Guide to the Jewish Community of Lynn (Mass.) Records
undated, 1855-2010


Processed by Kora Welsh

Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, MA 02116



© 2019  Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, Boston, MA. All Rights Reserved.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD by Lindsay Sprechman in July 2015. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore
Title: Jewish Community of Lynn, Mass. Records
Dates:undated, 1855-2010
Abstract: This collection contains a range of materials documenting the Jewish community of Lynn, Massachusetts. Included are materials from Jewish-owned businesses, Jewish individuals and families, and Jewish organizations in Lynn.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 3 linear feet (2 document boxes, 1 OS box)
Identification: I-580
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
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Historical Note

Photograph of the Americanization class at Washington School on Blossom Street, Lynn, MA, 1938.

In 1855, Simon J. Weinberg became the first permanent Jewish resident on record in the newly designated City of Lynn, which had received its charter in 1850. Initially, Lynn’s Jewish community was slow to grow, not reaching ten families until 1875. Weinberg participated in organizing Lynn’s first Jewish communal organization, the Lynn Hebrew Benevolent Society, in 1886. Several of the Society’s members continued, in the following decades, the institutional establishment of Jewish life. In 1896, many wives of the Society’s founding members set up the Ladies’ Hebrew Circle in order to organize efforts to help the community’s sick and needy. The Jewish Social Service Agency (Jewish Family Service) and the Lynn Hebrew School (Hillel Academy) were both established in 1899. The organizations established between 1904 and 1912 included the Lynn Jewish Associated Charities (Jewish Federation of the North Shore), the Hebrew Helping Hand Society, the Lynn Young Men’s Hebrew Association (North Shore Jewish Community Center), and the Menorah Society.

The turn of the 20th century saw a tremendous increase in Jewish immigration to America, and Lynn’s Jewish population grew. Recently arrived immigrants, primarily from Eastern Europe and Russia, were drawn to the job opportunities in Lynn’s industries, namely shoe making. Some members of this growing community also included active participants of the Socialist movement, and they established Arbeiter Ring branches and Socialist clubs in Lynn. This movement also influenced the formation of the Labor Circle Credit Union. The overall impact of Russian Jewish immigrants to Lynn, motivated by desires for personal and economic security, greatly influenced the development of the Jewish community. Stephen G. Mostov describes the impetus for the secularization of the community, “Despite their traditional upbringings and personal piety…maintaining a traditional Jewish life style came almost immediately into conflict with the immigrants’ desire for social and economic mobility.”

The majority of this growing Jewish community lived in the neighborhood surrounded by Commercial Street and Market Street. Jewish businesses primarily flourished on Summer Street and included grocers, bakeries, and kosher butchers. The decline of the Jewish population in Lynn after the 1940s, with many families moving to nearby suburbs in Swampscott, Marblehead, and Peabody, diminished the need for many institutions, services, and businesses. Parts of the Jewish business neighborhood were demolished in the 1960s. Organizations dissolved, such as the Yiddish language and literature school, or merged with other North Shore Jewish groups to combine resources and serve a wider community.


Material from the collection.

Mostoy, Stephen G. "Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Jews in the Shoe Trades in Lynn, 1855-1945" (Marblehead: Jewish Historical Society of the North Shore, 1982), <>.

Chronology of Jewish Community of Lynn, Mass.

1850 Lynn receives its city charter.
1855 Simon J. Weinberg settles in Lynn; Weinberg is Lynn’s first recorded Jewish resident.
1858 Arrival of Solomon Wyzansky.
1867 Arrival of Lewis Wolf
1886 The Lynn Hebrew Benevolent Society is founded.
1896 Ladies’s Hebrew Circle is founded.
1899 The Jewish Social Service Agency (Jewish Family Service) and the Lynn Hebrew School (Hillel Academy) are founded.
1904 Lynn Jewish Associated Charities (Jewish Federation of the North Shore) is founded.
1906 Hebrew Helping Hand Society is founded.
1911 Lynn Young Men’s Hebrew Association (North Shore Jewish Community Center) is founded.
1912 Menorah Society and Labor Circle Credit Union are founded.
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Scope and Content Note

The records of the Jewish community of Lynn, Massachusetts, contain photographs, newspaper clippings, organizational and business records, ephemera and correspondence. These materials document the Jewish community of Lynn, as well as the overall community of Lynn, including its many businesses, organizations and families. The collection was established by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore through many separate donations of materials pertaining to the Lynn Jewish community.

