Guide to the Collection on Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin, undated, circa 1903-1989

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, August 23, 2014. Finding aid was encoded by Christine McEvilly on Jaunary 6, 2015. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Roskin, Evelyn B.
Creator: Roskin, Janot S.
Title: Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin Collection
Dates:undated, circa 1903-1989
Abstract: The Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin collection contains items relating to the Roskin, Borofsky, and Grosbayne families, with special focus on the musical contributions of Evelyn B. (née Borofsky) and Janot S. Roskin, which make up the bulk of the collection. A smaller portion of the collection comes from the Borofsky and Grosbayne families, including Jacob and Ida Borofsky, Evelyn's sister, Edith Borofsky and her husband, Mitchell Grosbayne and his brother, Benjamin. The collection includes publicity photographs, clippings, sheet music, sound recordings, and musical compositions.
Languages: The collection is in English, German, Yiddish, and Russian.
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes and 4 OS folders)
Identification: P-685
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
Return to the Top of Page

Biographical Note

Janot and Evelyn Borofsky Roskin, undated photograph.

Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin1

Janot S. Roskin was born in what is now Rezekne, Latvia on April 17th, 1884 to Arja and Rosa Roskin. He studied music from a young age, becoming a choir boy at age seven and later graduating from the Riga Conservatory. He received a scholarship to the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin and also studied under Hugo Riemann and Professor Siegfried Ochs. He completed his musical training in 1908.

Roskin directed the Hallenseer Conservatory of Music for nine years and held positions in several synagogues in Berlin before rising to the post of choir director at the largest synagogue in the city. He left this post in 1937 to emigrate to the United States. He settled in Boston, where he became Director of Music at Temple Israel, Boston, and later, Director of Music at Temple Emanuel, Newton. He also founded the Roskin Art Choir, a mixed-voice choir.

Roskin began collecting traditional Jewish folk songs when he was a child, and once he moved to Berlin, he founded the Musikverlag für Nationale Folkskunst, renamed Verlag Hatikvah in 1921, to publish and distribute these tunes, along with his own compositions. When he moved to the United States, Roskin continued to publish and distribute sheet music under the name Hatikvah Music Publishing Company.

Roskin met Evelyn Borofsky when he became the Director of Music at Temple Israel, where she was the organist. Evelyn was born in Boston in 1903 to Jacob and Ida (Snyder) Borofsky. She was a singer and pianist, who gained a following in Boston as a soloist and accompanist on the WNAC radio channel. She received her musical training from Boston University College of Music, and she studied under Felix Fox at his school in Boston.

Borofsky was a lecturer at the Boston Center for Adult Education, and she conducted a choral group at the Jeremiah Burke Evening School Center in Roxbury. She played the organ at Temple Israel and was the assistant to Henry Gideon, Roskin's predecessor.

In 1940, Janot and Evelyn married. The following year, Janot became a citizen of the United States, and the couple moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where Janot was the Director of Music at the Temple Beth-El Zedeck. Janot died in 1946, and Evelyn returned to Boston to take up a position as Music Director and Organist at Temple Sinai in Brookline. She remained in this position until her death in 1967.

Also included in this collection are papers and photographs created by and related to other members of the Borofsky family. Evelyn’s father, Jacob, was born in Poland in 1880 and immigrated to the United States, where he became a citizen in 1903. He became a postman for the City of Boston, though he had to retire early due to ill health. He and Ida Snyder married in Boston in 1902 and had two daughters, Evelyn and Edith. Jacob died in Boston in 1965.

Ida Snyder Borofsky was born in Russia in 1883. She was known for her contributions to the Jewish community in East Boston, Chelsea, and Roxbury. She was part of the group of women who pushed for the establishment of a Jewish hospital in Boston, which became Beth Israel Hospital. She was an honorary director there, and when Beth Israel moved to Brookline, she was a member of the Roxbury Ladies Bikur Cholim Society that worked to found the Jewish Memorial Hospital on the same site in Roxbury. Ida worked as a vice president and a social worker at JMH for over thirty years, and she was named lifetime honorary director of the board for her service on behalf of the hospital. Ida died in Newton, Massachusetts in 1982, just shy of her 99th birthday.

Edith Borofsky-Grosbayne was born in Boston in 1905 and worked as secretary to the Vice President of Hovey’s Department Store. Once the store was bought by Jordan Marsh, she became executive secretary to Rabbi Murray Rothman at Temple Shalom in Newton. She played piano and violin and often accompanied Evelyn. After Evelyn’s death, Edith acted as the executor of her estate and managed Hatikvah Music Publishing Company. Edith married Mitchell Grosbayne, a piano tuner who also played violin in the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra. Mitchell died in 1982 in Newton, and Edith died in 1993.

One folder of the collection contains a photograph and descriptions of a book written by Mitchell Grosbayne’s brother, Benjamin. Benjamin was a professor of music at Brooklyn College, as well as a conductor and author on the subject of conducting techniques.


1880 Jacob Borofsky is born
1883 Ida Snyder is born
1884 Janot S. Roskin is born
1902 Jacob Borofsky and Ida Snyder marry
1903 Jacob Borofsky becomes a United States citizen
1903 Evelyn Borofsky is born
1905 Edith Borofsky is born
1937 Janot Roskin immigrates to the United States
1940 Janot Roskin and Evelyn Borofsky marry
1943 The Roskins move to Indianapolis
1946 Janot Roskin dies
1947 Evelyn Borofsky Roskin begins work as the Director of Music at Temple Sinai
1965 Jacob Borofsky dies
1967 Evelyn Borofsky Roskin dies
1982 Mitchell Grosbayne dies
1982 Ida Snyder Borofsky dies
1993 Edith Borofsky-Grosbayne dies
Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

The Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin Papers contain items relating to the Roskin, Borofsky, and Grosbayne families, with special focus on their musical contributions. The bulk of the collection consists of papers created by and about Evelyn B. (née Borofsky) and Janot S. Roskin related to their careers in music. This includes publicity photographs, newspaper clippings documenting their musical achievements, sheet music (both printed and manuscript), and sound recordings produced for Evelyn B. Roskin during her time at Temple Sinai. The correspondence is primarily limited to subjects of a promotional nature, though the collection does contain letters and documents related to reparations paid by the German government to Evelyn B. Roskin, as one of Janot Roskin’s heirs. The collection also includes records from Hatikvah Music Publishing dated after Janot Roskin’s death.

A smaller portion of the collection comes from the Borofsky and Grosbayne families, including vital records, photographs, and a family history. Jacob Borofsky and Mitchell Grosbayne both composed music, which is included here, along with documents related to Ida Borofsky’s work for Beth Israel and Jewish Memorial Hospitals.

Return to the Top of Page


The collection is arranged into two 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.

This collection contains audiovisual or electronic media that requires special equipment to access. Please notify reference staff at 24 hours in advance of needing access.

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

Beth Israel Hospital Records, I-455

Jewish Memorial Hospital and Rehabilitation Center Records, I-336

Roxbury Ladies Bikur Cholim Society Records, I-515

Temple Israel Records, I-458

Temple Mishkan Tefila Records, I-462

Morris Finkelstein—Temple Emanuel Records, P-859

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin Collection; P-685; box number; folder number; Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.

Return to the Top of Page

Acquisition Information

Acquisition information unknown.

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: Janot S. and Evelyn B. Roskin, undated, circa 1914-1989

English, German, Yiddish, and Russian.
Boxes 1-2, OS folders 1-3.

Arranged by creator and by type of material.

Scope and Content:

This series contains the papers of Janot and Evelyn Roskin (née Borofsky), most of which document their lives in the music community of Boston. Their positions at Temple Israel, Temple Beth-El Zedeck, and Temple Sinai are reflected in photographs and newspaper clippings, as is the Roskin Art Choir. There is correspondence, mainly to and from colleagues, though a portion is letters of condolence after Evelyn Roskin’s death. Three folders, including one oversized folder, contain sheet music, both published and manuscript. Another oversized folder holds large publicity photographs of both Janot and Evelyn Roskin.

A good portion of this series relates to Evelyn Roskin’s work as the Director of Music at Temple Sinai and includes her employment contracts, Temple Sinai programs and newsletters, and promotional photographs, as well as a box of reel-to-reel audio recordings. One folder relates to war reparations applied for by Janot Roskin’s children in Europe and paid, in part, to Evelyn Roskin, until her death. Another three folders contain documents about the distribution of sheet music published by Hatikvah Music Publishing Company after the deaths of Janot Roskin, and later, Evelyn Roskin.

