Annette Blanchard papers
The papers of Annette Blanchard are arranged into three series. The first series contains materials relating to Temple Sinai. Helene and William Shapiro, parents of Annette Blanchard, were part of a group of six couples that split from Temple Emanu-el to begin Temple Sinai in the early 1950s. Photographs include a view of Temple Sinai’s first day’s at their rented premises on Lyndhurst Avenue in a converted Church. Another photograph features Helene and William Shapiro as a focus of a portrait, breaking ground at the site of Temple Sinai’s eventual home, on Alberta Drive in Amherst. As such, Temple Sinai was the first entirely suburban congregation without ties to former congregations in the city of Buffalo. It was also Buffalo’s first and only Reconstructionist temple. In 2012, Temple Sinai merged with a Reform temple (which was also a solely suburban entity) Temple Beth Am, to form Congregation Shir Shalom, a joint Reconstructionist-Reform temple located in Williamsville, NY. Another photograph, featuring the Shapiros’, also features most of the leading founders and early presidents. A membership list from the late 1960s is a useful snapshot of Buffalo Jewish involvement with the Temple during its heyday.
The second series features B’nai B’rith Women (BBW) materials from several chapters in Buffalo that Annette Blanchard was associated with over the years. A one stage there were six women’s chapters (Aurora, #741; Balfour, #749; Boruch, #1040; Montefiore, #34; New Covenant, #602 and Tamar [Afternoon] Chapter [no number]). Overtime from the mid 1960s each chapter merged with another. At the end of the 1960s, Balfour merged with Montefiore, and this was one of the last remaining large chapter through the 1970s. In the mid 1990s, national B’nai B’rith Women (BBW) became Jewish Women International. Although a listing for a local representative existed until 2009, very little active local activity remains.
Much of the materials across the three chapters included within this collection are scripts, either wholly created by or reworded by Annette Blanchard from existing scripts. Some of these scripts became skits used at opening and closing chapter events, or at significant fundraisers, anniversaries, or recognition events. Some of the materials, such as that found within BBW Balfour administrative materials (1.8), includes cards that demonstrate the social welfare impact of the local chapter for both local Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. Member lists also illustrate the involvement of BBW across the city and suburb, as well as the broader Jewish community impact of BBW fundraising efforts (for example: Bureau of Jewish Education, B’nai B’rith Youth Organizations, Hillel, Jewish Family Service). Many of the chapters also has a range of committees/ responsibilities that included Service Committee for Armed Forces and Veterans as well as Vocational Services and Hospitality.
The last series consists of Annette’s husband’s William Blanchard’s scouting and cub materials. Although Annette and William Blanchard were members of Temple Beth Zion, they lived close to Temple Beth El in Tonawanda, and William Blanchard became scout and cub pack leader for Troop 196.
- Blanchard, Annette (Person)
Language of Materials
Terms of Access
2 Linear Feet (1 half manuscript box, 1 flat box, 1 triangular tube)
Annette Blanchard was born Annette Shapiro at Millard Fillmore Hospital (Gates Circle) in 1936 to parents Helen and William Shapiro. She grew up in Kenmore Village and later Tonawanda. While most of her schooling was in the suburbs, she transferred to North Buffalo’s Bennett High School for her last two years of high school, which at that time had a considerable Jewish population – a contrast to the suburbs at the time. After graduating from Bennett High School in Buffalo, NY., Annette studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in retailing. On graduation, she worked in her parents retail business, “Shaws”, a name composed of the first letters of each family member (sister Sheila, mother Helen, Annette and father William). A devastating fire almost 15 years later destroyed the family business, although there were attempts to revive it. Eventually, however, Annette went back to college, and retrained in psychology and later gained an MA in Rehabilitation Counseling. She worked in the field of alcoholic addictions and was employed in the ECMC (Erie County Medical Center) outpatient’s Division of Chemical Dependency, retiring after 14 years. As of 2012, she teaches at Erie Community College about Substance Abuse.
This collection is mainly a record of Annette Shapiro’s roles and membership activities within B’nai B’rith Women’s group in various chapters that she became involved in after college and marriage. President and Co-President of women’s chapters on three separate occasions, (Balfour, Montefiore and a merged Balfour), she also held other offices and was very involved in the dramatic and cultural life of the chapters, producing plays and skits. Her husband William worked as an attorney but was an active Boy Scout and Cub Master at Temple Beth El, although they affiliated as a family, with Temple Beth Zion.
Although the first permanent chapter of the organization that would eventually spread across the United States and become known as B’nai B’rith Women (BBW) was founded in San Francisco, in 1909, began with the genteel goals of entertainment and sociability, as a movement, BBW would redefine its mission over the intervening decades to a more activist agenda. In addition the uneven and sometimes fractious relationship with B’nai B’rith, American Jewry’s oldest and largest fraternal and service organization, no doubt played a part in decisions to establish a separate organization, and then to rename the organization. At first BBW made many attempts for official recognition, but were rebuffed by the men’s Grand Lodge. For decades, BBW maintained an “auxiliary” function – entertainment, dances, parties and other social events for single adult members. This was very much in line with sisterhoods and other contemporary voluntary social and charitable associations. Social and cultural activities, however, were part of other philanthropic undertakings - for the elderly, for hospital patients, servicemen and others.
In Buffalo, B’nai B’rith as a men’s organization began with the establishment of Montefiore Lodge in 1866. The first women’s auxiliary organization officially affiliated with Montefiore Lodge in 1922, but other women’s clubs and lodges developed between 1869 and1876, including Sisters of Rebecca Lodge, No. 12, which met once a month in Montefiore Hall, as well as the sickness and benefit lodge, the True Sisters Society (see: Selig Adler and Thomas E. Connelly. From Ararat to Suburbia: The History of the Jewish Community of Buffalo. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1960, p. 120).
Accruals and Additions
- B'nai B'rith Women
- Black-and-white photographs
- Blanchard, Annette -- Archives
- Blanchard, William -- Archives
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Fliers (printed matter)
- Jews -- New York (State) -- Buffalo Region -- Archives
- Jews -- New York (State) -- Buffalo Region -- Social life and customs
- Blanchard, Annette (Person)
- Blanchard, William (Repository, Person)
- Boy Scouts of America (Contributor, Organization)
- B’nai B’rith Women. Balfour Chapter (Buffalo, N.Y.) (Contributor, Organization)
- B’nai B’rith Women. Boruch Chapter (Buffalo, N.Y.) (Contributor, Organization)
- B’nai B’rith Women. Montefiore Chapter (Buffalo N.Y.) (Contributor, Organization)
- B’nai B’rith Women. Grand Lodge #1. (New York City, N.Y.) (Contributor, Organization)
- Jewish Buffalo Archives Project (Contributor, Organization)
- Finding Aid for the Annette Blanchard papers
- Finding aid prepared by Chana Revell Kotzin, June 2013.
- Description rules
- Language of description
- The arrangement and description of the Annette Blanchard Papers was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies and the Bureau of Jewish Education.