Tag Archives: Anglo-Jewish Archives

Balfour Declaration 100

2 November 2017 marks the centenary of the letter sent by Arthur Balfour, the Foreign Secretary, to Lord Rothschild, setting out the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This Balfour Declaration could be seen as constituting a first step in achieving the objective of political Zionism that had been outlined by the First Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, namely “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law.”

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The motives behind this decision were various. Aside from a belief in the righteousness of the Zionist cause, it has been suggested that British leaders hoped the declaration would help gain Jewish support for the allies in neutral countries, such as in the United States of America or Russia.  Great Britain and France were mired in a stalemate with Germany on the western front by 1917 and all efforts to defeat the Turks had failed.  They feared that the war might be fought to a draw.  Lloyd George also had come to see British dominance in Palestine as an essential post-war aim and felt that the establishment of a Zionist state, under its protection, would accomplish this.

The text of the declaration reads as follows:

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

Arthur James Balfour

Among the Special Collections, the collection MS 144 contains papers relating to the Balfour Committee, formed for the purpose of convening a conference of Anglo-Jewry to consider means of furthering the policy laid down in the Balfour Declaration. The collection contains a book of committee minutes, dating from 17 Dec 1917 – 26 Oct 1918; correspondence of A.M.Hyamson, honorary secretary of the committee, 1917-18, including correspondence with Dr Israel Abrahams; together with statements for the press, drafts of heads of scheme, and copies of memoranda, including proposals for Jewish settlement of Palestine, some signed by members of the committee.

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Salomons family volumes

This week’s blog post looks at two volumes from the manuscript collections relating to Sir David Salomons, baronet, and his nephew and heir, Sir David Lionel Salomons, second baronet.

The Salomons’ family volumes, bound in red morocco and decorated with gilt on the leaves, contain a range of material compiled by Sir David Lionel Salomons, second baronet. An inscription at the front of each volume identifies them as “scrap books” and their content as “letters of interest from well-known men and others, together with interesting matters and scraps.”

Copy of a resolution (in Hebrew) from the West London Synagogue of British Jews congratulating David Salomons on his elevation to the high and important dignity of Lord Mayor of the City of London, November 1855 [MS 378 A4162/1/16]

Copy of a resolution (in Hebrew) from the West London Synagogue of British Jews congratulating David Salomons on his elevation to the high and important dignity of Lord Mayor of the City of London, November 1855 [MS 378 A4162/1/16]

The first volume (covering the period 1819-1911) initially consists of items relating to Philip Salomons and other members of the Salomons family. Philip Salomons was Sir David Lionel’s father, with the material pertaining to his application for citizenship to the United States (he became a naturalized citizen in 1826) and his appointment as Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Sussex in 1952. This is followed by a more substantial range of material relating to Philip’s brother Sir David Salomons, first baronet, primarily concerning his appointment as Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Sir David Salomons, first Baronet (1797-1873)

David Salomons was born in London on 22 November 1797. He was the second son of Levy Salomons, a stockbroker, and Matilda de Metz. Following in his father’s footsteps, he pursued a career in banking and in 1832 became one of the founders of the London and Westminster Bank.

Sir David Salomons, first Baronet, MP and Lord Mayor of London, from an engraving by Charles Turner of the painting by Mary Martha Pearson [MS 187 AJ 352/1/2]

Sir David Salomons, first Baronet, MP and Lord Mayor of London, from an engraving by Charles Turner of the painting by Mary Martha Pearson [MS 187 AJ 352/1/2]

Alongside a successful banking career he had a distinguished public career. In 1835 he was elected as Sheriff of the City of London. However, as a Jew, he was unable to enter office due to the mandatory oath of office including Christian statements of faith. Parliament was obliged to legislate and following the passing Sheriffs’ Declaration Act later in the year, he was able to take up the post. 1835 also saw him elected as an Alderman of the City of London. Again, he was unable to take up the post due to the oath of office. On this occasion the law was not changed. It wasn’t until 1847 and the passing of the Religious Opinions Relief Act that he was finally admitted as a City alderman, and in 1885 became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London.

Salomons was elected a Member of Parliament for Greenwich in 1851. While the law had now changed to enable professing Jews to hold municipal office, they were still denied admission to parliament. This time, rather than refusing to take the oath (as he had done in 1835) Salomons merely omitted the Christian statements of faith and took his seat on the government benches. He eventually agreed to withdraw, but only after voting in three divisions of the House. He lost his seat the following year at the general election of 1852. It wasn’t until the passage of the Jews Relief Act in 1858 that he was permitted to take his seat without further demur in 1859, serving as the constituency’s M.P. until his death in 1873.

Salomons was created a baronet in 1869. While he was married twice, there were no children of either marriage and his estate and titles passed to his nephew, Sir David Lionel Salomons.

Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons, second Baronet (1851-1925)

The majority of material in the volumes relates to Sir David Lionel Salomons. Sir David Lionel was the son of Philip Salomons (noted above) and Emma Montefiore. Following the death of his mother in 1859, and father in 1867, he was brought up by his uncle.

Bookplate of Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons, second Baronet, of Broomhill, Tunbridge Wells [MS 378 A4162/1]

Bookplate of Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons, second Baronet, of Broomhill, Tunbridge Wells [MS 378 A4162/1]

On the death of his uncle in 1873, he succeeded as second baronet (by special remainder) and inherited the estate of Broomhill, north of Tunbridge Wells. He studied at University College London and at Caius College, Cambridge, before being called to the bar at the Middle Temple. His inheritance from both his father and uncle meant that he was financially secure and was able to pursue scientific and other interests, becoming an inventor who pioneered developments in motoring and electricity. In addition to publishing a range of works on scientific subjects, he had workshops and laboratories added to the house at Broomhill (one of the first houses in the country to have electric lighting).

A significant amount of material in the volumes (the second volume covering the period 1889-1924) touches on his scientific research. These include notices of his public lectures on electricity which were “addressed to the working classes and others”. The lecture series for 1874 consisting of:

Lecture 1. Theories of Electricity and its general laws. Statical Electricity
Lecture 2. Statical Electricity continued.–Galvanic Electricity, and modes of producing the latter. –Comparisons between Statical and Galvanic Electricity. Induction.
Lecture 3. Resistance explained. Some applications of Electricity.
Lecture 4. Applications of Electricity continued, and the Telegraph.
Lecture 5. The Electric Telegraph.
Lecture 6. The Bridge and Differential. Modes of Testing. The application of these in practice. [MS 378 A4162/1/39]

Of Solomon’s inventions, the collection includes a pamphlet on ‘Improvements in the Construction of Fire-Proof Buildings’ in which he proposes placing pipes within the structure of the building which are in direct communication with hydrants or other water supply, “and so arranged that instant communication can be effected between the same an any one section of, or the whole of the internal perforated pipes in the building.” [MS 378 A4162/1/223]

Diagram from Improvements in the Construction of Fire-Proof Buildings by Sir David Lionel Salomons (Patented) [MS 378 A4162/1/223]

Diagram from Improvements in the Construction of Fire-Proof Buildings by Sir David Lionel Salomons (Patented) [MS 378 A4162/1/223]

Other items include letters from renowned scientists of the age, including John Tyndall, Joseph Swan, David Edward Hughes, William Crookes and David Gill. One of Salomons more imaginative ideas can be found in a letter from John Joseph Fahie, dated 19 January 1885, in which Fahie requests an exposition of his suggestion that you could “dissolve a man in London and build him up again in New York through the Atlantic Cable.” [MS 378 A4162/1/78]

Along with letters from famous individual such as Sir Moses Montefiore, Wilkie Collins, and William Gladstone, among others, the collection includes a number of letters that have been marked as “curious”. One such letter, dated 12 July 1878, is from a gentleman of twenty-three years living in Massachusetts. He begs Salomons the favour of providing him with an idea or invention that he can take credit for, and which will, in turn, enabling him to win the hand of a young lady with whom he is in love. Salomons advice to the young man is that “he ought to use his energies and work properly if his affection is sincere” and notes that “no fortune made at a “coup” is valued by its owner, and rarely indeed can such good fortune arrive.” [MS 378 A4162/1/50]

Salomons also had a keen interest in motor vehicles and was an early pioneer for the car on British roads. He was a member of the Automobile Club of France, the Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain, as well as a range of other automobile clubs, and organised the first British Motor Show (named the Horseless Carriage Exhibition) at Tunbridge Wells in 1895.

Salomons married Laura de Stern in 1882 and the couple had one son and four daughters. Their only son, David Reginald Salomons, died at Gallipoli when HMS Hythe carrying his company was sunk in a collision.  Following Sir David Lionel’s death on 19 April 1925 the baronetcy became extinct.

Further details on the Salomons family volumes can be found on the Special Collections website at: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/cataloguedatabases/webguidemss378.page

The Salomons estate is currently home to the Salomons Museum which preserves and displays material relating to the family. Further details can be found at: https://www.salomons-estate.com/about-us/museum

Celebrating the contribution of women: Lady Swaythling

Today marks International Women’s Day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women throughout history and across nations. The Special Collections at the University of Southampton holds material for a range of women whose contribution in many spheres is worthy of mention. For this blog post we will focus on Gladys Helen Rachel Montagu, Baroness Swaythling (MS 383).

