Skip to Content

J. Milton and Amy Zeckhauser Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0200-0003

Scope and Contents

The papers of Milton and Amy Zeckhauser cover aspects of Jewish institutional and associational life from the 1930s to the 1990s. Series I, highlights elements of Milton Zeckhauser’s lay leadership in a number of Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in Buffalo, NY. In addition to board memberships and presidencies of various organizations, much of which is tracked through newspaper clippings, Milton Zeckhauser was also active in the cultural life of many of these same organizations. For fundraising purposes or as part of the cultural mission of organizations, he wrote and often starred in many theatrical and musical productions, as reflected through program pamphlets. Materials are located in oversize envelope 4.1 and Box 1. Series II touches on the cultural history of the Westwood Country Club where both Milton and Amy Zeckhauser were highly active members. Highlights of this series include Westwood Country Club ephemera and original scripts, often in draft form, for various productions. As many of the scripts were brittle or fragile, they have been copied and are found in 1.17. These original scripts are located in 5.1. Other folders, 4.1 and 1.16, include programs and posters for many of these productions. This series also includes two oversized photographs in 3.1 that date from the 1920s and relate to an earlier club known as Willowdale. Their papers and photographs add considerable materials not found in the organizational collection of Westwood Country Club (ms201). Series III includes a variety of materials relating to the lay leadership and community organizational work of Amy Zeckhauser, which included some of the same organizations in which Milton Zeckhauser was also active and where they occupied similar roles within gender separated divisions. The greater concentration of materials, however, details organizations or events in which Amy Zeckhauser was solely active such as the National Council of Jewish Women, or sustained with greater intensity at a practical level, including Israel Expo 1976. This two-year long planning process, for a week-long festival relating to Israeli culture and innovation, was held to coincide with Yom Ha’azmaut (Independence Day). This complements other Israel Expo 1976 materials found in the Jewish Community Center (MS 204) and Jewish Federation collections (MS 225).


  • circa 1892-2006
  • 1950-1989


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms and Access

The personal papers of J. Milton and Amy Zeckhauser Papers, c.1892-2006 (bulk 1950-1989) are open for research. There are no restrictions regarding access to this collection. Fragile materials have been separated and preservation copies made.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

J. Milton Zeckhauser (1910-2006), was a businessman and investment banker. Born in 1910 in Ohio, he was a graduate of Culver Military Academy and Ohio State University, where he was a varsity football player and heavyweight boxing champion. He volunteered for the U.S. Army after Pearl Harbor, rising through the ranks from Private to Major in the Eleventh Air Force Command. As part of the extended Kobacker family of Toledo, Ohio, J. Milton (”Zeke”) Zeckhauser came to Buffalo in the 1930s, to work in one of their Buffalo stores. After rising to vice president of the Western New York division of Kobacker Stores, he had a second career in investment banking. He was involved in many different organizations in lay leadership capacities, as a board member, chairman or president. He chaired the United Jewish Fund campaigns of 1967, 1971 and 1975 and was chairman of the local United Negro College Fund. He served as President of the United Jewish Federation from 1972 to 1973. He was board member of Temple Beth Zion, the Anti-Defamation League, Better Business Bureau and the Board of Safety for the City of Buffalo. He was president of the Temple Beth Zion Brotherhood, Jewish Family Service, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Broadway-Fillmore Association, the Main Street Association and the Westwood Country Club. He was a member of the executive board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and Canisius College special gifts committee. Among other awards, in 1964, he received the Good Neighbor Award from the City of Buffalo, and in 1971, was an awardee of the Buffalo Area Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, “Brotherhood Award.” While serving in the US Army in Alaska in the 1940s, he grew a flower garden at Elmendorf Field. Later, in retirement in 1992, he returned to gardening, with the founding of Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, a program that helps people create and sustain community gardens on vacant lots in Buffalo. Out of this initiative, Mayor Anthony Masiello appointed him as Coordinator of Community Gardens to counteract dumping on thousands of deserted lots across the inner city. Amy Zeckhauser is a lay leader and philanthropist who has been active in Buffalo in multiple spheres since 1946. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1920 to parents Lilla Lebowich Markovitz and Harry Markovitz who worked in wholesale hosiery. As a teenager Amy Markovitz volunteered at a local Jewish orphanage. She attended the University of Pennsylvania to study art and art history and graduated in 1941. While in college, she was involved with the Louis Marshall Society, known today as Hillel. Amy Zeckhauser continued her volunteering activities during the Second World War, as she worked as a nurse’s aide for the Red Cross in civilian hospitals and at Camp Lee, Virginia. She relocated to Buffalo in the 1940s, after she met and married J. Milton Zeckhauser. In Buffalo, Amy Zeckhauser was active in the Temple Beth Zion Sisterhood, the Jewish Community Center and the Women’s Committee of the United Jewish Fund Campaign at both national and local levels. She was a member of the Buffalo chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, and active within Hadassah, the Girl Scouts of America, Brandeis University National Women’s Committee, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Israel Expo 1976. She was involved with Meal on Wheels for the Food and Nutrition Services of Erie County as both a board member and a driver, and was active in the PTA at Public School 56. She has received awards for her community work including the Hannah G. Solomon award from the Buffalo Section, National Council of Jewish Women and the American Jewish Committee. She continues a long-term commitment to child literacy through the Jewish Federation and the Buffalo School system as a classroom reader.


1.2 Linear Feet (2 manuscript boxes, 3 oversize envelopes)


Personal papers documenting aspects of Jewish community life in Buffalo through the activities of both J. Milton and Amy Zeckhauser. Materials includes minutes, newsletters, programs, photographs and newspaper clippings relating to the Westwood Country Club, Temple Beth Zion, Israel Expo, Brandeis University National Women Committee, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Federation of Buffalo, and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo among others.


This collection is arranged in three series as follows:

  1. J. Milton Zeckhauser
  2. J. Milton and Amy Zeckhauser
  3. Amy Zeckhauser

Acquisition Information

Amy Zeckhauser donated her papers and those of her husband, J. Milton Zeckhauser, in October 2009 with small accruals through 2014. The papers were arranged in February 2016 and deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in February 2016. The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in late 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. The Archives Project collects mainly 20th century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties and partners with the University Archives at the University at Buffalo to make these records accessible. The arrangement and description of the J. Milton and Amy Zeckhauser Papers was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Accruals and Additions

Accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Chana Revell Kotzin in February 2016. Finding aid encoded by University staff, March 2016.


Finding Aid for the J. Milton and Amy Zeckhauser Papers
In Progress
Finding aid was finalized by Chana Revell Kotzin.
March 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)