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Bromberg Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-519

Scope and Content Note

This collection relates almost entirely to Edward J. Bromberg’s political and social activities. He was a popular speaker and a member of numerous organizations, and this engagement is reflected in newspaper clippings, political advertisements, invitations, programs, and correspondence, most of which are pasted into a scrapbook. A number of items in the scrapbook also focus on members of Edward’s family, such as his father, wife, and children. Another group of papers not bound in the scrapbook includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, programs, and miscellaneous political advertising materials. This group also contains photographs and an obituary of Pauline Bromberg. In addition, there is an oversized marriage certificate with photographs of Edward and Henrietta Bromberg. This certificate is extremely fragile and restricted.

Dates

  • undated, circa 1886-1977

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and Yiddish.

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

Edward J. Bromberg was born on July 20, 1864 in Boston, Massachusetts to Levi and Bertha (Macofsky) Bromberg, who had immigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1840s. The Brombergs lived in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Levi owned a popular tobacco shop. Levi was a Civil War veteran and became a United States citizen in 1876. He was also one of the founders of Temple Mishkan Tefilah.

Edward attended Roxbury High School, and then Boston Latin, for high school. After graduation, he opened a variety store not far from his father’s tobacco shop and taught Hebrew at Temple Mishkan Tefilah, where he met his future wife, Henrietta Livingston, daughter of Louis and Augusta Livingston. They married in 1886 and two years later had their first child, Pauline. In 1891, they had a son, Arthur, who lived for twenty-four days. They had two more sons, Justin and Bertram, born in 1893 and 1897 respectively. Due to the ill health of one of their children, doctors suggested the family move out of the city, which they did, settling in Roslindale. At the time, this area was considered the country and was much less densely settled than Roxbury. Roslindale was fairly ethnically diverse, but the Brombergs were the only Jewish family in the neighborhood at the time.

Edward attended Harvard University for one year, and then Boston University Law School. He worked at a law firm in Roslindale and quickly became involved in local politics. He worked his way up in the government from Ward Committee Member to Common Councilman, despite being Republican and Jewish in a predominately Democratic and Christian area. The Brombergs were well-liked in the community, and Edward was a popular speaker. He was a member of several social groups, including the Freemasons, Oddfellows, and Knights of Pythias. He was also a founding member of the Boston City Club and the New Century Club of Boston, and he was the first native German-American President of the Deutsche-Bundt of Boston.

This popularity led to Edward’s election to the Board of Aldermen in 1903. He was the only Republican alderman on the board the following year. In 1907, Edward was elected to the Massachusetts Senate. He was a political opponent of future Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, though they later reconciled and became early leaders in the American Zionist movement. Later in life, Edward was appointed as the Deputy City Collector and worked as a probation officer. He died in Boston on June 12, 1930, preceding his wife Henrietta by two years.

Their daughter Pauline Bromberg was also prominent in the community for her work in health and physical education in the Boston Public Schools. She was a teacher for over forty years and the head of the Department of Physical Education for thirty-six years. Pauline served in many volunteer capacities, including as an official in women’s athletics and secretary of the New England Amateur Athletic Union. She was given the Honor Award by the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation in 1980.

Pauline was also active in the arts and at her synagogue, Temple Mishkan Tefila. She conducted the orchestra and directed stage productions at the University of Wisconsin. Within the Boston Public Schools, she worked with students to perform variety shows for charity. Pauline founded the Golden Age Club at Temple Mishkan Tefila, and she served as vice president of the New England Regional Hadassah. The Business and Professional Group of Boston’s Hadassah named her “Woman of the Year” shortly before her death in 1991.

Justin L. Bromberg was an electrical engineer who was working on the Boston Elevated Railway when he enlisted in the military in December 1917. He served in the 55th Artillery C.A.C. (Coast Artillery Corps) during World War I until he was honorably discharged in February 1919. Justin married Alice Goldstein in 1932 and worked as a manufacturing agent at Lewisburg Chair & Furniture Co. Eventually he bought another furniture company, which he renamed Justin L. Bromberg & Co. He died in 1951.

Bertram F. Bromberg was a salesman and also served in World War I from June 1918 until his honorable discharge in February 1919. He married Anna Insoft in 1924 and died in 1987.

Footnotes

  1. Material from the collection
  2. “Ex-state Senator Bromberg Dies Suddenly in Boston.” Jewish Daily Bulletin, June 15, 1930, p. 4. Accessed October 4, 2014, http://www.jta.org/1930/06/15/archive/ex-state-senator-bromberg-dies-suddenly-in-boston>.

Chronology

1836
Levi Bromberg is born
circa 1837
Bertha Macofsky is born
1864
Edward J. Bromberg is born
circa 1865
Henrietta Livingston is born
1876
Levi Bromberg becomes a U.S. Citizen
1886
Edward Bromberg marries Henrietta Livingston
1888
Pauline Bromberg is born
1891
Arthur L. Bromberg is born and dies
1893
Justin L. Bromberg is born
1895
Bertha Bromberg dies
1897
Bertram F. Bromberg is born
1901
Edward J. Bromberg is elected to the Common Council
1903
Edward J. Bromberg is elected to the Board of Alderman
1903
Levi Bromberg dies
1907
Edward J. Bromberg is elected to the Massachusetts Senate
1917
Justin L. Bromberg enlists in the military
1918
Bertram F. Bromberg enlists in the military
1919
Justin L. and Bertram F. Bromberg are discharged from the military
1924
Bertram F. Bromberg marries Anna Insoft
1930
Edward J. Bromberg dies
1932
Justin L. Bromberg marries Alice Goldstein
1932
Henrietta Bromberg dies
1951
Justin L. Bromberg dies
1980
Pauline Bromberg receives the Honor Award from the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation
1987
Bertram F. Bromberg dies
1991
Pauline Bromberg dies

Extent

1.25 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 1 document box, and 1 OS folder)

Abstract

This collection relates primarily to the political and social activities of Edward J. Bromberg (a lawyer and politician) and some members of his family. A scrapbook contains items regarding Edward’s sons, Justine and Bertram, and his daughter, Pauline. Other Bromberg family members in the collection are Lev, Henrietta Livingston, Anna Insoft, and Alice Goldstein. The collection includes clippings, programs, and photographs.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Pauline Bromberg in 1980.

Processing Information

Processed by Shannon Struble, 2015
Title
Guide to the Bromberg Family Papers, P-519
Author
Processed by Shannon Struble
Date
2015

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