Photograph of Gladys, Dowager Lady Swaythling, taken by Dorothy Wilding [MS 383 A4000/6/1/5 f2]

Photograph of Gladys, Dowager Lady Swaythling, taken by Dorothy Wilding [MS 383 A4000/6/1/5 f2]

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1879, she was the eldest daughter of Colonel Albert Edward Williamson Goldsmid, MVO, and Ida Stewart Beauclerk Hendricks. In 1898 she married Louis Montagu, the eldest son of Samuel Montagu, first Baron Swaythling (MS 117), founder of the banking firm Samuel Montagu and Company. Louis succeeded as second Baron Swaythling in 1911 and inherited the office of president of the Federation of Synagogues (MS 248), an organisation created by his father to promote the acculturation of Jewish immigrants.

Following their marriage they lived at Townhill Park House, Southampton, purchased by the first Baron Swaythling in 1897. Originally dating from the 1790s, they had the house extended and re-designed by architect Leonard Rome Guthrie in the Italianate style. Guthrie also designed the terraced gardens to complement the style of the house, with the plants laid out by the renowned garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. As Lord and Lady Swaythling they were leading members of the Anglo-Jewish community and leading figures in English society, hosting dinner parties and other social events at Townhill Park where visitors included Princess Alice and Queen Mary (with whom Lady Swaythling had a lifelong friendship).

Belgian soldiers and staff at Allington Manor

Belgian soldiers and staff at Allington Manor [MS 383 A4000/6/1/13 ]

They were also active communal workers, with Lady Swaythling applying much of her energy to the local Southampton area. During the First World War she became President of the Women’s Southampton branches of the Auxiliary of the YMCA and Women’s Emergency Corps, as well as the War Hospital Supply Depot, Southampton. In addition, she served on eighteen different committees, including as chair of the Wounded Allies Relief Committee, established for the provision of convalescent homes for wounded Belgian soldiers.

Country houses were required for medical use as the large numbers of wounded meant there were not enough hospitals able to cope with the seriously disabled or even those simply convalescing. These houses were pressed into service or were donated for the purpose, as their clean country air and fine grounds were considered most helpful to rest and recuperation. Allington Manor, a country house in Eastleigh owned by the Swaythlings, was one of the houses donated as a military sanitorium. Lady Swaythling took a deep interest in the welfare of the sanatorium and would sing to the patients during her visits. Later, she was involved in organising hospitality for American soldiers and sailors, with her efforts leading to her becoming known as the “British godmother” among American naval enlisted men. Other activities included working on the executive committee of Queen Mary’s Governess’ Home in Surrey, and assisting the British Women’s Patriotic League.

Certificate granted to Lady Swaythling [MS 383 A4000/2/1]

Certificate granted to Lady Swaythling in recognition of her
charitable services during the First World War [MS 383 A4000/2/1]

After the war she continued her communal actives, with her roles including President of the Southampton Hostel for Unmarried Women and the Southampton branches of the National Society for Combating Venereal Diseases and the University Extension Lectures movement. She was also chair of the conjoint committee of the British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem. In 1919 she joined the Council of the Anglo-Belgian Union and continued to support Belgian exiles during the Second World War. She was an active supporter of refugees throughout her life and, in 1925, addressed a letter to President Coolidge pleading for the admission to the United States of Jewish refugees stranded in Southampton.

Other public offices she held included President of the Electrical Association for Women, established in 1924 to interest women in the electrical development of the country; Honorary President of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade (MS 244), a Jewish youth organisation founded by her father in 1895; President of the Southampton branch of the Girl Guides Association; and Vice-President of the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). She travelled widely, touring countries such as India, Australia, China, Japan, the United States, and Canada, and was the recipient of many overseas honours. She was made OBE in 1953.

Lord and Lady Swaythling had had three sons and a daughter. Their eldest son Stuart became the third Lord Swaythling in 1927 on Louis’ death. The family continued to live at Townhill Park until 1939 when the house was handed over to the Red Cross and used as a convalescent home for British and American soldiers during the Second World war. Lady Swaythling died in 1965 at the age of 85.

This year, Southampton is joining in the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration theme by ‘Being Bold’ and inviting everyone to West Quay and fringe events in town on Saturday March 11 to promote and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, both locally and worldwide. For further details visit:
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/blog/sussed-news/2017/02/28/celebrate-international-womens-day-on-11-march/

Unlocking an archival treasure trove

Catalogues are the key to unlocking the treasure trove of archival material. We are therefore delighted to announce that descriptions for archive collections MS 301-400 now are available on the Special Collections website:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/cataloguedatabases/webguide1.page

Totalling several thousand boxes of material, the collections MS 301-400 provide an incredibly rich and diverse research resource. A significant proportion of the collections have some Anglo-Jewish focus, complementing the extensive Anglo-Jewish Archives already held at Southampton, but overall they have a broad thematic sweep.

New collections in strongroom

New collections in strongroom

Alongside those of Jewish organisations, such as notable collections for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (MS 302) or the Leo Baeck College, London (MS 316), are a range of material for individuals and families, such as Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler, Sir Robert Waley-Cohen, the Henriques family, Dr Schenier Levenberg and William Frankel, who was editor of the Jewish Chronicle, to name but a few.

