MS 198 The Straus-Hecht Family Collection

Posted on December 15th, 2011 by

A large portion of the collections at the Jewish Museum of Maryland document families and organizations centered around the city of Baltimore.  But we do have objects, photos and archives that depict the lives of Jewish families and organizations throughout Maryland.  This collection has several items from a family who lived in Havre de Grace.

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Porcelain plate featuring a picture of Isaac Hecht, Elizabeth Hecht, and Lawrence Hecht in Karlsbad, 1911. 2010.8.4

 The Straus-Hecht Family Collection


 MS 198

Jewish Museum of Maryland


The Straus-Hecht Family Collection was donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Catharine Straus via Eleanor Yuspa in 2009 as accession 2009.023 and Eleanor Yuspa in 2010 as accession 2010.008. The collection was processed in August 2011 by Jennifer Vess.

A portion of the collection is restricted until 2066 and unavailable to researchers.  Access to the remainder of the collection is unrestricted and available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Researchers must obtain 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 practices


Isaac Hecht was born on December 25, 1864 in Philadelphia,PA to Hannah Simon and Leibman Hecht.  For most of his life Isaac lived in Havre de Grace,MD.  On June 1, 1887 he married Elizabeth Weiss and the couple had two children Lee Isaac Hecht and Lawrence W. Hecht.  Isaac Hecht owned Hecht's hotel in Havre de Grave, and was a banker.  Isaac Hecht died on May 20, 1913 in Havre deGrace,MD but was buried in the Hebrew Fellowship Cemetery in Baltimore,MD, although he never traveled between the two cities.

“Rat-Tat,” St. John’s College (Annapolis, MD) Yearbook, 1906; Lee I. Hecht class of 1903. 2010.8.6

Lee Isaac Hecht married Miriam Dannenberg Hecht and they had at least two children: Isaac “I” Hecht and Alan D. Hecht.  Isaac Hecht, nicknamed “I,” was born on December 28, 1913 in Baltimorein the home of his grandmother, Henrietta Weinberg Dannenberg, on Eden Street. He attended the Forest Park High School,Johns Hopkins University, and University of Maryland School of Law. After he graduated he became an attorney.  On March 26, 1941 he married Catharine Straus.  Isaac “I” Hecht received his Hebrew education at Temple Oheb Shalom and continued his affiliation with the synagogue through adulthood, serving as president from 1958 to 1961. He was part of the Legal Aid Society and participated in other charitable work.  He died January 23, 2003 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Catharine Straus Hecht, nicknamed Kitty, was born on June 18, 1915 inRichmond,VA.Her mother was Rita Baer Straus, born September 29, 1890 in Washington DC, and her father was Henry Cullen Straus, born August 15, 1886 inRichmond,VA.  Henry Straus was in the liquor business, but in 1917 after Virginia went dry (in November 1916) the family moved to Baltimore,MD.  Catharine was about 2 years old at the time of the move.  When Maryland passed Prohibition, Henry left the liquor business and went into clothing manufacturing.  He founded the company Straus, Royer & Strass.

“The Ha-Kol,” Religious School of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Yearbook, 1929; Catharine Straus, class 7a. 2010.8.6

Catharine attended Forest Park High School then Goucher College, earning her degree in 1937.  Following graduation Catharine became a buyer at Hutzler’s until her marriage to Isaac “I” Hecht in 1941.  The couple had three children, Eleanor Miriam Hecht Yuspa, Henry Lee Hecht, and Marjorie Rita Hecht Kaplan.  She remained involved with the Central Scholarship Bureau, the Red Cross, the PTA, and other charitable organizations, and was affiliated with the Oheb Shalom Congregation.  Catharine died on July 16, 2009.


The Straus-Hecht Family Collection consists of objects, printed materials, and photographs related to the families of Catharine Straus Hecht and her husband, Isaac Hecht.  The printed materials contain yearbooks, programs, records books, and ration books.  The collection is divided into four series: Series I. Yearbooks, 1905-1965; Series II. Personal Papers, n.d., 1941-2003; Series III. Oheb Shalom Documents, 1928-1993; and Series IV. Business Records, 1937-1966.

Series I. Yearbooks, 1905-1965 consists of yearbooks for Havre de Grace high school, St. John’s College, Ha-Kol, Forest Park High School, Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  The yearbooks are organized chronologically.  When possible the owner of the yearbook is indicated.  Few of the yearbooks contain any notations though all three of the University of Maryland School of Medicine yearbooks contain signatures of each member of the graduating class.

Series II. Personal Papers, n.d., 1941-2003 contains World War II ration books, a book on the history ofBaltimore city attorneys and judges and articles related to Isaac and Catharine Hecht.

War Ration book used by Hecht family during World War II. 2010.8.6

Series III. Oheb Shalom Documents, 1928-1993 contains congregational histories and anniversary programs.

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Series IV. Business Records, 1937-1966 contains a minute book for Straus, Royer & Strass and pay records for Hecht and Hecht.  The Hecht and Hecht records are restricted.


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Once Upon a Time Photos: 3.13.09

Posted on March 16th, 2009 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click hereto 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

Date(s) run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 3/13/09

PastPerfect Accession #: 1985.155.005.013

Status: unidentified woman and girl related to the Hecht family. Taken in New York. N.D.

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