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Morrison and Levin Family Papers

Identifier: P-394

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of Morris, Robert, and Sidney Morrison, and Jacob Levin. It consists of personal correspondence between the Morrison’s and various rabbinical and Jewish organizational figures. There are also more official notifications of gratitude for donations or services to, as well as appointments to positions in, different Jewish and Zionist groups. Also included are important documents such as naturalization certificates, and papers of personal significance, such as a program from a fraternity dinner. Three autobiographies are included, along with a scrapbook of newspaper clippings from 1909-1911. Most documents are in English, although there are some in Hebrew and Yiddish.


  • undated, 1887-1989


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew.

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

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Jacob Levin (1853-1921)

Born in Russia or Poland (Russian Poland), possibly in the town of Korria, Jacob Levin (also Levine or Levins) immigrated to the United States around 1882 and was naturalized in Boston in 1887. His wife, Annie (Stark) Levin and their first child, Etta (born in 1880 or 1881) joined him in 1883. Once in the United States, the Levins had four other children–Bernard, Eva, Lillian and Agnus—between August 1883 and October 1889, born either in their first place of residence in New Jersey or in Boston. Once settled in Boston, Levin worked mainly as a salesman and manufacturer, and was involved in Jewish communities in various suburbs of Boston where he lived over the years. He donated to Jewish charitable organizations, including the Benoth Israel Sheltering Home and the Boston Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage, where he was an Associate Member at least between 1890 and 1891. His eldest daughter Etta married Morris Morrison, making Robert, Ralph and Sidney Morrison his grandsons. He died in 1921.

Morris L. Morrison (1872-1949)

Morris Morrison was born in 1872 in Chaniya, Russian Poland (near Brest-Litovsk) to Moishe Velvel, a miller, and Shayna Chaya (Jennie Lenn), a seamstress and midwife. Three weeks before Morrison was born, Moishe died in a mill accident, leaving Shayna a widow with three children – an older sister and brother, Raphael, along with baby Morris, then known as Moshe or Maishe, after his deceased father. After a difficult life in Chaniya, Morrison immigrated to the United States around 1889. Upon arrival, he changed his name from Moshe to Morris Lenn Morrison, modeled on his Hebrew name of Moshe ben Moshe (Moshe son of Moshe) with his mother’s maiden name as his middle name. This combination of Old and New World was typical of Morrison. A classically-trained Eastern European yeshiva student beginning with cheder at age four, he easily navigated and referenced typical Judaic texts like Torah, Talmud, Pirkei Avot (Ethics/Chapters of the Fathers) and Rambam (Maimonides) throughout his life, while also investing himself in the American Jewish community and working in his own insurance firm. By 1910, Morrison was heavily involved in Boston politics, even going so far as to run for a seat in the 1910 election as a Democratic representative in the General Court for the 21st district of Boston. He moved to Florida and remained involved with the Jewish community there before returning to live with his wife, Etta, in Brookline. She died in 1948, and Morris followed slightly over a year later. His children remembered him as a constantly giving, uncomplaining and invested member of their family and community.

Ralph Morrison (1870/1871-?)

Morris Morrison’s older brother Ralph was born Raphael in 1870 or 1871. A few years after his birth, he was registered as the only male in his family in order to avoid military conscription for himself and his brother. After he emigrated in 1902 or 1903, he and his wife Lena had four daughters (Bertha, Mirian, Francis and Anna) and two sons (Fred and Sumner). Ralph was a shochet accredited by Rabbi B. Boruchoff of Malden, and worked for Sturtevant & Haley, a subsidiary of the meat-packing giant Swift and Co. He corresponded with rabbis from various Jewish communities, both in and out of Massachusetts.

Robert M. Morrison (1904/1905-1986)

Born in Boston in 1904 or 1905, Morris and Etta (Levin) Morrison’s oldest son was consistently involved in Jewish and Zionist organizations from very early in his life. He was a member of the primarily Jewish Sigma Alpha Mu (Sammy) fraternity as a student at Harvard. From at least 1927, he was connected to such groups as the Federated Jewish Charities, Young People’s League of the United Synagogue of America, Zionist Organization of America, Jewish Big Brother of Boston, Temple Ohabei Shalom of Brookline, Massachusetts, Yeshivat Torat Israel and Temple Israel of Boston. He continued to work with such associations for most of his life.