It is particularly pleasing to note that there has been a slight increase in the number of collections reflecting the lives and work of Jewish women. These range from the archive of Marianne Ellenbogen (MS 324), a German Jew who escaped incarceration by the Nazis after her family were arrested in Germany in August 1943 and went on the run spending two years travelling across Germany, to Trude Dub, Leicester correspondence of Jewish Chronicle (MS 325), Dr Asenath Petrie, psychologist and poet (MS 349) and papers of Gladys, Lady Swaythling (MS 383).

Photocard of Marianne Ellenbogen

MS 324 A2007/1/9 Photocard of Marianne Ellenbogen

Amongst papers of Lady Swaythling relating to her voluntary and philanthropic work, is material for the Wounded Allied Committee and Belgian refugees at Allington Manor, a home of the Swaythlings that was donated as a military sanitorium during the First World War. The collection also includes much relating to social events, and contains dinner books kept by Lady Swaythling that provide a wonderful insight into the etiquette, diet and arrangement of dinner parties in the interwar years.

Belgian soldiers and staff at Allington Manor

MS 383 A4000/6/1/13 Belgian soldiers and staff at Allington Manor

There are a number of small, but significant, collections that complement the papers of the first Duke of Wellington held by the University. The correspondence of Wellington to Sir John Malcolm (MS 308) was used in the compilation of Wellington’s Dispatches and fits perfectly with a second collection, that of the papers of Lieutenant Colonel John Gurwood (MS 321), who was the editor of the Dispatches.  Gurwood served under Wellington during the Peninsular War and distinguished himself leading the forlorn hopes at the storming at Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo.  His archive includes material on his military service, including letters to his mother, 1810-12, alongside the papers relating to his work for Wellington compiling the Dispatches.  Another interesting Wellington related collection (MS 351/6) contains the scrimshaw nautilus shell, engraved by C.H.Wood, depicting Wellington on one side and St George slaying the dragon on the other, produced in the 1850s, together with a number of Peninsular War and Waterloo related illustrations.

Wellington at Waterloo

MS 351/6 A4170/2 Lithograph of Wellington at Waterloo

The papers of Alan Campbell-Johnson, a public relations specialist, who in February 1947 became the first and only press attaché to a Viceroy of India, represent a significant addition to the material held within the Broadands Archives (MS 62). Campbell-Johnson accompanied Lord Mountbatten for the transfer of power to the newly independent India and Pakistan and remained with Lord Mountbatten, while Mountbatten was the first Governor General of India. Campbell-Johnson sustained a connection with Mountbatten for the remainder of his life and his archive provides an insight into the management of the presentation of partition to the media and, in the long term, in the managing of historical reputation.

Frank Prince

MS 328 A834/1/11//10 Frank Prince

Frank Templeton Prince was at one time a professor of English at the University of Southampton and his archive (MS 328) is just one of a number of collections with connections to the University. Prince was a poet of some renown, probably best remembered for his collection Soldiers Bathing (1954), the title poem of which is one of the most anthologised poems of the Second World War. He was admired by and influenced the New York school, a group of writers that flourished in the 1960s. His work has been somewhat overlooked more recently, however, and the archive has been a major resource in a reassessment of Prince’s poetry and legacy.

Finally, we turn to the Montse Stanley Knitting Collection. Montserrat Bayés Sopena was committed to bringing to a wider audience both creative knitting and the history of knitting. The Montse Stanley Knitting Collection at the Hartley Library comprises her working papers, photographs, postcards and illustrations (MS 331) together with a wide range of over 800 knitted objects and garments and small tools and sample yarns (MS 332): an invaluable resource for all aspects of knitting as well as for social history.

Silk purse shaped as a pineapple

MS 332/50/10/3 Silk purse shaped as a pineapple

Printed material from the Montse Stanley collection now forms part of the Knitting Reference Library at the Winchester School of Art Library.

We hope that you enjoy looking through the catalogue descriptions and perhaps find that serendipity moment when you make a delightful discovery of something unexpected.

Israel Zangwill: the “Dickens of the Ghetto”

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the death of Israel Zangwill. He was a British author at the forefront of cultural Zionism during the nineteenth century. Born in London in 1864 to Jewish immigrants, Zangwill was educated at the Jews’ Free School where he later became a teacher. He produced numerous poems, plays and novels including The Children of the Ghetto: a Study of a Peculiar People (1892) and The King of Schnorrers (1894). His play, The Melting Pot (1908) about a Russian-Jewish immigrant family, popularised this metaphor used to describe American absorption of immigrants and his work earned him the nickname the “Dickens of the Ghetto”.

