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Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-685

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains contain items relating to the Roskin, Borofsky, and Grosbayne families, with special focus on their musical contributions. The bulk of the collection consists of papers created by and about Evelyn B. (née Borofsky) and Janot S. Roskin related to their careers in music. This includes publicity photographs, newspaper clippings documenting their musical achievements, sheet music (both printed and manuscript), and sound recordings produced for Evelyn B. Roskin during her time at Temple Sinai. The correspondence is primarily limited to subjects of a promotional nature, though the collection does contain letters and documents related to reparations paid by the German government to Evelyn B. Roskin, as one of Janot Roskin’s heirs. The collection also includes records from Hatikvah Music Publishing dated after Janot Roskin’s death.

A smaller portion of the collection comes from the Borofsky and Grosbayne families, including vital records, photographs, and a family history. Jacob Borofsky and Mitchell Grosbayne both composed music, which is included here, along with documents related to Ida Borofsky’s work for Beth Israel and Jewish Memorial Hospitals.

Dates

  • undated, circa 1903-1989

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, Yiddish, and Russian.

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.

Biographical Note

Janot S. Roskin was born in what is now Rezekne, Latvia on April 17th, 1884 to Arja and Rosa Roskin. He studied music from a young age, becoming a choir boy at age seven and later graduating from the Riga Conservatory. He received a scholarship to the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin and also studied under Hugo Riemann and Professor Siegfried Ochs. He completed his musical training in 1908.

Roskin directed the Hallenseer Conservatory of Music for nine years and held positions in several synagogues in Berlin before rising to the post of choir director at the largest synagogue in the city. He left this post in 1937 to emigrate to the United States. He settled in Boston, where he became Director of Music at Temple Israel, Boston, and later, Director of Music at Temple Emanuel, Newton. He also founded the Roskin Art Choir, a mixed-voice choir.

Roskin began collecting traditional Jewish folk songs when he was a child, and once he moved to Berlin, he founded the Musikverlag für Nationale Folkskunst, renamed Verlag Hatikvah in 1921, to publish and distribute these tunes, along with his own compositions. When he moved to the United States, Roskin continued to publish and distribute sheet music under the name Hatikvah Music Publishing Company.

Roskin met Evelyn Borofsky when he became the Director of Music at Temple Israel, where she was the organist. Evelyn was born in Boston in 1903 to Jacob and Ida (Snyder) Borofsky. She was a singer and pianist, who gained a following in Boston as a soloist and accompanist on the WNAC radio channel. She received her musical training from Boston University College of Music, and she studied under Felix Fox at his school in Boston.

Borofsky was a lecturer at the Boston Center for Adult Education, and she conducted a choral group at the Jeremiah Burke Evening School Center in Roxbury. She played the organ at Temple Israel and was the assistant to Henry Gideon, Roskin's predecessor.

In 1940, Janot and Evelyn married. The following year, Janot became a citizen of the United States, and the couple moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where Janot was the Director of Music at the Temple Beth-El Zedeck. Janot died in 1946, and Evelyn returned to Boston to take up a position as Music Director and Organist at Temple Sinai in Brookline. She remained in this position until her death in 1967.

Also included in this collection are papers and photographs created by and related to other members of the Borofsky family. Evelyn’s father, Jacob, was born in Poland in 1880 and immigrated to the United States, where he became a citizen in 1903. He became a postman for the City of Boston, though he had to retire early due to ill health. He and Ida Snyder married in Boston in 1902 and had two daughters, Evelyn and Edith. Jacob died in Boston in 1965.

Ida Snyder Borofsky was born in Russia in 1883. She was known for her contributions to the Jewish community in East Boston, Chelsea, and Roxbury. She was part of the group of women who pushed for the establishment of a Jewish hospital in Boston, which became Beth Israel Hospital. She was an honorary director there, and when Beth Israel moved to Brookline, she was a member of the Roxbury Ladies Bikur Cholim Society that worked to found the Jewish Memorial Hospital on the same site in Roxbury. Ida worked as a vice president and a social worker at JMH for over thirty years, and she was named lifetime honorary director of the board for her service on behalf of the hospital. Ida died in Newton, Massachusetts in 1982, just shy of her 99th birthday.

Edith Borofsky-Grosbayne was born in Boston in 1905 and worked as secretary to the Vice President of Hovey’s Department Store. Once the store was bought by Jordan Marsh, she became executive secretary to Rabbi Murray Rothman at Temple Shalom in Newton. She played piano and violin and often accompanied Evelyn. After Evelyn’s death, Edith acted as the executor of her estate and managed Hatikvah Music Publishing Company. Edith married Mitchell Grosbayne, a piano tuner who also played violin in the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra. Mitchell died in 1982 in Newton, and Edith died in 1993.

One folder of the collection contains a photograph and descriptions of a book written by Mitchell Grosbayne’s brother, Benjamin. Benjamin was a professor of music at Brooklyn College, as well as a conductor and author on the subject of conducting techniques.

References

  1. Material from the collection.

Chronology

1880
Jacob Borofsky is born
1883
Ida Snyder is born
1884
Janot S. Roskin is born
1902
Jacob Borofsky and Ida Snyder marry
1903
Jacob Borofsky becomes a United States citizen
1903
Evelyn Borofsky is born
1905
Edith Borofsky is born
1937
Janot Roskin immigrates to the United States
1940
Janot Roskin and Evelyn Borofsky marry
1943
The Roskins move to Indianapolis
1946
Janot Roskin dies
1947
Evelyn Borofsky Roskin begins work as the Director of Music at Temple Sinai
1965
Jacob Borofsky dies
1967
Evelyn Borofsky Roskin dies
1982
Mitchell Grosbayne dies
1982
Ida Snyder Borofsky dies
1993
Edith Borofsky-Grosbayne dies

Extent

1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes and 4 OS folders)

Overview

This collection contains items relating to the Roskin, Borofsky, and Grosbayne families, with special focus on the musical contributions of Evelyn B. (née Borofsky) and Janot S. Roskin, which make up the bulk of the collection. A smaller portion of the collection comes from the Borofsky and Grosbayne families, including Jacob and Ida Borofsky, Evelyn's sister, Edith Borofsky and her husband, Mitchell Grosbayne and his brother, Benjamin. The collection includes publicity photographs, clippings, sheet music, sound recordings, and musical compositions.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition information ia unknown.

Processing Information

Processed by Shannon Struble, 2015
Title
Guide to the Evelyn B. and Janot S. Roskin Papers, P-685
Author
Processed by Shannon Struble
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