Guide to the Papers of the Bromberg Family, undated, circa 1886-1977

Processed by Shannon Struble

Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, MA 02116



© 2019  Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, Boston, MA. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Shannon Struble as MS Word document, October 4, 2014. Finding aid was encoded by Christine McEvilly on January 9, 2015. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Bromberg Family
Title: Bromberg Family Papers
Dates:undated, circa 1886-1977
Abstract: The Bromberg Family papers relate primarily to the political and social activities of Edward J. Bromberg (a lawyer and politician and the first Jewish person elected to the Massachusetts State Senate) and some members of his family. A scrapbook contains items regarding Edward’s sons, Justine and Bertram, and his daughter, Pauline. Other Bromberg family members in the collection are Lev, Henrietta Livingston, Anna Insoft, and Alice Goldstein. The collection includes clippings, programs, and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in English, German, and Yiddish.
Quantity: 1.25 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 1 document box, and 1 OS folder)
Identification: P-519
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
Return to the Top of Page

Historical Note

Primary ballot with Edward J. Bromberg as candidate

The Bromberg Family1

Edward J. Bromberg was born on July 20, 1864 in Boston, Massachusetts to Levi and Bertha (Macofsky) Bromberg, who had immigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1840s. The Brombergs lived in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Levi owned a popular tobacco shop. Levi was a Civil War veteran and became a United States citizen in 1876. He was also one of the founders of Temple Mishkan Tefilah.

Edward attended Roxbury High School, and then Boston Latin, for high school. After graduation, he opened a variety store not far from his father’s tobacco shop and taught Hebrew at Temple Mishkan Tefilah, where he met his future wife, Henrietta Livingston, daughter of Louis and Augusta Livingston. They married in 1886 and two years later had their first child, Pauline. In 1891, they had a son, Arthur, who lived for twenty-four days. They had two more sons, Justin and Bertram, born in 1893 and 1897 respectively. Due to the ill health of one of their children, doctors suggested the family move out of the city, which they did, settling in Roslindale. At the time, this area was considered the country and was much less densely settled than Roxbury. Roslindale was fairly ethnically diverse, but the Brombergs were the only Jewish family in the neighborhood at the time.

Edward attended Harvard University for one year, and then Boston University Law School. He worked at a law firm in Roslindale and quickly became involved in local politics. He worked his way up in the government from Ward Committee Member to Common Councilman, despite being Republican and Jewish in a predominately Democratic and Christian area. The Brombergs were well-liked in the community, and Edward was a popular speaker. He was a member of several social groups, including the Freemasons, Oddfellows, and Knights of Pythias. He was also a founding member of the Boston City Club and the New Century Club of Boston, and he was the first native German-American President of the Deutsche-Bundt of Boston.

This popularity led to Edward’s election to the Board of Aldermen in 1903. He was the only Republican alderman on the board the following year. In 1907, Edward was elected to the Massachusetts Senate, the first Jewish person to achieve this position. He was a political opponent of future Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, though they later reconciled and became early leaders in the American Zionist movement. Later in life, Edward was appointed as the Deputy City Collector and worked as a probation officer. He died in Boston on June 12, 1930, preceding his wife Henrietta by two years.

Their daughter Pauline Bromberg was also prominent in the community for her work in health and physical education in the Boston Public Schools. She was a teacher for over forty years and the head of the Department of Physical Education for thirty-six years. Pauline served in many volunteer capacities, including as an official in women’s athletics and secretary of the New England Amateur Athletic Union. She was given the Honor Award by the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation in 1980.

Pauline was also active in the arts and at her synagogue, Temple Mishkan Tefila. She conducted the orchestra and directed stage productions at the University of Wisconsin. Within the Boston Public Schools, she worked with students to perform variety shows for charity. Pauline founded the Golden Age Club at Temple Mishkan Tefila, and she served as vice president of the New England Regional Hadassah. The Business and Professional Group of Boston’s Hadassah named her “Woman of the Year” shortly before her death in 1991.

Justin L. Bromberg was an electrical engineer who was working on the Boston Elevated Railway when he enlisted in the military in December 1917. He served in the 55th Artillery C.A.C. (Coast Artillery Corps) during World War I until he was honorably discharged in February 1919. Justin married Alice Goldstein in 1932 and worked as a manufacturing agent at Lewisburg Chair & Furniture Co. Eventually he bought another furniture company, which he renamed Justin L. Bromberg & Co. He died in 1951.

Bertram F. Bromberg was a salesman and also served in World War I from June 1918 until his honorable discharge in February 1919. He married Anna Insoft in 1924 and died in 1987.


1836 Levi Bromberg is born
circa 1837 Bertha Macofsky is born
1864 Edward J. Bromberg is born
circa 1865 Henrietta Livingston is born
1876 Levi Bromberg becomes a U.S. Citizen
1886 Edward Bromberg marries Henrietta Livingston
1888 Pauline Bromberg is born
1891 Arthur L. Bromberg is born and dies
1893 Justin L. Bromberg is born
1895 Bertha Bromberg dies
1897 Bertram F. Bromberg is born
1901 Edward J. Bromberg is elected to the Common Council
1903 Edward J. Bromberg is elected to the Board of Alderman
1903 Levi Bromberg dies
1907 Edward J. Bromberg is elected to the Massachusetts Senate
1917 Justin L. Bromberg enlists in the military
1918 Bertram F. Bromberg enlists in the military
1919 Justin L. and Bertram F. Bromberg are discharged from the military
1924 Bertram F. Bromberg marries Anna Insoft
1930 Edward J. Bromberg dies
1932 Justin L. Bromberg marries Alice Goldstein
1932 Henrietta Bromberg dies
1951 Justin L. Bromberg dies
1980 Pauline Bromberg receives the Honor Award from the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation
1987 Bertram F. Bromberg dies
1991 Pauline Bromberg dies
Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

The Bromberg Family papers relate almost entirely to Edward J. Bromberg’s political and social activities. He was a popular speaker and a member of numerous organizations, and this engagement is reflected in newspaper clippings, political advertisements, invitations, programs, and correspondence, most of which are pasted into a scrapbook. A number of items in the scrapbook also focus on members of Edward’s family, such as his father, wife, and children. Another group of papers not bound in the scrapbook includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, programs, and miscellaneous political advertising materials. This group also contains photographs and an obituary of Pauline Bromberg. In addition, there is an oversized marriage certificate with photographs of Edward and Henrietta Bromberg. This certificate is extremely fragile and restricted.

Return to the Top of Page


The collection is arranged into a single series as follows:

Return to the Top of Page

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

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

Temple Mishkan Tefila Archives, Chestnut Hill (Mass.), I-462

Bernard Louis Gorfinkle Papers, P-664

New Century Club Records, I-95

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Bromberg Family Papers; P-519; box number; folder number; Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.

Return to the Top of Page

Acquisition Information

Donated by Pauline Bromberg in 1980.

Return to the Top of Page

Access Points

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

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

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

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


Series I: Bromberg Family Papers, undated, circa 1886-1977

English, German, and Yiddish.
Box 1-2, 1 OS folder.

Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scope and Content:

See Collection Scope and Content Note.

1 1 Miscellaneous Materials undated, 1904-1977 request_box
1 2 Photographs 1975 request_box
1 3 Programs 1910-1956 request_box
2 Scrapbook undated, 1886-1955 request_box
OS 1 Marriage Certificate for Edward and Henrietta Bromberg (fragile, restricted) 1886 request_box
Return to the Top of Page