Once Upon a Time…09.29.2017

Posted on June 12th, 2018 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church by email at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

JMM 2005.23.3

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: September 29, 2017

PastPerfect Accession #: 2005.023.003

Status: Identified! This portrait is of Bertha Szold Levin in 1945. She was very involved with the Central Scholarship Bureau.

Thanks To: Alexandria Levin Cohen

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MS 38 The Henrietta Szold and Bertha Szold Levin Papers

Posted on January 12th, 2012 by

It’s time for another look the Szold family.  This time it’s all about Henrietta and Bertha.  In a few weeks (hopefully) I’ll be able to share the rest of their papers with you after processing the Levin family papers.  Both Henrietta and Bertha show up in that collection, too.

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The five Szold sisters: Henrietta (far left), Bertha (second from left), Rachel, Sadie and Adele. 1989.79.1

Henrietta Szold and Bertha Szold Levin Papers

n.d, 1866-1977

 MS 38

 Jewish Museum of Maryland


The Henrietta Szold and Bertha Szold Levin Papers were found in the museum’s collection and accessioned as part of 2004.076. The collection had been processed at an unknown date, but was reprocessed by Jennifer Vess in 2011.

Access to the collection is partially restricted.  Photocopied materials in the collection either do not belong to the Jewish Museum of Maryland, or have uncertain title.  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.


Henrietta Szold was born on December 21, 1860 inBaltimore.  Her mother, Sophie Schaar Szold (born 1839) and Rabbi Benjamin Szold (1829-1902) immigrated to the United Statesf rom Hungry so that Benjamin could take the post of rabbi at Oheb Shalom Congregation, Baltimore.  Henrietta had seven sisters: Estella (died in infancy),Rebecca(died in infancy), Rachel (1865-1926) who married Joseph Jastrow in 1888, Sadie (1868-1893), Johanna (1871-1875), Bertha (1873-1958) who married Louis Levin in 1901, and Adele (1876-1940) who married Thomas Seltzer in 1906.


Henrietta Szold c. 1866. 1989.79.5

Henrietta became a teacher, first at her alma mater,Western High School, then at a private girls’ school run by the Adams sisters in Baltimore, where her sister Sadie also taught.  She acted as principal for the night school established by the Hebrew Literary Society.  In her teens Henrietta began writing for publication.  In 1893 Henrietta left teaching to become secretary for the Jewish Publication Society, an organization that she had volunteered for over many years.  As a paid employee her duties included editing, proof-reading, translating and revising manuscripts.  When she took up the post she moved from Baltimore to Philadelphia to be closer to the society’s headquarters.

Henrietta spent many years involved with Zionism.  In 1893 she joined the Zionist Association of Baltimore, the first organized Zionist group in theUnited States.  She also volunteered with the Federation of American Zionists (later the Zionist Organization of America), where she helped coordinate the activities of the organization’s Education Department, including Young Judaea, Histadruth Ivrith, and the Intercollegiate Zionists.  Henrietta is probably best known for her contributions to the formation of Hadassah in 1912.

Baltimore People at Zionist Conference. Tannersville, New York, 1906 or 1907, showing Henrietta and her colleagues. 1989.79.13


In 1902, after the death of her father, Henrietta moved with her mother and youngest sister, Adele, toNew Yorkwhere Henrietta attended courses at the Jewish Theological Seminary.  In 1920 Henrietta travelled to Palestine where she essentially lived until her death in 1945.  She became very involved with the activities of the Jewish community inPalestine.  At the Zionist Congress of 1927 Henrietta was elected to the Palestine Executive Committee in charge of health and education.  She served for two years.  From the early 1930s until 1938 Henrietta served as the head of the Social Welfare Department of the Zionist Congress.


Henrietta Szold seated at her desk at home in Jerusalem in July 1942. 1989.79.16


Bertha Szold was born December 21, 1873 – thirteen years to the day after the birth of her oldest sister, Henrietta.  Bertha attended the Adams’ school where Henrietta and Sadie had both taught, then moved onto Bryn Mawr College in 1891.  She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1895 and soon took up a post as English teacher at St. Timothy’s school for girls in Catonsville, Maryland.  On June 19, 1901 she married Louis H. Levin, a lawyer and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Comment who was prominent in the formation of the Associated Jewish Charities.  They had five children: Benjamin, Harriet, Sarah, Marcus Jastrow, and Eva Leah.

