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Frances and Jacob Benson Correspondence and Family Papers

Collection ID

SCRC 381

Related Subject(s)

Collecting Area(s)

Description

Collection Summary 
 
Title
Frances and Jacob Benson Correspondence and Family Papers
 
Dates
1904-2010, bulk 1933-1945
 
Collection ID
SCRC 381
 
Creators
Benson, Frances Friedman, 1919-2009
Benson, Jacob Martin, 1916-1986
 
Quantity
5.3 linear feet (14 boxes)
 
Repository
Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries
 
Language
Materials in English, Portuguese, and German.
 
 
Detailed Collection Information 
 
Biographical Note
Jacob Martin Benson was born April 4, 1916, to Nathan Benson and Katie Bogutz. He graduated from West Philadelphia High School, Temple University, and Temple University Medical School. Jacob completed a residency at the Jewish Hospital before going into active service in the United States Army Medical Corps in August 1942. During World War II, Benson served as tropical medicine and malaria control consultant and Theater Malariologist for the United States Army Forces South Atlantic (USAFSA) in charge of disinsectization of aircraft and liaison officer with the Brazilian Port Health Service. He also trained medical officers in the Brazilian Expeditionary Force Joint Brazil United States Military Commission and served as base surgeon for the Bahia Joint Army Navy Coast Guard Base, and Battalion Surgeon for the 64th Ordnance Ammunition Battalion. After he was discharged from the Army in April 1946, Benson opened a proctology practice in Philadelphia. Jacob Benson died August 17, 1986.
 
Frances Doris Friedman was born April 23, 1919, to Max Friedman and Lena Weiss.
She graduated from West Philadelphia High School and the Philadelphia School for Office Training. Frances married Jacob on August 2, 1942 at Beth Am Israel by Rabbi Morris S. Goodblatt. In August 1945, Frances joined Jacob in Brazil for the last few months of his service. For a short time after the war, she had a scarf business selling goods to area specialty stores. Frances had three children with Jacob—Ellen, Sally, and Neil. Frances died August July 27, 2009.
 
Description of Collection 
The collection consists of over 1100 letters, postcards, telegrams, and greeting cards, written between Frances Friedman Benson and Captain Jacob M. Benson, during their courtship and early years of marriage, while Jacob was serving in the South Atlantic during World War II. Letters discuss their relationship, families, work, and daily lives. The collection also includes correspondence between Jacob and his parents, other family members, and friends; family photographs, photographs of Brazil and Uruguay, newspaper clippings, a family genealogy, Frances’ high school diary, and other records related to Jacob, Frances and other members of the Benson family.
 
Organization and Arrangement 
The collection is arranged into two series as follows:
 
Series 1: Correspondence, 1935-1945
Subseries 1.1: Correspondence between Frances and Jacob, 1935-1945
Subseries 1.2: Correspondence between Jacob and others, 1939-1945
 
Series 2: Benson family papers, 1904-2010
 
Series 1: Correspondence, 1935-1945
The correspondence is arranged in two subseries: Subseries 1.1: Correspondence between France and Jacob Benson, 1935-1945 and Subseries 1.2: Correspondence between Jacob Benson and others, 1939-1945.
 
Subseries 1.1: Correspondence between France and Jacob Benson, 1935-1945
This subseries contains correspondence exchanged between Frances and Jacob from June 1935 to August 1945, which covers their courtship and early years of the marriage while Jacob was serving in the South Atlantic during WWII. Many of the letters include enclosures such as photographs, pamphlets on medical topics, clippings from Philadelphia newspapers on military operations, and copies of G.I. newspapers. A small number of letters contain love poems or drawings. The bulk of the early correspondence was exchanged during summers while Jacob was a counselor at the Boy Scouts Treasure Island Camp in New Jersey. Correspondence authored by Jacob 1943 and later, was primarily written from the 194th Station Hospital in Natal or from the 193rd Station Hospital in Belem. This later correspondence often provides details about Jacob’s military activities as a malariologist and staff surgeon and his descriptions of Brazilian culture. This subseries contains one 1937 letter in German and Brazilian magazines in Portuguese sent to Frances in July 1945. This subseries is arranged chronologically.
 
