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Eureka Benevolent Society records, 1850-1977.
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Collection Overview


Eureka Benevolent Society records, 1850-1977


Eureka Benevolent Society (San Francisco, Calif.), creator


Eureka Benevolent Association (San Francisco, Calif.)


Federation of Jewish Charities (San Francisco, Calif.)


First Hebrew Benevolent Society (San Francisco, Calif.)


Hebrew Board of Relief (San Francisco, Calif.)


Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Circle (San Francisco, Calif.)


Jewish Committee for Personal Service


Jewish Family Service Agency (San Francisco, Calif.)


Jewish Ladies' Relief Society (San Francisco, Calif.)


Jewish National Welfare Fund (Oakland, Calif.)


Ladies' United Hebrew Benevolent Society (San Francsico, Calif.)


Maimonides Health Center (San Francisco, Calif.)


Western Jewish History Center, 88.


Judah L. Magnes Museum, WJHC 1978.001.


Bancroft Library, Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.


The records of the Eureka Benevolent Society (EBS) include minutes; reports; histories; scrapbooks; photographs; and newspaper clippings. The collection also contains the by-laws and constitution of the EBS (1858-1860) with signatures of its members; succeeding by-laws for the EBS beginning in 1870; a constitution of the Ladies' United Hebrew Benevolent Society (1876); and reports, minutes, budgets, and campaign materials from the related charities and agencies listed above as well as from the Jewish Committee for Personal Service and the Maimonides Health Center. It also has case studies from the various agencies, which, although written from the perspective of the social workers, effectively portray the poorer side of Jewish life and describe the difficulties that many faced from the Gold Rush era to the 1930s. The collection's women's organizational material provides a contrast to that of predominately male agencies, and its scrapbooks, which range from 1929 through the 1950s, illustrate the response of the Jewish community to the Great Depression, World War II, and the Eisenhower years.


1850 (issued)


n-us-ca -- n-us---
Depressions -- 1929 -- California
Gold mines and mining -- California
Jews -- California -- San Francisco -- Economic conditions
Jews -- California -- San Francisco -- Case studies
Jews -- California -- San Francisco -- Charities
Jewish hospitals -- California -- San Francisco
Jewish women -- California -- San Francisco -- Societies and clubs
Poor -- Services for -- California -- San Francisco
Social service -- California -- San Francisco
World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief
Crises économiques -- 1929 -- Californie
Juifs -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Conditions économiques
Juifs -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Études de cas
Juifs -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Œuvres de bienfaisance
Hôpitaux juifs -- Californie -- San Francisco
Juives -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Associations
Pauvres -- Services -- Californie -- San Francisco
Service social -- Californie -- San Francisco
Guerre mondiale, 1939-1945 -- Secours aux civils
Civilian war relief
Gold mines and mining
Jewish hospitals
Jewish women -- Societies and clubs
Jews -- Charities
Jews -- Economic conditions
Manners and customs
Poor -- Services for
Social service
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Social life and customs
United States -- History -- 1953-1961
États-Unis -- Histoire -- 1953-1961
California -- San Francisco
United States
Eureka Benevolent Society (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Archives
Eureka Benevolent Society (San Francisco, Calif.)


Formerly: Western Jewish History Center Collection Number 88.
Formerly: Judah L. Magnes Museum Collection Number WJHC 1978.001.
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.
Transfer; Judah L. Magnes Museum; 2010.
The Eureka Benevolent Association, one of San Francisco's earliest philanthropic organizations, was formed in 1850 "[to] afford aid and relief to indigent, sick, and infirm Jews; to bury the dead; and in general to relieve and aid co-religionists who might be in poverty or distress." In 1907, the organization changed its name to the Eureka Benevolent Society (EBS). As the city's Jewish population grew in numbers and diversity, the EBS was joined by other social service agencies that broadened the scope of service and eventually formed the nucleus of the San Francisco Jewish federation movement that took place in the early twentieth century. After the incorporation of the Hebrew Board of Relief, in 1901, the EBS, the First Hebrew Benevolent Society, the Jewish Ladies' Relief Society, and the Ladies' United Hebrew Benevolent Society all became constituent agencies. In 1918, after the Hebrew Board of Relief was officially disbanded, the three other societies along with the Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Circle and the Helpers merged into the EBS. In 1910, the EBS authorized the formation of the Federation of Jewish Charities. The 1920s brought a decided change in the way welfare agencies dealt with family problems. The EBS launched a complex and sophisticated program that was characterized by "a scientific approach to the problem by thorough investigation," and it became known as the Jewish Family Service Agency, although it still remained incorporated under its old name. Another major consolidation occurred in 1955, when the Federation of Jewish Charities and the Jewish National Welfare Fund merged and became the Jewish Welfare Federation of San Francisco, Marin County, and the Peninsula. In November 1977, when the Jewish Family Service Agency merged with Homewood Terrace, which had formerly been the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum, this new organization became known as the Jewish Family and Children's Service. At this time, the EBS books were closed.
Preferred citation: Eureka Benevolent Society records, BANC MSS 2010/606, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Materials in English and German.


administrative records.
annual reports.
Municipal ordinances
Annual reports
Case studies
Annual reports.
Municipal ordinances.
Rapports annuels.
Arrêtés municipaux.

Physical Description:

1 carton, 2 boxes, and 4 oversize boxes (2.6 linear ft.)







Copyright Note:

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.

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