ROTHSCHILD, JACOB M., 1911-1973.
Jacob M. Rothschild papers, 1933-1985 (bulk 1942-1973)

Emory University

Robert W. Woodruff Library

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8ztw8


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rothschild, Jacob M., 1911-1973.
Title: Jacob M. Rothschild papers, 1933-1985 (bulk 1942-1973)
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 637
Extent: 13 linear feet (27 boxes), 1 oversized papers folder (OP), and AV Masters: 1 linear foot (1 box)
Abstract:Personal papers of Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild of Atlanta, Georgia consisting of correspondence, writings, clippings, printed and audiovisual materials, and memorabilia.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on access

Special restrictions: Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: Researcher reproductions cannot be made from transcript of address in Box 25: folder 10. Copy was reproduced for this department from the King Center Library and Archives.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

The Temple records, Ida Pearle and Joseph Cuba Community Archives, William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation records, Atlanta History Center.

Source

Gift, l984.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Jacob M. Rothschild papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Processed by Lee Sayrs, completed April 1986.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

Jacob Mortimer Rothschild (August 4, 1911 - December 31, 1973), born and reared in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was ordained a Reform rabbi by the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in 1937. He served congregations in Davenport, Iowa, and Pittsburgh before entering the Army in March 1942. Serving in the Pacific as an American Division chaplain, he accompanied those troops when they relieved the Marines at Guadalcanal in November 1942. Some sources report that Rothschild was the first Jewish chaplain on the Pacific front. Returning to the United States in October 1943 because of ill health, Rothschild continued his Army service until April 1946. Upon discharge he traveled to Atlanta to assume the position of rabbi of the city's only Reform congregation, the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, usually referred to as the Temple. Rothschild married Janice Oettinger, the daughter of one of the Temple's families, December 29, 1946. They had two children, Marcia in 1947 and Bill in 1948.

Rothschild remained in Atlanta from 1946 until his death in December 1973. He worked with and frequently held leadership positions in local, regional, and national Jewish organizations, including the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC). As a long-time member of the UAHC-CCAR's Commission on Social Action, chairman of the CCAR's Commission of Justice and Peace, and executive board member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), he involved himself in social justice issues throughout his rabbinate.

Besides carrying leadership responsibilities in religious organizations, Rothschild also was active in Atlanta's social and political life. Chairman of the Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations, he belonged to Atlanta's Community Relations Commission, the Human Relations Council of Georgia, and the Southern Regional Council during critical years of the civil rights movement.

From early in his career in Atlanta, Rothschild spoke frequently on civil rights issues through the 1950s and 1960s when that stance was not popular. The bombing of the Temple in October 1958 was one of the negative results of the rabbi's position. Having developed a close friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., during the early 1960s, Rothschild became less directly involved with the civil rights movement after King's death in 1968.

Rothschild traveled abroad for both professional and personal reasons. He made several trips to Israel (1950, 1963, 1968/1969) and two trips to Germany (1960, 1968). Rothschild experienced several periods of ill health during his rabbinate and suffered his first heart attack in June l973. After a period of recuperation, he had begun to resume normal activities when his second heart attack occurred. He died New Year's Eve 1973 and is buried in Atlanta's Westview Cemetery. His wife and two children survived him. More detailed biographical information can be found in One Voice: Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild and the Troubled South by his widow, Janice Rothschild Blumberg

Jacob Mortimer Rothschild (August 4, 1911 - December 31, 1973), born and reared in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was ordained a Reform rabbi by the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in 1937. He served congregations in Davenport, Iowa, and Pittsburgh before entering the Army in March 1942. Serving in the Pacific as an American Division chaplain, he accompanied those troops when they relieved the Marines at Guadalcanal in November 1942. Some sources report that Rothschild was the first Jewish chaplain on the Pacific front. Returning to the United States in October 1943 because of ill health, Rothschild continued his Army service until April 1946. Upon discharge he traveled to Atlanta to assume the position of rabbi of the city's only Reform congregation, the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, usually referred to as the Temple. Rothschild married Janice Oettinger, the daughter of one of the Temple's families, December 29, 1946. They had two children, Marcia in 1947 and Bill in 1948.

Rothschild remained in Atlanta from 1946 until his death in December 1973. He worked with and frequently held leadership positions in local, regional, and national Jewish organizations, including the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC). As a long-time member of the UAHC-CCAR's Commission on Social Action, chairman of the CCAR's Commission of Justice and Peace, and executive board member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), he involved himself in social justice issues throughout his rabbinate.

