Abraham Friedland Papers
Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

Subject Tracings

A Finding Aid to the

Abraham Friedland Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 741

1927-1944 3.6 Linear ft.


The Bureau of Jewish Education in Cleveland, Ohio donated that part of the Abraham Friedland Papers which consists of correspondence in 1958.  The portion of the collection made up of unpublished children’s songs, stories and poems was donated by Friedland’s daughter, Aviva Polish, in 1990. All property rights are assigned to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to materials authored by Dr. Friedland are held by the Friedland heirs. Literary rights to materials authored by others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives.

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


Abraham Friedland was born on July 1, 1892 near Vilna (Vilnius) in Lithuania.  He and his parents, Moses Friedland and Leah Danishevsky Friedland, immigrated to the United States in 1907.  Educated at Yeshiva College and Columbia University, Friedland founded the National Hebrew School (NHS) of New York, a Jewish school for girls, in 1910.  During the ten years he spent as the school’s director, Friedland developed a theory of Jewish education that placed great emphasis upon learning Hebrew and its literature.  His list of “basic words” – words needed in order to gain a basic understanding of the Torah – was still in use decades later.  The girls who attended NHS lived what they learned, since they boarded at the school.  Abraham and his wife, Yonina, served as role models for their students, many of whom went on to become teachers of   Hebrew themselves.  Friedland was himself the father of a daughter, Aviva.

Beginning in 1921, he assumed the post of superintendent of Cleveland Hebrew Schools, and in 1924 he was appointed the first director of the Cleveland Bureau of Jewish Education.  He was invited to become the Director of Education in Palestine in 1926, but his already deep commitment to the Jewish community in Cleveland caused him to decline the offer.  Friedland’s organizational involvement would have daunted anyone with less resolve: he was president of the regional Zionist Organization of America,  president and member of the executive committee of the National Council of Jewish Education, and founder of the Jewish Youth League.  A firm believer in Hebraic fluency, he was a long-time member and supporter of Histadruth Ivrith.

Friedland’s love for the written word expressed itself most prolifically in his writing for children.  His co-authors included Emanuel Gamoran and Solomon Goldman.  One of his many goals for the improvement of Jewish education was the writing of more readable and interesting textbooks.  He published the Hash’vil (Path) for children, developed the series Gilenu, or The Play Way to Hebrew, and wrote Sippurim Yafim (Beautiful Stories) for children to read for enjoyment.   Never one to idle away the time, he also wrote three hundred folk songs, fifty articles about a visit to Palestine, and forty popular articles about Jewish poets and philosophers.

Cleveland was known for both the friendliness and activism of its Zionist community.  This was due in large part to Abraham Friedland’s ability to create “mishpacha” (family) wherever he was.  Though his health took a turn for the worse during the middle of the 1930’s, Friedland continued his active support for the nascent state of Israel.  The last three years of Friedland’s life were years of suffering for him, as he battled an undiagnosable, incurable disease that caused him terrible pain and debilitating fatigue.  Even so, he continued his passionate interest in writing poetry in Hebrew, the third volume of which appeared shortly after his death in 1939. 


The Abraham Friedland Papers consist of correspondence and unpublished songs, stories and poems for children.  They are divided into four series.

SERIES A.  Correspondence.  Arranged by Destination.
SERIES B.  Correspondence.  Arranged by organization recipient.
SERIES C.  Correspondence.  Arranged by correspondent, subject, or event.
SERIES D.  Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.

All four series include documents written in both English and Hebrew, SERIES D being the exception, as it is written entirely in Hebrew.  Friedland’s idiosyncratic filing system, with its emphasis on organizations and locations rather than on people, is generally arranged with the most recent dates in the front of the folder and the least recent in back.  He would occasionally become confused on this point, however, so that sometimes the reverse is true.  Unpublished materials have been arranged as found.

The subject tracings, which can be found after the Box and Folder List, reference 19 organizations with which Friedland was affiliated, as well as the names of individuals.


Box	Folder	Contents

SERIES A.  Correspondence.  1927-1940.
Arrangement: by destination.

1	1	New York.  1927-1931.
	2	New York.  1932.
	3	New York.  1933.
	4	New York.  1934.
	5	New York.  1934-1935.
	6	New York.  1936.

2	1	New York.  1936-1937.
	2	New York.  1937.
3		New York.  1936-1938.
	4	New York.  1939.
	5	Philadelphia.  1929-1934.
	6	Philadelphia.  1935-1936.
	7	Philadelphia.  1936-1939.

3	1	Cincinnati.  1927-1932.
	2	Cincinnati.  1933-1934.
	3	Cincinnati.  1935.
	4	Cincinnati.  1936.
	5	Cincinnati.  1937.
	6	Cincinnati.  1938.
	7	Cincinnati.  1939.

4	1	Boston.  1929-1932.
	2	Boston.  1935-1939.
	3	Chicago.  1928-1931.
	4	Chicago.  1932-1934.
	5	Chicago.  1935-1936.
	6	Chicago.  1937.
	7	Chicago.  1938-1939.
	8	Chicago.  1939.

5	1	Akron, Ohio.  1930-1934.
	2	Akron, Ohio.  1935-1937.
	3	Baltimore.  1934-1938.
	4	Buffalo, N.Y.  1930-1936.
	5	Buffalo, N.Y.  1929-1934.
	6	Buffalo, N.Y.  1937-1938.
	7	Canada.  1937-1939.
	8	Canton, Ohio.  1936.
	9	Columbus, Ohio.  1929-1939.
	10	Dayton, Ohio.  1932-1935.
	11	Detroit.  1929-1935.
	12	Detroit.  1936-1937.
	13	Detroit.  1938-1939.
	14	Harrisburg, Pa.  1935-1936.
	15	Indianapolis.  1931.
	16	Indianapolis.  1937-1939.
	17	Los Angeles, Ca.  1935-1938.
	18	Omaha. 1938.
	19	Pittsburgh.  1930-1934.
	20	Pittsburgh.  1937-1938.
	21	St. Louis.  1935-1939.
	22	Toledo, Ohio.  1934-1939.
	23	Youngstown, Ohio.  1936-1937.
	24	Youngstown, Ohio.  1938-1939.

6	1	Cleveland.  1934-1937
	2	Cleveland.  1935.
	3	Cleveland.  1937.
	4	Cleveland.  1938-1940.
	5	Small Cities.  1929-1931.
	6	Miscellaneous.  Cleveland and Small Cities.
	7	Miscellaneous.  Small Cities.  1937.
	8	Miscellaneous.  1929-1938.
	9	Miscellaneous.  1935-1936.

SERIES B.  Correspondence.  1930-1942.
Arrangement: by organization recipients.

7	1	Avukah.  1935-1937.
	2	Bureau of Jewish Education.  1935-1938.
	3	Histadruth Ivrith.  1930-1931.
	4	Histadruth Ivrith.  1936.
	5	Histadruth Ivrith.  1938-1939.
	6	Histadruth Ivrith.  1939.
	7	Histadruth Ivrith.  1939.
	8	Histadruth Ivrith.  1939.
	9	Histadruth Ivrith Convention.  Feb. 2-5, 1939.
	10	Histadruth Ivrith.  1939-1942.
	11	National Council for Jewish Education.  1928-1938.
	12	Zionist Organization of America.  1937.
	13	Zionist Organization of America.  1938.
	14	Zionist Organization of America.  1939.

SERIES C.  Miscellaneous Correspondence. 1930-1944.
Arrangement: by correspondent, subject, or event.

8	1	Baratz Books.  April 1939.
	2	Dr. De Sauze.  Foreign Language Dept.  Bd. of Education.  1938.
	3	Educational Dinner.  1935.
	4	Emanuel, Ben Zion.  1938.
	5	Letters of Introduction and Recommendation.  1935-1939.
	6	Schub, Joseph.  1944.
	7	Shiminowitz Celebration.  March 1937.
	8	Romance of a People.  Cleveland.  1934.
	9	Teachers’ Conference.  1934-1939.
	10	Telegrams.  1935-1940.
	11	Zohar Dramatic Studio.  Cleveland.  1930.

SERIES D.  Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  In Hebrew.

	12	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	13	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.

9	1	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	2	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	3	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	4	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	5	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	6	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	7	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.
	8	Unpublished Children’s Songs and Stories.  Hebrew.    

    Note: The following list of subjects is a selective index to many of the topics and individuals in the Abraham Friedland 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 or individual nor does it try to indicate all places that a listed subject or individual 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., 2/5 means Box 2, Folder 5.

    Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago			4/3, 4/4, 4/6, 4/7, 5/4, 6/3
    Associated Talmud Torahs of Philadelphia	2/5, 2/6, 2/7
    Avukah, American Student Zionist Federation	1/5, 2/6, 7/1
    Board of Jewish Education			1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 4/6, 4/7
    Brickner, Barnett				6/1, 6/3
    Bureau of Jewish Education			1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 3/2, 3/4, 3/5, 3/6, 3/7, 
    						4/2, 4/3, 4/4, 4/5, 5/13
    College of Jewish Studies			4/4, 4/5, 4/6, 4/7, 7/8
    Commission on Jewish Education			1/3, 1/4, 3/2, 3/4, 3/5, 3/6, 3/7
    Euclid Ave. Temple				6/1, 6/2, 6/3
    Federation of Hebrew Teachers of America	2/4, 4/6
    Gamoran, Emanuel				3/2
    Goldman, Solomon				4/3, 4/4, 4/6, 4/7, 5/4, 6/3
    Golub, Jacob S.					3/2, 5/14
    Hadoar						1/1, 1/3, 1/4, 2/1, 2/3
    Histadruth Ivrith 				7/7, 7/9
    Jewish Frontier					1/6, 2/2
    Jewish National Fund of America			1/6, 2/2, 2/3, 4/6, 6/5
    Jewish Publication Society of America		2/5
    National Council for Jewish Education		1/3, 1/4, 3/4, 3/6, 7/11
    National Council of Jewish Women		1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6
    National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods	3/2, 3/4
    National Labor Committee			1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 2/2
    Young Judaea/Judaean League			1/1, 2/2, 2/3, 3/2