Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

A Finding Aid to the

Meir Ben-Horin Papers 

Manuscript Collection No. 129

1943-1988 . 2.97 Linear ft.


 The Meir Ben-Horin Papers were donated to the American Jewish Archives by Meir Ben-Horin and Alice Ben-Horin, Cleveland, Ohio, from 1980 through 1988. Meir Ben-Horin and Alice Ben-Horin, by the act of donating the Meir Ben-Horin Papers to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to material in the collection are retained by the individual authors or their heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. The papers are available to researchers in the reading room of the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.


Dr. Meir Ben-Horin was widely known as scholar, educator, writer and editor. He was born in Köenigsberg, East Prussia, Germany on 31 December 1918, attending the Kanzler Privatschule in Danzig from 1925-1928 and the Staedtisches Gymnaisum und Realgymnasium zu Dansig from 1928-1937, graduating from the Humanistic Greek and Latin Department. He attended the Hebrew University in Palestine from 1937-1939, and received his Bachelor of Jewish Pedagogy from the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1941. He earned his MA (1948) and PhD (1952) from Columbia University.

During World War II, Ben-Horin served with the United States Army in Italy, Germany, and Austria from 1943-1946 as a Combat Engineer and Interpreter-Translator. He was a Special Agent and Special Agent in Charge (Counter-Intelligence Corps, Department of the Army, U.S. Zone of Austria) from 1946-1948, during which time he investigated neo-Nazi activities, suspected war criminals, and participated in denazification. He remained in the U.S. Army Reserves in the Civil Affairs branch beginning in 1948, and retired in 1974 with the rank of Colonel.

Ben-Horin was the acting Executive Secretary and Field Director for Western Europe, Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc., New York City and Wiesbaden, Germany from 1949-1950, during which time he worked with the West German Land governments regarding the recovery of heirless and unclaimed Jewish cultural property. He then began his academic career at the Hebrew Teachers College in Brookline Massachusetts, first as an Assistant to the Dean and Instructor in Education (1951-1955), and then as the Acting Registrar and Assistant Professor of Education (1955-1957). Ben-Horin was the Associate Professor of Education at Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning in Philadelphia beginning in 1957, and became a full professor and Chairman of the Department of Education in 1962; he held these positions until 1975, when Dropsie terminated the Department of Education and Ben-Horin’s employment. A five year lawsuit ensued, ending with a settlement in 1980. While still employed at Dropsie, Ben-Horin became the Dean and Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Education in the Graduate Division of the Horace M. Kallen Center for Jewish Studies of Herzliah at the Jewish Teachers Seminary in New York City, as well as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Ben-Horin held these positions until assuming the Presidency and Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Education position at the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies in 1978; he retired in 1981.

Ben-Horin authored and edited a multitude of publications, articles, and reviews. He was the managing editor of Jewish Social Studies, a quarterly journal devoted to contemporary and historical aspects of Jewish life from 1957-1969. Ben-Horin married Alice Neugebauer in 1946; they had three children, Judith, David, and Gideon. He died on 7 January 1988.

Related AJA Collections

The American Jewish Archives holds a nearprint biographical file on Meir Ben-Horin, as well as on many of his correspondents, such as Mordecai M. Kaplan, Horace M. Kallen, Solomon Grayzel, holds near print special topic files on the Encyclopaedia Judaica and Dropsie College, an holds a nearprint geographic file on the Jewish Teacher's Seminary and People's University - Herzliah Hebrew Teacher's Institute (New York, N.Y.). Additionally, the AJA holds the papers of Horace M. Kallen (MS-1) and Abraham I. Katsch (MS-113).


 The MEIR BEN-HORIN PAPERS consist of the professional correspondence of Ben-Horin as an educator, scholar, editor, and author, along with a sample of Ben-Horin’s articles and reviews. The bulk of the collection includes files documenting his professional affiliations with multiple educational organizations and his lawsuit against Dropsie University, 1975-1980. The collection has been arranged into three (3) series:

SERIES A, the Correspondence Series, consists of letters to and from Ben-Horin regarding professional matters, mainly Ben-Horin’s work on and interest in Jewish education and intellectual thought, research, editing, and publishing. The series also includes a small amount of photocopies of correspondence and letters of commendation from Ben-Horin’s time in the Counter Intelligence Corps and on his work in the U.S. Army Reserves. Correspondence with select individuals is contained within separate files, although researchers should consult the general alphabetical run for additional correspondence with these individuals. Further correspondence on publishing and organizations with which Ben-Horin was affiliated is included in Series B, Writings and Series C, Professional Affiliations. The Correspondence Series includes original letters, carbon copies, and photocopies. Within the alphabetical files, materials are grouped together by the last name of the correspondent or the name of the correspondent’s organization. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject, beginning with the “General” files.

