Manuscript Collection 6: Dr. Joseph Joshua Schwartz Papers, 1899-1975
Dr. Joseph Joshua Schwartz, 1899-1975
ACCESS AND PROVENANCE
The Dr. Joseph Joshua Schwartz papers were donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Dr. Schwartz’s niece, Mrs. Samuel Krivitsky, and by his nephew, Rabbi Manuel Poliakoff, as accessions 1982.12 and 1982.16 in 1982, when the Museum was still called the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland. The collection was processed in December 1982 by Rose Cohen and Hattie Lott.
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.
Dr. Joseph Joshua Schwartz (1899-1975) was born in Russia in 1899 and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1907. His father was an orthodox rabbi and young Joseph followed in his father’s footsteps. He was graduated from the Rabbi Isaace Elchanan Seminary in New York City (now Yeshiva University) and served as rabbi at Congregation Pincus Elijah in New York.
After receiving his doctorate in Semitics and the Sterling Research Fellowship in Mathematics from Yale University in 1927, he left the rabbinate and turned to teaching Semitic Languages and Literature at the American University in Cairo. He returned to America in 1929 and for the next seven years taught at Long Island University. He simultaneously served as Director of Public Information for the Federation of Jewish Charities before becoming the director-general of the American Joint Distribution Committee. He supervised urgent relief and welfare programs during World War II in 30 countries involving more than 1,000,000 people.
Dr. Schwartz, as overseas chief of the J.D.C., was instrumental in having more than 100,000 Jewish Displaced Persons emigrate to the United States, Canada and Latin America. He also directed the movement to Israel of more then 500,000 persons from distressed areas in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Dr. Schwartz was cited by many institutions and organizations for his scholarship and humanitarianism. He held honorary degrees from Yeshiva University and Brandeis, as well as from Dropsie College. For his work on behalf of refugees he was awarded Legion of Honor of France and was decorated by Poland and Hungary.
Dr. Schwartz died in 1975 at the age of 75. He was married to the former Dora Rashback and was survived by his son, Nathan.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
Dr. Schwartz’s papers consist primarily of clippings, printed material and his scholarly research notes. There are some clippings about his work with the Joint Distribution Committee in the 1940s but most relate to his tours of Mexico and Argentina in 1956 and of Montevideo in 1961. There are official photograph albums of these two tours among the photographs of the collection. The printed material is largely programs and invitations to functions honoring Schwartz for his work. There are also some publications about Israel and the Paul Baerwald School of Social work, which offered a program named in Schwartz’s honor.
Dr. Schwartz’s academic career is represented by his research notes in Hebrew and Arabic and by copies of two published articles. There is a file of material on his personal library, which was given to Kent State University.
The collection includes a small file on Joseph Schwartz’s father, Abraham Nachman Schwartz, who was rabbi of the Congregation Shomrei Mishmeres in Baltimore. The material incudes his obituary and some biographical data supplied for use by the Encyclopedia Talmudit.
Nathan Schwartz was Joseph Schwartz’s son. He is a musician and the records in this collection relate largely to his musical training and early career in the late 1940s and early 1950s.