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Emma Lazarus Jewish Women's Clubs of Los Angeles Records, 1945-1980
MSS 026  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content
  • Separated Material
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Emma Lazarus Jewish Women's Clubs of Los Angeles Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1945-1980
    Collection number: MSS 026
    Creator: Emma Lazarus Jewish Women's Clubs of Los Angeles
    Extent: 4 letter boxes, ½ legal box, 1 map box

    2 linear feet
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: This is a collection of the records of the Emma Lazarus Jewish Women's Clubs of Los Angeles. This organization of secular Jewish women, most active in the 1950's through the 1970's, was dedicated to: promoting secular Jewish culture, advocating for civil rights at the local and national level (in particular Black civil rights campaigns of the 1950's in Los Angeles), peace actions, developing international understanding and peace through education and cultural exchange.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    There is no accession documentation for the collection. The staff of the library believe the collection was donated by Emma Lazarus Jewish Women's Clubs of Los Angeles around 1981.


    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Emma Lazarus Jewish Women's Clubs of Los Angeles Records, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.

    Organizational History

    The Emma Lazarus Jewish Women's Clubs of Los Angeles (ELJWCLA) were founded in 1951, simultaneously with the national Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women's Clubs. Inspired by the life of the American Jewish poet Emma Lazarus, the national Federation advanced a progressive Jewish culture to enrich the lives of its members. Activities were focused on a general program of Jewish culture, rights for women, and civic and consumer affairs. More specifically the organization worked on projects in the five areas of: Jewish education and child welfare, Israel, civil rights and peace, rights for women, and consumer affairs. The Federation was committed to working cooperatively with other organizations concerned with the welfare of community, family and the promotion of brotherhood of all through democracy and peace.
    The national Federation grew out of the Emma Lazarus Division of the Jewish People's Fraternal Order, itself an outgrowth of the United Council of Working Class Housewives (which later became the Progressive Women's Council). In addition to the national organization, local clubs were formed across the United States in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, among others.
    The Los Angeles Clubs coordinated many of their projects with those of the national Federation. However, the major focus of the ELJWCLA were local activities, often in conjunction with other Los Angeles organizations. The interests of the ELJWCLA were wide ranging, covering: anti-Semitism, desegregation, civil rights and voting rights, deportation of the foreign born (Walter-McCarran Act), peace and nuclear disarmament, Jewish culture and children's education, international brotherhood (particularly with the Soviet Union), the arts in general, and the status of women, especially working women. In the mid-fifties the ELJWCLA were particularly concerned with supporting the activities of African-American organizations in Los Angeles with an emphasis on civil rights actions. The ELJWCLA sponsored: plays on the history of Jewish people in the United States; concerts by Jewish and African American performers; election and legislative initiatives on the local, state and national level; senior citizen centers, and International Women's Day commemorations.
    The records of the ELJWCLA end in 1980. The activities of the organization ceased during that decade. The national Federation dissolved in 1989.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of records of the ELJWCLA during its operations from 1951 to 1980, with the majority of the material dating from the 1950's and early 1960's. The major portion of produced materials are: correspondence, minutes of meetings (1964-1967), and records of programs. The ELJWCLA assembled a large number of newspaper clippings and some pamphlets relating to the interests and activities of the organization.
    The general correspondence gives evidence of the wide range of Jewish and cultural organizations in Los Angeles with which the ELJWCLA maintained relations. The Black-Jewish Cooperation files are a rich source of cooperative activities undertaken by African-American and Jewish women's organizations in the 1950's. The clippings and pamphlets are an indication of the many social justice causes of interest to the ELJWCLA. These materials date from as early as 1942.
    Other records of the ELJWCLA are in the Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women's Clubs Records at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, housed at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio campus. A finding aid for this collection is on the World Wide web at: (http://www.huc.edu/aja/Lazarus.htm#box). The materials include: Correspondence, 1967-1983; Minutes, 1973-1983; Activities 1953-1980; and Photographs 1952-1955.
    One half box of legal-sized materials and one map box of clippings are found at the end of the collection (boxes 5 and 6). Each folder is listed within the appropriate series in the container list.


    The collection is divided into 4 series: 1. Administration and Publications, 1945-1951, 2. Activities, Programs, Projects, 1950-1980, 3. Black-Jewish Cooperation, 1951-1965, 4. Subject files, 1946-1964.

    Separated Material

    Pamphlets relating to the Walter-McCarran Act and the status of working women in Latin America, from the U.S. Departments of Labor and State, were removed to the pamphlet collection.

    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Jewish Secular Material Collections