Israel Zangwill

Israel Zangwill [MS 295 A1018/5]

Correspondence from the collection MS 116/52 Papers relating to Israel Zangwill indicated the circles Zangwill moved in. For example, in January 1894 he wrote to the author and poet Richard Le Gallienne:

I have hesitated to ask you to come up all this way but have decided to give you the option. To-morrow night (Tuesday) from 8.30 interesting men will be dropping in to smoke and talk. The notice is short because the thing is informal. There will be several “Waterloo” men.   [MS 116/52 AJ208/1]

In 1898, he corresponded with Walter Bliss of the American Publishing Company to thank him for sending a copy of Mark Twain’s book: “I hope it will be a big success. Mark is a fine old fellow.”  [MS 116/52 AJ209/5]

Zangwillpostcard

Postcard from Israel Zangwill, Florence, to his mother, Ellen Hannah Zangwill, St John’s Wood, 7 May 1901 [MS 295 A1018/1/2]

We also hold a collection of postcards [part of MS 295 Papers of Louis and Israel Zangwill], many sent by Israel and his brother Louis to their mother while they were on a tour of Europe. Israel was 37 and already a successful author and lecturer.  The text, difficult to decipher in the image, recounts how Zangwill has inadvertently switched hats following a haircut:

I have just discovered I changed hats with somebody in Rome: as good or better but of different shape. I didn’t notice it, perhaps through having my hair cut, so I expected to look different. They wanted 1 franc for Mark’s shampoo, so I had a row and wouldn’t pay it. They always give in. [MS 295 A1018/1/2]

Harry Ward, secretary to the Golders Green Synagogue, was a founding member and honorary secretary of the Israel Zangwill Fellowship. He spent 60 years collecting a vast library of Zangwilliana, now in the University’s Special Collections [MS 294]. Collected over Ward’s lifetime, the material includes Zangwill correspondence – for example with his lecture agent, Gerald Christy, 1895-1906 – as well as Ward’s own correspondence and research papers.  Ward’s comprehensive collection of books by Zangwill, or in which he is mentioned, was added to the Parkes Library.

Israel Zangwill

Israel Zangwill

Zangwill was a founder of the Jewish Territorial Organisation (ITO).  This group of Zionists wanted to find an alternative to Israel for the creation of a Jewish homeland.  In 1906, Zangwill wrote to Carl Stettaeur seeking support for the organisation. Stettauer had visited Russia the previous year to arrange relief work following the pogroms:

At most you can say that your desire to identify yourself with other causes prevents you identifying yourself with the practical work of our Organisation, but what prevents you from paying 1/- a year as a passive member to produce an effect, however distant, that cannot possibly be other than beneficial?   [MS 128 AJ22/F4]

Another smaller collection of papers is that of Ruth Phillips, secretary to Lucien Wolf and Israel Zangwill [MS 116/5].

Zangwill died in 1926 in Midhurst, West Sussex.  In celebration of his life, the Jewish Museum, London has created Zangwill’s Spitalfields, an audio-visual walking tour of the historic Spitalfields area of London’s East End.

World Refugee Day

Today is #WorldRefugeeDay and the start of @RefugeeWeek.  This UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary.

The University’s Special Collections documents stories of millions of refugees who have sought sanctuary in the UK from Spanish refugees seeking assistance from the first Duke of Wellington after fleeing their country in the 1820s, to those who have been victims of more recent wars.

For example, in 1922 Atlantic Park opened in Eastleigh, at the time one of the biggest transmigratory camps in the world. Its purpose was to bring migrants together in one place, provide them with better conditions and protect them from unscrupulous people. A large proportion of the people at the camp were Ukrainian Jewish refugees.

ms311.53_cropped

Booth in the interior of the hall at Atlantic Park, Eastleigh, with a number of the refugees in residence at the transit camp, 1920s [MS 311/53]

Conditions in the camp, however, were generally far from acceptable and deaths were not infrequent. Due to increasingly strict immigration laws, many refugees remained in the camp for longer than intended, unable to settle in a new, safer home.  A report on condition in the camp can be found in the minutes of the Executive Committee of the Union of Jewish Women. [MS 129/B/6 AJ 26]

The Kindertransport is perhaps one of the more famous humanitarian efforts of the Second World War.  Chief Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld – executive director of the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council from its foundation in 1938 until 1946 – supported children coming to the UK in 1938 and was personally involved in escorting groups of Jewish children from the ghettos in Poland to Great Britain in 1946-7.

MS183_1006_1_cropped

Polish refugees (oldest and youngest) brought to the UK by the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council, c.1946 [MS 183/1006/1]

The archive (MS 183 section F) contains a great deal on the administration and organisation of CRREC’s work in the field of both the rescue and support of refugees, particularly child refugees, 1938-49.  For refugees brought over to Great Britain by the Council, for example, information can be found in the form of photographs, biographical profiles, correspondence and refugee fund assistance cards.  Landing cards and identity cards complement the block passport and other mass travel documents which exist for child refugees who travelled with the Council.

