Jacob H. Gomborow Papers

Collection ID: 
SCRC 246
Date: 
circa 1890-2008
Footage: 
2.25 linear feet (3 boxes)

Collection Summary

Title
Jacob H. Gomborow Papers

Dates
Circa 1890-2008         

Collection ID
SCRC 246

Creator
Gomborow, Jacob H., 1886?-1954

Quantity
2.25 linear feet (3 boxes)

Repository
Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Language
Materials in English, Yiddish, and German.

 

Detailed Collection Information

Biographical Note
Jacob H. Gomborow was a Jewish police officer and detective in Philadelphia’s Bureau of Police, responsible for leading the bureau’s radical squad in their investigations of antisemitic, subversive, and radical groups in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Jacob H. Gomborow was born in the 1880s in Russia to Harry and Minnie Gomborow. The Gomborows immigrated to the United States in 1891, settling in Philadelphia. On December 31, 1905, Gomborow became a policeman in the 2nd District of the Philadelphia Police Department, then known as the Bureau of Police. In addition to serving as a patrolman, Gomborow also worked as a clerk in the Detective Bureau before he was named acting detective on December 14, 1914. In September 1915, Gomborow became a full member of the detective corps. He was promoted to the rank of detective sergeant in December 1934, while working as a member of the radical squad police unit. Gomborow also served as police escort and bodyguard to numerous entertainers and dignitaries throughout his career including Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, and Chaim Weizmann. In the late 1940s, Gomborow was head of the police department’s check squad, responsible for investigating counterfeiters and other cases of fraud.  Gomborow was promoted to detective lieutenant in May 1950. After forty-four years of service, he retired from the police department in October 1950.

In addition to his contributions to law enforcement, Gomborow was also active in many Jewish fraternal and civic organizations including the Shomrim of Philadelphia, Brith Sholom, Krakauer Beneficial Association, and West Philadelphia Jewish Community Center. He lectured frequently at these organizations about his experiences as a member of the police department and on the operations of confidence men.

Gomborow married Mae Rosen in June 1913, and they adopted a daughter. Gomborow died on September 30, 1954.

 

Description of Collection
The Jacob H. Gomborow Papers consist of reports, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other materials related to cases and investigations Gomborow was involved as an officer and detective in the Philadelphia Bureau of Police, most notably during his tenure working on the radical squad. Materials of note include reports submitted by Gomborow to the Department of Public Safety on the activities of subversive groups and potentially immoral, offensive, or politically questionable content of theatrical performances; antisemitic propaganda material produced and distributed in Philadelphia; copies of examinations administered by the Bureau of Police; and speeches given to fraternal and civic organizations. The collection also contains materials collected posthumously by his daughter and other family members including family photographs and a family tree.


Organization and Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 3 series as follows:

Series 1: Police work, 1909-1951
Series 2: Civic associations, 1922-1950
Series 3: Personal and family papers, circa 1890-2008

Series 1 contains newspaper clippings of stories mentioning Gomborow’s involvement in various investigations and arrests; official investigation reports on individuals and groups submitted to the Department of Public Safety; photographs of Gomborow and other officers including interiors of a police precinct as well as visiting dignitaries and dignitaries; and printed propaganda material, primarily antisemitic in message. A small amount of newspaper clippings and printed material in Yiddish and German can be found in this series. This series is arranged chronologically.

Series 2 contains correspondence, speeches, newspaper clippings, and photographs related to Gomborow’s speaking events and other activities at various civic organizations and Jewish fraternal organizations. This series is arranged alphabetically by name of organization or type of material.

Series 3 contains family photographs, personal correspondence, certificates and awards, vital records, and materials collected posthumously by Gomborow family members, namely a family tree and photographs. This series is arranged chronologically.


Patron Information

Catalog Record
A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: http://diamond.temple.edu/record=b6411514~S30

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.

Technical Access
Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Publication and Copyright Information
The Jacob H. Gomborow Papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. Intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to the 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], Jacob H. Gomborow Papers, SCRC 246, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Donated by Mendorha G. Sider, daughter of Jacob H. Gomborow in October 2016.         

Processing Information
The collection was received as organized and housed by the donor in three ring binders by topic or area of activity. For preservation purposes, the binders were disassembled during processing. Using a table of contents generated by the donor as a guide, documents were gathered into file folders, assigned titles, and grouped in series according to the creator’s areas of activity. Finding aid prepared in January 2017 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:
Gomborow, Jacob H. 1886?-1954

Corporate Names:
Philadelphia (Pa.). Bureau of Police
Philadelphia (Pa.). Department of Public Safety

Subjects:
Anti-Jewish propaganda – United States
Detectives – Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Jewish families – Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Jewish police officers – Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Police -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Propaganda, Anti-communist – United States
Subversive activities – Pennsylvania – Philadelphia
Swindlers and swindling – United States

Places:
Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:
Clippings
Correspondence
Ephemera
Genealogies
Legal documents
Marriage certificates
Manuscripts
Membership lists
Minutes
Periodicals
Phonograph records
Photocopies
Photographs
Poems
Publications
Reports
Sound recordings
Speeches

 

Collection Inventory

Series 1: Police work, 1909-1951
Series 1 contains newspaper clippings of stories mentioning Gomborow’s involvement in various investigations and arrests; official investigation reports on individuals and groups submitted to the Department of Public Safety; photographs of Gomborow and other officers including interiors of a police precinct as well as visiting dignitaries and dignitaries; and printed propaganda material, primarily antisemitic in message. A small amount of newspaper clippings and printed material in Yiddish and German can be found in this series. This series is arranged chronologically.

Box    Folder    Description

1          1          Murder          1909, undated
1          2          Patrolman photographs          circa 1910
1          3          Newspaper clippings on Bureau of Police, criminal cases and investigations, and other topics          1912-1945, undated
1          4          Labor unions          1913-1938, undated
1          5          Emma Goldman lecture reports          1915-1916
1          6          Examination for detective          1915-1919
1          7          "Steps in apprehending a criminal"          November 1916
1          8          Bigamy          1916, 1931, undated
1          9          Fraud          1916-1940, undated
1          10          Check fraud          1916-1950
1          11          "Obtaining a confession"          circa 1916
1          12          First American Jewish Congress          1918
1          13          Alma Gluck, singer          circa 1918
1          14          William J. Burns lecture          November 1, 1921
1          15          Chaim Weitzman          1921, undated
1          16          Arson          1922, undated
1          17          Theater performances review reports          1924-1936
1          18          Transatlantic Flyers (1 of 2)          1928
3          1          Transatlantic Flyers (2 of 2)          1928
1          19          Communist Party of the U. S. A.          1928-1939
1          20          Promotion to Detective Sergeant          1930-1931
1          21          Séance report          March 18, 1932
1          22          Boser Kosher Butchers Protective Association          1932-1933
1          23          Khaki Shirts of America report          July 24, 1933
1          24          Philadelphia Nudist League          1933
1          25          Victoria Feodorovna          1934
1          26          Pro-Jewish newspaper clippings and publications          1934-1945
1          27          Eddie Cantor          1934-1954
1          28          David Ben-Gurion          1935
1          29          Albert Einstein          1935-1936, undated
1          30          American League Against War and Fascism / American League for Peace and Democracy          1935-1938
1          31          Robert Edward Edmondson anti-communist and antisemitic propaganda fliers          1935-1939
1          32          Anti-communist, antisemitic, and pro-Nazi propaganda publications and ephemera          1935-1946
1          33          Rabbi B. L. Levinthal letter          September 3, 1936
1          34          Rose Veronica Coyle, Miss America          1936
1          35          Leader Toefel Singing Society report          February 20, 1937
1          36          American Business Menace and J. J. Kershner          1937
1          37          The Equalizer and Charles A. Moylan (1 of 2)          1937
3          2          The Equalizer and Charles A. Moylan (2 of 2)          1937
1          38          Knights of White Camellia          1937
1          39          Bessie R. Burchett          1937-1940
1          40          German American Bund (1 of 2)          1937-1940
3          3          German American Bund (2 of 2)          1937-1940
1          41          Antisemitism and Nazi activity related correspondence, membership lists, and reports          1937-1945, undated
1          42          Deutscher Fichte-Bund antisemitic propaganda fliers          circa 1937-1940
1          43          Foreign Policy Association, Philadelphia Branch          February 1938
1          44          Anti-Communist Society          1938-1940
1          45          Rabbi C. David Matt          1938, 1943
1          46          Silver Shirt Legion          1938, undated
1          47          Kyffhaeuser Bund report          February 17, 1939
1          48          National Defense League of Philadelphia sixth annual meeting reports          March 28-29, 1939
1          49          Carl Henninger report          March 30, 1939
1          50          Raid on Committee for Racial and Religious Tolerance meeting by Anti-Communist Society          March 1939
1          51          Rundfunk Club report          April 5, 1939
1          52          American Defenders          April 1939
1          53          Patriotic Order Sons of America correspondence          April 1939
1          54          Philadelphia Committee for the Defense of Constitutional Rights and Thomas Blisard          September 1939
1          55          Blackmail / extortion          1939, undated
1          56          Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady          1939-1942
1          57          Social Justice distributers and Father Coughlin (1 of 2)          1939, 1942, undated
3          4          Social Justice distributers and Father Coughlin (2 of 2)          1939, 1942, undated
1          58          Antisemitism and Nazi activity related newspaper clippings          1939-1944
1          59          Friends of Democracy          1939-1944, undated
1          60          Promotion to Lieutenant          1939-1940, 1950
1          61          L. Q. Moss          February 1940
1          62          Ed "Spike" Howard, vaudeville strongman          1940
1          63          Christian Front          1940, undated
1          64          William M. Gerber          1940-1947
1          65          Clarence Pickett          1941
1          66          Joseph G. Buchs, Elks           1941
1          67          Non-sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights          1941-1946
1          68          Marian Anderson          1942
1          69          Crusading Mothers of Pennsylvania          1942-1943
1          70          John Roy Carlson correspondence          1943, 1945
1          71          Philadelphia Bureau of Police examinations: captain (promotion) practical questions          September 8, 1947
1          72          Philadelphia Bureau of Police examinations: promotion for house and street sergeants general information and intelligence test          March 20, 1948
1          73          Daniel A. Poling, minister          1948
1          74          Israel Rokach, Mayor of Tel Aviv          1948
1          75          Frank Sinatra, singer          1948, undated
1          76          Philadelphia Bureau of Police examinations: detective (promotion) practical questions, observation and memory test          January 22, 1949
1          77          Philadelphia Bureau of Police / Bureau of Fire examinations for patrolman and hoseman observation test and practical questions          October 15, 1949
1          78          Emma Elath correspondence          1949
1          79          Moshe Sharett, Foreign Minister of Israel          1949, undated
1          80          Retirement from Bureau of Police          1950-1951
1          81          Interview with Mac Parker transcript          circa 1950
1          82          Alexander Kerensky, Russian Minister of Justice          undated
1          83          Dope          undated
1          84          Gertrude Berg, actor          undated
1          85          Portraits and unidentified group photographs          undated
1          86          Prisoner's (unidentified) poems          undated
1          87          Robbery          undated
1          88          Vera Gordon, actor          undated

