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Lewis H. Weinstein Papers

Identifier: P-641

Scope and Content Note

The Lewis H. Weinstein Papers reflect various Jewish organizational and institutional activities in which LHW participated. Though the collection does not preserve the total volume of papers produced by LHW, its importance goes beyond the name under which these papers are preserved.

The collection is valuable to researchers studying the Jewish Federation movement, in particular the activities of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Conference of Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Council of Jewish Federations, especially during the 1960s, when LHW was most active with these organizations. It is also valuable for the study of issues at that time related to civil rights activities, Soviet Jewry, church-state matters such as prayer decision, the ultra-right, relations of the United States with Israel.

The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, financial and fundraising documents, legal documents, telegrams, newspaper clippings, press releases, pamphlets and publications, opinion papers, agendas of meetings and conferences, resolutions, annual reports, and handwritten notes. The documents are primarily in English, with a few in Russian and Lithuanian. Subjects are arranged according to series, and folders are arranged internally in chronological order.

The collection is divided into 12 series corresponding roughly to the original filing system of LHW.


  • undated, 1947-1992


Language of Materials

The collection is predominantly in English, with Russian and Lithuanian.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact

Biographical Note

A U.S. attorney and communal leader, Lewis H. Weinstein was born on April 10, 1905 to Jacob Menehem and Kuna (Romanow) Weinstein in Arany, Lithania, and was taken to the United States as an infant. He grew up in Portland, Maine. He married Selma Yeslawssy on September 2, 1932 and had two children-David J. (born 1936) and Louise (born 1945).

Before coming to Boston in 1921, while he lived in Portland he worked as a reported for the Press Herald, as office manager in a furniture business, as a Hebrew school teacher and principal, and waiter.

After graduating from Harvard (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1927 and Harvard Law School in 1930, he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1930 and practiced law in Boston, Massachusetts at the firm of Rome and Weinstein and then Foley, Hoag and Elliot from 1946 until his retirement.

During World War II he served in the army, in 1944 on General Eisenhower's staff as liaison to General Charles de Gaulle and in 1945 as chief of the liaison section of the European theater of operations. After the Normandy landing, he served as liaison officer from General Eisenhower to Generals DeGaulle and Koenig. He entered Paris with them on the Day of Liberation in 1944. After the war he returned to his law practice and was active in local, state, and national bar associations.

Among his many interests was housing: he served as counsel for urban renewal agencies and on city, state, and federal housing agencies, and taught city planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and law at Harvard and other professional institutions. He served as chairman, from 1946-1052, of the Massachusetts State Housing Board, Emergency Housing Commission, Massachusetts Housing Council and was counsel to numerous housing and redevelopment authorities, in Massachusetts and elsewhere. He was a member of the U.S. Rent Control and Housing Commission. His wide-ranging interest in Jewish life led to his service as chairman of four national Jewish agencies: the Council of Jewish Federation and Welfare Funds (1965-1966); the National Community Relations Advisory Council (1960-1964); the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, which he helped found and which he served as co-chairman from its inception and from 1968 as chairman; and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (1963-1965). He also served a number of local, state, and national organizations, including the Temple Mishkan Tefila Board, Boston's Hebrew College (President, 1946-1953), and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston as President and general campaign chairman. He served on the Boards of the Beth Israel Hospital, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged, Bureau of Jewish Education, and other local agencies.


  1. Materials in the collection.
  2. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. W, p. 871
  3. Who's Who in American Jewry (1980), p. 516


LHW born in Vilna, Lithuania, on April 10th
Arrived in United States
B.A. (magna cum Laude), Harvard University
L.L.B. Harvard Law School
Marries Selma Yeslawsky
Associate, Rome & Weinstein
Partner, Rome & Weinstein
Asst. Corporate Counsel, City of Boston
General Counsel, Boston Housing Authority
Partner, Foley Hoag and Eliot
Chairman, Massachusetts State Housing Board
President, Hebrew Teachers College
Combined Jewish Philanthropies (Board of Trustees, Executive Committee)
President, Combined Jewish Philanthropies
General Campaign Chairman
Senior Visiting Lecturer on Land Use and Planning, MIT
Chairman, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council
Senior Visiting Lecturer in City Planning, MIT
Chairman, American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry
Lecturer, Harvard Law School
Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
President, Council of Jewish Federations
Publishes Masa
Publishes My Life at the Bar: Lawyer, Soldier, Teacher and Pro Bono Activist
Military Honors
Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Clusters; Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre avec Palme (France); Papal Military Medal
Civilian Awards
National Brotherhood Award, National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1957; Heritage Award, Yeshiva University; National Community Service Award, Jewish Theological Seminary of America


15 linear feet (30 manuscript boxes)


Consists of correspondence, memoranda, reports, press releases, pamphlets, publications and other similar materials pertaining to Weinstein's involvement in Jewish organizations and institutions in the Boston area and nationally.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Lewis Weinstein, 1992 and 1993

Processing Information

Processed by Leslie S. Lundberg, 1994

Guide to the Lewis H. Weinstein Papers, P-641
Processed by Leslie S. Lundberg
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at American Ancestors Repository

99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States