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Friends of the Deaf Community Center (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records

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Collection Summary

Friends of the Deaf Community Center (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records


Collection ID

Friends of the Deaf Community Center

1.88 linear feet (5 boxes)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English.

Detailed Collection Information

Historical Note
The Friends of the Deaf was organized in April 1936, by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Olanoff, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Feinman, Herman Rosenfield, and Elias Wolf. The aim of the group was to set up a house for the Jewish deaf and their friends to hold meetings and religious services.  In 1939, the building at 1516 West Girard Avenue was dedicated as the Friends of the Deaf Community Center. The Community Center provided a space for dances, interpreters, general counseling, and instruction in needed skills such as sign language, lip reading, speech development, and sense training. In December 1949, a nursery school for deaf children was established with the help of Dr. David Meyers, an otologist.  Initially, Friends of the Deaf offered many of its services free of charge.  Eventually, membership dues and enrollment fees for nursery school students were instituted in order to compensate the teaching staff and pay for assistive devices. The nursery school provided education for 2 to 3 year olds until 1975 when it closed due to lack of funding. In 1979, Friends of the Deaf sold the Community Center, but continued to provide services in association with the Hebrew Association of the Deaf at the Silent Athletic Club (SAC) of Philadelphia.

Description of Collection
The Friends of the Deaf Community Center (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records, 1938–1981, consist of correspondence, reports of the administrative body, membership lists, annual yearbooks, and meeting minutes. The bulk of the collection is comprised of outgoing correspondence from Samuel Goldberg, President, Rose S. Olanoff, Executive Director, and Sarah Goldberg, President of the Women’s Association. The meeting minutes and directors’ reports document discussion regarding topics ranging from the physical maintenance of the center, the purchase of stamps and stationery, and fire insurance. The reports also discuss the setting up of social affairs, publicity, and soliciting financial contributions. The yearbooks give an overview of the activities at the Community Center and Nursery School which acted as a fundraising resource by including advertisements from supporting community members and businesses.

Organization and Arrangement
The records are 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/991036450329703811

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 Friends of the Deaf Community Center 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], Friends of the Deaf Community Center (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records, 1938-1981, SCRC 11, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Donated by Friends of the Deaf Community Center in 1973, 1975, 1980, and 1984. 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:
Council of Jewish Women. Seder tefilot Yiśraʼel: Prayer-book for Jewish deaf. Philadelphia: Council [of] Jewish Women, 1919.

Processing Information
Collection processed and finding aid prepared in 1975 by J. Findberg. Subsequent accessions added 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:
Olanoff, Rose S.

Corporate Names:
Friends of the Deaf Community Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Deaf -- Services for – Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Hearing impaired children -- Education -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Social work with the deaf

Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:
Minutes (administrative records)

Inventory, Friends of the Deaf Community Center (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records

Box   Folder   Description

1          1          Correspondence          1952

1          2          Correspondence          1953

1          3          Correspondence          January–April, 1954

1          4          Correspondence          May–September, 1954

1          5          Correspondence          October–December, 1954

1          6          Correspondence          January–May, 1955

1          7          Correspondence          June–September, 1955

1          8          Correspondence          October–December, 1955

1          9          Correspondence          January– April, 1956

2          1          Correspondence          May–August, 1956

2          2          Correspondence          September–December, 1956 

2          3          Correspondence          January–April, 1957 

2          4          Correspondence          May–September, 1957

2          5          Correspondence          October –December, 1957 

2          6          Correspondence          January–July, 1958

2          7          Correspondence          August–December, 1958

3          1          Correspondence          1960

3          2          Correspondence          1961         

3          3          Correspondence          January–June, 1962 

3          4          Correspondence          July–December 1962, 

3          5          Correspondence          January–July, 1963 

3          6          Correspondence          August–December, 1963                          

3          7          Correspondence          January–May, 1964 

3          8          Correspondence          June–August, 1964    

3          9          Correspondence          September–December, 1964 

4          1          Correspondence          November 30, 1979 

4          2          Correspondence          undated

4          3          Directories for hearing impaired and handicapped          1959, 1979–1980

4          4          Directors’ reports          1949–1973

4          5          Financial contributions          1956–1957, undated                

4          6          Guestbook          December 19, 1938–April 20, 1940    

4          7          Hebrew Association of the Deaf membership lists          undated           

4          8          Hebrew Association of the Deaf newsletters          1972–1981

4          9          Holiday service schedules          1970–1972

4          10          Minutes          1950–1969

4          11          Newspaper clippings on the deaf          1961

4          12          Nursery school          1946–1973

4          13          Rose S. Olanoff biographical timeline and resume          April 16, 1974

4          14          Women’s association          1964

4          15          Yearbooks          1954–1960

4          16          Yearbooks          1961–1964    

5          1          Yearbooks          1965–1967, 1969

5          2          Yearbooks          1970–1973