Sidney L. Morrison (1911-1996)

The third Morrison son, Sidney was also involved in Jewish communal life, although his participation was less documented than his father's and brother's. His largest works involved family history, including organizing and copyrighting the two volumes of his father's autobiography, Shtetl Tintypes and “M.L,” as well as typing up his own memoirs, entitled Saga of Sid Morrison. The husband of Ruth Dvilinsky Morrison since 1937, Sidney died in 1996.


  1. Materials from the collection"
  2. Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch> accessed 03 Aug 2012, Morris L. Morrison and Etta Levin, 1902.
  3. "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch> accessed 03 Aug 2012, Jacob Levins, ED 1260 Precinct 2 Boston city Ward 8, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 16B, family 276, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1240678.
  4. "United States Census, 1920," index and images, FamilySearch> accessed 03 Aug 2012), Morris L Morrison, Roxbury District Precinct 6 Boston City 16, Suffolk, Massachusetts; citing enumeration district (ED) , sheet 3A, family 57, NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1820733.
  5. "Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch> accessed 03 Aug 2012, Morrison, 1903.
  6. Sidney L. Morrison obituary, Orlando, Florida, Orlando Sun Sentinel, 27 August 1996,>
  7. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910. (From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives.>, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004.)
  8. "Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch> accessed 03 Aug 2012), Eva G. Morrison, 1903.
  9. Ruth Dvlinsky Morrison obituary, Orlando, Florida, Orlando Sun Sentinel, 21 October 1994,>
  10. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:>


July 1853
Jacob Levin born in Russia/Poland.
June 14, 1872
Morris Lenn Morrison born in Chaniya, Russian Poland.
May 1880/1881
Etta Levin (Morrison) born in Russia/Poland to Jacob and Annie (Stark).
October 21, 1887
Jacob Levin naturalized as US citizen.
May 23, 1896
Morris Morrison naturalized as US citizen.
April 15, 1902
Morris Morrison and Etta Levin marry in Everett, Massachusetts.
January 29, 1903
Eva G. Morrison born
February 5, 1903
Eva G. Morrison dies
March 25, 1904/1905
Robert Martin Morrison born in Everett, Massachusetts.
Ralph E. Morrison born.
May 1910
Morris Morrison named principal assessor of the City of Boston by Mayor John Fitzgerald.
October 1, 1911
Sidney L. Morrison born.
May 5, 1921
Jacob Levin dies; buried in Adath Jeshurun Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
March 1927
Robert Morrison appointed to Board of Governors of Federated Jewish Charities.
December 1927
Robert Morrison elected second vice president of Young People’s League of the United Synagogue of America.
April 15, 1932
Robert Morrison marries Norma Falk at Beacon House, Boston, Massachusetts.
Sidney Morrison graduates Harvard University.
Sidney Morrison and Ruth Dvilinsky marry in Brockton, Massachusetts.
June 1946
Morris Morrison elected to the Board of Trustees of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies (precursor to Combined Jewish Philanthropies).
June 17, 1948
Etta Levin Morrison dies; buried in Adath Jeshurun Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
November 3, 1949
Morris Morrison dies of a heart attack; buried in Adath Jeshurun Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Morris Morrison’s memoir Shtetl Tintypes published as a series of articles in the Broward Jewish Journal, and as a volume self-published by Sidney Morrison.
Robert Morrison dies.
Morris Morrison’s memoirs from 1889-1941 published as a book called M.L.
December 19, 1990
Sidney Morrison compiles a book of his own memoirs, The Saga of Sid Morrison.
August 27, 1996
Sidney Morrison dies in Boca Raton, Florida


0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)


The Morrison family originated in Poland but lived in the Boston area. Morris Morrison immigrated to the United States in 1889, and eventually established his own insurance firm. He married Etta Levin (daughter of Jacob Levin) and was briefly involved in politics at the beginning of the 20th century. His brother, Ralph, was a shochet in Boston. Etta and Morris had three sons, but only two, Robert and Sidney, are represented in this collection. This collection includes memoirs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and naturalization certificates.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Scrapbook and miscellaneous materials donated by Robert Morrison in 1979 and 1980. Additional materials donated by Sidney Morrison in 1992.

Processing Information

Processed by Leah Ellenbogen, 2012
Guide to the Morrison and Levin Family Papers, P-394
Processed by Leah Ellenbogen
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

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

99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States