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

Collection ID: 
1.88 linear feet (5 boxes)

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:

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. Literary rights including copyright belong to the organization, authors, 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.

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.


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

Material Types:
Clippings (information artifacts)


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