Berha Szold with the Jastrow family. 1992.242.6.28

In 1924 Bertha was appointed to the Baltimore City School Board (the first woman ever on the board) and served until 1940.  Bertha, like Henrietta, was a Zionist.  Not only did she travel to Palestine to help with her sister’s work, she also formed the Business & Professional Women’s Group of the Baltimore Chapter of Hadassah in 1920.  This chapter allowed women who worked for a living to take part in Hadassah.  Bertha also worked with the Central Scholarship Bureau.  She died in 1958.

Mrs. Callner and Mrs. Bertha Szold Levin at the Atlantic City Convention, October 24, 1947. 1989.79.50


The Henrietta Szold and Bertha Szold Levin Papers contain documents, books and some photographs related to the activities of the sisters and their family.  The collection contains mostly correspondence, but also some published and unpublished articles, lectures and speeches, record books, publications, and clippings.  The collection has been split into two series: Series I. Henrietta Szold Papers, 1866-1977, contains correspondence, notes, publications, and books mostly related to Henrietta.  The papers were grouped together during a previous processing of the collection and some of the documents may not have been owned or used by Henrietta.  Series II. Bertha Szold Levin Papers, 1885-1958 contains correspondence and writings connected to Bertha Szold Levin.

Henrietta Szold, 1876. 1989.79.9

Series I. Henrietta Szold Papers, 1866-1977 is divided into nine subseries.  Subseries A. Correspondence, n.d., 1866-1944 contains letters mostly written to Henrietta rather than by her.  The letters come from a wide range of friends and family including her parents and sisters, German relatives,Baltimore associates, and national associates.  The letters also came from a number of Jewish and Zionist organizations with which Henrietta associated.  The correspondence are organized chronologically.

Subseries B. Lecture Notes, 1910-1920 contains notes for lectures that Henrietta attended or lectures she herself gave.  The places and subjects of the lectures cover national as well as local organizations including: the Council of Jewish Women, Young Women’s Hebrew Association, Hadassah, High School Girls’ Association Brandeis, Zionism, Educational Alliance, Palestine schools, Washington Heights Sisterhood, Diaspora, Modern Egypt, etc.  The lectures were given throughout the United States including New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.  The lecture notes are organized chronologically.

Subseries C. Publications 1892-1938 contains publications by various authors, mostly on Zionism andPalestine.  The publications were possibly collected by Henrietta.  The publications are organized mostly in chronological order.

Subseries D. Documents, 1875-1977 begins with documents related to Henrietta’s schooling and includes items related to her estate and remembrances of Henrietta after her death.  The collection includes of variety of documents including inventories, catalogs, postcards, invitations, programs, etc.  The documents are in no particular order.

Subseries E. Clippings, n.d., 1901-1970 includes clippings, publications, radio broadcasts, as well as research papers about Henrietta Szold.  The subseries is organized mostly in chronological order.

Subseries F. Financial Documents, 1894-1927 contains account books and bank books for Henrietta’s transactions in the United States as well as in Palestine.

Subseries G. Diaries, datebooks, Address books, n.d., 1892-1924 contains a number of diaries datebooks and address books kept by Henrietta. The books are organized chronologically.

Subseries H. Books contains published books related to the Szold family, though not necessarily directly to Henrietta.

Subseries I. Correspondence (copies), 1866-1950 are photocopies of letters that DO NOT belong to the JMM.  These are transcripts or copies of archival materials housed in other archives.  The JMM has no rights to these, and cannot give permission for their use or copying to researchers.

(clockwise from top left) Eli Frank, Louis H. Levin (Bertha Szold's husband), Albert Brafer and Mr. Anderson (architect), 1907. 1989.79.86

Series II. Bertha Szold Levin, 1885-1958 is divided into three subseries.  Subseries A. Correspondence, n.d. 1886-1951 contains letters, mostly written to Bertha, though the collection does contain some letters written by her.  Letters written by Bertha can be found in the folders labeled ‘correspondence.’  The majority of the letters are from friends and family though she did receive correspondence from Jewish and Zionist organizations.  The subseries contains a large number of letters dated 1945, the majority of which come fromPalestine, particularly from Emma Ehrlich, and often refer to Henrietta or her estate.  The letters are organized chronologically.

Subseries B. Writings and Speeches, n.d., 1898-1955 contains articles and speeches written and delivered by Bertha. The subseries is organized by writings first and speeches second, each section in chronological order.

Subseries C. Personal Papers, n.d., 1885-1958 contains school papers, financial documents, and an obituary for Bertha Szold Levin.  The subseries is not organized in a particular order.

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MS 37 Rabbi Benjamin Szold Papers

Posted on December 29th, 2011 by

Over the fifty years that the Jewish Museum of Maryland has been in existence we have received a large number of materials related to Benjamin Szold and his descendents, which have been organized into three manuscript collections.  Two of those collections (MS 37 and MS 38 the Henrietta Szold and Bertha Szold Levin Papers) are completely processed with finding aids and a third (MS 17 the Levin Family Papers) is having new materials added to it, and should be complete within a few weeks.  The Szold family is pretty amazing – their activities had an impact, not only onBaltimoreJewish history, but on world Jewish history.  My favorite part of these collections is the amazing number of letters.  Each collection is full of letters written between siblings, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and friends and acquaintances.

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Cantor Alois Kaiser (left) and Rabbi Benjamin Szold (right), taken at the Oheb Shalom Synagogue in 1868. 1989.79.74

Rabbi Benjamin Szold (1829-1902)

Papers, n.d., 1846-1940

 MS 37

Jewish Museum of Maryland


The Rabbi Benjamin Szold Papers were donated to the museum as accession 2004.076. The collection was reprocessed by Rebecca Levitan in the summer of 2007.

Access to the collection is partially restricted.  Photocopied materials in the collection either do not belong to the Jewish Museum of Maryland, or have uncertain title.  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.

Parlor in the Szold house, c. 1899.


Benjamin Szold was born in Nemiskert, Hungaryon November 15, 1829.  He was the son of Chaile and Boruch Szold but was raised by his uncles after the deaths of his parents.  He moved to Pressburg, Hungary to study at the Yeshiva.  He later studied and worked in Vienna during the Revolution of 1848.  He also tutored students while living and studying in Breslau (now Poland).  On August 10, 1959 Benjamin married Sophia (Sophie) Schaar and the two moved to Baltimore, Maryland.

Sophie Szold. 1989.79.54

Szold came to the United States to take a job as Rabbi at Oheb Shalom Synagogue in Baltimore and rose to prominence in the coming years.  He unsuccessfully lobbied President Abraham Lincoln to commute the execution order of a Jewish soldier during the American Civil War.  He also served with the Baltimore Association for the Education and Moral Improvement of the Colored People at the war’s end.

Oheb Shalom on Hanover Street after the rebuilding, n.d. 1985.114.1

Rabbi Szold modernized the practices of his congregation.  He eventually delivered sermons in English rather than German, he eliminated the requirement for head coverings in the synagogue, and he introduced family pews.  Szold’s writings also brought fame to his tenure.  His interpretation of The Book of Job, published in 1886, was studied throughout the United States and Europe.

Temple Oheb Shalom on Eutaw Place, n.d. 1992.242.6.53

Benjamin and Sophie had five daughters.  Henrietta was born on December 21, 1860 (died 1945), followed by Estella and Rebecca who died in infancy, Rachel born in November of 1865 (died 1926), Sara/Sadie on February 14, 1868 (died 1893), Johanna born in 1871 (died 1875), Bertha born in 1873 (died 1958), and Adele born in 1876 (died 1940).  Henrietta Szold, his first daughter, later achieved fame as a prominent Zionist and founder of the Youth Aliyah & Hadassah movements.  Rabbi Benjamin Szold died in Berkeley Springs,WV on July 31, 1902.

Szold Family composite photograph. 1989.79.76


The Rabbi Benjamin Szold Papers consists of five series: Series I. Correspondence, Series II. Sermons & Speeches, Series III. Newspaper Clippings, Series IV. Sophie Szold Papers, and Series V. Miscellaneous Articles.  Some of the papers in the collection are photocopies of documents belonging to other institutions.  Series I. Correspondence are between Rabbi Szold and other theologians, as well as his family. The letters are in various languages. He wrote in Hungarian, German, Yiddish and English. Series II. Sermons & Speeches are from throughout Rabbi Szold’s career in Europe and the United States. Series III. Newspaper Clippings are from both the United States and Europe. The Clippings are printed in a variety of languages. Series IV. Sophie Szold Papers include letters, the majority of which were written by her daughter Bertha Szold during her time at Bryn Mawr College to Sophie and the rest of the family.  Other letters include siblings and in-laws writing to Sophie and Ben from Germany, and a few letters written by Sophie to various people. The folder titles reflect descriptions of the majority of the correspondence within although individual letters from other family and friends might be included.  The collection includes other materials related to Sophie’s life and estate.  Although the letters are separated by year they are not organized chronologically within the folders.  Some of the letters written in German have been translated or synopsized. Series V: Miscellaneous Articles consists of articles related to Zionism, etc., but mostly from after the death of Benjamin Szold.

Benjamin Szold, c.1899. 1992.242.6.54a


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