Henrietta Szold: Diving Into the Collections Part I
Blog post by Development and Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman. To read more posts from Rachel, click here.
Before “community organizing” had a name, there was Henrietta Szold – the rabbi’s daughter who broke with the traditional role of women to become a champion of Jewish engagement. Her tenacity and courage played a vital role in the expansion of social services, medical services and the founding of the state of Israel.
We are very lucky to have quite a few collections materials related to Henrietta Szold, one of Baltimore’s Jewish luminaries, including the Henrietta Szold and Bertha Szold Levin Papers. We even created a living history character based on Henrietta and her many works.
I thought it might be nice to take a slightly closer look at some of the many personal effects of Henrietta that have been donated to the Museum’s collections. Today, I wanted to share some of the jewelry (and related accessories) that belonged to Henrietta. Looking at these small objects helps give us a more personal sense of Henrietta, beyond her public persona.
As we learned in our Fashion Statement exhibit, the clothes we wear and the items we choose to adorn ourselves with have all kinds of meanings. I wonder what these various jewelry pieces meant to Henrietta.
But what is most interesting about this buckle is that it was a gift from Louis Ginzberg, given to Henrietta at the same time he announced his engagement to Adele Katzenstein. Prior to this engagement, Henrietta thought she and Louis were developing an understanding. She was taken entirely by surprise by his engagement and later wrote about the challenges of dealing with her feelings of disappointment. Yet, she chose to keep this gift in beautiful condition, perhaps as a bittersweet memento. Courtesy of Temple Oheb Shalom, JMM 2004.97.59.
I look forward to sharing more items from our collections related to Henrietta Szold!