Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

Subject Tracings



A Finding Aid to the

David Philipson Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 35

1883-1949. 4.0 Linear ft.


The DAVID PHILIPSON PAPERS were donated by David Philipson in 1949. The correspondence between Cyrus Adler and Rabbi Philipson is on permanent loan from Dr. Solomon Grayzel of the Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

David Philipson, by the act of donating his papers to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights have not been dedicated to the public. Any questions concerning literary or copyrights should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives. The collection is available to all users in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


David Philipson, Reform rabbi and author, was born to Joseph and Louisa (Freudenthal) Philipson on August 9, 1862 in Wabash, Indiana. During his early childhood the family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Philipson attended the public schools of that city.

In March of 1875 Isaac M. Wise, a personal friend of Joseph Philipson, wrote to the Philipson family about his plans to open a rabbinical seminary in the autumn. David, who was thirteen at the time and the oldest of six children, was about to finish grammar school. He decided to come to Cincinnati and enter the new Hebrew Union College (HUC). In 1883 Philipson became one of the first four to graduate from the Hebrew Union College. At the same time, he received his A.B. degree from the University of Cincinnati.

After ordination he taught for several months at the College before accepting a pulpit in Baltimore, Maryland at Har Sinai Congregation. He served there from 1884 until 1888. From 1884 to 1886 he carried on post-graduate studies in Assyriology and other Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University. In 1888 he returned to Cincinnati to serve as rabbi of Bene Israel Congregation (Rockdale Temple). He served there until his voluntary retirement in 1938 when he became rabbi emeritus. Philipson was awarded a D.D. degree from Hebrew Union College (1886), and honorary LL.D. degree by the University of Cincinnati (1941) and by Lincoln Memorial University (1922), a D.H.L. degree by the Hebrew Union College (1925), and an honorary D.D. degree by the Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York (1938).

Philipson served also as an instructor at the Hebrew Union College, teaching Biblical exegesis, Arabic and Assyrian from 1889 to 1891. He served as processor of homiletics from 1891 to 1906 and also lectured on the history of Reform Judaism at the College after 1906.

Philipson participated in the Pittsburgh conference which formulated the principles of Reform Judaism, the so-called Pittsburgh Platform (1885). He was a founding member (1889) of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and served as its president from 1907 to 1909. He was an influential figure in the Hebrew Union College, both as teacher and as a member of the College's Board of Governors and in the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Philipson was a director of the Associated Charities of Cincinnati (1889-1942), a charter member and for many years a vice-president of the American Jewish Historical Society, and a member of the American Jewish Committee.

David Philipson wrote The Reform Movement in Judaism, The Jew in English Fiction and edited The Letters of Rebecca Gratz. He was a member of the board of translators of the Jewish Publication Society for the translation of the Holy Scriptures (1916), and editor of Selected Writings of Isaac M. Wise (1900), and a translator of Reminiscences of Isaac M. Wise (1901, 1945). In 1942 he wrote an autobiography, My Life as an American Jew. Through his writings and speeches, Philipson came to be regarded as a regarded as a represented spokesman of "classical" Reform Judaism.

Philipson was a staunch advocate of Americanism and remained throughout his life an opponent of Jewish nationalism of any sort, particularly Zionism. His views on the subject appear in the tract The Jew in America.

On September 9, 1886, David Philipson married Ella Meyer Hollander. Mrs. Philipson died in December of 1940.

Philipson died June 29, 1949 while attending a convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. He was buried in the United Jewish Cemetery in Cincinnati.


The DAVID PHILIPSON PAPERS, 1823-1949, document the career of David Philipson, Reform rabbi, author, founding member and president (1907-1909) of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and a member of the first graduating class of the Hebrew Union College (1883). The collection consists of correspondence, sermons, addresses, organizational minutes, notes, memorial newsclippings, and miscellaneous items. The Papers have been organized into seven series:

The CORRESPONDENCE SERIES (1823-1946) consists of one and one-half Hollinger boxes of letters arranged alphabetically by the name of the correspondent. The bulk of the letters span the period between the 1880's and the 1900's. Photostatic copies of letters from as early as the 1820's apparently were collected by Dr. Philipson and later donated with the collection. Access to many of the more significant correspondents and subjects may be made through the use of the Box and Folder List and the Subject Tracings in this inventory. In addition, the card catalog has indexed more thoroughly the names of correspondents in this series. Among the important subjects covered in the series are anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and Jewish-Christian relations.

