collection, along with 145 snapshot negatives. Most are not dated nor are the subjects identified. They are arranged by format and by any existing labels.

Box 2, Folder 1 contains eighteen portraits, from passport size to postcard size, mostly of Benjamin Weinberg. His wife's identification photograph is included as are several unidentified subjects. Folder 2 consists of six photographs of Weinberg on board a ship during his 1936 trip to Poland; Folder 3, three photographs identified as "1938 Trip to Europe." Of the many snapshots included, twenty were identified as relating to the 1936 trip, fifty-seven to the 1936 trip and family members. Throughout the 108 unlabeled snapshots, however, there are similar photos, indicating that the labels may be misleading.

Of the five formal group photographs contained in Box 2, Folder 8, three are identified in Hebrew, one in English. The one without date or identification appears to involve, among others, Benjamin Weinberg and Fiorello LaGuardia. One oversized group photograph is contained in Box 3.

There is one folder containing thirteen postcards (Box 2, Folder 9). Many are photographs of the Polish city of Krzemieniec (Weinberg was one of the directors of an organization called "N.Y. Relief Organization for the City of Krzemieniec Poland.") One postcard appears to be Weinberg's silhouette.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Photographs, Portraits
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Photographs, 1936 Trip to Poland
1936
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Photographs, 1938 Trip to Europe
1938
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Photographs, Snapshots, 1936 Trip
1936
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Photographs, Snapshots, 1936 Trip and Family
1936, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Photographs, Snapshots, Unlabeled
1934, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Photographs, Snapshot Negatives
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Photographs, Formal Groups
1936-1937, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Photographs, Postcards
1932, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Photographs, Alienated Envelopes
undated
Box: 3 Folder : Photographs, Formal Group, Oversized
1934

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Series IV: Newspapers, 1926-1948

Scope and Contents note

Newspaper material ranges from a single page to entire newspapers. All are written in languages other than English. The items in Box 4, Folders 1 and 2 are associated with trips Weinberg took in 1936 and 1938. The arrangement is chronological within each folder.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Newspapers, 1936 Trip to Poland (Yiddish)
1936
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Newspaper Article, 1938 Trip to Europe (Yiddish)
1938
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Newspapers, 1926 - 1948 (Yiddish, Russian, French)
1926-1948

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Series V: Ephemera, 1926-1971, undated

Scope and Contents note

Box 4, Folder 4 contains a heavily annotated 1926 Agenda, with references to Montreal and to the Pennland, a ship on which the Treigers traveled in May of 1926. There is also a 1936 calendar booklet written in Polish. Much of the ephemera in this collection comes from two European trips, one in 1936 and one in 1938. The travel memorabilia includes such items as schedules, lists of passengers, receipts, ship stationary and entertainment programs. Among the miscellaneous items in Box 4, Folder 7 are a copy of foreign exchange law for travelers in Romania and an embroidered handkerchief.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Calendar and Agenda
1926, 1936
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Memorabilia, 1936 Trip to Poland
1936
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Memorabilia, 1938 Trip to Europe
1938
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Miscellaneous Ephemera
1934-1971, undated

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