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Jewish Community of Lynn (Mass.) Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-580

Scope and Content Note

This collections contain photographs, newspaper clippings, organizational and business records, ephemera and correspondence. These materials document the Jewish community of Lynn, as well as the overall community of Lynn, including its many businesses, organizations and families. The collection was established by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore through many separate donations of materials pertaining to the Lynn Jewish community.

Dates

  • undated, 1855-2010

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

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 jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

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

Historical Note

In 1855, Simon J. Weinberg became the first permanent Jewish resident on record in the newly designated City of Lynn, which had received its charter in 1850. Initially, Lynn’s Jewish community was slow to grow, not reaching ten families until 1875. Weinberg participated in organizing Lynn’s first Jewish communal organization, the Lynn Hebrew Benevolent Society, in 1886. Several of the Society’s members continued, in the following decades, the institutional establishment of Jewish life. In 1896, many wives of the Society’s founding members set up the Ladies’ Hebrew Circle in order to organize efforts to help the community’s sick and needy. The Jewish Social Service Agency (Jewish Family Service) and the Lynn Hebrew School (Hillel Academy) were both established in 1899. The organizations established between 1904 and 1912 included the Lynn Jewish Associated Charities (Jewish Federation of the North Shore), the Hebrew Helping Hand Society, the Lynn Young Men’s Hebrew Association (North Shore Jewish Community Center), and the Menorah Society.

The turn of the 20th century saw a tremendous increase in Jewish immigration to America, and Lynn’s Jewish population grew. Recently arrived immigrants, primarily from Eastern Europe and Russia, were drawn to the job opportunities in Lynn’s industries, namely shoe making. Some members of this growing community also included active participants of the Socialist movement, and they established Arbeiter Ring branches and Socialist clubs in Lynn. This movement also influenced the formation of the Labor Circle Credit Union. The overall impact of Russian Jewish immigrants to Lynn, motivated by desires for personal and economic security, greatly influenced the development of the Jewish community. Stephen G. Mostov describes the impetus for the secularization of the community, “Despite their traditional upbringings and personal piety…maintaining a traditional Jewish life style came almost immediately into conflict with the immigrants’ desire for social and economic mobility.”

The majority of this growing Jewish community lived in the neighborhood surrounded by Commercial Street and Market Street. Jewish businesses primarily flourished on Summer Street and included grocers, bakeries, and kosher butchers. The decline of the Jewish population in Lynn after the 1940s, with many families moving to nearby suburbs in Swampscott, Marblehead, and Peabody, diminished the need for many institutions, services, and businesses. Parts of the Jewish business neighborhood were demolished in the 1960s. Organizations dissolved, such as the Yiddish language and literature school, or merged with other North Shore Jewish groups to combine resources and serve a wider community.

References

  1. Material from the collection.
  2. Mostoy, Stephen G. "Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Jews in the Shoe Trades in Lynn, 1855-1945" (Marblehead: Jewish Historical Society of the North Shore, 1982), http://www.jhcns.org/Mostov-origins.html.

Chronology

1850
Lynn receives its city charter.
1855
Simon J. Weinberg settles in Lynn; Weinberg is Lynn’s first recorded Jewish resident.
1858
Arrival of Solomon Wyzansky.
1867
Arrival of Lewis Wolf
1886
The Lynn Hebrew Benevolent Society is founded.
1896
Ladies’s Hebrew Circle is founded.
1899
The Jewish Social Service Agency (Jewish Family Service) and the Lynn Hebrew School (Hillel Academy) are founded.
1904
Lynn Jewish Associated Charities (Jewish Federation of the North Shore) is founded.
1906
Hebrew Helping Hand Society is founded.
1911
Lynn Young Men’s Hebrew Association (North Shore Jewish Community Center) is founded.
1912
Menorah Society and Labor Circle Credit Union are founded.

Extent

3 linear feet (2 document boxes, 1 OS box)

Abstract

This collection contains a range of materials documenting the Jewish community of Lynn, Massachusetts. Included are materials from Jewish-owned businesses, Jewish individuals and families, and Jewish organizations in Lynn.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore in 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Kora Welsh, 2015
Title
Guide to the Jewish Community of Lynn (Mass.) Records, I-580
Author
Processed by Kora Welsh
Date
2015
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245