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Immigrants Mutual Aid Society, Inc. Records

Identifier: I-109

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the activities of the Immigrants Mutual Aid Society (IMAS), with the bulk of the material falling between 1954 and 1980. Very little material for the society's early years is included. The collection has been organized into two series: Administrative, which consists largely of meeting minutes and bylaws, (including IMAS's 1938 bylaws) and thus provides information on IMAS's efforts to assist its members, and Public Relations, which consists primarily of newsletters and provides a look at the various social activities IMAS made available to members and nonmembers. Much of the material in the collection is in German.


  • undated, 1938-1980


Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

Access Restrictions

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Use Restrictions

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Historical Note

The Immigrants Mutual Aid Society, Inc. (IMAS) was founded in 1938 by a group of Central European refugees, to ease immigrants' adjustment to the economic, spiritual, cultural, and social life of the American community and to provide mutual assistance to its members and aid to other immigrants. IMAS's original purpose was to assist refugees from Nazi persecution. In early years, IMAS was primarily concerned with securing affidavits for émigrés, and providing them with English lessons, as well as assisting them in finding jobs and homes. (Walter Bieringer's Boston Committee for Refugees worked with IMAS in this regard.) IMAS set up a clothing exchange, which was in operation with until the end of World War II and also established a women's auxiliary, offering assistance in cases of illness and other emergencies. In addition, IMAS sent care packages overseas.

IMAS was also concerned with providing social and cultural activities for its members, such as lectures and dances, in addition to offering religious services for the High Holy Days. The elderly and ill were visited by members of a Chevra Committee, which was established in 1942; the Committee also provided supplies to those in need during the Jewish holidays and ensured that inexpensive funerals were made possible. IMAS provided financial assistance to its members and, in 1960, established the IMAS Mutual Aid Fund, with a grant from United Help, Inc. IMAS also on occasion granted scholarships to its members. The organization functioned without paid staff, and without a permanent office or formal ties to other Jewish organizations.


  1. Dobkowski, Michael N., ed. Jewish American Voluntary Organizations. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986, pp. 610-611.
  2. Materials in the collection.


1 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes)


Contains the papers of the Society founded in 1938 by recent German speaking Jewish immigrants to Boston to assist their initial adjustment to the economic, cultural, spiritual, and social life of the American community and subsequently, to provide mutual assistance to its membership and aid to other immigrants.

The collection consists of the Society's by-laws (1953, 1956, 1964); handwritten notes with the names of Officers and Directors (1949-1961), plans for cultural and social programs, agenda of Board of Directors' meetings, Officers' meetings, and Annual General Membership meetings (1950-1958); printed announcements of annual meetings (1963-1974); minutes of meetings in English and some in German (1954-1975); printed news bulletins (1956, 1961-1975); printed announcements of social and cultural events (1960-1974); printed matter related to sundry other activities of the Society (1964-1968); and miscellaneous printed announcements (1972-1974).

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Frederic Poras in 1975 and Martha H. Jacoby in 1975; additional material was donated after 1980.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Susan Earle, 2004

Guide to the Immigrants Mutual Aid Society, Inc. Records, I-109
Reprocessed by Susan Earle
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