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American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, Philadelphia Section Records

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Collection Summary

American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, Philadelphia Section Records


Collection ID

American Jewish Tercentenary Committee. Philadelphia Section

0.8 linear feet (2 boxes)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English.

Detailed Collection Information

Historical Note
The American Jewish Tercentenary commemorated the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Jewish settlers in what is now the United States. It was in 1654, a group of twenty-three Jewish men, women and children traveled from Recife, Brazil on the ship Saint Charles arriving on what was then the Dutch colony or state of New Amsterdam and now Manhattan. The mission of the American Jewish Tercentenary and its appointed National Committee of 300, consisting of a cross-section of individuals from American Jewry was to honor the refugees’ pilgrimage and raise awareness of the Jews’ contribution to American history. The Tercentenary celebration officially ran from September 12, 1954 until June 1, 1955. The theme of the celebration was “Man’s Opportunities and Responsibilities under Freedom.” The re-consecration of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York marked the inauguration of the nine month long celebration. The National Committee encouraged Jewish communities across the country to form local committees to facilitate celebrating and learning about their own Jewish histories. The local committees served as coordinating committees for local organizations in their planning of Tercentenary related programs. With the support of the National Committee, the local committee in Philadelphia, dubbed the Philadelphia Section, was responsible for planning, funding and carrying out Tercentenary observances as well as researching the history of Jews in the Philadelphia community.

Description of Collection
The collection documents the administrative planning, fundraising, research, publicity, and activities surrounding the American Jewish Tercentenary celebration in Philadelphia. The collection includes correspondence from local and national committee members including David Galter, Sol Satinsky, and David Bernstein as well as committee meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, news releases, publicity materials, and information on affiliate organizations and the associated programming of which they were a part. Also included are the introduction and first several chapters of a manuscript by David Galter, who served as secretary of the Philadelphia Section, on the history of the Jewish community in Philadelphia.

Organization and Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 6 series as follows:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1953-1955
Series 2: Committees, 1953-1955
Series 3: Participating organizations, 1953-1954
Series 4: Fundraising, 1951-1955
Series 5: Publicity, 1953-1955
Series 6: David Galter manuscript, 1954

Series 1: Correspondence, 1953-1955, is arranged chronologically and consists of correspondence produced primarily by the Philadelphia Section’s Secretary, David J. Galter. Correspondence from Executive Chairman, Sol Satinsky covers the solicitation of potential members for appointment to the local Tercentenary committee. Correspondence from National Committee Executive Director, David Bernstein documents the relationship between the National Committee of 300 and the Philadelphia Section. Other members of the Philadelphia Section represented in the correspondence series include but are not limited to Edwin Wolf II, Chairman of the Executive Committee; Albert M. Greenfield, Associate Chairman; Myer Feinstein, Chairman of the Finance Committee; and Frank G. Binswanger, Ephraim R. Gomberg, and Bernard G. Segal, Executive Committee members.

Series 2: Committees, 1953-1955, is arranged alphabetically and consists primarily of correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, and reports of the various sub-committees of the Philadelphia Section.

Series 3: Participating organizations, 1953-1954, is arranged chronologically and is comprised of correspondence and lists of community organizations, religious congregations, and beneficial associations in the Philadelphia region affiliated with the Tercentenary celebration.

Series 4: Fundraising, 1951-1955, is arranged alphabetically and contains limited financial documentation regarding the fundraising efforts of the Philadelphia Section, lists of potential individual contributors, and correspondence with local organizations regarding their participation in the Tercentenary celebration.

Series 5: Publicity, 1953-1955, is arranged alphabetically and consists of materials related to publicizing and disseminating information about activities, programs, and projects in the Philadelphia area related to the Tercentenary celebration. Among these are photocopies of newspaper clippings, four issues of “300,” a monthly newsletter published by the National Committee that reported on the developments in planning of the anniversary celebration, news releases and art exhibition brochures.

Series 6: David Galter manuscript, 1954, is comprised of typescript and handwritten pages, notes and correspondence regarding an unpublished, untitled manuscript by David Galter on the history of the Jewish community in Philadelphia.


Patron Information

Catalog Record
A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog:

Research Access
Collection is open for research.

Collections Stored Off-Site
This collection may be housed off-site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Publication and Copyright Information
The American Jewish Tercentenary, Philadelphia Section Records are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. The donor has not assigned their rights to Temple University Libraries.  Other creators’ intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to them or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.  

Preferred Citation
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], American Jewish Tercentenary Committee, Philadelphia Section Records, SCRC 3, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia in 1972. Collection previously administered by the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, acquired by Temple in June 2009.

Separated Material
The following published work was removed from the collection and cataloged separately:
Altman, Shalom. American Jewish Tercentenary Song Book. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Council on Jewish Education, [1954].

Processing Information
Collection processed and finding aid created in 1993 by Donald Davis, Archivist. Arrangement of the collection and finding aid revised according to contemporary archival standards in 2012 by Jessica M. Lydon, Project Archivist. Finding aid reformatted and patron and administrative information updated in February 2020.


Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:

Personal/Family Names:
Bernstein, David
Galter, David
Satinsky, Sol

Corporate Names:
American Jewish Tercentenary Committee. Philadelphia Section

Immigrants--United States
Jews--United States--Anniversaries, etc.

Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:

Collection Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence, 1953-1955

Box   Folder   Description

1          1          General correspondence          1953 

1          2          David Bernstein          1953–1954

1          3          Incorporation of Philadelphia Section          1953–1954

1          4          Sol Satinsky          1953–1954

1          5          General correspondence          1954 

1          6          General correspondence          1955


Series 2: Committees, 1953-1955

Box   Folder   Description

1          7          Executive Committee meeting minutes          1953–1954 

1          8          Executive Committee meeting minutes          1954

1          9          Exhibit Committee meeting minutes          1954

1          10          Finance Committee meeting minutes          1953–1954

1          11          Nominating Committee meeting minutes          1952–1954

1          12          Religious Committee meeting minutes          1952–1954

1          13          Research Committee meeting minutes          1953–1954

1          14          Youth Committee meeting minutes          1953–1954


Series 3: Participating organizations, 1953-1954

Box   Folder   Description

1          15          Philadelphia organizations          1953–1954

1          16          Men's organizations          1954

1          17          Women's organizations          1954

1          18          Meeting of men’s and women’s organizations          September 13, 1954


Series 4: Fundraising, 1953-1955

Box   Folder   Description

2          1          Accounting sheets          1955

2          2          Check requisitions and invoices          1954–1955

2          3          Contributors          1954–1955

2          4          Correspondence          1954–1955

2          5          Fundraising dinner          May 9, 1954

2          6          Fundraising luncheon          July 15, 1954

2          7          Possible contributors, board of directors lists          1951–1954


Series 5: Publicity, 1953-1955

Box   Folder   Description

2          8          “300” monthly newsletters          December 1953–November 1954

2          9          Community pageant          1954

2          10          Exhibitions brochures and posters          1954–1955

2          11          Mayoral proclamation          1954 September 22

2          12          Newspaper clippings          1954

2          13          Press releases          1954–1955


Series 6: David Galter manuscript, 1954

Box   Folder   Description

2          14          Introduction          1954

2          15          Chapter one          1954

2          16          Chapter two          1954

2          17          Chapter three          1954

2          18          Notes and correspondence          1954