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The Archives Department

From its founding in 1918 until 1969, the Women’s League’s office was located at the Jewish
Theological Seminary (3080 Broadway, New York, NY). In 1969 the organization purchased
the Jewish Braille Institute Building at 48 E. 74th Street. The basement of this 5-story
townhouse housed archival materials collected over the decades. Unfortunately, on January
11, 1986, a broken water pipe flooded the basement and entire first floor of the 74th Street
office. Much of what had been collected was destroyed. The surviving material was stored in
a closet on the 4th floor.

Selma Weintraub, international president at the time of the flood, was always interested in
preserving the past for use in the future. During the 1990’s Selma turned her interest into
action and began to collect and organize the materials. The major focus of her work began in
2001 after Women’s League sold the townhouse on East 74 th Street and moved to Suite 820
of the Interchurch Building at 475 Riverside Drive. The suite was large enough to have a room
wholly dedicated to housing our archival material.

From 2001 to 2007, Selma and her committee spent hundreds of hours organizing and
collecting Women’s League publications, minutes, letters, materials, and records and storing
them in boxes and folders specifically created to protect the material. They catalogued
thousands of pictures noting the date, occasion and persons pictured. Selma made sure our
history was preserved. She also developed and presented a workshop to assist sisterhoods
and branches as they collect and organize their archives.

Having a room to store the archives resulted in the continued growth of the collection. As the
years passed, it became more and more difficult to keep it all catalogued and organized and to
make it sure it was accessible to our members as well as researchers and the interested
public.

Cory Schneider, international president from 2006-2010, was appointed archives chair in 2020.
Not able to work on the archives in the office due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cory focused
efforts on creating a series of Zoom presentations, How to Live Forever, on personal
archiving. She also researched how to make Women’s League’s archives more available. A
recommendation was brought to the Women’s League Board of Directors to permanently loan
the archives to the Jewish Theological Seminary. The transfer of physical archives occurred
by June, 2022, after which Women’s League moved its offices to the Fourth Floor at 520
Eighth Ave.

The next challenge will be to collect and pass on the electronic archives to JTS as well as
collect physical and electronic archives from the Regions. In addition, this section on the
Women’s League website has been developed to make some of the materials from our past
available to all. There are treasures to be discovered and lessons to be learned as we
understand our past through these materials and apply its wisdom to help us navigate the
future.

Cory Schneider, Archives Chair (2020-2023)


Collecting Archives is an ongoing process.

If you have additions or corrections to any of the material, please contact the Women’s League Archives Chair.

Thank you!