This collection is one of a number of archives relating to Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s – detailing both the work of organisations and providing individual or personal accounts. Other collections include the Polish Jewish Refugee Fund (MS 190); papers of Diana Silberstein, 1936-46, a native of Sarajevo, who came to Britain as a refugee (MS93) and a typescript autobiography of Dr D.Fuerst, a refugee dentist from Nazi Austria (MS116/68).

The world is currently experiencing the largest refugee crisis of recent times and questions surrounding asylum and immigration are more topical than ever.  These stories – some inspiring, other distressing – must serve to provide some lessons from history.  This is undeniably an important part of the history of the United Kingdom which should be preserved and remembered.

The development of Special Collections

From June until December 2016, there will be a building project taking place in the Hartley Library. As a result, between June and September, the Archives and Manuscripts and Rare Books reading room will be running a restricted service: this might include brief periods of closure. While updates will be made available through our website, we take the opportunity to reflect on the development of the Special Collections division down through the years…

Early developments
The archive holdings date back to the 1860s, soon after the foundation of the Hartley Institution, the earliest predecessor of the University of Southampton. The Institution was founded as a local learned institution and had among its facilities both a library and museum. Between them, they gathered in or were presented with a number of manuscript collections. The early collections were eclectic in nature, ranging from the papers of local seamen and materials clearly brought back from their travels; to records that may have their origins in the archives of the corporation of Southampton, with which the Hartley Institution was closely associated; and groups of letters, some coherent archive groups, put together by autograph collectors. As early as 1873, the minute book of the library committee records the presentation of ‘Specimens of old English writing in the form of deeds, upon condition that they be bound’ (now MS 28).

Item from a collection of deeds relating to property in Petersfield and Mapledurham, principally for ‘Gobyesmede', together with lands in Liss and Sheet, Hampshire [MS 36 AO143]

Item from a collection of deeds relating to property in Petersfield and Mapledurham, principally for ‘Gobyesmede’, together with lands in Liss and Sheet, Hampshire [MS 36 AO143]

The Institution’s collections included items of more general interest, ranging from Renaissance drawings to manuscripts from among purchases and bequests of books. The Library and Museum received materials relating to the locality, to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the most important of which, the Cope bequest, contained manuscript (now MS 5) as well as printed items. With the establishment of local record offices, in Hampshire, for the county and city of Winchester, in and after 1947, for the corporation of Southampton in 1951 and for the corporation of Portsmouth, papers of local interest were directed there and local topographical manuscripts ceased to be an active focus for the University’s collecting policy. In 1972, the University dispersed to local record offices all the local material that it did not own; the material was transferred principally to the Hampshire Record Office, where it now has the reference 46M72 and 7M87-110m87. At the same time the remnants of the holdings of the museum of the Hartley Institution were transferred to Southampton City Museums, with the exception of some of the rock collections, which remain in the Geology Department. The maintenance of the Cope collection as a collection of materials of local interest continues, although its accessions are now almost exclusively printed.

Acquiring the Wellington and Broadlands archives
A new chapter of the University’s archive collecting commenced in 1983, when the papers of the first Duke of Wellington were allocated to the University under the national heritage legislation. There are close links between the University and the Dukes of Wellington: the seventh Duke became in 1952 the first Chancellor of the new University of Southampton, the fruition of a campaign supported by his family for a university of Wessex. Further significant acquisitions of manuscripts ensued, the Broadlands archive in 1985-7 (including the Palmerston and Mountbatten papers), followed by accessions of supporting collections. The conversion of a part of the University Library in 1982-3 to provide appropriate accommodation for the Wellington Papers was followed in 1987 by the provision of new archive strongrooms and an enlarged reading room.

The official opening of the Wellington Suite, 14 May 1983. Dr Chris Woolgar shows a bound volume of the papers to the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.

The official opening of the Wellington Suite, 14 May 1983. Dr Chris Woolgar shows a bound volume of the papers to the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.

The development of the Anglo-Jewish collections
The University has had through the collections of C.G.Montefiore, a former President of the University College, and through the library of Dr James Parkes, a special interest in papers concerning the relations of the Jewish people with other peoples; since 1989 this has been developed with a particular focus on the records of Anglo-Jewry, of national organisations and of individuals, and in 1990 many of the collections of the Anglo-Jewish Archives were transferred to the Library. The principal genealogical holdings of the Anglo-Jewish Archives, the Montefiore-Hyamson, D’Arcy Hart and Colyer-Fergusson collections were transferred at this date to the Society of Genealogists in London. In the range of these materials, the University and researchers have good reason to thank those individuals who, since 1963, had worked through Anglo-Jewish Archives towards the preservation of the records of the Anglo-Jewish community. A considerable number of major accessions relating to Anglo-Jewry has been received since 1990 and this continues to be an area where collecting is most active.

