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Sara Wernon Sloan Papers

Identifier: P-640

Scope and Content Note

The Sara Wernon Sloan papers contain typed manuscripts of memoirs she wrote in the 1970s, describing her experiences as an immigrant in New York City and as a garment worker. Her account includes her participation in political movements and unionization, as well as her first marriage to Ben Wernon. The collection also includes correspondence related to these memoirs, in which various readers of the memoirs describe their impressions.


  • circa 1974-1987


Language of Materials

This collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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Conditions Governing Use

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Biographical Note

Sara (Buminowitz) Wernon Sloan was born in 1888 in Odessa, then a part of the Russian Empire, and now located in the Ukraine. When she was ten years old, she immigrated to the United States with her mother and siblings. Her father had previously settled in New York City. Her family lived in the Lower East Side, where she was given the surname Binion and her parents set up a bakery. Sara left school at age 11 to work in her parents’ bakery, and after a few years, went to work sewing for an underwear shop. In her teens, Sara also worked for Newmark Bros. and Salzman, and she became active in the unionization of garment workers and socialist politics. She was a member of a union of underwear garment workers, and was elected their secretary. Sara also belonged to the Socialist Party of the 2nd Assembly District. During this time, Sara met A.F.L. organizer Ben Wernon.

When Sara and Ben decided to marry against the wishes of Sara’s father, they moved to New Haven, Connecticut and briefly operated an underwear shop. The shop was unsuccessful, and Sara and Ben moved to Boston, and then Revere. They had three children, Herman, Irving, and Esther. Failing to find steady work, the family moved back New York City. The financial strain appeared to cause the deterioration in Ben Wernon’s mental health, and he was committed to Manhattan State Hospital, where he died around 1915.

Sara owned a candy store and a dry goods store before managing a summer camp in the Catskills. She later reentered the garment industry and found work at a dress shop. Sara married Nathan Sloan (Slominsky) in 1920, and had another daughter, Helen.


  1. Material from the collection.
  2. USA Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930, T626, 2667 rolls.


Sara Wernon Sloan (SWS) is born, as Sara Buminowitz, in Odessa, Russian Empire (now Ukraine).
SWS immigrates to the United States, arrives in New York City, and lives in the Lower East Side.
circa 1908
SWS marries Ben Wernon.
Herman (Hyman) Wernon is born.
Irving Wernon is born.
February 1914
Esther Wernon is born.
circa 1915
Ben Wernon dies in Manhattan State Hospital (Central Islip State Hospital).
SWS marries Nathan Sloan (Slominsky).


0.25 linear feet (1 half-manuscript box)


Born in 1888 in Odessa, Sara (Buminowitz) Wernon Sloan immigrated to the United States at the age of ten with her mother and siblings. She became a garment worker and wrote of her experiences working in New York City. This collection contains typed manuscripts of her memoirs written in the 1970s and also includes related correspondence, in which various readers of the memoirs describe their impressions.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Dr. Rudolph Binion in 1991.

Processing Information

Processed by Kora Welsh, 2015

Guide to the Sara Wernon Sloan Papers, P-640
Kora Welsh
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