Purim Pandemonium 2012: Gin & Jews

Posted on December 23rd, 2011 by

A blog post by Archivist Jennifer Vess.


We may only be half-way through Chanukah, but here at the JMM we’re already thinking about Purim.  Specifically Purim Pandemonium.

So far we’ve partied like it’s 1942…

Put on a circus…

Photo by Will Kirk.

Had a Night in Noir…

Photo by Will Kirk.

And battled Heroes vs. Villains

Photo by Will Kirk.

This much fun doesn’t just happen.  In fact the staff at the JMM brings in outside help.  We have an entire committee devoted to making this party work.  This past Monday we had our third Purim Pandemonium Committee meeting.

What do we do at Purim Pandemonium Committee meetings?  Step one: Eat well.

Good food is one way to guarantee our committee members come back for each meeting.

Once everyone’s filled up their plates, we get down to business.  The committee makes decisions about refreshments, tickets, decorations, music, and of course the theme.  This year’s theme?

Gin & Jews: Speakeasy style

We are reviving the speakeasies of the Prohibition era and bringing the Roaring 20s back to life.

This theme was inspired by a new sponsor to the event, Distillery 209 out of San Francisco.  Distillery 209 will be providing us with their Kosher for Passover Gin.

We’ve been having a blast thinking up the décor for the event and planning our costumes.  The 1920s and early 1930s have some amazing costume options.  This year we’re regularly tweeting costume ideas at http:///twitter.com/#!/jewishmuseummd and when its get’s closer to the actuall event we’ll do a costume blog post as well.  But to get you started here’s some period photographs from our own JMM collection.

Carrie Weinberg in flapper-style dress. 1991.65.1.19a

Charles and Carrie Weinberg, July 1922. 1991.65.11

Clara Kohn, 1920. 2004.13.9


Unidentified couple, c. 1920. 2003.94.5.57

Beach outing recorded in Lee Lebovitz photo album c.1920. 2003.94.5.47

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Collections in Process: The Baltimore Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women

Posted on October 7th, 2011 by

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A blog post by Archivist Jennifer Vess.

In 2002 the staff of the JMM got a call from the Baltimore Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women about donating part of their files to the museum.  The collections staff brought in and processed 29 linear feet of material (ie. 29 packing boxes.)  The collection became MS 124 and has been used by museum staff and outside researchers on numerous occasions.

Me and intern Andrea at the NCJW offices, April 2011

This past spring we got another call from the Baltimore Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.  The organization was moving out to new offices and they offered another group of files to add to the collection already at the museum.  29 linear feet is a big collection, but what we got this time is even bigger – over forty boxes came from the NCJW into the museum and we have wasted no time digging in.

NCJW file cabinets before JMM staff does their work

NCJW file cabinet after JMM staff does their work
Jobi Zink loading up the truck to take the NCJW files from their old headquarters to the JMM, April 2011
  Shortly after being accepted as an accession, volunteers began refoldering files and pulling the dreaded staples.  Already we have 16 boxes processed and ready to be incorporated into MS 124.  The new boxes will become part of that slightly older collection and we will be updating the finding aid.  When all is said and done the National Council of Jewish Women collection will be one of the largest single collections at the JMM, probably close to half the size of the BHU collection.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

MS 195 The Sergeant Isaac Gordon Papers

Posted on June 30th, 2011 by

After a couple of archive posts about the collections of organizations, it’s time to get back to an individual.  The following collection is small, but packed, and deals primarily with the service of Sergeant Isaac Gordon during World War I.  Besides letters, Sergeant Gordon also saved several copies of the Stars and Stripes, the newspaper published by the US military.  After more than ninety years the cheap newspaper is a little worse for wear, but the content is still fascinating.  We were also able to find the full issues on line through the Library of Congress, which has digitized the Stars and Stripes published during World War I.  I’ve included a link for that site at the bottom of the finding aid.

Letter from Isaac to his sister Betty, December 28, 1917. 1985.122.2

Sergeant Isaac Gordon Papers

1917-1930 (bulk 1917-1919)

MS 195

Jewish Museum of Maryland


The Sergeant Isaac Gordon Papers were donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland in 1985 by his daughter, Phyllis Pollokoff. It was received as accession 1985.122. The collection was partially processed at an unknown date and completed by Andrea DeBoef in 2011.

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.

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Isaac Gordon was born in Norfolk, VA about 1896. His father, Wolf Gordon, was born in Russia, but came through Baltimore when he immigrated. Isaac Gordon was with the U.S. Army Ambulance Services in France between 1917 and 1919. Isaac Gordon was later married to Mary Esther Gordon*. He died in September 1981.


The Sergeant Isaac Gordon Papers are compiled from his time in the U.S. Army Ambulance Service with the French Army between 1917 and 1919. This collection includes personal letters to brothers Leroy and Jake; his sisters Betty, Anna, Sadie, and Flo; and his parents in Pittsburgh, PA, also military orders, an affidavit, a menu, and newspaper clippings. There are around 250 letters, but approximately 200 of these are photocopies. The owner retained the originals. The files are organized by type (letters, military papers, and newspaper clippings) and then chronologically. For preservation purposes, photocopies of the letters and clippings will be used for research.

The Library of Congress provides access to digitized copies of the Stars and Stripes from World War I at the following site:



*Thank you to Bob Pollokoff, Isaac’s grandson for the correction. Mary Gordon was Isaac Gordon’s mother.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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