The ORGANIZATION AND SUBJECT series (1885-1942) consists of one-half box of correspondence, minutes, and miscellaneous materials of concern to Dr. Philipson. The series has been arranged alphabetically by names of the organization or subject. Zionism, religious education, anti-Semitism, and the publications of the Jewish Publication Society are discussed.

The DIARIES series (1888-1939) consists of one box containing twenty-six journals. Philipson put in these journals his personal thoughts on numerous topics. The SERMONS AND ADDRESSES series consists of four boxes of sermons, addresses and lectures by David Philipson which span the period from the 1880's to the 1940's. Those with titles have been alphabetized and the titles have been listed in the APPENDIX at the end of the inventory.

The NOTES series consists of one box of notes used by Philipson in the preparation of his sermons and addresses. The majority of the NOTES are neither titled nor dated.

The AUTOBIOGRAPHY series consists of one-half box of Philipson's autobiography, My Life as an American Jew, in manuscript form.

The MEMORIAL MATERIAL series consists of one and one-half boxes of newsclippings, telegrams, letters, notes and letters commemorating some of the significant events in the career of David Philipson. Included here is a memorial album dealing with his 40th anniversary as rabbi of Congregation Bene Israel in Cincinnati, OH.

Additional oversize items, including Dr. Philipson's D.D. degree from Hebrew Union College, have been placed in the American Jewish Archives files. The location of these materials may be found by using the card catalogue.

The following materials were separated from the DAVID PHILIPSON PAPERS for placement in appropriate special files:

Conversion certificates
Marriage records
Photographs ca. 1890's of friends of David Philipson
For additional correspondence and other materials concerning Rabbi Philipson check the inventory and collection of Cincinnati, OH--Congregation Bene Israel.

The Philipson collection, in its entirety, is on Microfilm Nos. 2736-2763.


Box   Folder   Contents

NOTE: The CORRESPONDENCE series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the correspondent. Selective access to additional topics and individuals in this series may be made through the Subject Tracings at the end of this inventory. Please note that a subject or individual name may appear in the collection more often than indicated in the Subject Tracings.

1      1     A.B., General
       2     C.D., General
       3     E, General
       4     Englander, Henry 1909-1914.
       5     F, General
       6     G, General
       7     H,I,J, General
       8     Jasin, Joseph 1912-1913
       9     K, General
       10    Kohler, Kaufmann 1885-1918
       11    L, General
       12    Levy, Simon 1915
       13    M, General  
       14    N-P, General
       15    Philipson, David. Committee Correspondence 1918
       16    Philipson, David. Family Letters 1883-1884 [In
               German, the letters deal with family business
               activities. Amanda, Jacob, Joseph, Philip, and
               Simon Philipson]
       17    Philipson, David. Letterpress Book 1887-1891.
       18    R, General
       19    S, General
       20    Schiff, Jacob H. 1907-1918

2      1     Schulman, Samuel 1908; 116-1931
       2     Sulzberger, Mayer 1906-1918
       3     T-U, General
       4     W, General
       5     Wise, Isaac M. 1850-1888
       6     Z, General and Unidentified


       7     A, General
       8     American Jewish Committee 1907-1916, 1939
       9     American Jewish Congress 1916-1917
       10    B'nai B'rith 1913-1914
       11    C, General
       12    Central Conference of American Rabbis 1942
       13    Jewish-Christian Relations 1928-1929
       14    Jewish Publication Society 1885; 1911-1932
       15    Jewish Publication Society 1908-1917 [Minutes]
       16    Jewish Publication Society. Hebrew Classics Series
               1914-1927 [Primarily letters to and from Cyrus
       17    Prayerbook Revision 1915-1922
       18    Sunday School Curriculum 1914-1917
       19    Synagogue and School Matters 1914-1936
       20    Zionism ca. 1914


3      --    Diaries dated 1888 January through 1891 November;
                           1905 July 19 through 1906 February 22;
                           1927 July  5 through 1939 April 13


             Note: For a complete list of the titled sermons and
             addresses in Boxes 4 and 5 see Appendix at the end 
             of the inventory

4      1     A, General
       2     B, General
       3     C, General
       4     D, General
       5     E, General
       6     F, General
       7     G, General
       8     H, General
       9     I, General
       10    J, General
       11    K,L, General

5      1     A, General
       2     B, General
       3     C, General
       4     D, General
       5     E, General
       6     F, General
       7     G, General
       8     H, General
       9     I, General
       10    J, General
       11    K,L, General

5      1     M, General
       2     N, General
       3     O, General
       4     P,Q, General
       5     R, General
       6     S, General
       7     T, General
       8     U, General
       9     W, General
       10    Y,Z, General

6      --    Untitled copies of sermons and addresses.

