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JCA: Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit Records

Identifier: UR001491

Scope and Content

Part 1--Series I: Administration, 1899-1990. Subseries A: Executive Director, 1899-1989. Subseries B: Histories and studies, 1900-1987. Subseries C: Federation annual meetings and reports, 1955-1995. Series II: Divisions, 1933-1989. Subseries A: Aged, 1934-1956. Subseries B: Agencies, 1921-1986. Subseries C: Budget and planning, 1936-1989. Subseries D: Community relations, 1948-1975. Subseries E: Community service, 1956-1980. Subseries F: Culture and education, 1944-1984. Subseries G: Detroit Service Group, 1933-1987. Subseries H: Health and Welfare, 1939-1984. Subseries I: Insurance, 1949-1972. Subseries J: Junior Division, 1955-1983. Subseries K: National Agencies, 1947-1985. Subseries L: Women’s Division, 1939-1989. Series III: Fundraising, 1929-1994. Subseries A: Allied Jewish Campaign and War Chest, 1938-1990. Subseries B: United Community Services, 1933-1957, 1979-1985. Subseries C: United Jewish Appeal, 1948-1991. Subseries D: United Jewish Charities, 1929-1994. Subseries E: War Chest, 1943-1944. Series IV: General Assembly, 1979-1981. Series V: Personal Papers, 1929-1990. Subseries A: William Avrunin, 1944-1990. Subseries B: Anna Chapin, 1910-1979. Subseries C: Sol Drachler, 1962-1982. Subseries D: Wayne Feinstein, 1982-1985. Subseries E: Ben Mandelkorn, 1947-1956. Subseries F: Kurt Peiser, 1929-1937. Subseries G: Esther Prussian, 1942-1971. Series VI: Scrapbooks and Ledgers, 1927-1982.
Part 2--Series I: Civic Protective Agencies, 1927-1950 The Civic Protective Agencies Series include correspondence, minutes, reports, published newsletters and materials from agencies that focus on civic protection. The agencies included are the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, Jewish Community Council, Joint Distribution Committee, and Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League.

Series II: Education and Research, 1923-1951 Series II includes correspondence, published newsletters and materials, reports, and minutes. The papers focus on research agencies and schools such as the American Association for Jewish Research, American Friends of Hebrew University, Bureau of Jewish Social Research, Graduate School for Jewish Social Work, Hebrew Institute of Technology is Haifa-Detroit Chapter, United Hebrew Schools of Detroit, Weismann Institute of Science, Workman’s Circle School, Yeshivah Beth Yehuda, and Yiddish Scientific Institute.

Series III: Employment and Labor, 1935-1950 The Employment and Labor series include correspondence, newsletters and printed materials, and reports. The series focus on agencies such as the Jewish Labor Committee and Jewish Vocational Services.

Series IV: Family and Institutional Welfare, 1926-1952 This series includes correspondence, newsletters, reports, by-laws, and minutes. The papers focus on welfare agencies for children, and other types of social services. Most of the series are papers from the Jewish Children’s Bureau, the Jewish Home for the Aged, The Jewish House of Shelter, and Jewish Social service Bureau.

Series V: Financial Services, 1928-1944 Series V includes the By-Laws, correspondence, minutes, printed materials and reports of the Hebrew Free Loan Association.

Series VI: Fundraising, 1925-1953 This series focuses on the fundraising campaigns the Jewish Welfare Federation were involved in. The majority of the papers are correspondence, reports, minutes, and printed materials regarding the Allied Jewish Campaign. Other fundraising campaigns in the series are the Civic-Protective Campaign, Community Chest, Joint Defense Appeal, United Jewish Charities, and War Chest.

Series VII: General, 1924-1952 Series VII includes by-laws, correspondence of Isidore Sobeloff, John Slawson, and Kurt Peiser, directories of members, events, minutes, newsletters, and reports of the Jewish Welfare Federation.

Series VIII: Health, 1923-1951 This series focuses on hospitals, medical facilities, and other health focused agencies. The papers include correspondence, clippings, minutes, press releases, and reports. Agencies represented are the Detroit Hebrew Hospital Association, Jewish Hospital Association, Jewish Hospital Building Campaign, and North End Clinic.

Series IX: Membership Services and Conferences, 1926-1951 Series IX includes correspondence, reports, and newsletters the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds and Council of Social Agencies, as well as papers from conferences. Conferences in this series are the American Jewish Conference, Jewish American Youth Conference, Jewish Open Forum, and National Conference of Jewish Social Welfare.

Series X: Non-Local Federations and Campaigns, 1926-1949 Series X includes correspondence, and reports from non-local Jewish federations, agencies, and campaigns from around the United States, and also Canada.

Series XI: Overseas Services, 1935-1951 Series XI includes correspondence, reports, minutes, and newsletters of services for the benefit of Jewish people overseas. Most of the series include papers from the United Jewish Appeal, and United Palestine Appeal. Series XII: Publications, 1926-1950 This series includes correspondence with publications. Publications in the series are Jewish Daily Bulletin, Jewish Encyclopedia, Jewish Publications Society of American, and Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Series XIII: Recreation, 1925-1951 This series includes papers from agencies focusing on recreational activities. The papers of the Council of Jewish Women, Fresh Air Society, Jewish Camping Association, Jewish Community Center, and Jewish Welfare Board make up the majority of this series.