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This collection is arranged into six series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

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Related Material

B'nai B'rith, Lynn, Massachusetts Records, I-554

Congregation Ahabot Sholom Record, I-568

Louis Winer Papers, P-988

Jecomen Club Records, I-564

Interfor Club, Lynn (Mass.) Records, I-563

Jewish Federation of the North Shore Records, I-572

Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Post 31 (Lynn, Mass.) Records, I-567

Lynn Hebrew Young Men’s Aid Association Records, I-73

Temple Beth El of Lynn and Swampscott, Mass. Records, I-574

Alpha Delta Chapter—Alpha Phi Pi (Lynn, Mass.) Records, I-562

Boy Scout Troop 4 (Sachems), Lynn, Massachusetts Records, I-559

Congregation Anshai Sfard (Lynn, Massachusetts) Records, I-556

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Jewish Community of Lynn, Mass. Records; I-580; box number; folder number; Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore in 2013.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

Click the box in the request column to learn more about viewing materials at the Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.


Series I: Businesses,  undated, 1965-2003

In English.
Box 1, Folders 1-14.


Scope and Content:

This series contains materials produced by several Jewish owned businesses in Lynn. Photographs in this series depict the stores, workshops, and individuals of these businesses. Many of their goods and services are described in advertisements, and their activities and achievements are detailed in newspaper articles. Records in this series also describe shoe manufacturing, a principle industry in Lynn in the late 19th- and early 20th- centuries.

1 1 Beden’s Hardware—Photographs 1928, 1942-1950, 1990 request_box
1 2 Bloomberg’s Furniture 1930-1936, 1991 request_box
1 3 Dinnerman—Holland Bakery undated, 1935-1960 request_box
1 4 General undated, 1915, 1927-1928, 1960-1993 request_box
1 5 Goldberg’s Furniture undated, 1943, 1990-1992 request_box
1 6 J. Rooks Furrier 1925 request_box
1 7 Jerry’s Clothing & Sporting Goods circa 1990 request_box
1 8 Lipsky Movers 1910, 1934-1936 request_box
1 9 Sam Levine Paint Store 1938 request_box
1 10 Shoe Industry undated,1981, 2003 request_box
1 11 Weinstein Shoe Company—Photographs 1918-1920s request_box
1 12 Wyzanski Dry Goods undated, 1865, 1870 request_box
1 13 Zimman’s Department Store 1990, 1999 request_box
1 14 Zimman Publishing 2004 request_box
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Series II: Families, undated, 1892-2010

In English.
Box 1, Folders 15-42.


Scope and Content:

This series contains records produces by several Jewish families who resided in Lynn. The members, relationships, and activities of these families are described in newspaper articles, memorial albums and programs, ephemera, photographs, and correspondence. Notably, the Backman family records include fundraising materials from the Committee to Re-Elect Senator Jack Backman. Senator Backman's (a member of the Massachusetts State Senate) re-election campaign included a cocktail party with the economist and former U.S. Ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith. Probate court records document the Green family’s name change to Sussman, and the confirmation of American citizenship to Samuel Sussman. Margolskee family records include drafts of articles published by Abraham Margolskee that primarily recount his reminiscences of Lynn’s Jewish community.

