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Jewish Vocational Aid Society (Boston, Mass.) Records

Identifier: I-216

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains records of the Jewish Vocational Aid Society (JVAS), with the bulk of the material from 1933-1979. The collection has been organized into five series: Correspondence, Financial Records, General, Governance and Programs. A short historical background of JVAS can be found in the Correspondence series. This series also includes information and the terms regarding the transfer of funds from JVAS to CJP. The Financial Records series includes official documents relating to this transfer. The General series is mostly made up of news clippings, including several articles about JVAS and its mission as well as a copy of facts about JVAS. Mrs. P. Kervin Goldman, granddaughter of the founder of JVAS, is profiled in two articles. In addition, this series contains newspaper photos of some of the luncheon committee volunteers. The majority of documents in the Governance series consist of annual reports and speeches. This series also contains the certificate regarding the name change of JVAS from JCAS. The final series of this collection, Programs, includes many Annual Meeting Luncheon and Brunch program booklets. The only photo of the founder of JVAS, Mrs. K.M. Davidson, is in this series as well as a 1912 program of the Dedication of the Memorial Reading Room made in her memory. The oldest item in the collection, a 1910 program can be found in this series as well as a 25th Anniversary booklet.


  • undated, 1910-1985


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

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Use Restrictions

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Historical Note

The Jewish Vocational Aid Society (JVAS), founded in 1907 by Margaret E. Davidson, began with her desire to raise funds for musical education for orphans. It originally formed as the Jewish Children’s Aid Society of Boston (JCAS of Boston) to give musical education and vocational training to children of the Home for Jewish Children. In 1909, JCAS of Boston was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts. The organization was completely run by volunteers with no overhead. Financial aid was given based on worthiness and need--not just scholastic ability--and to be used for any vocational training that would lead to a career. The organization’s goal was self-support. JCAS of Boston assisted students in the greater Boston area, regardless of age, sex, race, or creed. The aid was administered in the form of interest-free loans, repayable when the recipient was financially independent. The JCAS of Boston officially changed its name to JVAS on April 13, 1936. On June 26, 1973, the Board of Trustees of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) approved a resolution put forward at the Executive Committee Meeting on February 20, 1973 to transfer the funds of JVAS to the CJP Endowment funds. CJP also agreed to use the funds for scholarship purposes under the terms established by JVAS. JVAS would continue administering assistance from the funds.


Margaret E. Davidson begins raising funds for musical education for orphans.
Jewish Children's Aid Society of Boston is run as a corporation under the laws of Massachusetts.
Jewish Children's Aid Society of Boston officially changes its name to Jewish Vocational Aid Society.
By-laws are revised.
Jewish Vocational Aid Society transfers funds to the Combined Jewish Philanthropies Endowment Funds.


0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)


The Jewish Vocational Aid Society of Boston, founded by Mrs. Margaret Davidson and incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts in 1907 as the Jewish Children's Aid Society; original purpose was in aiding destitute Jewish children. In 1936 became known as the Jewish Vocational Aid Society; members focused efforts on raising funds for needy Jewish students. Later, eligibility for scholarships was expanded to include non-Jewish students as well. In 1973 was forced to transfer most of its funds to the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and become a constituent agency of the latter organization. In 1979, remaining funds were transferred to the CJP and the JVAS was effectively dissolved.

Collection contains JVAS materials dating from its beginnings as the JCAS and ending with correspondence between Mrs. Margaret Goldman (granddaughter of Margaret Davidson) and the CJP in 1979. Included are invitations and notices of meetings and functions (1920's-1968) and a program for a reception and dance given by the "Destitute Children's Aid Society" (February 21, 1910), invitations to memorials for Mrs. Davidson, speeches and reports (1933-1964), a certificate officially changing the organization's name from the Jewish Children's Aid Society to the Jewish Vocational Aid Society, JVAS by-laws, program books for annual brunches and luncheons (1943-1970), appeals for money, miscellaneous financial reports, lists of committees and an election ballot, case reports, papers marking the transferring of funds from the JVAS to the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, correspondence with the CJP, miscellaneous correspondence, a program book for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Jewish Children's Aid Society (November 28, 1933), newspaper clippings (1960's), and miscellaneous printed materials.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Margaret Goldman, MAy 1986.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Nancy Bernard, 2008.
Guide to the Jewish Vocational Aid Society (Boston, Mass.) , I-216
Reprocessed by Nancy Bernard
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