A Finding Aid to the
Isidore Singer Papers
Manuscript Collection No. 42
1895-1938. .8 Linear ft.
The ISIDORE SINGER PAPERS were a gift to the American Jewish Archives from the Hebrew Union College Library. Property rights have been assigned to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to materials authored by William Rosenau are held by the Rosenau heirs. Literary rights to materials authored by others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives. The ISIDORE SINGER PAPERS are open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH top
Isidore Singer was born in Weisskirchen, Moravia in 1859. He studied at the Universities of Vienna and Berlin, receiving his Ph.D. in 1884. In 1994-1885 he founded and published the Allgemeine Oesterreichische Literaturzeitung. Following his first experience in publishing, Singer became a literary secretary to Count Alexandre Foucher de Careil, French Ambassador at Vienna. Moving to Paris, Singer joined the press bureau of the French Foreign Office, and became editor-in-chief of La Vraie Parole in 1893-1894, a journal which he founded in order to counteract anti-Semitism. Within the pages of La Vraie Parole Singer staunchly defended Alfred Dreyfus. In 1895, Singer immigrated to the United States in order to publish a Jewish encyclopedia. He became the managing editor of the encyclopedia, raising money for its publication, finding a publisher, enlisting scholars to contribute articles, and serving as head of the department of modern biography. The first volume of The Jewish Encyclopedia was published in 1901 and the final volume appeared in 1906. Singer also served as managing editor of the International Insurance Encyclopedia (1909), and was co-editor of German Classics of the 19th and 20th Centuries (20 volumes). Isidore Singer was an inveterate proposer of ideas, concepts, programs and multi-volume scholarly works. Proposed works which were never published include an Encyclopedia of Palestine, The Slavolic Classics, The Young People's Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge, and an Encyclopedia of Prayers. A frequent contributor of articles to Jewish newspapers and journals, Singer also composed and distributed widely a number of semi-scholarly "open letters" addressed variously to "The Jews of America," "Christian Theologians," "College Presidents and Deans," etc. He proposed a merger of all the Jewish seminaries in America into one Jewish University, and believed until the end of his life that the world stood on the threshold of creating one universal religion based upon humanism and scientific scholarship. Yet, in his later years Singer grew bitter toward the Jewish community in America which would not support its scholars in a dignified manner. His correspondence overflows with proposals, new thoughts and plans. In 1922 Singer founded and became the literary director of the International Amos Society, a monotheistic world league promoting world peace and ecumenical understanding. He died in New York City in 1939.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE top
The ISIDORE SINGER PAPERS consists of correspondence, nearprint and newsclippings, and reflect the career, activities and interests of Dr. Singer, a Jewish editor, thinker and writer. The collection is arranged alphabetically. A large portion of the collection concerns Dr. Singer's involvement with the Internatinoal Amos Society. Of interest are the files of correspondence between Dr. Singer and Harry Schneiderman and Morris D. Waldman. The miscellaneous files contain pamphlets and articles collected by Dr. Singer and other unidentified materials.
BOX AND FOLDER LISTING top
Box Folder Contents 1 1 A-E, General 2 Amos Society 1926-1935, n.d. 3 F-K, General 4 L-M, General 5 N-R, General 6 S, General 7 Schneiderman, Harry 1927-1934 2 1 Schneiderman, Harry 1935-1938, n.d. 2 T-Z, General 3 Waldman, Morris D. 1928-1936 4 Unidentified Correspondence 5-6 Miscellaneous n.d.