Guide to the Papers of Robert Silverman,
undated, circa 1899-1965

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, April 23, 2016. Finding aid was encoded by Shannon Struble on May 7, 2016. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Silverman Robert, -1965
Title: Robert Silverman Papers
Dates:undated, circa 1899-1965
Abstract: Robert Silverman was an early leader in American Zionism, taking part in and establishing multiple Zionist organizations in his more than forty years in the movement. This collection consists primarily of documents and photographs related to Silverman’s Zionist work. Documents include correspondence and printed materials from various organizations with which Silverman was involved and pamphlets, maps, and newspaper clippings related to Israel and Palestine. The photographs mainly depict scenes from Israel and Palestine, with a few folders of images of Silverman himself and organizational events.
Languages: The collection is in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and Arabic.
Quantity: 1 linear foot (2 manuscript boxes)
Identification: P-1014
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
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Biographical Note

Robert Silverman (left) in 1952 receiving a special commendation from the United Palestine Appeal for forty years of service.

Robert Silverman was born circa 1882 in Russia to Simon Silverman and Elizabeth Godelovitz Silverman. He entered the United States in 1884 or 1885 and became a naturalized citizen. He had two sisters, Minnie W. Silverman and Julia Silverman (later Friedman). In 1907, Robert married Martha Mikels, daughter of Abraham Mikels and Esther Gordon. The couple lived in Revere, Massachusetts. Robert worked as a lawyer and became a member of the New Century Club in Boston.

Robert was an active American Zionist from an early age, establishing the youth organization Sons and Daughters of Zion in 1898. He was a member of the Zionist Organization of America and Bnai Zion and founded the Independent Order Sons of Israel and the National Zionist Archives, which were taken over by the Jewish Agency in New York. Additionally, Robert was the New England, and later, national director of the United Palestine Appeal, served as secretary of the United Israel Appeal (renamed from the United Palestine Appeal in 1952), and acted as a delegate to the 1937 World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. He took many trips to the Middle East, both personally and with organizations, and he worked for decades to raise money and governmental aid for Israel. In 1952, Robert was honored by the many organizations he had contributed to with an award for his long service presented at the United Palestine Appeal’s convention.

Martha Silverman died in 1938, and Robert later lived with his sister Minnie in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Robert died in 1965 and is buried with Martha at the Tifereth Israel Cemetary in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.


Materials from the collection.


circa 1882Robert Silverman is born.
circa 1883Martha Mikels is born.
circa 1885Robert arrives in the United States.
circa 1893Martha arrives in the United States.
1898Robert establishes the Sons and Daughters of Zion.
1907Robert and Martha marry.
1937Robert attends the World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.
1938Martha Silverman dies.
1952Robert is honored for his 40 years of service at the annual convention of the United Palestine Appeal.
1965Robert Silverman dies.
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Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Robert Silverman consist of documents and photographs related to his Zionist work, with a single folder of personal correspondence about the claiming and sale of Robert’s late wife’s land in Israel. The bulk of the documents have to do with Israel and Palestine, including maps, pamphlets and official publications from the Israel Office of Information, and newspaper clippings and United States Congressional statements about U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Three folders contain documents from specific Zionist organizations, such as the United Palestine Appeal (UPA), United Israel Campaign, Keren Hayesod, Independent Order Sons of Israel, Sons and Daughters of Zion, and the World Zionist Congress. The bulk of these documents come from the former two organizations and include promotional materials and newspaper clippings, with minutes from a 1943 meeting of the UPA and a printing plate for an article about the UPA as well.

Two folders contain correspondence to and from various Zionist organizations, including the UPA, United Israel Appeal, Greater Boston United Jewish Campaign, American Zionist Council, Zionist Organization of America, and others. A small group of letters from members of the United States Congress acknowledge lobbying being done for the Zionist cause, and another group of telegrams, all sent in 1952, congratulate Robert on his 40 years of service.

The entirety of one box is made up of photographs, the majority of which depict scenes from Israel and Palestine. Many of these were promotional shots taken for the United Palestine Appeal, and the bulk of these bear printed descriptions on the reverse side of the photograph. Two folders contain photographs of Robert Silverman, both portraits and event images, and another two folders contain miscellaneous photographs. The miscellaneous photographs include pictures of prominent dignitaries, such as U.S. President Harry Truman and Israel President Dr. Chaim Weizmann, those taken at organizational meetings, and more.

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The collection is arranged into a single series as follows:

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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

Benjamin Rabalsky Papers, 1913-1932

Dewey D. Stone Papers, 1916-1984

Elihu David Stone Papers, 1913-1962

Zionist Organization, New England Region Records, 1921-1979

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Robert Silverman Papers; P-1014; box number; folder number; Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Gertrude Webb, 1995.

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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.


Robert Silverman Papers, undated, circa 1899-1965

English, Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and Arabic.
Boxes 1-2.

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

See Collection Scope and Content Note.

11-2Correspondence—OrganizationalUndated, 1940-1958request_box
13Correspondence—Personalundated, 1948-1957request_box
14Israel/Palestine Materials—Mapsundated, 1947-1957request_box
15Israel/Palestine Materials—Miscellaneousundated, 1925-1958request_box
16Israel/Palestine Materials—Newspaper Clippingsundated, 1937-1957request_box
17Israel/Palestine Materials—Pamphletsundated, 1948-1958request_box
18Israel/Palestine Materials—U.S. Congressional Statements1939, 1950-1951request_box
110Organizational Materials—Keren Hayesodundated, 1930-1957request_box
111Organizational Materials—Miscellaneousundated, 1899-1951request_box
112Organizational Materials—United Palestine Appealundated, 1943-1949request_box
21-12Photographs—Israel/Palestineundated, 1925, 1935-1938, 1948request_box
213-14Photographs—Miscellaneousundated, 1902, 1927request_box
215-16Photographs—Robert Silvermanundatedrequest_box
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