Expanded accommodation
As part of a major building project in the Hartley Library in 2002-4, the Special Collections accommodation was greatly enlarged. This included an additional strongroom and a new reading room, which doubled reader spaces. The extension also provided an opportunity to incorporate public exhibition space as an integral part of the library environment. This space includes the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery and the Level 4 Gallery.

Visitors to the Wellington and Waterloo exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery

Visitors to the Wellington and Waterloo exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery

The Special Collections Gallery was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund primarily for the display of material from the collections to encourage public awareness and access. The exhibition programme focuses on themes within the collection and links in with University academic activity including celebrations of research, conferences and contributions to national and international events and commemorations.

Recent developments
The range of collections continues to expand and develop with recent acquisitions including papers relating to Basque child refugees (MS 370 and MS 404), the papers of Ian Herman Karten (MS 409), and new collection of Wellington related material (MS 351/6). Meanwhile our first group of digitised collections are available to access online through the Virtual Reading Room, with other recent developments including the establishment of our social media channels, including our WordPress blog and Facebook page.

For updates on other developments and how the building project will impact on our services please visit our website at:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/.

Jewish friendly societies

In this week’s blog post archivist John Rooney takes a look into the world of Jewish friendly societies.

I have recently spent time arranging and cataloguing the collection MS 422 Papers of Jewish friendly societies. Material in the collection was original compiled by Raymond Kalman while conducting research on the history of friendly societies. Kalman was born in Paris and raised in Spitalfields. He was a member of Council of Jewish Historical Society of England and a member of the Friendly Societies Research Group and wrote extensively on Anglo-Jewish and East End social history.

Copy of a Lodge Group photograph of the Grand Order of Israel, dating from the early 20th century [MS422 A4216/10/3]

Copy of a Lodge Group photograph of the Grand Order of Israel, dating from the early 20th century [MS422 A4216/10/3]

Jewish friendly societies played a particularly important role in Anglo-Jewish life during the late 19th century and through much of the 20th century. Their object was primarily one of mutual benefit. In return for weekly contributions, members would receive support during illness or in the case of their death. In the latter instance, societies would contribute to the costs of funeral and tombstone expenses and, in some cases, provide payments to the family of the deceased. In his writings on the subject, Kalman emphasises the constant concern within the Jewish community of ensuring a decent burial, with friendly societies provided one of the cheapest methods of doing so. The importance of the societies in this regard can be seen on tombstones bearing inscriptions of their names, a condition stipulated in the rules of many of the societies.

Friendly societies acted as miniature social security systems which were entirely private and voluntary. As such, they helped preserve their member’s personal independence and keep them away from other forms of charitable or state support. However, unlike other kinds of insurance organisations, many friendly societies also served a social function by holding regular meetings and social events for their members. In this regard, they provided a unique opportunity for members to meet with a close circle of friends outside of synagogue services and were a particularly useful way for newly arrived immigrants to engage with other members of the local Jewish community.

A number of friendly societies took the form of ‘Orders’, establishing associated lodges with membership ceremonies and rituals. These included the use of secret password and special titles, together with the wearing of regalia (such as the collar below) by the president and other senior members of the society. Other societies, the Order of Ancient Maccabeans being a notable example, were political affiliated with organisations such as the Jewish National Movement and the English Zionist Federation. However, it was generally the cultural activities and social amenities (alongside the provision of mutual insurance) that attracted members.

Photograph of Past Grand President’s Collar, United Jewish Friendly Society, 1960-1 [MS422 A4216/2/4]

Photograph of Past Grand President’s Collar, United Jewish Friendly Society, 1960-1 [MS422 A4216/2/4]

The role of friendly societies was dramatically diminished with the development of the welfare state in the late 1940s. While some continued as insurance companies, others remained as local social groups with the insurance element no longer playing a key role. Over the years the number of active societies has significantly decreased from the 98 recorded in the 1900-1 edition of the Jewish Year Book.

The collection MS 422 contains the papers relating to a range of friendly societies, including the United Jewish Friendly Society, Manasseh Ben Israel Friendly Society, Hebrew Order of David, Grand Order of Israel and Shield of David Friendly Society, Grand Order Sons of Jacob, and the Association of Jewish Friendly Societies. Given the manner in which the material was collected it is quite an eclectic mix with certain societies (Hebrew Order of David, Grand Order Sons of Jacob, and the Association of Jewish Friendly Societies) being better represented than others.

Key material relating to the organisation and running of the societies includes rule books, annual reports, minute books and financial records, with material reflecting their social function including notices, programmes and tickets relating to installations and social events, together with monthly bulletins and newsletters. Records of members include application forms and index books for the Burial Society of the Association of Jewish Friendly Societies and member nomination and death claim books for the Grand Order Sons of Jacob. Other material includes booklets and photographs, both of members and of tombstones inscribed with the names of various societies. The collection also contains material relating to Kalman’s research, including a small selection of his research notes and papers, press cuttings, correspondence, and articles, along with copies of statistical data and lists of charities, societies and orders.

