Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing


A Finding Aid to the

Oscar Cohen Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 294

1955-1985. 13.6 Linear ft.


The OSCAR COHEN PAPERS were donated to the American Jewish Archives in February, 1986 by Mrs. Marjorie M. Cohen of New York, N.Y., who assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to materials authored by Oscar Cohen are held by the Cohen heirs. Literary rights to materials authored by others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning copyright should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives.

The OSCAR COHEN PAPERS are open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


Oscar Cohen was born in Dundas, Canada on June 1, 1908 to Harry and Ida (Ziskind) Cohen. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Toronto in 1929 and attended Columbia University from 1929 to 1930.

In 1932 Cohen was named editor of the Jewish Standard in Toronto, where he remained until 1934. From 1935 to 1941 he served as director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, also located in Toronto. In 1941 he entered the Canadian Army, serving as a lieutenant colonel until 1946.

In 1946 Cohen moved to the United States where he remained for the rest of his life. His first job in this country was as director of the Jewish Community Center in Detroit, Michigan, working there until 1949. At that time Cohen began his long career with the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL). From 1949-1954 Cohen worked in the Community Services Division of the ADL; in 1954 he was named National Program Director of the organization, a position he held until 1975. From 1976 until his death Cohen continued to serve the ADL as a consultant.

Cohen was a member of the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Inter-American Society of Psychology, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, B'nai B'rith, the American Veterans Committee, the National Association of Intergroup Relations Officers, the Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Religious Research Association.

Cohen was also a prolific author, contributing many articles to social science and general journals. He researched and wrote in the fields of anti-Semitism, Jewish-Christian relations, Black-Jewish relations and contemporary social issues.

On February 8, 1947 Cohen married Marjorie Merlin. They had three children: Myra, Deborah and Judith.

Oscar Cohen died on June 8, 1985 at the age of 77.


The OSCAR COHEN PAPERS (1955-1985) contain materials pertaining to Cohen's activities as National Program Director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and his research into the area of Jewish-Christian relations. The collection consists of correspondence, speeches, reports, polls, bibliographies, proposals, newsclippings and miscellaneous items. The span dates for the collection are 1955-1985, with the bulk of the materials covering the years 1975-1985. The Papers are divided into five series:

  • The CORRESPONDENCE series (1955-1985) consists of two and one-half Hollinger boxes of correspondence, newsclippings and miscellaneous items. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the name of the person or organization.

    The ANTI-SEMITISM series (1960-1985) is divided into three sub-series. Sub-series 1. General, consists of fifteen Hollinger boxes of research notes, articles, reports, newsclippings and some correspondence collected by Cohen during his study of anti-Semitism in the United States. The materials are arranged alphabetically by title or subject. This sub-series contains materials on anti-Semitic movements, organizations, persons and incidents.

    Sub-series 2. Regional, State and Local Anti-Semitism, consists of two and one-half Hollinger boxes of materials concerning anti-Semitism in various regions, states and cities throughout the United States. The materials are arranged alphabetically first by region, then by city and state.

    Sub-series 3. Interviews on anti-Semitism, consists of one-half Hollinger box of transcripts of interviews conducted by Cohen with a number of persons concerning their involvement either in experiencing or combating anti-Semitism. The interviews are arranged alphabetically by the name of the interviewee.

    SERIES C. JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS consists of six Hollinger boxes of articles, reviews, correspondence and other materials. This series is divided into two sub-series: Sub-series 1. General and Sub-Series 2. Black-Jewish Relations. The materials in this series are arranged alphabetically by the name of the person or subject.

    SERIES D. CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL ISSUES consists of two and one-half Hollinger boxes of materials pertaining to persons and events who have, in the recent past, had an impact on the Jewish community in the United States. Again, these materials are arranged alphabetically by the name of the person or subject.

    The BIBLIOGRAPHIES, POLLS, PROPOSALS AND MISCELLANEOUS series is divided into four sub-series. Sub-series 1. Bibliographies, consists of one-half Hollinger box of bibliographies on anti-Semitism, book reviews, history, Jewish culture, oral history and miscellaneous topics. Sub-Series 2. Polls and Surveys, consists of three boxes of public opinion polls collected by Cohen concerning various persons and topics. The polls are arranged alphabetically by the name of the person or subject. Sub-Series 3. Proposals, consists of one Hollinger box of proposals submitted to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith for programs or procedures. These are arranged alphabetically by subject. Sub-Series 4. Miscellaneous, consists of one- half Hollinger box of writings and speeches of Cohen, along with notes and outlines from his research projects.


