Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing


A Finding Aid to the

Maurice Beck Hexter Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 338 

1928-1938. 2 Linear ft.


 A portion of the Maurice Beck Hexter Papers were donated to Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives by Maurice B. Hexter in 1966. Further materials were donated by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1987.  All literary rights to the Maurice Beck Hexter Papers are held by the Hexter heirs. All literary rights to other materials are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addresed 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.


 Maurice Beck Hexter was born on June 30, 1891 in Cincinnati Ohio to Max Hexter and Sarah Beck Hexter.  His father ran a small candy store.  Since both parents emigrated from Germany, Hexter grew up speaking German as his first language.  He worked as a newsboy, selling in all parts of Cincinnati including the red light district.

 Hexter graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1912. He considered a career as a political science professor but was advised against it because of his religion. Through his work teaching English at the Jewish Settlement House, Hexter became interested in a career in social work.  In 1913, he entered the office of the United Jewish Charities of Cincinnati, directed by Dr. Boris Bogen. Hexter became the director of the Federation of Jewish Charities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1914 before returning to Cincinnati to succeed Bogen as superintendent in 1916.

 When the opportunity came to move to Boston, as the Executive Director of the Federation of Jewish Charities in 1919, Hexter readily accepted. He stayed until 1929, serving simultaneously as an instructor in Social Ethics at Harvard. He received a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from Harvard in 1924.  Hexter also served during this period as a representative of the United Jewish Campaign commission investigating conditions in Russia and Eastern Europe as well as a special investigator in Mexico for the Emergency Committee on Jewish Refugees.
Accompanying him on his trip to Russia was Jacob Billikopf, son-in-law of Louis Marshall.

 Hexter's work as the secretary of the Joint Palestine Survey Committee (1927-1929) led him to develop a stronger interest in Palestine. In 1929,  Hexter was appointed as a non-Zionist member of the Council of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, although he resigned that same year to become a member of the Executive of the Agency. He remained with the Agency until 1938.   Hexter moved to Jerusalem in 1929 to direct the Palestine Emergency Fund. During 1930-31 he was heavily involved in the negotiating committee with the British cabinet.  In 1935, he took over as head of the Agency's colonization department.

 Following his return to the United States, Hexter was the assistant to Dr. Solomon Lowenstein, Executive Vice-President for the New York Federation for the Support of Jewish  Philanthropic Societies. By 1941, Hexter had become co-executive vice-president with Joseph Willen.  After 1967, he remained active as a consultant to the Federation. Hexter was a key figure in establishing social work schools at Hunter College, Brandeis University and Yeshiva University. In later years, he received acclaim as a sculptor.

 Maurice Hexter married Marguerite Mock, whom he met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 11, 1921. They had one daughter, Marjorie Hexter Cohen, born in 1930.

 Maurice Hexter died October 28, 1990 in New York City.  In that same year, his autobiography (co-written with Murray Teigh Bloom) entitled Life Size was published by Phoenix Publishing.


 The Maurice Beck Hexter Papers consist of correspondence, telegrams and other materials relating to Zionism, the development of Palestine, and the Balfour Declaration. Correspondents include Felix Warburg, Joseph Hyman and Chaim Weizmann. The records are divided into two (2) series:

 SERIES A. CORRESPONDENCE, 1929-38,  consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence of Maurice Beck Hexter during his period in Jerusalem as the Director of the Palestine Emergency Fund, supervisor of rebuilding homes and a negotating member with the British Cabinet.  This series consists of 4.5 Hollinger boxes. Topics include his work in Jerusalem, the international funding backing the Palestine project, Zionism, the Hope-Simpson report and the Balfour Declaration.  Over half of the correspondence is with Felix M. Warburg.  The correspondence includes letters, cablegrams, and reports enclosed in letters. The folders are arranged alphabetically according to the correspondent's name. Within each folder, the arrangement is chronological.

 SERIES B. MISCELLANEOUS. 1929-1938, undated, consists of reports and other materials related to Maurice B. Hexter's stay in Palestine. This series consists of .5 Hollinger boxes. It includes reports on Palestine, information relating to a October 1929 Testimonial Dinner and other memorabilia.


Box  Folder    Contents

Series A: Correspondence, 1929-38.

1       1               EMICA. 1932-34.
        2               Hyman, Joseph C.  1931-33.
        3               Jewish Agency for Palestine [Weizmann/Warburg correspondence]. 1929.
        4               Jewish Agency for Palestine. January - April 1930.
        5               Jewish Agency for Palestine. May - September 1930.
        6               Jewish Agency for Palestine. October - December 1930.
        7               Jewish Agency for Palestine. 1931.
        8               Jewish Colonization Society. 1932.

2       1               Jewish Colonization Society. 1933.
        2               Warburg, Felix [with Hexter]. 1929-30.
        3               Warburg, Felix. 1931-33.
        4               Warburg, Felix and Family. 1937-38.     
        5               Warburg, Felix. Misc. Cablegrams and Correspondence. 
        6               Warburg, Felix.  January - April 1930.
        7               Warburg, Felix.  May - September 1930.

3       1               Warburg, Felix. October - December 1930.
        2               Warburg, Felix. January - April 1931.
        3               Warburg, Felix. May - December 1931.
        4               Warburg, Felix. 1932.
        5               Warburg, Felix. 1933.
        6               Warburg, Felix. 1934.
        7               Warburg, Felix. January - June 1935.
        8               Warburg, Felix. July - December 1935.
4       1               Warburg, Felix.  January - March 1936.
        2               Warburg, Felix. April - September 1936.
        3               Warburg, Felix. October - December 1936.
        4               Warburg, Felix. January - March 1937.
        5               Warburg, Felix. April - June 1937.
        6               Warburg, Felix. July - August 1937.
        7               Warburg, Felix. September - December 1937.

Series B: Miscellaneous, 1928-1938; n.d.

5       1               General Correspondence
        2               Reports on Palestine. 1928., undated
        3               Testimonial Dinner. October 1929.
        4               Miscellaneous.
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