1 15 Backman undated, 1900s request_box
1 16 Cohen—“American Deeds, Jewish Dreams,” by Dennis Klein undated request_box
1 17 Cohen—Photographs undated request_box
1 18 Finkle undated, 1919, 1967-1981 request_box
1 19 Garfinkle undated, 1921-1987 request_box
1 20 Gass 1987-2000 request_box
1 21 Harris undated, 1892-1907 request_box
1 22 Harris-Wolf 1992-1996 request_box
1 23 Haskell—Photograph undated request_box
1 24 Kalikow—“Irving Kalikow’s Autobiography, Early Family Histories, and Mini-Stories” 2003 request_box
1 25 Klein 1914, 1987 request_box
1 26 Margolskee 1944, 1966, 1982-1991 request_box
1 27 Margolskee—Articles by Abe Margolskee 1976-1982 request_box
1 28 Margolskee—Correspondence undated, 1909-1919,1931, 1978 request_box
1 29 Margolskee—Photographs undated, 1890s, 1932 request_box
1 30 Nathan—Family Tree circa 2003 request_box
1 31 Portnoy 1931, 1974-1990 request_box
1 32 Portnoy, Arthur 1972 request_box
1 33 Portnoy, Esther undated, 1960 request_box
1 34 Portnoy, Rachel 1974 request_box
1 35 Rain undated, 1923, 1930-2001 request_box
1 36 Rapaport undated, 1985-1904, 1930-1957 request_box
1 37 Strome 1937 request_box
1 38 Sussman (Green) undated, 1895, 1920, 1934, 1978-1985 request_box
1 39 Weinberg 1926, 1944, 1988 request_box
1 40 Winokoor 1930, 2003 request_box
1 41 Zenis undated, 1912-1937, 1950-1951, 1984-2002 request_box
1 42 Zenis, Sarah—Correspondence 1984-2010 request_box
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Series III: Individuals, undated, 1855-2004

In English.
Box 1, Folders 43-50; Box 2, Folders 1-12.


Scope and Content:

The records contained in this series are the correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and ephemera of various individuals associated with Lynn’s Jewish community. The activities and achievements of these individuals are described in these materials. Nathan Gass’s writings include articles and manuscripts on topics from the history of Lynn, such as the Underground Railroad and abolitionism, and its prominent Jewish residents. This series also notably contains copies of Lewis Wolf’s Civil War muster rolls; the originals are noted to be located in the National Archives.

1 43 Alper, Milton H. 1987 request_box
1 44 Brickyard Neighborhood undated, 1991 request_box
1 45 Farber, Irving undated, 1953, 1978 request_box
1 46 Frankel, S. undated request_box
1 47 Gass, Nathan—Writings undated request_box
1 48 General undated, 1942-1944, 1956, 1989, 1997 request_box
1 49 General—News Clippings undated, 1913, 1936-1939, 1950-2000 request_box
1 50 General—News Clippings donated by Augusta Pruss Barron undated, 1914-1987 request_box
2 1 General—Photographs undated request_box
2 2 Gold, Arthur undated, 1945, 1995-1997 request_box
2 3 Kulchinsky, Aaron undated, 1952-1953 request_box
2 4 Obituaries 1988-2003 request_box
2 5 Pikelny, Barbara 1997 request_box
2 6 Rosen, Oscar undated, 1990-2001 request_box
2 7 Stone, Ben undated, 1930s request_box
2 8 Weinberg, Simon undated, 1855, 1977, 2004 request_box
2 9 Winer, Louis undated, 1990-1993 request_box
2 10 Wolf, Lewis undated, 1862, 1918, 1964, 1978, 1998 request_box
2 11 Zeramby, Jake 1991-1995 request_box
2 12 Zimman, Harold undated, 1937, 1980-1994 request_box
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Series IV: Organizations, undated, 1900-2009

In English.
Box 2, Folders 13-46.


Scope and Content:

This series contains the records produced by several Lynn based organizations that engaged members of the Jewish community. These organizations participated in social service, education, recreation, religious, and political activities, which are described in newspaper clippings, publications, correspondence, and ephemera. The photographs in this series primarily depict members in both formal group sittings and informal, candid settings, and the Mount Sinai Masonic Lodge. Material from the North Shore Jewish Historical Society (now the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore) includes details of several events and exhibits they sponsored.

2 13 Americanization Class circa 1930s request_box
2 14 City of Lynn 1938 request_box
2 15 Congregation Bet Hamedvash Agidas Israel 1919-1920 request_box
2 16 Congregation Chevra Tehillim undated, 1979-1994 request_box
2 17 Credit Unions undated request_box
2 18 Delta Kappa Sorority from Lou Winer undated, 1920-1944, 1992 request_box
2 19 General undated, 1915, 1937-1943 request_box
2 20 Grade Schools undated, 1910-1937, 1987 request_box
2 21 Fraternal Orders undated, 1949 request_box
2 22 Hebrew Benevolent Society undated, 1899, 1911 request_box
2 23 Jewish Community Center of Lynn 1951-1972 request_box
2 24 Jewish Home for the Aged undated, 1954-1955 request_box
2 25 Jewish Social Service Agency 1949-1958 request_box
2 26 Jewish Welfare Board undated request_box
2 27 Juvenile Aids 1944, 1978 request_box
2 28 Lynn Auxiliary Police 1942 request_box
2 29-30 Lynn Hebrew School undated, 1922-2009 request_box
2 31 Lynn Hebrew School—Papers from Ben Olanoff undated, 1921-1943, 1987 request_box
2 32 Lynn Hebrew School Women’s Auxilary undated, 1923, 1951-1965, 1990-1991 request_box
2 33 Lynn Mohawks undated, 1939-1949 request_box
2 34 North Shore Jewish Historical Society undated, 1979-2004 request_box
2 35 North Shore Jewish Historical Society—Board Meeting 1992 request_box
2 36 North Shore Jewish Historical Society—“Living and Working in the Old Neighborhoods of Lynn” Exhibit 1990 request_box
2 37 North Shore Jewish Historical Society—Lynn Jewish Heritage Day 3-Aug-89 request_box
2 38 North Shore Jewish Historical Society—Members undated, 1987-1995 request_box
2 39 Temple Beth El undated, 1940-1957 request_box
2 40 United Jewish Appeal—Publications 1943-1944 request_box
2 41 West Lynn Cooperative Association 1913 request_box
2 42 Workman’s Circle undated, 1937, 2004 request_box
2 43 Young Men’s Hebrew Association undated, 1925-1948 request_box
2 44 Young Men’s Hebrew Association—Charter 1912 request_box
2 45 Young Men’s Hebrew Association—Transition to Jewish Community Center 1944 request_box
2 46 Young Women’s Hebrew Association undated, 1920--1955 request_box
2 47 Zionist undated, 1946-1955, 1978 request_box
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Series V: Views of Lynn, undated, 1900-1958

In English.
Box 2, Folders 47-52.


Scope and Content:

This series contains visual materials depicting views of various areas of Lynn. Photographs feature street scenes, including sections of Essex, Johnson, Market, and Summer Streets, as well as Lynn civic buildings. Postcards and photocopies also provide additional visual information.

2 47 Essex and Johnson Streets circa 1910 request_box
2 48 General undated, 1902, 1910, 1958 request_box
2 49 Market Street circa 1910 request_box
2 50 Photocopies undated, circa 1900s request_box
2 51 Postcards circa 1900-1910 request_box
2 52 Summer Street undated, 1909-1910 request_box
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Series VI: Oversized, undated, 1888-1987

In English.
Box 3, Folders 1-9.


Scope and Content:

The materials contained in this series are the oversized records of various groups and individuals affiliated with the Jewish community of Lynn. The bulk of these records are group photographs depicting the members of these organizations and businesses, including the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, the Lynn Credit Union, the Lynn Hebrew School, the Jecomen Club, the Lynn Life Saving Association, Daly’s Golden Rule Shoe Company, Mount Sinai Masonic Lodge, Knights of Pythias Samson Lodge, and the Order of the Eastern Star. This series also includes documentary materials, such as newspaper clippings. Notable individuals named in the records of this series include Drs. Perez William Wainshel and William Leibman.

3 1 Businesses 1926, 1987 request_box
3 2 Congregation Mishkan Israel to Lynn Hebrew Benevolent Associations 1889 request_box
3 3 Doctors undated, 1913 request_box
3 4 Fraternal and Sororal Orders undated, 1923, 1954-1965 request_box
3 5 Klein Family request_box
3 6 Lynn Credit Union—Board circa 1918 request_box
3 7 Lynn Hebrew School 1922-1930 request_box
3 8 Organizations—Group Photographs request_box
3 9 Todras Family undated request_box
3 10 Young Men’s Hebrew Association undated, 1920-1924 request_box
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