Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

Subject Tracings

A Finding Aid to the

Samuel Sandmel Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 101

1928-1980 10.0 Linear ft.


The first segment of the SAMUEL SANDMEL PAPERS was donated to the American Jewish Archives by Dr. Samuel Sandmel of Cincinnati, Ohio in several portions over a number of years until his death in 1979. A final portion of Sandmel's papers was donated by his widow, Frances Sandmel, in 1988

Property rights are assigned to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights to the materials authored by Samuel Sandmel belong to the Sandmel heirs. Literary rights to material authored by others are held by the individuals or his/her heirs. Questions about literary or copyrights should be addressed to the Director of the Archives.

The Sandmel Papers are open to all users and available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


Samuel Sandmel was born in Dayton, Ohio on September 23, 1911 to Morris and Rebecca (Lenderman) Sandmel. He attended public schools in Dayton and St. Louis, Missouri. In 1932 he graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.A. degree, where he was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his rabbinical training at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, receiving an M.H.L. degree and being ordained as a rabbi there in 1937.

Sandmel served as assistant rabbi at the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation in Atlanta, Georgia from 1937-1939 and as director of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation at North Carolina and Duke Universities from 1939-1942. In 1942 he entered the U.S. Naval Reserve and served in the chaplaincy. He was stationed first in San Diego, California then was transferred to the Pacific to serve with the 2nd Marine Division.

Following his return from overseas Sandmel served as director of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation at Yale University from 1946-1949. In 1949 he received his Ph.D. in New Testament from Yale.

At Vanderbilt University from 1949-1952, Sandmel held one of the Country's few professorships in Jewish studies, the Hillel Chair of Jewish Religion and Thought, instituted by the joint pioneer efforts of Vanderbilt's Chancellor Harvie Branscomb and the B'nai B'rith.

Sandmel returned to Hebrew Union College in 1952 as Professor of Bible and Hellenistic Literature. He was Provost of the College from 1956-1965 and was named Distinguished Service Professor in 1966. While at Hebrew Union College, he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Frank L. Weil Institute for Studies in Religion and the Humanities. In 1968-69 he was Visiting Honorary Principal of the Leo Baeck College in London.

Sandmel was the author of 20 books, among them, A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament, We Jews and Jesus, The Hebrew Scriptures, The Enjoyment of Scripture, When a Jew and Christian Marry, Philo of Alexandria, and a novel, Alone Atop the Mountain. He was the general editor of the Oxford University Press Study Edition of the New English Bible, working with a group of 29 interfaith scholars on this project.

He also contributed widely to professional journals and encyclopedias. His lectures in the field of Jewish Christian relations took him to universities, synagogues and colloquia throughout the world. In 1973 he was on the faculty of the Salzburg Seminars in American Studies.

Sandmel was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Vermont, Xavier University in Cincinnati, and Rosary College. Other honors awarded to Sandmel include the Distinguished Citizen Award presented by the University of Missouri, the Jewish Book Council Award in 1973 for his collection of essays, Two Living Traditions, the National Media Brotherhood Award in 1978 from the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Munk International Brotherhood Award which was awarded posthumously in 1979 by the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.

Sandmel was a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, serving as its president in 1961, the American Association of University Professors, the Archaeological Institute, the American Academy of Jewish Research, the American Society for the study of Religion, the Association for Higher Education, the American Oriental Society, the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Cincinnati's Literary Club.

In 1940 he married Frances Langsdorf Fox of Philadelphia. They had three children: Charles Edwin Fox, Ben Fox and David Fox. Samuel Sandmel died in Cincinnati on November 4, 1979 at the age of 68.

(This biographical sketch was taken almost verbatim from a news release issued by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion shortly after the death of Samuel Sandmel.)