1 1 Janot Roskin—Vital Records 1914, 1933, 1940-1947 request_box
1 2 Janot Roskin—Correspondence and Clippings undated, 1940-1946 request_box
1 3 Janot Roskin—Music Compositions 1922, 1936, 1942-1947 request_box
OS 1 Janot Roskin—Music Compositions 1911-1918, 1953 request_box
1 4 Janot Roskin—Miscellaneous Photographs undated request_box
1 5 Janot Roskin—Photographs from Temple Israel 1939 request_box
1 6 Janot Roskin—Photographs of Roskin Art Choir undated, 1940-1941 request_box
1 7 Janot Roskin—Photographs from Temple Beth-El Zedeck undated, 1943 request_box
1 8 Hatikvah Music Publishing Co. undated, 1940-1949, 1966-1967 request_box
1 9 Hatikvah Music Publishing Co. undated, 1967-1989 request_box
1 10 Hatikvah Music Publishing Co.—Certificates of Copyright Registration 1941-1947 request_box
1 11 Evelyn Roskin—Correspondence undated, 1940-1947 request_box
1 12 Evelyn Roskin—War Reparations 1960-1963, 1966-1967 request_box
1 13 Evelyn Roskin—Music Compositions 1957-1959, 1967 request_box
OS 2 Evelyn Roskin—Music Compositions undated, 1953 request_box
1 14 Evelyn Roskin—Clippings undated, 1924-1955, 1967 request_box
1 15 Evelyn Roskin—Temple Sinai undated, 1947-1950, 1960-1967 request_box
1 16 Evelyn Roskin—Photographs from Temple Sinai undated, 1961 request_box
1 17 Evelyn Roskin—Miscellaneous Photographs undated, 1925-1926, 1962 request_box
OS 3 Evelyn Roskin—Miscellaneous Photographs undated request_box
2 18 Evelyn Roskin—“New York Philharmonic: Bernstein Kaddish” Audio Recording undated request_box
2 19 Evelyn Roskin—“Temple Sinai: In Appreciation of Evelyn Borofsky Roskin” Audio Recording undated request_box
2 20 Evelyn Roskin—“Temple Sinai: Passover Music Festival” Audio Recording 1959 request_box
2 21 Evelyn Roskin—“Temple Sinai: Purim Passover” Audio Recording 1962 request_box
2 22 Evelyn Roskin—“Temple Sinai: 13th Annual Music Festival” Audio Recording 1962 request_box
2 23 Evelyn Roskin—“Temple Sinai: Passover Festival” Audio Recording 1965 request_box
Return to the Top of Page

Series II: Borofsky Family, undated, circa 1903-1987

English, German, Yiddish, and Russian.
Box 3, OS folder 4.

Arranged by creator and by type of material.

Scope and Content:

This series contains vital records, correspondence, photocopied newspaper clippings, and photographs related to members of the Borofsky and Grosbayne families. Included among these are musical compositions by Jacob Borofsky and Mitchell Grosbayne and a history of the family compiled by Charlotte Borofsky Lastnik, daughter of Hyman Borofsky, Jacob Borofsky’s brother. Another group of documents reflects Ida S. Borofsky’s work with Beth Israel and Jewish Memorial Hospitals, with copies of speeches she gave, one of which is in scroll format, articles written about her in newspapers and hospital newsletters, and correspondence commemorating her life and achievements. Two certificates honoring her, as well as a family photograph, are in oversized folders.

3 24 Family History undated request_box
3 25 Miscellaneous Photographs undated request_box
3 26 Jacob Borofsky—Vital Records and Legal Documents 1903-1915, 1938-1941, 1965 request_box
3 27 Jacob Borofsky—Correspondence 1934-1938, 1954 request_box
3 28 Jacob Borofsky—Music Composition 1941-1942 request_box
3 29 Jacob Borofsky—Miscellaneous Photographs undated request_box
3 30 Ida S. Borofsky—Correspondence and Clippings 1928-1947, 1967-1987 request_box
3 31 Ida S. Borofsky—Speeches undated, 1957, 1963 request_box
3 32 Ida S. Borofsky—Jewish Memorial Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital undated, 1946-1977 request_box
OS 4 Ida S. Borofsky—Tributes undated, 1943 request_box
3 33 Ida S. Borofsky—Miscellaneous Photographs undated request_box
3 34 Edith Borofsky-Grosbayne undated, 1905, 1947, 1951 request_box
3 35 Mitchell Grosbayne 1940-1943 request_box
3 36 Benjamin Grosbayne undated request_box
Return to the Top of Page