Series XIV: Refugees and Immigrant Services, 1928-1950 All records in this series refer to agencies that aid refugees and immigrants. The papers in this series include correspondence, newsletters, reports, press releases, and minutes. Series XIV includes the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, National Refugee Service, INC., ORT, Resettlement Service, and United Service for New Americans.

Series XV: Zionist Organizations, 1928-1950 Series XV includes papers from Zionist Organizations such as Avukah, Hadassah, Mizrachi Organization, and the Zionist Organization of America-Detroit.
Part 3, 1964-2005 There is no established provenance for this part as it includes the papers of several JFMD staff members. The records include documents of board meetings, presidential meetings, annual meetings, and meetings of the executive committee and officers of JFMD and UJF. There are many boxes of documents from the Budget Division and the Capital Needs Division. Project recommendations from the Max M. Fisher Commmunity Foundation are included, and there is a substantial amount of material from the Israel and Overseas Committee. Other divisions and committees are represented as well.


  • 1899 - 2005
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 2000


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (JFMD) is a philanthropic agency serving the Detroit area’s Jewish community. Before 1990 it was known as the Jewish Welfare Federation (JWF). It provides partial funding to numerous area agencies. In partnership with its member agencies, the Federation identifies needs within the community, mobilizes human and financial resources, engages in communal planning and allocation and advocates to meet those needs. The first group of records of the JFMD was transferred to the Walter P. Reuther Library in 1991 when the Federation moved its main offices from a building in Detroit that it had occupied since 1951. These records, with documents from 1899-1991, comprise Part 1 of this collection. Previously, some historical records of JFMD were housed in the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library. Those records were transferred to the Reuther Library in early 1997; they comprise Part 2 of this collection, dating from 1926-1952. Part 3 of these records, dating from 1964-2005. The records contain information about the Federation, its executive body, its divisions, its member agencies, and the personal papers of several individuals instrumental in the organization’s operation over the years, as well as papers related to JFMD’s connection with the Council of Jewish Federations, United Community Services and the United Jewish Appeal. JFMD records reflect its work in social and medical services; fundraising; education; services to the disadvantaged, immigrants and the aging; support of Israel; and its relationships with national and international organizations.


366 Linear Feet (550 SB, 59 OS)


The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (Federation or JFMD) is an umbrella organization for many Jewish social service agencies in the Detroit metropolitan area that promotes philanthropy and volunteerism in the Detroit Jewish community.

The papers of the Federation document the activities of the organization, its history, and the activities of its member organizations and of organizations with which it has affiliated, including the Council of Jewish Welfare Federations, United Jewish Appeal and United Community Services. JFMD records reflect its work in social and medical services; fundraising; education; services to the disadvantaged, immigrants and the aging; support of Israel; and its relationships with national and international organizations. Included in the collection are the personal papers of several individuals who played integral roles in the organization and subject files relating to political and social issues of interest to the Federation.


Part 1 is arranged in 5 series. Series I (Boxes 1-127), Series II (Boxes 128-335), Series III (Boxes 336-401), Series IV (Boxes 402-403), Series V (Boxes 404-423).
Part 2 is arranged in 15 series (Boxes 481-573). Series I (Boxes 481-487), Series II (Boxes 487-490), Series III (Boxes 490-492), Series IV (Boxes 492-496), Series V (Box 496), Series VI (Boxes 497-530), Series (Boxes 531-542), Series VIII (Boxes 542-548), Series IX (Boxes 548-554), Series X (Boxes 554-560, 573), Series XI (Boxes 560-563), Series XII (Boxes 563-564), Series XIII (Boxes 565-569), Series XIV (Boxes 570-572), Series XV (Box 572).

Records in this part are divided into 15 series representing types of constituent agencies and services. This part has been arranged first by subject area, then alphabetically and chronologically within each segment. The bulk of the records are from the Jewish Welfare Federation and Allied Jewish Campaign in Series VI (boxes 497-530). Many agencies and divisions are represented including the Council of Jewish Federations, Fresh Air Society, Hebrew Free Loan, Jewish Community Council, Jewish Home for the Aged, Jewish Hospital, United Jewish Appeal and War Chest. Series X (boxes 554-560) contains records on out of town Jewish Federations. Series VII (boxes 531-542) contains the correspondence, meeting minutes, and reports of the Jewish Welfare Federation.
There is a break in box numbers after Box 573, and Part 3 begins with 588.

Part 3 is not arranged in series. It is arranged in a loose alphabetical order, determined by the manner in which the organization evolved. Attention to name changes and organization proceedings influenced the construction of this guide.


Deposited by the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives in 1991, 1997 and 2015.

Other Copies

Microfilms of JFMD scrapbooks in boxes 609 and 610 are available in the Reuther Library Reading Room.

Related Materials

Records of JFMD constituent agencies at the Reuther Library, including Agency for Jewish Education, Jewish Community Center, Jewish Community (Relations) Council, Hillel of Metro Detroit, Benyas Photographic Negatives and Sinai Hospital, as well as other personal and organizational records that make up the Jewish Community Archives. Relevant personal papers include Robert Aronson Papers; Max M. Fisher Papers; Philip Slomovitz Papers.


Videotapes and DVDs of JFMD and the Agency for Jewish Education are in the Reuther Library Audiovisual Department. Some audiovisual materials, particularly photographs, are available at the JFMD Max M. Fisher Building in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Processing History

Processed and original finding aid written by Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. Revised by Aimee Ergas on September 30, 2015. Part 2 reprocessed and guide revised by Mara Powell on December 4, 2017.
Guide to the JCA: Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit Records
Processed by Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA