It’s that time again – another JMM finding aid post. Today’s post features the personal papers of Harry Greenstein, a prominent Baltimorean. Read a little about his life and his collection here.
Harry Greenstein, 1896-1971
Collection, n.d., 1916-1975
The Jewish Museum of Maryland
ACCESS AND PROVENANCE
The Harry Greenstein Collection was donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Mrs. Mary Block in 1971 as accession 1971.20. The collection was processed in July 2001 by Alisa Rose.
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.
Harry Greenstein, Executive Director of the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore for 37 years, was born in Baltimore in 1896 to immigrant parents. Although educated as a lawyer, graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1918, Greenstein dedicated his life to social welfare and charity work. Greenstein first participated in Baltimore Jewish affairs as a member of the American Jewish Relief Committee which assisted European Jewish victims of World War I. Later Greenstein helped organize the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association, and he served as its president for ten years from 1922 to 1932.
During Greenstein’s 37 year tenure as Executive Director of the Associated from 1928 to 1965, he took several leaves of absence to assist in local and national affairs. During the Depression, he served as Maryland Director of the State Relief Program, administering over $65 million in aid to the poor from 1933 to 1936. From 1936 to 1941, Greenstein was involved in the Baltimore Council of Social Agencies, an agency he helped found which does research for all social welfare agencies in Baltimore.
Greenstein’s work extended beyond the state level. In 1939 Greenstein joined other leaders of American Jewry to help organize the National Refugee Service, which later became HIAS, the largest immigration agency in the world. When the United States entered World War II in 1944, the United States federal government chose Greenstein to draw up evacuation plans for Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington D.C. From 1943 to 1945, Greenstein was appointed the Director of Welfare for UNRRA, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, for Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania. In 1949, the Secretary of War appointed Greenstein Advisor on Jewish Affairs in post-war Germany to assist the United States Army in liquidating the Displaced Persons Camps in Germany and Austria and in securing war reparations from Germany for the Israeli government and for the rehabilitation of Jewish life in Europe.
Greenstein was nationally recognized for his humanitarian work. He was often invited to lecture on social service problems throughout the country, and he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal by the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, and the Stephen S. Wise Medallion Award by the American Jewish Congress. In 1950, the University of Maryland awarded Greenstein an honorary degree, a Doctor of Social Science, for his extensive social welfare work. Harry Greenstein is the subject of two published biographies: Justice‑Not Charity by Dr. Louis L. Kaplan, published by Crown Publishers in 1975, and The Papers of Harry Greenstein by Hymen Saye, published by the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland in 1975.
Greenstein died in Baltimore in 1971 at the age of 75, survived by three sisters.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The Harry Greenstein Papers consist of material related to his career as Executive Director of the Associated Jewish Charities and his involvement in several local and national political and social welfare organizations and committees. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, speeches, reports, newspaper articles, phonographs, and photographs. The collection is divided into six series: Series I. Awards, 1950-1970; Series II. Biographical Information, 1930-1975; Series III. Correspondence, 1935-1971; Series IV. Professional Activities, 1935-1972; Series V. Writings, 1926-1965; and Series VI. Photograph and Phonograph Records, 1916-1970. For further information on Harry Greenstein, refer to MS 170, Series XI.
Series I. Awards consists of articles and correspondence about awards and honors Harry Greenstein received in his lifetime. Included in this series are three plaques and a certificate from Keren Kayemeth testifying that a garden of 700 trees was planted in Israel in honor of Harry Greenstein. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series II. Biographical Information consists of a biographical data sheet on Harry Greenstein that outlines his professional activities, newspaper clippings and information about the biographies written about Greenstein, obituaries, as well as his passport and a written copy of a 1963 taped interview with Greenstein about his life. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series III. Correspondence consists of Greenstein’s personal and professional correspondence. Several other series contain correspondence relating specifically to individual topics. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series IV. Professional Activities consists of reports, articles, and correspondence relating to Greenstein’s many positions including as Advisor on Jewish Affairs, Executive Director of the Associated, and as Director of Welfare for UNRRA. Included in this series is information about the Harry Greenstein Memorial Award established by the Associated posthumously. See also Series V. Writings for writings related to Greenstein’s professional activities. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series V. Writings consists of articles, speeches, and diaries of UNRRA and other trips, written by Harry Greenstein. Included in this series is a card index of all the papers contained in the collection. The origin of the card index is unknown. In addition, see Series IV. Professional Activities folder 44 which contains an article Greenstein wrote for the Maryland State Relief Administration. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series VI. Photographs and Phonograph Records includes portraits of Harry Greenstein and photographs from his trips and from organizations in which he participated, all located in PC 8. The phonograph records (1971.20.4-.33) include recordings of Associated Jewish Charities meetings and are housed with the phonograph record collection. Included in this series is a scrapbook containing photographs and newspaper clippings.