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Roundtable Discussion Club (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records

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Collecting Area(s)


Collection Summary

Roundtable Discussion Club (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records


Collection ID

Roundtable Discussion Club (Philadelphia, Pa.)

0.2 linear feet (1 box + 1 map folder)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English.

Detailed Collection Information

Historical Note
The Roundtable Discussion Club was established by Isaac Landman in Philadelphia on January 12, 1912. The purpose of the club was to create an informal group that would meet to discuss early 20th century interpretations of the Bible. Originally named “Bible and Beer Society,” the discussion club quickly abandoned Bible studies within a year’s time for topical discussions led by an invited speaker. Although religion, and in particular Judaism was a commonly discussed topic, art, architecture, politics, business, and medicine were just a few of the other areas of interest of Roundtable members. Meetings were typically held in one of the club member’s residences who played host to interested professionals including doctors, lawyers, scientists and academics. Although the membership was entirely male, it was not exclusively Jewish. Sporadic meetings and declining interest in the 1960s led to the dissolution of the club circa 1970.

Description of Collection
The collection consists of materials related to the planning, organizing, and meeting activities of this informal discussion group. A single folder of correspondence consists of letters written to and from Leon J. Obermayer, regarding finding speakers, planning meetings, and boosting membership. The collection also includes membership lists, attendance sheets, and meeting notices. The strength of the collection is the program schedules because they illustrate the range of topics presented at the discussion club’s meetings as well as the individuals invited to speak, among them urban planner Edmund Bacon, architect and artist Alfred Bendiner, economist Scott Nearing, and Phillip Jaisohn, the first Korean American to acquire United States citizenship. A brief history of the club written by founding member, Sydney A. Farbish also provides some limited background on the club’s beginnings, its original members, and their activities.

Organization and Arrangement
The collection 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/991037395105303811

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 Roundtable Discussion Club (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. The donors have 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], Roundtable Discussion Club (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records, SCRC 10, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Donated by Maurice Jacobs in 1977 and Mrs. Leon J. Obermayer in 1998. Collection previously administered by the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, acquired by Temple in June 2009.

Processing Information
Collection processed in 1998 by Ernst L. Presseisen. 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 January 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:
Farbish, Sydney A.
Landman, Isaac, 1880-1946
Obermayer, Leon J.

Corporate Names:
Roundtable Discussion Club (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Jews -- Societies, etc.

Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:
Attendance records
Membership lists


Inventory, Roundtable Discusssion Club (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records

Box    Folder    Description

M13          A          Attendance sheets          1928-1953

1          1          Correspondence          1912-1973, bulk 1960s

1          2          Directors and membership lists          1912-1959, undated

1          3          Financial records          1947-1967

1          4          History of club          circa 1969

1          5          Meeting notices          1924-1964

1          6          Program schedules          1913-1964