Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing


A Finding Aid to the

Sefton D. Temkin Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 738

1932-1994. 4.4 Linear ft.


The Sefton D. Temkin Papers were donated in 2006 by Mark Raider, professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Property rights to the materials are held by the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights to materials authored by Sefton Temkin are held by the Temkin heirs, others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives.

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


Sefton D. Temkin was born in Manchester, England on June 7, 1917. He graduated from the University of Liverpool with a LLB in Law and an M.A. in Modern History. In 1965, he received a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Temkin began his career as a legal editor in 1939 and became a practicing barrister-at-law in 1952. He also lectured for two years in law and government at Flintshire Technical College. While still living in England, he held the position of Secretary of the Anglo-Jewish Association of London. In this position from 1943-1951 he worked to secure Jewish rights after the Second World War and attended several United Nations events.

Temkin came to the United States on a four-year fellowship from Hebrew Union College in 1959. During this time, he lectured on English legal history and international affairs at the University of Cincinnati. He lectured at Boston University during the 1967-1968 academic year. Temkin became a professor of Jewish History at the State University of New York in Albany in 1970 and later reached emeritus status.

While studying at Hebrew Union College, Temkin became interested in the life of Isaac M. Wise. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on Wise and also authored several scholarly articles, including the article in Encyclopaedia Judaica on Wise. He later completed extensive work on a biography of Wise. Most of his research was done at the American Jewish Archives. The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization published his monograph titled Isaac M. Wise: Shaping American Judaism in 1992

Temkin published throughout his long legal and historical career. He contributed to London’s The Jewish Chronicle and “Halsbury’s Laws of England.” Temkin’s work also appeared in the American Jewish Yearbook. He edited the Encyclopaedia Judaica from 1969-1970 and served as managing editor of Jewish Social Studies through the Conference on Jewish Social Studies. In 1970, Temkin published, His Own Torah: Selected Papers and Sermons of Felix A. Levy as a memorial to Felix A. Levy. His German translation, “The New World of Reform” appeared in 1973, also with an introduction.

Temkin was also a member of several professional organizations including the American Historical Association, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Jewish Historical Society of England and the Yiddish Scientific Institute. He also served on the board of Jewish Education in Albany and was a member of the Commission on Jewish Studies that worked with higher learning institutions through the American Association for Jewish Education. He also traveled and lectured around the world.

Sefton D. Temkin died in 1996 at age 79.


The SEFTON D. TEMKIN PAPERS contain papers relating to the professional career of Sefton D. Temkin, a professor and writer of Jewish History. Temkin received degrees in his native England and came to the United States on a fellowship from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Temkin served as a professor at the State University of New York at Albany and researched the life of Jews in the Albany area. The majority of the collection focuses on material related to Temkin’s book Isaac M. Wise: Shaping American Judaism. This material spans several decades and includes notes, research material and some related correspondence. It appears in the Isaac M. Wise series, which is six Hollinger boxes.

Temkin also completed a volume memorializing Felix A. Levy. Correspondence, research material and writings about this volume and Levy are contained in the Felix A. Levy series. Finally, the subject files series contains material related to other aspects of Temkin’s career. Included are drafts and notes on Temkin’s other research projects, teaching materials and syllabi, as well as other writings, including additional material on Isaac M. Wise. The collection span dates are 1932-1994.

The papers are divided into three (3) series:


SERIES A. ISAAC M. WISE. The manuscript material series consists of six Hollinger boxes of material that contain information about Temkin’s book Isaac M. Wise: Shaping American Judaism. In this series are notes and a large amount of primary source research material consulted by Temkin such as letters and copies of Jewish newspapers, particularly the American Israelite. Temkin photocopied this from various sources, including the American Jewish Archives. The majority of this research material is not annotated by Temkin. Relevant correspondence is also contained in some files. The series is arranged roughly by the order the material appears in the published version of Isaac M. Wise: Shaping American Judaism based on files with titles similar to subject headings in the book. Research material appears last. Span dates are 1960-1992.

SERIES B. FELIX A. LEVY. The Felix A. Levy series consists of one Hollinger box of material regarding the Felix A. Levy Memorial volume His Own Torah: Selected Papers and Sermons of Felix A. Levy that Temkin wrote. The series is arranged alphabetically. Span dates are 1935-1968.