Besides carrying leadership responsibilities in religious organizations, Rothschild also was active in Atlanta's social and political life. Chairman of the Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations, he belonged to Atlanta's Community Relations Commission, the Human Relations Council of Georgia, and the Southern Regional Council during critical years of the civil rights movement.

From early in his career in Atlanta, Rothschild spoke frequently on civil rights issues through the 1950s and 1960s when that stance was not popular. The bombing of the Temple in October 1958 was one of the negative results of the rabbi's position. Having developed a close friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., during the early 1960s, Rothschild became less directly involved with the civil rights movement after King's death in 1968.

Rothschild traveled abroad for both professional and personal reasons. He made several trips to Israel (1950, 1963, 1968/1969) and two trips to Germany (1960, 1968). Rothschild experienced several periods of ill health during his rabbinate and suffered his first heart attack in June l973. After a period of recuperation, he had begun to resume normal activities when his second heart attack occurred. He died New Year's Eve 1973 and is buried in Atlanta's Westview Cemetery. His wife and two children survived him. More detailed biographical information can be found in One Voice: Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild and the Troubled South by his widow, Janice Rothschild Blumberg

Publication Note

Blumberg, Janice Rothschild. One Voice: Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild and the Troubled South. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University, 1985.

Scope and Content Note

The Jacob M. Rothschild papers, made up of correspondence, writings, clippings, printed and audiovisual materials, and memorabilia, are mainly within the period 1942-1973, although there are materials dating from 1933 concerning his education as well as items created after his death in 1973.

Series 1, Personal papers (1933-1946), offers information and perspectives on Rothschild's life before he arrived in Atlanta. The letters Rothschild wrote to his family during his military service in the Pacific (1942-1943) stand out as the most significant portion of this personal papers series.

Rothschild's in-coming and out-going correspondence during his tenure as rabbi of Atlanta's leading reformed congregation is found in Series 2, Correspondence (1946-1973), and contains remarkably complete exchanges between the rabbi and individuals involved in a number of different areas. The correspondence series documents Rothschild's involvement in a variety of activities including the civil rights movement, political events and social issues in Atlanta and Georgia, religious concerns among Reform Jews, and in Jewish/ Christian relations. Selective name and topic indexes to the correspondence in Series 2 are filed separately from this description and are available upon request.

Second only to the correspondence series, the texts and notes for Rothschild's sermons and articles contained in Series 3, Writings (1947-1973), afford a rich source for an examination of the thoughts and expressions of a man involved with various social and political events of his time. Dated 1946-1973, the newspaper clippings (Series 4) document the rabbi's public life as well as provide a contemporary view of his standing in the community. Series 5 (Reference materials and printed memorabilia, 1946-1973) contains printed items that Rothschild used in preparing sermons and articles as well as in support of his committee work. This series also contains miscellaneous printed items and the rabbi's appointment books for the last four years of his life. Rabbi Rothschild's death on 31 December 1973 brought an outpouring of public and private grief. Series 6 (Posthumous materials, 1974-1985), composed largely of sympathy letters to Mrs. Rothschild and newspaper clippings, provides a contemporary summary of the effect his activities had had on individuals, organizations and communities.

Photographic and audiovisual materials in Series 7 ([1942]-1973) document many of Rothschild's public appearances. The family's desire to record significant events in the rabbi's career led to the accumulation of some of this material. Photographs represent the bulk of this series, but among the sound recordings are examples of the rabbi's mode of delivery as well as a complete recording of the remarks made at the 1965 dinner honoring Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr. Included in this series are videotapes of a 1950 trip to Israel and a brief television interview with the rabbi shortly after the 1958 bombing of the Temple.

Few papers having to do with the institutional life of the Temple appear in the personal papers of Rabbi Rothschild. Temple records that have been placed in an archival repository can be found at the Atlanta Historical Society. Series 8, however, contains the few items that found their way into the Rothschild papers. The records for the building fund campaign for l958-1959 represent the most substantive material in this series, and probably appear because the Rothschilds had begun to build a scrapbook for that campaign when the bombing of the Temple occurred in October 1958 and the two events were merged in the same scrapbook.

Arrangement Note

Organizated into nine series: (1) Personal papers, (2) Correspondence, (3) Writings, (4) Newspaper clippings, (5) Reference materials and printed memorabilia, (6) Posthumous materials, (7) Photographs and audiovisual materials, (8) Temple records, and (9) Collected materials.


Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms

Occupation


Description of Series

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