Subseries 1.2: Correspondence between Jacob Benson and others, 1939-1945
This subseries contains correspondence between Jacob and his parents and correspondence to Jacob from his sisters and others, the bulk of which was written while Jacob was stationed in Brazil. Also included, are two letters addressed to Nathan and Katie Benson from two of their nephews, Jule and Jack Shinberg, serving in Europe during World War II. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by correspondent’s last name.
 
Series 2: Benson family papers, 1904-2010
This series consists primarily of photographs and albums of the Benson family and of Brazil between 1943 and 1945 mostly in the states of Amapá, Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro including images of Captain Benson and other American service men engaged in field exercises with the Brazilian Army, relaxing at Copacabana beach, and other activities. Other photographs depict scenes from Rio de Janeiro including Corcovado mountain and the statue Cristo Redentor, the Vila Militar and Tijuca neighborhoods in the city of Rio de Janeiro, indigenous tribes near Recife, and of Montevideo, Uruguay. The “Brazil and Uruguay photograph album” includes photographs of Jacob and Frances together in Brazil in the fall of 1945 after the conclusion of the war. The “Scrapbook” in this series contains a variety of materials including records related to Captain Benson’s military service, some in Portuguese, and his medical practice after the war as well as photographs of the Treasure Island Boy Scout Camp. Other records include Frances’ high school diary, vital records, newspaper clippings, a family genealogy, and a eulogy for Jacob Benson. The “Brazil and Uruguay photograph album” and the folder of “Brazil and Uruguay photographs and negatives” include a small number of nude images of Captain Benson and other servicemen at the beach and in the shower. This series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
 
 
Patron Information 
 
Catalog Record 
A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: https://librarysearch.temple.edu/catalog/991036952505603811
 
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 Frances and Jacob Benson Correspondence and Family Papers is 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], Frances and Jacob Benson Correspondence and Family Papers, SCRC 381, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
Related Material
Mildred and Jesse Lare Correspondence, SCRC 176, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
 
 
Administrative Information 
 
Acquisition Information
Donated by Sally Benson Alsher in August 2018.
 
Processing Information 
Collection processed and finding aid prepared in September 2018 by Jessica M. Lydon, Associate Archivist. 
 
 
 
Index Terms
The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:
 
Personal/Family Names: 
Benson, Frances Friedman, 1919-2009
Benson, Jacob Martin, 1916-1986
Benson, Katie (Katherine Bogutz)
Benson, Nathan
Benson, Sylvia
Cornehlsen, Henry
Crocker, Helen M.
Klein, Charles, 1900-
Klein, Rosalie
Shinberg, Jack (Jacob)
Shinberg, Jule (Julius)
 
Subjects: 
Courtship--United States
Jewish families--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
Jewish physicians 
Jewish soldiers--Correspondence
Jewish soldiers--United States
Malaria--Prevention--Brazil
Military bases, American--Brazil  
World War, 1939-1945--Brazil
World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Jewish
World War, 1939-1945--Women--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
 
Places:
Amapá (Brazil : State) 
Bahia (Brazil : State)
Camp Sutton (N.C.)
Carlisle Barracks (Pa.)
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Montevideo (Uruguay)
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil : State) 
 
Material Types: 
Clippings
Correspondence
Diaries
Diplomas
Ephemera
Genealogies
Legal documents
Marriage certificates
Manuscripts
Negatives
Pamphlets
Periodicals
Photocopies
Photographs
Poems
Scrapbooks
 
 
Collection Inventory
 
Subseries 1.1: Correspondence between Frances and Jacob, 1935-1945
 
Box    Folder    Description
1          1          Correspondence          June 25 - July 12, 1935
1          2          Correspondence          July 15 - August 7, 1935
1          3          Correspondence          August 9 - December 30, 1935
1          4          Correspondence          January 1 - November 10, 1936
1          5          Correspondence          February 9 - July 15, 1937
1          6          Correspondence          July 17 - August 5, 1937
2          1          Correspondence          August 6-31, 1937
2          2          Correspondence          September 1, 1937 - April 3, 1938
2          3          Correspondence          April 31 - July 21, 1938
2          4          Correspondence          July 25 - August 27, 1938
2          5          Correspondence          September 1, 1938 - July 13, 1939
2          6          Correspondence          July 14, 1939 - June 25, 1940
3          1          Correspondence          June 26 - July 17, 1940
3          2          Correspondence          July 18-31, 1940
3          3          Correspondence          August 1-16, 1940
3          4          Correspondence          August 17, 1940 - January 22, 1941
3          5          Correspondence          February 2 - July 11, 1941
3          6          Correspondence          July 13, 1941 - June 25, 1942
4          1          Correspondence          June 27 - August 12, 1942
4          2          Correspondence          August 14 - September 29, 1942
4          3          Correspondence          September 30, 1942 - March 15, 1943
4          4          Correspondence          March 16 - May 6, 1943
4          5          Correspondence          May 7 - July 31, 1943
4          6          Correspondence          August 2 - 31, 1943
5          1          Correspondence          September 3-28, 1943
5          2          Correspondence          September 30-November 11, 1943
5          3          Correspondence          November 15-December 5, 1943
5          4          Correspondence          December 7-27, 1943
5          5          Correspondence          December 29, 1943 - January 15, 1944
6          1          Correspondence          January 16 - February 5, 1944
6          2          Correspondence          February 7-26, 1944
6          3          Correspondence          February 25 - April 5, 1944
6          4          Correspondence          May 9-27, 1944
6          5          Correspondence          May 28 - June 11, 1944
7          1          Correspondence          June 12 - July 3, 1944
7          2          Correspondence          July 4-30, 1944
7          3          Correspondence          July 31 - August 20, 1944
7          4          Correspondence          August 21 - September 16, 1944
7          5          Correspondence          September 18-30, 1944
8          1          Correspondence          October 2-24, 1944
8          2          Correspondence          October 26 - November 13, 1944
8          3          Correspondence          November 15 - December 10, 1944
8          4          Correspondence          December 11, 1944 - January 7, 1945
8          5          Correspondence          January 10 - February 8, 1945
9          1          Correspondence          February 9 - March 12, 1945
9          2          Correspondence          March 13 - April 10, 1945
9          3          Correspondence          April 11 - May 20, 1945
9          4          Correspondence          May 22 - July 1, 1945
9          5          Correspondence          July 2 - August 5, 1945
 
Subseries 1.2: Correspondence between Jacob and others, 1939-1945
 
Box    Folder    Description
10          1          Nathan and Katie Benson          1942
10          2          Nathan and Katie Benson          1943
10          3          Nathan and Katie Benson          1944
10          4          Nathan and Katie Benson          1945
10          5          Sylvia Benson          1945
10          6          Henry Cornehlsen          1942
10          7          Helen M. Crocker          1943
10          8          Rosalie and Charles Klein          1942-1945
10          9          Jack and Jule Shinberg to Nathan and Katie Benson          1945
10          10          Correspondents illegible          1940-1942
10          11          Greeting cards and invitations          1939-1945
 
Series 2: Benson family papers, 1904-2010
 
Box    Folder    Description
11          1          "Ancestors of Jacob & Sarah Bogutz"          2010
13                    Brazil and Uruguay photograph album          1943-1945
11          2          Brazil and Uruguay photographs and negatives          1943-1945
11          3          Camp Sutton, N.C. photographs          1942-1943
14          1          Ellen Benson baby photograph album          1947-1948
11          4          Eulogy for Jacob M. Benson          August 29, 1986
11          5          Family photograph album          1921-1923
14          2          Family photograph album          1942-1961
11          6          Family photographs          1904-1915
11          7          Family photographs          1921-1930
11          8          Family photographs          1935-1948
11          9          Family photographs          1958-1979
11          10          Frances Friedman diary          January 1, 1933 - July 4, 1936
11          11          Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, PA          1943
12          1          Newspaper clipping scrapbook          1943-1969
12          2          Newspaper clippings          1934-1975
12          3          Portraits of Jacob and Frances Benson          1936-circa 1945
12          4          Scrapbook          1933-1959
12          5          Temple University Medical School          1941, undated
12          6          Vital records, certificates, and credentials (originals and copies)          1925-1958
12          7          Will of Naomi B. Alsher          August 8, 1984