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Robert Silverman Papers

Identifier: P-1014

Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Robert Silverman consist of documents and photographs related to his Zionist work, with a single folder of personal correspondence about the claiming and sale of Robert’s late wife’s land in Israel. The bulk of the documents have to do with Israel and Palestine, including maps, pamphlets and official publications from the Israel Office of Information, and newspaper clippings and United States Congressional statements about U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Three folders contain documents from specific Zionist organizations, such as the United Palestine Appeal (UPA), United Israel Campaign, Keren Hayesod, Independent Order Sons of Israel, Sons and Daughters of Zion, and the World Zionist Congress. The bulk of these documents come from the former two organizations and include promotional materials and newspaper clippings, with minutes from a 1943 meeting of the UPA and a printing plate for an article about the UPA as well.

Two folders contain correspondence to and from various Zionist organizations, including the UPA, United Israel Appeal, Greater Boston United Jewish Campaign, American Zionist Council, Zionist Organization of America, and others. A small group of letters from members of the United States Congress acknowledge lobbying being done for the Zionist cause, and another group of telegrams, all sent in 1952, congratulate Robert on his 40 years of service.

The entirety of one box is made up of photographs, the majority of which depict scenes from Israel and Palestine. Many of these were promotional shots taken for the United Palestine Appeal, and the bulk of these bear printed descriptions on the reverse side of the photograph. Two folders contain photographs of Robert Silverman, both portraits and event images, and another two folders contain miscellaneous photographs. The miscellaneous photographs include pictures of prominent dignitaries, such as U.S. President Harry Truman and Israel President Dr. Chaim Weizmann, those taken at organizational meetings, and more.


  • undated, circa 1899-1965


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and Arabic.

Access Restrictions

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Use Restrictions

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

Biographical Note

Robert Silverman was born circa 1882 in Russia to Simon Silverman and Elizabeth Godelovitz Silverman. He entered the United States in 1884 or 1885 and became a naturalized citizen. He had two sisters, Minnie W. Silverman and Julia Silverman (later Friedman). In 1907, Robert married Martha Mikels, daughter of Abraham Mikels and Esther Gordon. The couple lived in Revere, Massachusetts. Robert worked as a lawyer and became a member of the New Century Club in Boston.

Robert was an active American Zionist from an early age, establishing the youth organization Sons and Daughters of Zion in 1898. He was a member of the Zionist Organization of America and Bnai Zion and founded the Independent Order Sons of Israel and the National Zionist Archives, which were taken over by the Jewish Agency in New York. Additionally, Robert was the New England, and later, national director of the United Palestine Appeal, served as secretary of the United Israel Appeal (renamed from the United Palestine Appeal in 1952), and acted as a delegate to the 1937 World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. He took many trips to the Middle East, both personally and with organizations, and he worked for decades to raise money and governmental aid for Israel. In 1952, Robert was honored by the many organizations he had contributed to with an award for his long service presented at the United Palestine Appeal’s convention.

Martha Silverman died in 1938, and Robert later lived with his sister Minnie in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Robert died in 1965 and is buried with Martha at the Tifereth Israel Cemetary in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.


  1. Materials from the collection.


circa 1882
Robert Silverman is born.
circa 1883
Martha Mikels is born.
circa 1885
Robert arrives in the United States.
circa 1893
Martha arrives in the United States.
Robert establishes the Sons and Daughters of Zion.
Robert and Martha marry.
Robert attends the World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.
Martha Silverman dies.
Robert is honored for his 40 years of service at the annual convention of the United Palestine Appeal.
Robert Silverman dies.


1 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes)


Robert Silverman was an early leader in American Zionism, taking part in and establishing multiple Zionist organizations in his more than forty years in the movement. This collection consists primarily of documents and photographs related to Silverman’s Zionist work. Documents include correspondence and printed materials from various organizations with which Silverman was involved and pamphlets, maps, and newspaper clippings related to Israel and Palestine. The photographs mainly depict scenes from Israel and Palestine, with a few folders of images of Silverman himself and organizational events.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gertrude Webb, 1995.

Processing Information

Processed by Shannon Struble, 2016.

Guide to the Robert Silverman Papers, P-1014
Processed by 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