SERIES C. SUBJECT FILES. The Subject Files series contains four Hollinger boxes material related to other aspects of Temkin’s career, such as his teaching and other research projects, especially regarding Jews in the Albany, New York and Boston areas. Of particular interest may be his research into Herbert Hoover’s relationship with Jews as well as additional writings on Isaac M. Wise and finally the file that contains Temkin’s other writings from 1962-1981. Span dates are 1932-1994.

Related AJA Collections

Levy, Felix A. Papers, 1913-1960. Manuscript Collections. MS-249.

Temkin, Sefton D. Photographs. 1 folder, b&w. PC-4502.


Series A. Isaac M. Wise.

1	1	Bohemia. Toronto. 1984.
	2	Bohemia. Wise as a Bohemian. Pages 1-19. 
	3	Czechoslovakia. 1961-1962.
	4	Bohemia. Dietante. Erhman. n.d.
	5	1846-1854. Including Correspondence. 1960-1980.
	6	1846-1854. n.d.
	7	1846-1854. n.d. 
	8	Albany. 1975. 
	9	Albany and New York. Research Material and Notes. n.d.
	10	Albany Jewish Community. 1976.
	11	Allegemeine Zeitung des Judenthums. n.d.
	12	Beth Elohim, Charleston, South Carolina. n.d.

2	1	1854-1875. n.d.
	2	1854-1875. n.d.
	3	Post 1854. n.d.	
	4	1854-1873. Footnotes. n.d.
	5	1854-1875 Footnotes, Additional. n.d.
	6	Pre 1873. n.d.
	7	Post 1875. 1980s, n.d.
	8	Post 1875. 1970s, 1980s.
	9	Post 1875. n.d.
	10	Wise, Isaac M. and the Civil War. n.d.
	11	Miscellaneous. Including Philadelphia Conference and American Israelite	Copies. n.d.

3	1	19th Century. n.d.
	2	Die Deborah. Revised. 1978. 
	3	Writings and Research Material. 1977, n.d.
	4	Writings and Research Material. n.d.
	5	Correspondence. 1961-1962.
	6	Correspondence. 1985, 1991-1992.
	7	Correspondence. American Jewish Archives. 1975-1980.
	8	Correspondence. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. 1990-1992.
	9	Correspondence. Oxford Press. 1977.
	10	Footnotes. n.d.
	11	Footnotes. 1819-1854. n.d. 
	12	Footnotes. Correspondence. 1986.
	13	Index. 1992.
	14	Miscellaneous. n.d.
	15	Miscellaneous. n.d.
	16	Miscellaneous. n.d.
	17	Miscellaneous. Notes and Footnotes.1977.
	18	Miscellaneous. Notes and Footnotes. n.d.
	19	Outline. Notes from Conversation with J.R.M. June 1960.
	20	Preface. n.d.

4	1	Secondary Sources. A Bicentennial Festschrift for Jacob Rader Marcus. 1976.
	2	Secondary Sources. Intimate Sketches of Isaac M. Wise. n.d
	3	Secondary Sources. Marcus, Jacob R. 1976, n.d.
	4	Secondary Sources. Temple Berith Sholom. 1966.
	5	Secondary Sources. The Theology of Isaac Mayer Wise by Andrew F. Key. Monographs of the American Jewish 	

		Archives. 1962.
	6	Research Material. Letters. n.d.
	7	Research Material. Letters. Wise and Family. n.d.
	8	Research Material. Letters. Wise and Lesser. n.d.
	9	Research Material. Miscellaneous Copies. n.d.
	10	Research Material. Miscellaneous Copies and Correspondence. 1962, n.d.
	11	Research Material. Miscellaneous Copies. n.d.
	12	Research Material. American Israelite, Union of American Hebrew Congregations. AJA Copies. n.d.
	13	Research Material. Miscellaneous Copies. n.d.

5	1	Research Material. Miscellaneous. n.d.
	2	Research Material. Miscellaneous. n.d.
	3	Research Material. Miscellaneous. n.d.
	4	Research Material. Footnotes. n.d.
	5	Research Material. Footnotes. n.d.
	6	Research Material. Phillipson Diary. Copy. n.d.
	7	Research Material. Sonneschein Letters. n.d.
	8	Research Material. Post 1875. n.d.
	9	Research Material. Post 1875. n.d.
	10	Research Material. Allegemeine Zeitung. Copies. n.d.
	11	Research Material. American Hebrew. Copies. n.d.