Special Collection holds a number of collections relating to Jewish friendly societies. These include a ‘History of the United Jewish Friendly Society’ by Harry Hyams, 1960, which traces the activities of the society from 1888 (MS 116/25); papers of the United Jewish Friendly Society (MS 180); papers of Jewish benevolent societies (MS 193); and papers of Jewish friendly societies and cultural organisations (MS 214).

Celebrating the contribution of women

Held annually on 8 March, International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women throughout history and across nations.

The Special Collections at the University of Southampton holds material for a range of women whose contribution in many spheres is worthy of mention. For this blog we will focus on Sarah Laski (née Frankenstein). Born in Manchester in 1869, Sarah Laski married Nathan Laski in 1889, becoming the mother of two sons – Neville John, the future QC, and Harold, who became Professor of Political Science at the University of London – and a daughter Mabel. Her husband played a prominent part in Manchester Jewish life and its welfare and Sarah Laski was to dedicate considerable time and effort throughout her lifetime to social work in the city of her birth.

Mrs Laski, 1933

Mrs Laski, 1933

Initial work confined to Jewish charities, such as the Ladies Visiting Committee and Soup Kitchen, but in 1914 Sarah Laski became a member of the Manchester Board of Guardians, and was its chairman, 1926-9. From 1926 onwards, she served as a member of the Manchester City Council representing Cheetham ward. She was elected an alderman in 1942.

Sarah Laski was remembered as one of Manchester’s “foremost citizens”, for her “fine record of [40 yrears of] quiet, unselfish, public service”” and her “wide and understanding sympathy with the problems of poverty.” [MS 134 AJ 33/51]

She was particularly interested in the welfare of women and children, in youth and in education. She was an advocate of education opportunities for women, urging girls, in an address in October 1916 to “learn to fit ourselves for the new era that is slowly but surely dawning” [MS 134 AJ 33/39].

The University of Southampton will be hosting a number of events to mark international women’s day and details can be found at the following links:

University blog –
https://isoton.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/celebrate-international-womens-day-at-the-university/

Events page –
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/diversity/news/events/womens_day.page

The leap year: keeping time in AD 2016 & AM 5776

This month we have the bonus of an extra day – February 29th – the ‘intercalary’ day which is added to the calendar in a leap year. It’s a reminder that, in a digital age, we still map out our days according to the solar and lunar year, following ancient patterns of marking time.

Solar eclipse [Rare Books quarto QB 585 ]

Solar eclipse [Rare Books quarto QB 585 ]

It was Julius Ceasar who gave us the ‘leap year’ when he reformed the calendar in 46 B.C. His advisers knew that it took roughly 365 ¼ days for the earth to travel once around the sun – but the calendar only allowed for 365. By adding an extra day every four years, the Julian calendar would keep in step with the solar year. In fact, this was an over-estimate, and the calendar began to drift again – until 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII decreed another reform – giving us the Gregorian calendar that we use today. *

Why was the extra day added in February rather than December? – The old Roman year began in March, so it made sense to Ceasar to insert a day towards the end of the year, in February. Although we gain a day on the 29th, for the Romans it was six days before the 1st or Calends of March – 24th February – which was counted twice. They called this day the ‘bis-sextile’ day – literally, the ‘double sixth day’ before the Calends of March; while the leap year was the annus bissextilis.

Frontispiece of Merlinus Liberatus [Rare Books Rosicrucian AY 751]

Frontispiece of Merlinus Liberatus [Rare Books Rosicrucian AY 751]

This is the frontispiece for an Almanack of 1699 from our Special Collections. It is a year book containing information on the “motion of the planets, remarkable conjunctions, lunations, eclipses, meteorological and astrological observations”. The author tells us that 1699 was “the third year after the bissextile” or leap year. Using the Christian era, it was the year “of our blessed saviour’s incarnation 1699” – Anno Domini 1699 – but it was also “from the creation of the World according to the best of History, 5648”.

The latter is the Jewish era, Anno Mundi (“in the year of the world”) or in Hebrew “from the creation of the world”. It is still in use today – AM 5776 began at sunset on 13 September 2015 and will end at sunset on 2 October 2016. Many of the Jewish archive collections at Southampton follow the Jewish era for the numbering of years. The Jewish calendar is a lunar one, adjusted to bring it in line with the solar year by the addition of intercalary months in a complex 19-year cycle of leap years; and note that the Jewish year does not begin on January 1st.

*So although the Gregorian calendar is the dominant civil calendar across much of the world today, it is not universal, and it was not adopted by all countries at the same time: many Catholic states obeyed the papal decree in the sixteenth century, but Great Britain, Ireland (and the dominions) waited until 1752; in Russia it was 1918. For the historian, reading the archives of different states and faiths across the centuries, this is an important consideration: the Julian calendar is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar!