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Archives & Special Collections (ASC)

Jewish Life in Louisville: Manuscript Collections

Manuscript Collections (in alphabetical order)

Isaac Bernheim Papers, 1852-1971
3.125 linear feet
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Born in Germany, Isaac Bernheim came to the United States in 1867, working first as a peddler then settling in Paducah, Kentucky. In 1888 he and his brother moved their distilling business, established in 1872, to Louisville, selling the business to Schenley Distilling Corp. in 1937. Bernheim was an important civic leader, active in many Jewish organizations including the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the American Jewish Committee. He was also a prominent philanthropist, giving money for the first library at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, two Kentucky statues for Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, and waterworks for his hometown in Germany. In Louisville, he gave the first home for the Young Men's Hebrew Association, an addition to Jewish Hospital, and most prominently, the fourteen-thousand-acre Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.
This collection of his personal papers include biographical information including his own writings and copies of his published works, 1850s-1930s; correspondence dating from 1852 to 1941; financial records from 1864 to beyond his death; and photographs and images, 1901 to 1939.

Bernheim Foundation Records, 1929-1979
11.75 linear feet
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Kentucky distiller and philanthropist I.W. Bernheim created a foundation and fund bearing his name in 1929 for the purpose of overseeing the development of an arboretum, natural forest, and nature center on a fourteen-thousand-acre tract of land in Bullitt and Nelson Counties, about twenty-miles south of Louisville. This property, purchased by Bernheim in 1928, was to be open to the public as an area of natural beauty and recreation for all people.
This collection includes legal documents (1932-1954); minutes of the foundation (1929-1973); financial records (1929-1979); correspondence (1927-1972); plans and reports (1929-1971); scrapbooks and photographs (1929-1970s).

Louis D. Brandeis Papers, 1810-1976 [Microfilm]
184 reels
Louis Dembitz Brandeis was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1856 and lived here until age 16. He attended Male High School, followed by a school in Dresden, Germany from 1873 to 1875, then attended Harvard where he earned a law degree in 1877. While he was practicing law in Boston he became known as the "people's attorney," for his representation of consumers, small investors, and labor unions, sometimes without pay. President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis for the United States Supreme Court in 1916 and he served on that body until 1939. He was a champion of civil liberties and laws that served to protect individuals and regulate big business. Justice Brandeis died in 1941 and his ashes are interred under the portico of the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.
Brandeis supported the University of Louisville with both contributions of money and his personal papers. The collection is housed at the Brandeis School of Law, with microfilm of the collection available at a variety of locations, including the University Archives and Records Center. This collections consists of correspondence, drafts of speeches and publications, scrapbooks of news clippings, reference files, pamphlets and reports, and legal documents, as well as family correspondence from as early as 1810 and biographical sketches as recent as 1976.
The Brandeis papers collection is housed at the Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville. Additional materials from Brandeis' law practice in Boston are housed in the University Archives & Records Center (the non-restricted portions of this material are available on the Brandeis papers microfilm).

Bernard Goldstein Papers, 1937-1995
.5 linear feet
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Bernard Goldstein was a Louisville attorney and president of the Adath Jeshurun Jewish congregation from 1955 to 1957. He was named a distinguished alumnus of the University of Louisville School of Law in 1978. Goldstein was active in Louisville Jewish and Zionist organizations.
The collection includes photographs, a biographical sketch, financial documents, correspondence, literary productions, and legal documents relating to Jewish organizations.

Maurice Grossman Papers, 1917-1992
1.75 linear feet
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Maurice Grossman was born in Louisville in 1903. After graduating from high school in 1920 he went to work for YMHA, now the Jewish Community Center. In 1935 he opened a department store in Lexington. In 1937 he returned to Louisville and in 1943 opened a department store that he operated until 1965. From 1965 until his retirement in 1970 he worked for the county government. He was active in the Boy Scouts and in B'nai B'rith.
The papers include material relating to Grossman's work with B'nai B'rith, the Boy Scouts of America, and newspaper clippings and pamphlets written about his career, his son's career, important historical events, and Middletown, Kentucky, the location of his business.

Jewish Community Center, 1864-1959 (bulk: 1890-1959)
6.50 linear feet
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Founded in 1890 as the Jewish Young Men's Association, the organization was a consolidation of several predecessor movements by distiller and philanthropist I. W. Bernheim. Shortly afterwards the name was changed to the Young Men's Hebrew Association. In the mid-1950s the organization moved to the suburbs and changed its name to the Jewish Community Center.
The institution's records include printed materials dating from the 1890s, scrapbooks from the 1920s, minutes of meetings and correspondence - some from the predecessor organizations - from 1860s, photographs dating from the early twentieth century, financial records from the 1910s and 1920s, and organizational and legal records dating from the 1910s. There are also issues of the illustrated monthly YMHA Chronicler, 1913-1926, which documents the local Jewish community during the 1910s and 1920s.

Jewish Community Federation of Louisville Records, 1909-1988 (bulk 1931-1977)
12.875 linear feet
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The federation was founded in 1934 to unify local Jewish groups into one organization. The group sought to assist fleeing German Jews in the 1930s and urged the creation of a Palestinian homeland for Jews in addition to promoting Jewish life and culture in the United States.
The collection contains correspondence, files, and other records generated by the Jewish Community Federation, and materials relating to the Louisville Jewish community. Also present are printed reports for the years 1909 to 1910 and 1912 to 1914 for the Federation of Jewish Charities of Louisville. Also present are legal briefs written for the organization B'nai B'rith from 1946 to 1979, and Jewish Community Center bulletins published from 1964 to 1973. Issues of a newsletter called the Four Court News printed from 1986 to 1988 are included, too.

Jewish Hospital Records, 1948-1980
1.375 linear feet
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The collection contains a scrapbook, "The Story of the New Jewish Hospital," 1948-1953, compiled by the Jewish Hospital Association president Saul B. Ades. There is also one linear foot of clippings, photographs, and other records compiled by the hospital's public relations department during the commemoration of Jewish's seventy-fifth anniversary in 1980.

Clarence Judah Papers, 1927-1977
.25 linear feet
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Clarence Judah, a University of Louisville graduate, was active in thespian activities as a student, being one of the core members of the University of Louisville Players and the Alumni Players. However, he was best known for his leadership as executive director of the Louisville Conference of Jewish Organizations, which later became the Jewish Community Federation. After thirty-five years, he retired in 1971.
The collection is comprised of scattered correspondence between 1927 and 1977, some of which is from Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, and newspaper clippings, mostly from the 1920s, about the University of Louisville Players.

Arthur Kling Papers, 1932-1968
2.375 linear feet
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Arthur S. Kling was a Louisville community leader, active with the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Vocational Service, Kentucky Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Democratic Action and the Socialist Party. In 1935 Kling unsuccessfully campaigned as the Socialist Party candidate for mayor of Louisville.
This collection contains correspondence, minutes, membership lists, newspaper clippings, and other papers dealing with the organizations with which Kling was involved as well as campaign buttons and posters and photographs.

Herman Landau Papers, 1920-1987
7.75 linear feet
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Herman Landau, a Louisville journalist and author, came with his family from Austria-Hungary to New York City in 1897 and from New York City to Louisville around 1900. During his newspaper career he worked for the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times.
Although this collection of Landau's papers reflects his interest in journalism, it concerns primarily his long association with the Jewish community in Louisville. In the course of writing and researching about Louisville's Jewish heritage he compiled these research materials. The collection contains a biography file and a reference file on local Jewish organizations, selected runs of local Jewish newsletters and other publications, and a variety of research materials on Louisville.

Sara Landau Papers, 1893-1986 (bulk 1910-1986)
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38 linear feet
Sara Landau was born in Pennsylvania in 1890, attended school in Louisiana, and taught before moving to Kentucky. She enrolled at the University of Louisville in 1917, earning a bachelor's degree in 1920 and a master's degree in economics in 1921. Landau began teaching at UofL while still an undergraduate, continuing until 1928, when she resigned her associate professorship in protest over the firing of historian Louis Gottschalk. She went to the University of Chicago where she taught and worked toward a doctorate, teaching also at Wheaton College. She returned to Louisville for most of the 1930s, holding government jobs and managing family-owned property. During the 1940s, Landau taught at schools in Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, and Massachusetts and did research for various Treasury Department divisions during the war years. Hired to teach at the new Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1946, she argued successfully for the same salary as male faculty. Upon retirement in 1954, she was recruited to teach at Berea College (Kentucky), where she spent the next ten years, retiring again at the age of 72.
Landau was also active in many organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Women's Overseas Service League. While at the University of Louisville, she was founder and president of Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and member of La Societe Francaise and the Woodcock Society. Landau wrote academic works, short stories, plays, and book reviews. She traveled extensively, serving with the American Red Cross in France during World War I and, at age 70, embarking on a yearlong world tour.
The papers include biographical and genealogical records; diaries; financial records; correspondence; literary productions; teaching records; contract research; reference material; scrapbook material; photographs; and audio records.

Lee Shai Weissbach Papers, 1980-2015
5 linear feet
Lee Shai Weissbach received his PhD in history from Harvard University in 1975, and joined the faculty of the University of Louisville in 1978. This collection includes material relating to his teaching (lecture notes, syllabi and the like) as well as his research on the histories of Jewish communities in Kentucky. Research-related material includes correspondence and page proofs related to the publication of The Synagogues of Kentucky: Architecture and History; research notes for The Synagogues of Kentucky organized by synagogue; material related to illustrations in The Synagogues of Kentucky. There are also substantial files on the histories of the Jewish communities in Lexington, Owensboro, Paducah, and Ashland, with smaller files on the histories of other cities, including Louisville.