    Box  Folder    Contents
    1    1         A, General
         2         B, General
         3         C, General
         4         D, General
         5         E, General
         6         F, General
         7         G, General
         8         H, General
    2    1         I-J, General
         2         K, General
         3         L, General
         4         M, General
         5         N, General
         6         O-Q, General
         7         R, General
         8         S, General
    3    1         S, General
         2         T-V, General
         3         W-Z, General
         4         Unidentified Correspondence
    Sub-Series 1. General
         5         Adolescent Prejudice
         6         Affirmative Action
         7         Anti-Semitic Humor
         8         Anti-Semitism (Causes)
         9         Anti-Semitism (Definitions)
         10        Anti-Semitism and Israel (Reports) 1978-1979
    4    1         "Anti-Semitism and Israel: A Report on American
                        Public Opinion" (Report) 1978
         2         "Anti-Semitism in America, 1654-1930" (Report)
         3         "Anti-Semitism in the U.S." (Report) 1981
         4-6       Anti-Semitism in the U.S. (Miscellaneous Articles)
         7         Anti-Semitism in the U.S. (Polls)
         8         Anti-Zionism
         9         Apathetic Majority (Reviews) 1966-1967
    5    1         Arab Boycott
         2         Arab Influence in the U.S.
         3         Arab-Israeli War 1967
         4         Armed Forces, Race Relations In
         5         Catholic anti-Semitism
         6         Civil War Era anti-Semitism
         7-8       College anti-Semitism
         9         Colonial Period anti-Semitism
         10        Combating anti-Semitism
    6    1         "Community Clinics: Combating anti-Semitism"
                        (Handbook) n.d.
         2         Corporate anti-Semitism
         3         Couglin, Charles E.
         4         Covington, Harold
         5         Crime and anti-Semitism
         6         Drama, Jews in
         7         Dreyfus Case
         8         Education, Public
         9         Employment Discrimination
         10-12     Extremism
    7    1-2       Extremism
         3-4       Ford, Henry
         5-8       Frank, Leo M.-Case
         9         German-American Bund
         10        Gilded Age anti-Semitism, 1870-1890
    8    1         Grant, Ulysses S. (General Order #11)
         2-3       History of American anti-Semitism (Miscellaneous
         4-7       Holocaust (Miscellaneous Articles)
    9    1         Holocaust (Miscellaneous Articles)
         2         Housing
         3-5       Images of Jews
         6-8       Immigration Restriction (Miscellaneous Articles)
    10   1         Immigration Restriction (Miscellaneous Articles)
         2-7       Incidents of anti-Semitism (Miscellaneous)
         8-9       Intergroup Relations 1975
         10        "Jesus Christ Superstar"
         11        Jewish Humor
    11   1         Jewish Self-Image
         2         Jews and the Left
         3         Jews as Viewed in Popular Culture
         4-5       Jews in American History (Miscellaneous Articles)
         6-8       Ku Klux Klan
    12   1         Ku Klux Klan
         2         Larchmont, New York Creche
         3         Lindbergh, Charles A.
         4-7       Literature and Jews
    13   1         "Merchant of Venice"
         2         Metzger, Tom
         3-5       Motion Picture Industry (Miscellaneous Articles)
         6         Nazi Party, U.S.A.
         7         New anti-Semitism (American Context)
         8         New anti-Semitism (World Context)
         9         Nineteenth Century Newspaper Articles
    14   1         Notes on Anti-Jewish Acts, 1654-1930
         2         Parochial Schools
         3         Philadelphia, Pa. Nazi Rally 1979
         4         Pluralism in America
         5         Politics of Unreason (Excerpts and Reviews)
         6         Post-Progressive Era anti-Semitism
         7         Post-World II anti-Semitism
         8         Presidential Campaign Bigotry 1960
         9         Progressive Era anti-Semitism, 1880-1914
         10        Protestant anti-Semitism
    15   1         Red Scare Era
         2-3       Refugees, 1930-1940
         4         Religious Images of Jews
         5         Revolutionary and Federalist Periods, 1776-1800
         6         Roosevelt, Theodore
         7         Rosenberg, Julius and Ethel
         8         Rotary International
         9         Seligman, Joseph
         10        Social Discrimination
    16   1-2       Social Discrimination
         3         Soviet Jewry
         4-8       Status of Jews in America
    17   1         Suburban anti-Semitism
         2         Swastika Epidemic
         3         Television anti-Semitism
         4-5       Television anti-Semitism ("All in the Family")
         6         Theater anti-Semitism
         7         United Nations Resolution (re: Zionism) 1975-1976
    18   1         World War II anti-Semitism
         2         Yale University
         3         Youth anti-Semitism
    Sub-Series 2. Regional, State and Local Anti-Semitism
         4         Midwest
         5         New England
         6-8       South
         9         Southwest
         10        West
    19   1         Alabama
         2         Berkeley, California
         3         Los Angeles, California
         4         Oakland, California
         5         San Francisco, California
         6         California
         7         Colorado
         8         Georgia
         9-10      Chicago, Illinois
         11        Skokie, Illinois
         12        Indiana
         13        Detroit, Michigan
         14        Minneapolis, Minnesota
         15        Mississippi
         16        St. Louis, Missouri
    20   1         St. Louis, Missouri
         2         Wayne, New Jersey
         3         New York
         4         New York
         5         North Dakota
         6         Oregon
         7         Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
         8         Pennsylvania
         9         Charleston, South Carolina
         10        Memphis, Tennessee
         11        Richmond, Virginia
         12        Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Sub-Series 3. Interviews on Anti-Semitism
         13        Interviews, B-H
    21   1         Interviews, J-R
         2         Interviews, S-W
         3-5       Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism (Articles and
    22   1         Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism (Articles and
         2-6       Christian-Jewish Relations (Miscellaneous Articles)
    23   1-3       Christian-Jewish Relations (Miscellaneous Articles)
         4         Church/State Separation
         5-6       Evangelism
    24   1         "Key  73" Messianic Jews/Jews for Jesus (Evangelistic
         2-3       National Conference of Christians and Jews
         4         National Council of Churches
         5         Vatican II
    Sub-Series 2. Black-Jewish Relations
         6         Baraka, Imamu Amiri (LeRoi Jones)
         7-9       Black anti-Semitism
    25   1         Black Attitudes re: Israel
         2-11      Black-Jewish Relations (Miscellaneous Articles)
    26   1-2       Black-Jewish Relations (Miscellaneous Articles)
         3         Civil Rights
         4         Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (Reviews)
         5         Giovanni, Nikki
         6         Jackson, Jesse
         7         Lester, Julius
         8         Protest and Prejudice (Reviews)
         9         South Africa
    27   1-3       Young, Andrew
         4         Agnew, Spiro T.
         5         Brown, General George S.
         6         Butz, Arthur R.
         7         Carter, Jimmy
         8         Demography
         9         Education and Social Change
         10        Election 1984
         11        Ethnicity
         12        Intermarriage
    28   1-6       Israel (Miscellaneous Articles)
         7         Jewish Accomplishments
         8         Jewish Community
    29   1         Jewish Education
         2         Jewish Hospitals
         3         Jews, Commentaries on
         4         John Birch Society
         5         Lebanon
         6         Moynihan, Daniel P.
         7         National Jewish Relations Advisory Council
         8         Nixon, Richard M.
         9         Philo-Semitism
         10        Populism
         11        "Profile of a Year of Jewish-Non-Jewish Relations," 1975
         12        Quotas
         13        Saudi Arabia (AWACS Sale)
         14        Social Science
         15        Stoner, J.B.
    Sub-Series 1. Bibliographies
    30   1         Anti-Semitism
         2         Book Reviews
         3         History
         4         Jewish Culture and Film Culture
         5         Oral History
         6-7       Miscellaneous
    Sub-Series 2. Polls and Surveys
         8         American Jewish Committee 1955-1957
         9         Arab-Israeli Conflict
    31   1         Attitudes Toward Jews
         2         Audits and Survey, Inc. Polls
         3         Black Attitudes Toward Jews
         4         Catholic Digest Polls 1966
         5         College Students
         6         Congress of Industrial Organizations Polls 1956
         7         Corporate Discrimination
         8         Denver, Colorado Jewish Population Study
         9         Harris Poll 1974
    32   1         High School Student Survey
         2         Intermarriage
         3         Platkin Study on Anti-Semitism
         4         Protestant Rating
         5         Reagan, Ronald - Poll
         6         Religion in America 1976
         7         University of California Polls
         8         Vatican II and the Jews
         9         Voting Polls
         10-12     Yankelovich, Skelly and White Polls
    33   1         Youth Survey
         2-7       Miscellaneous Polls
    Sub-Series 3. Proposals
         8         Audio-Visual Training Center
         9         Detroit Nazi Group
         10        Evangelicals and Democracy
         11        Graduate Summer Institute on Judaism
         12        Minorities and Women in Textbooks
         13        National Interreligious Center
         14-15          Simulation Training
    34   1         Teaching About Israel
         2-5       Miscellaneous Proposals
    Sub-Series 4. Miscellaneous
         6         American Jewish Historiography (Mss.)
         7         "Christian-American Jew Baiting" (Notes)
         8         "The Presence of Jews: An Historic Overview of
                        Anti-Semitism in America: (Outline)
         9         "Progress, Yes!" (Article by Cohen)
         10-11          Speech File (Addresses by Cohen)