“Mazel” cufflinks, 1950s

Posted on October 13th, 2014 by

Thanks to our online database, much of our collections can be investigated from the comfort of your own home.  Hopefully, you’ve already read and tested our earlier posts on researching in the database (here are parts one, two, and three). But you may not have tried out the “random images” feature, which chooses an assortment of photos, artifacts, and archival records for your enjoyment. You don’t need a specific research query to spend some quality time with our stuff!

The “random” function proved useful this week, as I went looking for something to feature on the blog.  My eye was caught by this pair of silver-colored metal cufflinks, each with a bold Hebrew “Mazel” on the front (and, for good measure, “LUCK” in English on the back).



Maryland Governor Theodore R. McKeldin was the owner of these cufflinks.  McKeldin is an important figure in Maryland politics – he was Baltimore’s mayor in the 1940s and again in the 1960s, as well as serving two terms as governor from 1951 to 1959 – and he was a strong supporter of Baltimore’s diverse communities. To paraphrase an often-repeated story, McKeldin (an Episcopalian) was said to ‘carry a cross in one pocket and a yarmulke in the other.’  That line is sometimes used negatively, hinting he was too much of a people-pleaser, but it can also be taken as a sign of his willingness to engage and work with the Jewish community. Further evidence for this can be found in our museum, thanks in part to a small collection of personal tokens given to McKeldin by Jewish Marylanders over the years. These items were saved by McKeldin, and eventually donated to the JMM by his granddaughter Caroline Wayner.

2010.62.1 full set

2010.62.1 full set

These cufflinks, and the matching tie clip, were part of that donation. We don’t know who gave the set to McKeldin, but we do have a clue as to its origins: The pieces are in their original velvet box, marked “The Concord Men’s Shop, Kiamesha Lake N.Y.” The Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake was one of the largest resorts in the Catskills in the mid 20th century; evidently someone from Maryland was vacationing there, spotted these in one of the shops catering to resort visitors, and thought kindly enough of their Governor to make the purchase.

JoannaA blog post by Collections Manager Joanna Church. To read more posts from Joanna click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Once Upon a Time Photos: 10.31.08

Posted on October 31st, 2008 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click here to see the most recent photo on their website. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

Date(s) run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 10/31/08

PastPerfect Accession #: 1985.159.032

Status: Identified! Sponsors Dinner to dedicate Study Hall at Talmudical Academy of Baltimore in honor of Governor Theodore R. McKeldin at Governor’s Mansion in Annapolis, July 8, 1957. L-R: 1. Paul Huddles 2.Robert Stofberg 3.Rabbi Albert Pattaschnick4.Judge Edgar Silver5. Albert A. Sugar 6. Mrs. McKeldin7.Governor McKeldin 8. Mayor Philip Goodman 9. ? Rosenbaum or Alvin Cohen 10. Solomon Rogers 11. Rabbi Hirsch Heiman

Thanks to Babette Goldschmidt, Selma Frank, Stan Heyman, Mark Rosenfield, Phil Shapiro, Jane Kaufman, Jerry Shavrick, Rina Levy, Judge Edgar Silver, Jerry Esterson, Gloria Kolker Hack, Andrew Cohen, Marian Block, Gordon Salganik, Sheila Manson, Marilyn Silverstein, Rabbi Moses Shevalsky, Edna Hendler, Barbara Ravitz, Carl Kupfer, and Robin I. Cushner

Posted in jewish museum of maryland