7      --    Untitled copies of sermons and addresses.


8-9    --    Notes on various topics used for sermons and 


9      1,2   Manuscript copy of the Philipson Autobiography
               My Life as an American Jew (1942)

       3,4   Memorial material consisting of newsclippings,
               telegrams, letters and paraphernalia

10     1     Newspaper clippings relative to the 75th birthday
               of Dr. David Philipson, 1937 Aug. 9.

       2-4   40th Anniversary Album
               [consists of telegrams, newsclippings, notes, and

Flat files   For oversize material contained in the flatfiles 
             consult the American Jewish Archives card catalogue


Note: The following list of subjects is a selective index to many of the topics and individuals in the CORRESPONDENCE series and the ORGANIZATION AND SUBJECT series of the DAVID PHILIPSON PAPERS. It is selective in that it only attempts to draw attention to the more significant items in the collection. It does not attempt to list every subject or individual nor does it try to indicate all places that a listed subject or individual appears in the collection. When used in conjunction with the Box and Folder List, the Subject Tracings should help the researcher locate topics. References are to boxes and folders: e.g., 1/12 means Box 1, Folder 12.

Adler, Cyrus 1/1; 2/14, 16
Abrahams, Israel 1/1
Allen, Alfred G.1/1
American Association on Religion 2/7
American Red Cross 1/1
Anti-Immigration Bill 1/3
Anti-Semitism 1/2, 11, 14; 2/10
Anti-Zionism 1/2,5,9,10,13,15,18,19; 2/1,4
Apjones, Ludlow 1/1

Bader, A.S. 1/1
Bergmann, F. 1/1
Berkowitz, Henry 1/1
Bernheim, Isaac W. 1/1
Bible Reading in the Public Schools 1/13
Binswanger, Augustus 1/1
Blair, Louis E. 1/1
Bollman, C.P. 1/1

Calisch, Edward N.1/2
Cardozo, Benjamin N.1/2
Central Conference of American Rabbis 1/3
Central Jewish Assembly of America 2/11
Church and State 2/12
Cohen, Alfred M.1/2
Cohen, S. Solis 1/2
Community, Jewish 1/20
Condon, Randall J.1/2
Cronbach, Abraham1/2

Dabney, Charles William1/2
Dainbridge, N.P.1/2

Elias, Simon 1/3
Enelow, Hyman Gerson 1/3
Ezekiel, Henry C. 1/3

Foster, Solomon 1/5
Franklin, Leo M. 1/5
Freiberg, Julius Walter 1/5
Friedlaender, Israel 1/5
Frisch, Ephraim 1/5

Gratz, Rebecca 1/6

Haas, Jacob de 1/7
Hebrew Encyclopedia 1/3
Hebrew Union College 1/4, 10
Hebrew Union College--School for Teachers 1/3
Hecht, Sigmund 1/7
Heller, Maximilian 1/7

Immigrants and Immigration 1/4, 11; 2/8
Iola, Hyman 1/7
Israel, Joseph 1/7

Jewish-Christian Relations 1/2; 2/1
Judaism, Reform 1/13

Kohler, Kaufmann 1/10
Kohler, Max J. 1/9
Kopald, Louis J. 1/9

League of American Jews 2/4
Lilienthal, Max 1/11
Longworth, Nicholas 1/11

Mack, Julian W. 1/13
Mannheimer, Eugene 1/13
Margolis, Max L. 1/13
Marshall, Louis 1/13
Motion Picture Industry 2/10

Ochs, Adolph S. 1/14

Palestine 1/2, 7

Religious Education 1/5, 14
Roosevelt, Theodore 1/18
Rosenau, William 1/18; 2/12
Romanian Jewry 1/6

Senior, Max 1/19
Silver, Abba Hillel 1/19
Simon, Abram 1/19
Strauss, Oscar S. 1/19
Szold, Henrietta 1/19; 2/14

Taft, William H. 2/3

Union Prayerbook 1/2; 2/1; 12

Wolf, Simon 2/4
Wolsey, Louis 2/4

Zangwill, Israel 2/6
Zepin, George 2/6
Zionism 1/1, 7, 20



Abraham Lincoln in Word and Deed
Abraham Lincoln's Message to the American Youth
Adolph Moses' Place in American Judaism
Against a Jewish Plebicite
Aim of the Jewish Religious School
Aims of Jewish Youth Education
American Idea
American Ideals
American Jew and Religion
American Jews
American Jewish Leader
American Reform Judaism in Retrospect
Americanism and Americanization
Americanism of Isaac M. Wise
America's Challenge to the Jew
Ancient and the Modern Promised Land
Annual Mid-Winter Social Orgy
Appearance and Reality
Are American Jews Parasites?
Are These Things Possible?
Are We Not All Brethren?
Are We Not All Brothers?
Aspects of College Education
Attempted Assassination of Stolypin
Atonement Eve 1905; 1911; 1920; 1922; 1932; 1934


Basis of Reform Judaism
Best Is Yet To Be
Bible in Education
Bible in the Public Schools
Biblical Story of Creation
Biblical Story of Creation and the Theory of Evolution
Billy Sunday's Meeting for Jews
Build Up the Spiritual Foundations
Burning of the Books


Call to Youth
Can Man By Searching Find Out God?
Can We Still Hope?
Central Conference of American Rabbis 1889-1939
Channing Pollock's "The Fool"
Character and Culture
Charity Among the Jews
Child Sacrifice, Ancient and Modern
Christian Jewish Relations
Church and State
City Beautiful
Closed Mind
Closing Prayer
College Woman
Congregation in Israel
Congregation's Place in Judaism
Continuing Covenant With God
Continuing Revelation of God
Crime Wave
Criminal and the Courts
Cry of the Children
Cumulative Results of the Passing Years--A New Year's  Contemplation
Cyrus Adler and the Bible Translation


Dr. David Philipson in Montreal
David Philipson on Zionism
Day of Atonement 1907; 1911; 1913; 1920; 1921
Disarm, Disarm!
Disarmament the Great Hope for 1932
Disarmament Versus Militarism
Dogma In Religion
Domain in Faith
Door of Opportunity
Double Jewish Responsibility


Economy of Time
Educating Our Youth Away From Religious and Race Prejudice
Essentials for a Better . . .
Eternal People in the Eternal City
Everlasting Foundations
Evolution and Religion
European War and Palestinian Institutions


Faculty of Appreciation
Famous Non-Jewish Defenders of Jews
Feast of Passover
First Struggle for Religious Liberty
Flag Day Oration
Forty-Five Years in Cincinnati--Then and Now
Foundation of Eternal Youth
Founding of the Cincinnati Section of the Council of Jewish Women
Function of the Jewish Ministry
Fundamentalist Controversy
Future of Judaism


George Washington Bicentenary Recalls Interesting Incidents
German Jewish Situation in Germany
God Idea in Judaism
God Our Father
Good Old Times
Group Danger in American Life


Hampden's Shylock
Harvard Anti-Jewish Proclamation
Harvest Service
Has the League of Nations Functioned?
Have We Not One Father?
Hearings in Washington on the Lodge Resolution
Hebrew Inscription in the Cemetery at Plymouth, Massachusetts
Hebrew, Israelite, Jew
Hermann Vogelstein
Heroes of Service
Hidden Faults and Presumptuous Sins
Historical and the Mythological Jesus
Hitler Terror
Holiness of Beauty
Home and the Modern City
Home and the School
Home Influence
Human Brotherhood
Humanity at the Crossways
Humanist Movement
Humanity's Melting Pot
Humbler Singers
Hyman Gerson Enelow


I Don't Care
Ideal Teacher
Ideas and Ideals of Education
If A Man Die Shall He Live Again?
If Lincoln Had Not Been Assassinated
Immigrant Tide
Impressions of Jewry in Southern France
Improved Methods in Sunday School Work
Individual Morality
Individual Power and Responsibility
Individual Responsibility
Injustice to the Jew
Inter Religious Harmony
Inter Religious Mind
Inter Religious Relationship
Isaiah--The Prophet
Israel, The International People
Isaac M. Wise and the American Spirit


Jacob H. Schiff and the Bible Translation
Jew Baiting
Jewish American Reform Congregation
Jewish Assimilation
Jewish Ideas of the Messiah
Jewish Leader
Jewish Leadership
Jewish Modern Reform Congregation
Jewish Never Say Die Spirit
Jewish Patriots of the American Revolution
Jewish Responsibility
Jewish Sage's Practical Philosophy
Jews A Religious Group Not a Race
Jews in Ibanez' Novels
Jews in the Roman Empire to the Time of Its Fall
Joseph Krauskopf, Dreamer and Achiever
Joseph Krauskopf, Friend and Classmate
Judaism and Art
Judaism and Christian Science
Judaism and Christianity
Judaism and Democracy
Judaism and the Republican Form of Government
Judaism in America


