Contents and Arrangement

X: How We Can Promote Better Understanding Between Ourselves and Our American-Born Neighbors, dates not examined

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


This collection consists of about three hundred first-hand accounts of the lives of mainly-Jewish women who immigrated to the United States between about 1900 and 1927. They were written for an essay contest sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, administered through English language and Americanization classes organized and funded by the Council.

With a few slight deviations, the format of the essays is that of responses to set questions or topic choices. Topics include "My First Impressions of America", "The Most Important Day of My Life", and "My Plans and Ambitions for My Children", among others. These essays served multiple roles, functioning as writing exercises, contest entries, personal tributes to the Council, and publicity for the Council's programs. Now they are also historically relevant, giving a window into the daily lives, exceptional experiences, opinions, and aspirations of these women. They deal with such issues as poverty, antisemitism, female work experiences in the early twentieth century, World War I, the Russian Revolution, marriage, motherhood, and cultural assimilation.

There are some pieces that are beautifully written, and others where the struggle to master a foreign tongue is more clearly evident. There are many accounts that are unfeignedly authentic, telling stories of a very biographical nature, as well as few, especially in response to questions about famous Americans, that seem tainted by plagiarism. Many of these accounts were written by women residing in the New York City area, but there are also many essays from other locations including, among others, Chicago, Nashville, and San Antonio. The winning entries were originally published in The Immigrant, a journal published by the Council. Included in this collection is an article from that journal on the judging process, entitled "What the Judges Say."

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

X: How We Can Promote Better Understanding Between Ourselves and Our American-Born Neighbors; Essays by Jewish-American Immigrant Women, C0880, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1

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