 

Series 2: Civic associations, 1922-1950
Series 2 contains correspondence, speeches, newspaper clippings, and photographs related to Gomborow’s speaking events and other activities at various civic organizations and Jewish fraternal organizations. This series is arranged alphabetically by name of organization or type of material.

Box    Folder    Description

2          1          60th and Market Streets Businessmen's Association          1947
2          2          Akiba Hebrew Academy          April 7, 1948
2          3          B'nai B'rith lodges          1937-1949
2          4          Brith Sholom lodges          1938-1948
2          5          Elks          1937-1948, undated
2          6          Golden Slipper Square Club          1949-1950
2          7          Jewish Foster Home          1923-1924, undated
2          8          Jewish War Veterans posts          1938-1950
2          9          Lincoln College Preparatory School          1936-1939, undated
2          10          Marlyn Road Improvement Association          1933, 1949
2          11          Melody Club          April 29, 1945
2          12          Philadelphia Anti-Defamation Council          1939-1942
2          13          Philadelphia Anti-Defamation Council and B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Committee award          1943
2          14          Philadelphia Stage Door Canteen / Hospital Entertainment Canteen          1945, 1947
2          15          Shomrim of Philadelphia (1 of 2)          1932-1947, undated
3          5          Shomrim of Philadelphia (2 of 2)          1932-1947, undated
2          16          Speaking engagements: newspaper clippings and speech notes          circa 1948, undated
2          17          Speaking engagements: organizations, A-L          1922-1949
2          18          Speaking engagements: organizations, M-Y          1937-1950
2          19          Speech: "Assets and Liabilities"          circa 1933
2          20          Speech: "Foreign Confidence Men"          undated
2          21          Speech: "Jews and Communism" delivered at Temple Emanu El          February 8, 1935
2          22          Speech: "The Philadelphia Police Department" delivered at The Lions Club of North Philadelphia          May 7, 1936
2          23          Uptown Home for the Aged          July 1, 1954
2          24          War Bond Drive          1944-1945
2          25          West Philadelphia Jewish Community Center          1942, 1950
2          26          Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association          1924, 1940-1941

 

Series 3: Personal and family papers, circa 1890-2008
Series 3 contains family photographs, personal correspondence, certificates and awards, vital records, and materials collected posthumously by Gomborow family members, namely a family tree and photographs. This series is arranged chronologically.

Box    Folder    Description

2          27          Family photographs including individual and group portraits, events          circa 1890-1952
2          28          Citizenship, marriage, and other certificates and vital records          1904-1946, undated
2          29          Awards          1918-circa 1937
2          30          Joel Gomborow          circa 1918, 1948-1949
2          31          Personal correspondence          1923-1954
2          32          Mendorha Gomborow          1928-1949, undated
2          33          Miscellaneous writings          1932, 1947, undated
2          34          Family photographs of Seders at the Gomborow's home          1933-1949
2          35          25th wedding anniversary          1938
2          36          H. Daroff and Sons          1950
2          37          Estate of Minnie Levy          1952-1953
2          38          "Man Behind the Badge" correspondence          March-August 1954, 2004
2          39          Death certificate, obituary, and funeral expenses          October 1954
2          40          Memorial services and charitable contributions in memory of Jacob Gomborow          1954-1956
2          41          Family photographs post-1954          circa 1958-1991
2          42          Proposed naming of elementary school at Bowler and Hoff Streets          1960-1962
2          43          Gomborow family trees          2004, 2008
2          44          Family photographs: computer print outs of scanned images dated 1894-2008 and partial index          undated
2          45          Mendorha Gomborow writings on Jacob Gomborow's life and work          undated
2          46          Unidentified 45 rpm records           undated