Kishinoff Horror


Labor Problems
League of Nations
Lessons From the Flood
Let Us Alone
Liberal Judaism in the United States
Liberty Under Law
Lincoln and Wilson
Looking Backward and Forward
Love and Hatred
Loyalty Past and Present
"Loyalties" Versus "Right"


Majority Rule in a Democracy
Man Made Differences and God Made Resemblances
Men At Fault--Not God
Message of Israel
Message of Reform Judaism to American Israel and World Jewry
Message of the Anniversary
Message to Jews of Old
Messianic Hope
Moses Ezekiel
Moses Mendelsohn, Pioneer of the Modern Jewish Era
Music and Religion
My creed As An American Jew
My First Glimpse of Dr. Wise


Nannie Marks Grabfield
Nazi Government and the Jews of Germany
New Bible According to H.G. Wells
New Year 1890-1927


Older and the Younger Generation
On the Heights
Once a Catholic, Now a Rabbi
One God and One Humanity
One Hundred Percent Judaism
Open Door in Religion
Opening Address at Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Jewish
       Publication Society of America 1938 December 11
Opportunities of Liberty
Organization and the Trusts
Our America
Our Heritage and Our Future
Our Responsibility
Outer Appearance, Inner Worth


Partisanship In Office
Partners In a Spiritual Enterprise
Passover the Feast of Freedom
Past and Present
Past Traditions and Present Duties
Patriarch Abraham in Folklore
Personal Contacts With the Founder
Pesach 5662 -- 1902 April 22
Philanthropic Gifts a Restitution to Society of Its Own
Pictures in the Synagogue
Pittsburgh Rabbinical Conference 1885 November
Plastic Age
Plymouth and the Pilgrim Fathers
Practical Side of Judaism
Prejudices, the Stumbling Blocks in the Path of Progress
Present Duty of the American Jewish Reform Congregation
Present Non-Zionist Attitude Toward Palestine
Prophet Elijah in Folklore
Proposed Statement--American Council for Judaism
Public School and the American Spirit
Public Schools As Character Builders
Pulpit and the State


Quest of the Ideal


Rabbi and Congregation
Rabbinical Charge
Rabbinical Confession of Faith
Racial Fallacies
Reactions to the German Jewish Situation
Real and the Superficial
Realities of Life
Reflections on New Year's Eve
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism and Zionism
Reform Judaism's Message
Reform Movement in Judaism
Reformed Judaism in the United States
Reformer of a Century Ago
Regular Sermon
Religion and Evolution
Religious Liberty
Religious Message
Religious Protest in Germany
Remedy for Religious Indifference
Renewal of Spiritual Strength
Restfulness of Soul
Retrospect and Prospect
Revaluation of Reform Judaism
Rosh Hashanah 1889; 1905; 1926; 1930; 1932; 1933; 1938
Roosevelt Inaugural and the Hitler Triumph


Sacred and Secular
School of Religion at the University of Iowa
Seeing Life
Service of Half a Century
Shall Jews and Non-Jews Intermarry?
Shall Jews Organize?
Significance of Faith
Significant One Hundredth Anniversary
Simon Wolf--The Jew and American
Social Centers
Social Justice and the Labor Problem
Some Religious Training in Judaism
Song of Hope
Song By the Sea
Soul of Good in Things Evil
Spirit of Brotherhood
Spirit of Joy
Spiritual Heroes
Standards--Single, Double, and Other
Statement of Aims and Purposes of the Commission on Jewish  Religious Educational Literature
Story of Youth
Strange Ethiopian Jewish Sect--The Falashas
Struggle Against Religious Prejudice
Struggle Is Blessing
Study on Humanity
Synogogue and Social Service


Thanksgiving Sermon
Thou Shalt Not
Tribute of Silence
Through Difficulties to the Stars
Training of Character
Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction


Undying Hope
Undying Youthful Spirit of the Constitution
Union and Kindred Organizations
Universal Prayer
Universalism of Judaism
Up From Nature


Washington and Lincoln
Washington and Religious Liberty
Washington Conference and Washington's Farewell Address
Washington's Contact with Jews
What About Palestine?
What Is Reform Judaism?
What Makes A Thing Jewish?
What The Jewish Religious School Teacher Should Know?
Who Was The Prophet?
Why Yom Kippur?
Will to Power and the Moral Laws
Winning Palestine Without Losing America
Wise's Keen Insight Into Human Nature
Woman and the Congregation
Woman's Sphere
World Court
World Without Jews
World's Challenge to the Jews
Worship of Bigness


Yom Kippur 1901; 1919
Youth of the Nation


Zangwillian Upheaval