SERIES B, the Writings Series, consists of articles authored by Ben-Horin in English and in Hebrew on topics related to Jewish education and Jewish intellectual thought. The series also contains book reviews written by Ben-Horin for the journal, Jewish Social Studies. Files on the Encyclopaedia Judaica illuminate Ben-Horin’s work on the publication both as an editor and contributor, including correspondence and drafts of some of his essays. Ben-Horin also contributed to Grolier’s 1971 New Book of Knowledge Annual, as that file documents. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

SERIES C, the Professional Affiliations Series documents portions of Ben-Horin’s professional career as a writer, researcher, and academic. The materials within many of these files consist of correspondence, minutes, reports and notes taken by Ben-Horin for organizations such as the Association For Jewish Education, the National Council for Jewish Education, the Philadelphia Branch of the United Synagogue of America Board of Jewish Education and the Philadelphia Zionist Federation. Other files in this series document two of Ben-Horin’s academic posts, at Dropsie College and at Herzliah - Jewish Teachers Seminary. The Herzliah - Jewish Teachers Seminary materials document his appointments and positions there, and include minutes he recorded as the dean, class schedules, staff lists, and correspondence.
The bulk of the Professional Affiliations Series is comprised of material documenting Ben-Horin’s time at Dropsie College. Files include Faculty and Graduate committee minutes and notes documenting Ben-Horin’s work on these committees; materials gathered for work on a faculty handbook and faculty salary increase at Dropsie, materials documenting a student strike in 1971, and proposals drafted by Ben-Horin for improvements to the Education Department and the college in general. Other materials relate more specifically to the lawsuit he initiated against Dropsie after his dismissal in 1975. Files include documents regarding Ben-Horin’s hiring; correspondence documenting his problems at receiving tenure, retirement, and sabbaticals; other materials gathered for the lawsuit, including financial documents of the college, Board of Governor Meeting minutes, Faculty Meeting minutes, correspondence, and copious notes taken by Ben-Horin, as well as materials documenting the case itself such as depositions and court documents. The bulk of the correspondence in this section is between Ben-Horin and the American Association of University Professors, and between Ben-Horin and his lawyer, Labron K. Shuman of Shuman and Markowitz, and between Ben-Horin’s lawyer and the university’s counsel, first Sidney Margulies of Cohen, Shapiro, Polisher, Shiekman and Cohen, and then Frederick Herman and Abraham Leizerowski of Herman, Bayer, and Presenza. The case does not appear to have ever gone to trial; materials abruptly stop in 1980 with drafts of a settlement between Dropsie and Ben-Horin. The Professional Affiliations series is arranged alphabetically by organization name.


Box Folder	Contents
Series A. Correspondence.  1943-1988.
1	1	A.  1956-1978.
1	2	B.  1956-1986.
1	3	C.  1954-1979.
1	4	D-F.  1952-1973.
1	5	G.  1955-1984.
1	6	H-I.  1956-1976.
1	7	J-K.  1956-1977.
1	8	L.  1953-1988.
1	9	M.  1954-1985.
1	10	N-P.  1955-1981.
2	1	R-S.  1954-1988.
2	2	W.  1961-1982.
2	3	Dushkin, Alexander M.  1965-1975.
2	4	Grayzel, Solomon.  1965-1980.
2	5	Kallen, Horace M.  1954-1972.
2	6-7	Kaplan, Mordecai M.  1943-1981.
2	8	Marwick, Lawrence.  1976-1981.
2	9	U.S. Army.  1946-1974.	

Series B. Writings. 1951-1981. Articles. 2 10 A-K. 1954-1985. 3 1 L-U. 1957-1984. 3 2 Hebrew. 1964-1981. 3 3 Book Reviews. 1951-1973, n. d. 3 4 Curriculum Vitae. Undated. 3 5 Encyclopedia Judaica, Editor. 1964-1965. 3 6 Encyclopedia Judaica, Contributor. 1965-1970. 3 7 Grolier Inc., 1971 New Book of Knowledge Annual. 1969-1971.
Series C. Professional Affiliations. 1949-1980. 3 8 Association For Jewish Education, National Board of License. 1956-1959. 3 9 Association for Jewish Education, National Curriculum Research Institute - Correspondence with Judah Pilch, Director. 1959-1962. 3 10 Association for Jewish Education, National Curriculum Research Institute - Notes and Papers. 1964-1969. 4 1 Association for Jewish Education, National Curriculum Research Institute - Project: Developing a Philosophy of Jewish Education, Norman Schanin. 1967. Dropsie University. 4 2 Faculty Handbook Draft and Resources. 1964-1974. 4 3 Faculty and Presidential Matters, Notes and Correspondence. 1966-1975. 4 4 Faculty Salary Resources and Correspondence. 1967-1972. 4 5 Graduate and Faculty Committees. 1967-1975. Lawsuit, Ben-Horin vs. Dropsie University and President Abraham Katsch. 4 6 General Files. 1949-1969. 4 7 General Files. 1970-1972. 4 8 General Files. 1973-1975. 4 9 General Files. 1976. 5 1 General Files. February-March 1977. 5 2 General Files. April-May 1977. 5 3 General Files. July - September 1977. 5 4 General Files. 1978-1979. 5 5 General Files. 1980. 5 6 General Files. Undated. 5 7 Board of Governors Meeting Minutes. 1975-1977. 5 8 Deposition Materials. 1973-1977. 5 9 Dismissal Materials. 1974-1977. 6 1 Faculty Minutes. 1972-1976. 6 2 Notes and Correspondence on Litigation. 1968-1980. 6 3 Resources from Published Materials. 1974-1978. 6 4 Proposals For improvement of Dropsie/Education Department. 1967-1975. 6 5 Publicity File. 1968-1975. 6 6 Student Strike Information. 1971. 6 7 Miscellaneous. 1964-1978. 6 8-9 Herzliah - Jewish Teachers Seminary. 1970-1978. 7 1-2 Herzliah - Jewish Teachers Seminary. 1970-1978. 7 3 National Council for Jewish Education. 1953-1966. 7 4 Philadelphia Branch of the United Synagogue of America Board of Jewish Education. 1968-1971. 7 5 Philadelphia Zionist Federation, Advisory Council Member and General. 1967- 1978. 7 6 Philadelphia Zionist Federation, Education Committee Chairman. 1970-1972.
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