The SAMUEL SANDMEL PAPERS (1928-1980) describe the professional career of Rabbi Samuel Sandmel, scholar, theologian and authority on Jewish-Christian relations. The collection consists of correspondence and writings that reflect Sandmel's interest in the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the chaplaincy, Judaism, New Testament scholarship and theology. The bulk of the materials in the collection span the years 1955-1979. The Papers are divided into four series:
    Subseries 1: Books and Articles
    Subseries 2: Addresses and Lectures
    Subseries 3: Philo Project
    Subseries 1: Fiction
    Subseries 2: Drama
  • The CORRESPONDENCE series (six Hollinger boxes)consists of correspondence arranged alphabetically by the name of the person or organization. Letters are arranged chronologically within each folder. Miscellaneous correspondence is arranged by date. There is correspondence in this series pertaining to Sandmel's work as a chaplain during World War II, his scholarly activities and tenure at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, his connection with several Jewish Reform organizations, and his publications. Span dates for the series are 1928-1980 with the bulk of materials falling in the years 1960-1979.

    Series B, SCHOLARLY ACTIVITIES, (ten Hollinger boxes) documents Sandmel's activities as an internationally recognized scholar and authority on early Christianity, the New Testament and its relation to Judaism. Included in the series are full-text manuscripts of books and articles published by Sandmel as well as correspondence concerning the manuscripts (Subseries 1); lectures and addresses delivered by Sandmel over the course of his career (Subseries 2); and correspondence, manuscripts, and working papers relating to his work with the "Philo Project", a group of scholars translating and interpreting the works of Philo, a first century Jewish philosopher from Alexandria (Subseries 3) . The materials in Series B are arranged alphabetically by title or subject. Span dates for this series are 1955-1980.

    Series C, LITERARY ENDEAVORS (six Hollinger boxes), includes typewritten manuscripts of many plays and works of fiction authored by Sandmel. The series is divided into two subseries: fiction and drama, and the works are arranged alphabetically by title within each subseries. None of the works in this series were ever published and most are undated.

    The PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE series (one Hollinger box) consists mainly of letters exchanged between Sandmel and his wife, Frances, during the time when Sandmel was serving as a chaplain during World War II in the years 1943-1945. The letters from Frances to Samuel Sandmel are numbered from 1 to 388, while Samuel's letters to his wife are dated and the letters are arranged chronologically. There is also a folder of Sandmel's miscellaneous personal correspondence dating from 1944-1955 which includes letters to Frances as well as other family members and friends.

    Series E, MISCELLANEOUS, includes photographs, a folder of obituaries at the time of Sandmel's death, a diary chronicling his trip to Europe in 1936, and autobiographical reminiscences, both typescript and handwritten, by and about Sandmel. Span dates for this series are 1936-1980.

    Note: The American Jewish Archives Nearprint File contains a number of boxes of newsclippings, biographical information and other materials concerning Samuel Sandmel. For further information on this and additional items on Samuel Sandmel please consult the card catalog in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


    Box  Folder         Contents
    1    1         A-K, General
         2         Behrman, Sam N. 1963
         3         Branscomb, Harvie. 1949; 1958-1978
         4         Chaplaincy. 1942-1946
         5-6       Chaplaincy. (Correspondence with soldiers parents,
                        etc. unidentified) 1942-1945
         7         Collins-Knowlten-Wing, Inc. 1971-1974
         8         Feld, Mose M. 1958
         9         German trip. 1965-1966
         10        Graduate students. 1972-1978
         11-12     Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
                        (Weil Institute's participation in College
                        Centennial) 1974-1976
         13        Horn, Charles L. 1960-1966
         14        Humphrey, Hubert H. 1977
    2    1         Institute for Christian Clergy. 1962-1964
         2         KATV Publishers. 1967-1977
         3         Knopf Publishers. 1959-1965
         4         Kronenberger, Louis. 1962
         5         Leo Baeck College. 1967-1972
         6         L-Z, General
         7         Malamud, Bernard. 1958-1964
         8         Marcus, Jacob Rader. 1977-1979
         9         McArthur Festchrift. 1978
         10        Morgenstern, Julian. 1945-1969
         11        National Congress of Jewish Deaf. 1959-1961
         12        National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. 1948-1966
    3    1         National Jewish Welfare Board. 1957-1961
         2         National Jewish Welfare Board. 1962-1966
         3         Nikiprowetsky, V.N. 1972-1981
         4         Okamoto, Hiroshi. 1965-1979
         5         Oxford University Press. 1967-1971
         6         Pritchard, Florence. 1965-1969
         7         Pseudepigraphic Project. 1977
         8         Sands, Melvin S. 1966-1967
    4    1         Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Institute
                        on Judaism). 1963
         2         Wayne State University (Ephraim A. Speiser
                        Controversy). 1963
         3         Weisberg, Stephen E. 1966-1967
         4         Wolsey, Louis. 1928
         5         World Union for Progressive Judaism. 1958-1959
         6         World Union for Progressive Judaism. 1966-1974
         7         World Union for Progressive Judaism. 1961-1965
         8         World Union for Progressive Judaism. 1966-1974
    5    1         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1950-1960
         2         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1961-1962
         3         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1963
         4         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1964
         5         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1965-1966
         6         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1967-1969
         7         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1970-1971
         8         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1972
    6    1         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1973-1974
         2         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1975-1977
         3         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1978
         4         Miscellaneous correspondence. 1979-1980
         5         Miscellaneous correspondence. n.d.
         Subseries 1: Books and articles
    7    1         Alone Atop the Mountain. 1972-1974
         2         Book Reviews. 1960-1978
         3         Christianity in the West: A Critique. n.d.
         4         Companion to the Bible. 1976-1979
         5         Ecumenical Bible. 1977
    8    1-3       The Enjoyment of Scripture: The Law, The Prophets
                        and The Writings. 1972
         4         The Enjoyment of Scripture: The Law, The Prophets
                        and The Writings. (Correspondence) 1970-1977
         5         The First Christian Century in Judaism and
                        Christianity. 1969
    8    6         The Genius of Paul. (Correspondence) 1958-1966
    9    1         "The Haggada Within Scripture" n.d.
         2         The Hebrew Scriptures (Correspondence) 1971-1977
         3-5       The Hebrew Scriptures; An Introduction to
                        Their Literature and Religious Ideas. 1968
    10   1-5       The Hebrew Scriptures; An Introduction to Their
                        Literature and Religious Ideas. 1968 
    11   1-3       The Hebrew Scriptures; An Introduction to Their
                        Literature and Religious Ideas. 1968 
         4-5       Herod: Profile of a Tyrant. 1967
    12   1         The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, n.d.
         2         Jewish and Christian Beginnings
                        (Correspondence)  1974-1977
         3-4       A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament
                        (Correspondence) 1955-1956
         5         "Literature vs. Theology"
         6         Little Book on Religion (Correspondence) 1976-1977
         7         Modern Judaism - Introduction. n.d.
    13   1         Nearprint. 1962-78
         2         New English Bible (Correspondence) 1970-1976
         3         "Paul and the People of Israel" n.d.
         4         Old Testament Issues. 1968
         5         Two Living Traditions: Essays on Religion and the
                        Bible. 1971
    14   1-3       Two Living Traditions: Essays on Religion and the
                        Bible. 1971
         4         We Jews and Jesus. 1965
         5-6       We Jews and Jesus (Correspondence) 1965
         7         We Jews and You Christians. 1967
         8         What is Religion Preface. 1971
         Subseries 2: Addresses and Lectures
                   Addresses and Lectures. 1962-1978 (Alphabetically by title)
    15   1              A-D
         2              E-G
    15   3              H-L
         4              M-P
         5              R-Z
         6              Untitled 
         Subseries 3: Philo Project
    16   1         Philo Project - general. 1977-1979
         2         Philo: An Introduction. n.d.
         3         "Arithmology in the Writings of Philo" by H. Moering.  n.d.
         4         "Etymologizing in Philo's Intrepretation", by Lester
                        Grabbe. 1977
         5         Reviews of Philo of Alexandria. 1979-1980
         6         Miscellaneous writings re: Philo. 1962-1973
         Subseries 1: Fiction
    17   1         "The 1960's" - 1
         2         "The 1960's" - 2
         3         "The 1960's" - 3
         4         "In Adam's Fall" - 1
         5         "In Adam's Fall" - 2
         6         "In Adam's Fall" - 3
         7         "The Apostle Paul" (1978-1979) - 1
    18   1         "The Apostle Paul" (1978-1979) - 2
         2         "The Classic Infidelity"
         3         "The Fallen Wall"
         4         "Klukas is a Sterile Bull"
         5         "Ned Pearson" - 1
    19   1         "Ned Pearson" - 2
         2         "Ned Pearson" - 3
         3         "Narrative"
         4         "An Old Flame Never Dies"
         5         "The River's Bend" - 1
         6         "The River's Bend" - 2
         7         "Short Stories"
         Subseries 2: Drama
    20   1         "A Chip on a Shoulder"
         2         "Extremes and the Mean"
         3         "The Fact of the Matter"
    20   4         "Genius in the Family"
         5         "The Grosvenor Castle"
         6         "The Hempsted Library"
         7         "Hits, Runs, and Errors"
         8         "I Trust My Son"
         9         "Klvkas is a Sterile Bull"
    21   1         "A Leightened Shadow"
         2         "Light in the Darkroom"
         3         "A Man Who was not Job"
         4         "A Matter of Vengeance"
         5         "Milk for the Hottentots"
         6         "Mess in Zirovia"
         7         "My Partner and Friend"
    22   1         "Peace and Quiet"
         2         "Phyllis"
         3         "Something for Nothing"
         4         "Thence a Paradox"
         5         "In Tune of the Hickory"
         6         "The Yellow Rug"
    23   1         Frances Fox Sandmel to Samuel Sandmel. #1-49
         2         Frances Fox Sandmel to Samuel Sandmel. #54-100
         3         Frances Fox Sandmel to Samuel Sandmel. #101-199
         4         Frances Fox Sandmel to Samuel Sandmel. #200-299
         5         Frances Fox Sandmel to Samuel Sandmel. #300-388
         6         Frances Fox Sandmel to Samuel Sandmel. Unnumbered
         7         Samuel Sandmel to Frances Fox Sandmel. 1944
         8         Samuel Sandmel to Frances Fox Sandmel. 1945
         9         Samuel Sandmel to Frances Fox Sandmel. Undated
    24   1         Miscellaneous personal correspondence. 1944-1955
         2         Photographs. 1943
         3         Sandmel memorial volume. 1983-1984
         4         Obituaries. 1979-1980
         5         Autobiographical reminiscences. n.d.
         6         Autobiographical reminiscences. n.d.
    25   1         Autobiographical reminiscences. n.d.
         2         European dairy. 1936
         3         Unidentified manuscripts
         4         Unidentified manuscripts


    Note:  The following list of subjects is a selective index to many of
    the topics and individuals in the SAMUEL SANDMEL 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 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., 3/10 means
    Box 3, Folder 10.
    Anti-Semtism 1/13; 9/1, 2
    Argentina 2/12
    Baeck, Leo 1/1
    Burns, Arthur F. 1/1
    Chaplaincy 1/4, 5, 6; 2/2, 3
    Glueck, Nelson 2/11; 3/1
    Goldenson, Samuel H. 1/1
    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion 1/8, 15, 16; 2/4
    Jewish-Christian Relations 1/11; 1/7; 3/9, 10; 6/4; 8/4; 9/3
    Michener, James A. 1/13