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Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America Niagara Falls Chapter Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0200-0041

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the activities of the Niagara Falls chapter of Hadassah, an American-Jewish women’s volunteer organization. The records consist mainly of correspondence, event and program materials, membership records, minutes, their collected publications, and memorabilia.

Significant membership information is stored in Subseries F: Membership of Series I. Annual membership lists, board of directors lists, information regarding membership withdrawal and membership dispositions, and the other Jewish community membership lists and membership directories in Niagara Falls are documented. The chapter’s membership list 1978-1979 and 1986-1987 are also in MS 202 The Jewish Federation of Niagara Falls Records, circa 1930-2001.

Members' Individual Files of Series II contain past presidents' files (Leila Kahn and Arrene Karmer). Each subseries was originally housed under their names. Correspondence from regional representatives, history, manuals, and procedures of the organization are housed. Coverage years do not only span their presidencies.

Series III houses their own chapter newsletter addressed to their members, clippings from the Niagara Falls Gazette that record their events and programs/activities, and collected publications from Hadassah's main office in New York City.


  • 1953-2012
  • 1953-1989


Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Terms of Access

The Records of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America Niagara Chapter (bulk 1953-1989) are open for research. There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this collection.


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.

Historical Note

During Purim in 1912, Henrietta Szold directed the expansion of the Daughters of Zion study group into a national organization called Hadassah (original meaning myrtle, a hardy plant used to bind and enrich sandy soil), after Queen Esther in the Old Testament. Inspired by a trip to pre-state Israel with her mother in the early 1900s, Szold sought to create an organization to support the health needs of Palestine’s people and Jewish women’s independence. Ever since then, Hadassah has been taking the initiative to run not only on medical needs, but also to assist young immigrants, vocational educational programs, various Zionist oriented programs, and tree-planting activities. Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), Youth Aliyah, Hashachar (Young Judea), Hadassah Israel Educational Service, and Jewish National Fund are based on Hadassah members’ fundraising operations.

During 1925, a small group of women led by Anna Boff in Niagara Falls formed the Fireside Study Group, which became a backbone of Hadassah. Mamie Shafer was the first Niagara Falls Chapter president of Hadassah. By 1931, 25 women were members. In the early days, meetings were held in Regina Zubkoff’s home to plan events, study, and raise funds to support people in Palestine.

During the 1940s, Niagara Falls members gave linen showers for Israel and participated in knitting for GIs and rolling bandages during World War II. With the growth of membership, its meetings were held at Temple Beth Israel. Activities grew as a surge of young professional couples and singles moved into the area due to a growth of local chemical industries and the Niagara Falls power project in the 1950s and 1960s. In elegant donor affairs at Louie's Restaurant and Hotel Niagara, the members held annual musical parodies to entertain, instruct, and raise funds.

Membership declined from the 1970s on; however, the Niagara Falls Chapter continued. Family involvement was crucial for the chapter, from having three generation members to recruiting in-law family members after marriage. Although their membership became more paper based, they maintained around 100 members through the 1990s. Even during this decline of membership, Hadassah continued to have a yearly program in cooperation with the two sisterhoods of Temple Beth Israel and Temple Beth El.

After 87 years of operation, they finally closed their chapter in 2012.


3 Linear Feet (5 manuscript boxes, 4 flat files)


The records of the Niagara Falls chapter of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, document both organizational and individual activities.


This collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Administrative Files
  2. Members' Individual Files
  3. Publications

Acquisition Information

Records of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America Niagara Chapter donated Jewish community materials in 2014. The papers were arranged in April 2016 and it was deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in April 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 Records of Hadassah was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Accruals and Additions

Accruals are not expected to this collection.

Related Resources

Processing Information

Records were processed by Kuniko Simon in April 2016. The Finding Aid was finalized by Kuniko Simon in April 2016.

Finding aid for Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America Niagara Falls Chapter Records
Finding aid prepared by Kuniko Simon, April 2016.
April 2016
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

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