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Richard Kaplan and Lou Carter Papers

Identifier: P-1038

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of Kaplan family legal documents, including Max and Anna Kaplan’s naturalization papers, news clippings concerning brothers Richard S. Kaplan and Lou Carter (Louis Kaplan), and photographs, primarily of the Carter orchestra.


  • undated, 1923-2014


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

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Use Restrictions

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Biographical Note

Max Kaplan (c. 1873-1930s) and Anna Shenker Kaplan (c. 1876-1950), both born in Russia, were married in the 1890s and immigrated to the United States between 1899 and 1902, settling first in Sharon, Massachusetts, and then in Boston. Max was a self-employed tailor. The couple had five children: Samuel, David, Bessie, Louis, and Morris.

Samuel Richard Kaplan (1897-1974), later known as Richard S. “Dick”, was born in 1897 and studied at Harvard University and Suffolk University Law School. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1921 and the Indiana bar in 1922. He practiced law in Gary, Indiana, and served as Gary City Judge from 1963 to 1971. He married Betty Singer in 1922. The couple had a daughter, June Estelle.

During the 1930s, Richard served as president of Gary’s Safety Council. He took a special interest in traffic safety, visiting other cities to learn about the latest developments in the field and giving talks to schools and community groups. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 and the popularity of automobiles, drunk driving was increasingly being recognized as a national problem. In 1936, Rolla N. Harger, a biochemist at Indiana University, patented the Drunk-o-meter, a breath-testing device for measuring alcohol levels. In order to persuade a skeptical Safety Court justice of its effectiveness, Richard tested the device in the offices of Gary’s Chief of Police, consuming four ounces of whiskey and later blowing into the Drunk-o-meter balloon. Police and Safety Council officials were in attendance, and the event received nationwide attention.

Richard authored several books including History of Gary Memorial Post No. 17, 1919-1944: Twenty-five Years of Service to Community, State, and Nation (1944) and The History of the Gary Bar Association, 1907-1964 (1964). He died in Los Angeles, California in 1974.

Louis “Lou” Kaplan (1906-1977), known professionally as Lou Carter, was a jazz drummer and band leader. Louis performed with jazz bands throughout New England, including in the Ruby Newman Orchestra, and was named “New England’s ace drummer” by Swing Magazine. He enlisted in the military as a Private in 1943, and after World War II ended, he was discharged.

Upon his return, Louis started his own band, touring as Lou Carter and His Orchestra. He and his band performed at venues such as Casa Manana in Boston, the Cabana Club and the Metropolitan Theater in Providence, Rhode Island, and Kenilworth Lodge in Sebring, Florida throughout the 1950s and 60s.

Sometime before 1964, Louis married Doris. He died in Palm Beach, Florida in 1977.


  1. Materials in the collection.
  2. "Gary Official Gulps 4 Shots of Whisky in Drunk Test, Decides He’s 'Martyr,'" The Indianapolis Star, November 19, 1939, accessed August 25, 2017.


circa 1873
Max Kaplan is born.
circa 1876
Anna Kaplan is born.
Samuel R. Kaplan is born.
The Kaplan family immigrates to the United States.
Louis Kaplan is born.
Samuel Kaplan (now Richard S.) is admitted to the Massachusetts bar.
Richard S. Kaplan marries Betty Singer.
Richard S. Kaplan is admitted to the Indiana bar.
Max Kaplan dies.
Louis Kaplan enlists in the military.
Louis Kaplan is discharged from the military and forms his own jazz band.
Anna Kaplan dies.
Richard S. Kaplan serves as City Judge in Gary, Indiana.
Richard S. Kaplan dies in Los Angeles, California.
Louis Kaplan dies in Palm Beach, Florida.


0.25 linear feet (1 half-manuscript box)


Max and Anna Kaplan immigrated to the United States from Russia between 1899 and 1902, settling in the Boston area. The bulk of the collection focuses on the activities of their sons Richard S. Kaplan, an attorney, judge, and author in Gary, Indiana, and Louis Kaplan (known professionally as Lou Carter), a jazz drummer and band leader. The collection contains official documents, including Max and Anna’s naturalization papers, news clippings concerning the two brothers, and photographs, primarily of the Carter orchestra.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Patricia Trzepacz-Bradley, 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Judy Mass and Shannon Struble, 2017.

Guide to the Richard Kaplan and Lou Carter Papers, P-1038
Processed by Judy Mass and Shannon Struble
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