6	1	Research Material. American Israelite. n.d.		
	2	Research Material. American Israelite Cover. n.d. 
	3	Research Material. Asmonean. Copies. n.d.
	4	Research Material. Die Deborah. Copies. n.d.
	5	Research Material. Die Deborah. Translations and Copies. n.d.
	6	Research Material. Die Deborah. Translations and Copies. n.d.
	7	Research Material. Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly. Copies. n.d.
	8	Research Material. Jewish Newspapers. Copies. n.d. 
	9	Research Material. Rabbiner-Conferenz. Philadelphia. Copy. n.d.

Series B. Felix A. Levy.

7	1	Biographical Sketch. Draft. 1967.
	2	Biographical Sketch. Second Copy. 1967.
	3	Memorial Volume. Correspondence. 1965-1968. 
	4	Memorial Volume. Correspondence. 1965-1968.
	5	Memorial Volume. Draft. n.d.
	6	Memorial Volume. Miscellaneous. 1935-1938. n.d.
	7	Revelation. 1956, n.d.
	8	Story of Jewish Philosophy, The. 1963.

Series C. Subject Files. 
8	1	Addresses. 
	2	Albany. The Adjustment of Soviet Jewish Immigrants in the
		Albany, N.Y. Area. Research Report. 1983.
	3	Albany. Anti-Semitism. Zimmerman, Ira. Paper. 1977.
	4	Albany, Jewish Communal Survey of. 1947.
	5	Albany. Jewish Federation. 1975, 1985.
	6	Albany. Jews. 1975, 1981, n.d.
	7	Albany. The Jews in Albany 1655-1914. Louis Silver. n.d.
	8	Ancient Period. n.d.
	9	Biographical Material and Curriculum Vitae. 1970-1975, 1982-1983.
	10	Blessings of the Sabbath. n.d.
	11	Boston. Article. 1968.
	12	Correspondence. American Historical Society. 1966.
	13	Correspondence. Kraut, Benny. Kraut MS. 1980.  	
	14	Correspondence. Marcus, Jacob R. to Others. 1934.
	15	Curriculum. Jewish Federation. 1973.   	
	16	Grant Applications. 1973, 1984.
	17	Hebrew Union College Syllabus. Jewish History VI: A Survey of Jewish History. 1976-1977.
	18	Hoover, Herbert and Jews. n.d.

9	1	Jewish Community in New York. n.d.
	2	Jewish History. 1984.
	3	Modern Religious and Political Movements. n.d.
	4	Nationalism. 1980. 
	5	New World. n.d.
	6	Owensboro Sermons. 1932-1934.
	7	Raider, Mark. n.d.
	8	Teaching. Correspondence. 1982.
	9	Teaching. Course Materials. 1970, 1979. 
	10	Teaching. Holocaust. 1979.
	11	Teaching. Holocaust. Seminar and Symposium. 1977, 1979.
	12	Teaching. Post- Holocaust Jewish World. 1978, 1984.
	13	Teaching. Zionism. 1973-1982. 
	14	Teaching. Zionism. 1976-1980.
	15	Teaching. Zionism. 1976-1980. 
	16	Temple Emanuel. 1968. 
	17	Temple Emanuel. Congregation Minutes. Book 4. n.d.
	18	Toronto. Isaac Mayer Wise. Bohemian Seed and American Fruit. 1984.  

10	1	Union of American Hebrew Congregations. n.d.
	2	West London Synagogue of British Jews. Meeting Minutes. 1991.
	3	Wise, Isaac M. 1994. 
	4	Wise, Isaac M. Bohemian Seed and American Fruit. 1984.
	5	Writings, Pamphlets by Temkin, Sefton. 1962-1981.
	6	Writings. Table of Contents. Pages 3-158. n.d.
	7	Writings. Pages 159-300. n.d.
	8	Writings. Pages. 301-450. n.d

11	1	Writings. Pages. 451-563. n.d.
	2	Writings. Pages. 564-704. n.d.
	3	Writings. Pages. 705-855. n.d.
	4	Writings. Pages. 856-905. n.d.
	5	Writings. Article and Speech. 1972-1973. 
	6	Writings. Footnotes. n.d.
	7	Zionism. Letter to Duker, A.G. 1972.   

Copyright © 2006 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives