Louis E. Shecter (1901-1992) Collection
Jewish Museum of Maryland
ACCESS AND PROVENANCE
The Louis E. Shecter Collection was found in the collection as MS 55. Multiple accessions have been identified as materials donated by and related to Louis E. Shecter and probably incorporated into MS 55: 1973.013; 1974.021; 1975.020; 1982.015; 1985.104; and 1985.105. However, none of the materials in the manuscript collection can be positively identified with these accessions. Because of this the collection was given the FIC accession number 2012.061. The collection was processed at some unknown date then reprocessed and given a finding aid in June 2012 by Jennifer Vess.
Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures.
Louis Shecter (1901-1992) was born in Baltimore and graduated from Baltimore City College in 1918. He began work at the Baltimore Sun then left for the Joseph Katz advertising company. In 1928 he became the advertising director for the Hecht stores until 1931 when he and his brother-in-law, Jack L. Levin, started their own advertising company. Shecter also began to invest in real-estate and businesses, ultimately owning several theaters (The Rosalyn, The Rex, The Roxy, and The Times – now known as the Charles Theater). Other businesses included the Famous Ballroom and two bowling centers.
In 1939 Shecter married Rosalyn Margareten (d. 2009). Rosalyn was born inNew York City and attended first Hunter College then later the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for sculpture. Louis and Rosalyn had three children: Alan, Mark and Alyce. In 1961 Rosalyn was appointed vice chair of the Maryland Board of Motion Picture Censors. Rosalyn focused on preventing children from being exposed to adult content in films, and she played a minor role in the implementation of the current movie rating system.
Louis Shecter was involved with a number of political figures and also became a collector and promoter of the arts. Shecter died on November 9, 1992. Rosalyn died on November 24, 2009.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection is divided into three series: Series I. Louis E. Shecter, n.d., 1921-1985, Series II. Rosalyn Shecter, n.d. 1931-1984, and Series III. Children and Grandchildren, n.d., 1949-1983. Series I. is further divided into eight subseries: Subseries A. American Jewish Congress, n.d., 1957-1983, Subseries B. Business, n.d., 1924-1984, Subseries C. Politics, n.d., 1944-1985, Subseries D. Genocide Convention and Civil Right Activities, n.d., 1954-1981, Subseries E. Charitable Contributions, n.d., 1945-1985, Subseries F. Art Collection, Museums and Culture, n.d, 1953-1983, Subseries G. Personal Correspondence, n.d., 1921-1984, and Subseries H. Misc, n.d., 1932-1984
Series I. Louis E. Shecter, n.d., 1921-1985 contains correspondence, programs, clippings, and writings related to Shecter’s business dealings, civil rights activities, charitable contributions, art collecting, and personal life. The series is divided into eight subseries. Subseries A. American Jewish Congress, n.d., 1957-1983 contains correspondence, press releases, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes and programs related to Shecter’s work with the American Jewish Congress in Baltimore. Subseries B. Business, n.d., 1924-1984 contains correspondence and clippings related to Shecter’s work with the Joseph Katz advertising firm, the Hecht Company, his own advertising firm, his real-estate ventures, the Advertising club, etc. Subseries C. Politics, n.d., 1944-1985 contains invitations, correspondence, clippings and programs related to Shecter’s interaction with politics and political figures at the local and national level. Subseries D. Genocide Convention and Civil Right Activities, n.d., 1954-1981 contains correspondence, clippings and talks related to Shecter’s work promoting the Genocide Convention and Civil Rights. Subseries E. Charitable Contributions, n.d., 1945-1985 contains correspondence, clippings, invitations, etc., related to Shecter’s involvement with charitable organization and his own charitable contributions. Subseries F. Art Collection, Museums and Culture, n.d, 1953-1983, contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, lists, newsletters, magazines and minutes related to Shecter’s art collection activities, his donation of art, and his interactions with museums and other cultural institutions and organizations. Subseries G. Personal Correspondence, n.d., 1921-1984, contains Shecter’s personal correspondence including a collection of letters (photocopies) to and from H.L. Menken. Subseries H. Misc, n.d., 1932-1984 contains membership materials to the Masonic Lodge and Beth Tfiloh, invitations, play programs, writings, etc. All of the materials are organized alphabetically within each subseries.
Series II. Rosalyn Shecter, n.d. 1931-1984 contains correspondence, diplomas, booklets, publications, newspaper clippings, scrapbook pages and genealogical material related to Rosalyn’s education, work and family. A large portion of the collection relates to Rosalyn’s work with the Maryland State Board of Motion Picture Censors. The folders are organized alphabetically except for the genealogy materials which are placed at the end of the series.
Series III. Children and Grandchildren, n.d., 1949-1983 contains correspondence, invitations and writings related to Louis and Rosalyn’s children and grandchildren. The series is arranged alphabetically.
The American Jewish Historical Society and Syracuse University Library both have Louis E. Shecter Manuscript collections.