Access and Provenance

Institutional Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

A Finding Aid to the

Kooperman and Kooperman Records on the Jewish Agricultural Society, Inc. Loans

Manuscript Collection No. 758

1921-1963. 2.29 Linear ft.


The Kooperman and Kooperman Records on the Jewish Agricultural Society, Inc. Loans were donated to the American Jewish Archives by Professor Lewis Gilnert of Dartmouth College in May 2009.

All property rights have been assigned to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to materials in the collection 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 collection is open to all users and available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


The law firm of Kooperman and Kooperman consisted of a husband-and-wife legal team, Joseph and Ethel Kooperman, who were primarily real estate attorneys. Joseph Kooperman was a transplant from New York City. He was admitted to the bar in 1917, and had been recruited to Woodridge, New York by the fire insurance co-op in the early 1920s, after his work with the Brooklyn tenants’ movement. As attorneys in Woodridge and then Ellenville, New York, the Koopermans helped farmers obtain mortgages throughout the difficult times of the 1930s and after.

Joseph Kooperman was a charter member of the board of directors of the Inter-County Farmers’ Cooperative Association, Inc. (Inter-County), which was formed by the Jewish Agricultural Society and individual farmers in order to meet the farmers’ needs during the Great Depression. This group, started in the mid-1930s, bought and milled feed cooperatively. Kooperman handled legalities for Inter-County and obtained its state charter. Inter-County was very successful and pulled Jewish farmers in the Catskills through the worst of the Depression.

Kooperman was also a successful fundraiser for the United Jewish Appeal. He was labeled a communist in the 1930s, and was endorsed for State Senator by the American Labor Party in July 1946. In May 1947, Joseph Kooperman was elected president of the Ellenville Bar Association. Later in life, Kooperman established a scholarship fund for high school graduates who had low grades but were willing to try to make a fresh start in college; it was known as the Joe Kooperman Educational Fund, and was financed by donations from local business and fundraisers.

In their work with the Jewish Agricultural Society, Inc., the Koopermans performed loan closings, property searches, continuation searches and abstracts, took depositions, wrote reports and affidavits of title, drew real estate mortgages, and performed other necessary functions. The Jewish Agricultural Society, Inc., was very involved in the region that the Koopermans served, as the Catskills ended up having the largest population of Jewish farmers in the United States in the early twentieth century. This was an unplanned settlement, unlike the colonies in New Jersey.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Sullivan and Ulster Counties in New York began to see an increase in farm settlements and summer resort trade. This was probably due to the proximity of the lower Catskills to New York City, where cold milk could easily be shipped. Early Jewish farmers in the area were Eastern European immigrants, who came to the United States, settled in New York City, and then moved out to farm. In the Ellenville area the soil and weather conditions were not totally favorable for farming, but the region was a favorite spot for Jews seeking to begin farming because of its proximity to New York City and its large Jewish population (which led to a better social and religious life).

The Jewish Agricultural Society (JAS) was established in 1900 as the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society (the name was changed in 1922). The JAS was originally financed by grants from the Baron de Hirsch Fund and the Jewish Colonization Association. In 1914, the Fund became its sole supporter. The JAS made loans to farmers and provided agricultural instruction through an extension service, using agents to teach farming skills. The JAS also did industrial aid work through the mass relocation of immigrants from east coast cities to smaller towns across the country; the Industrial Removal Organization took over these duties in 1901.

The JAS opened a regional office in Ellenville in 1919 (the office closed in 1945). The JAS ran into difficulty during the depression, as those already farming needed the Society’s assistance, as did those unemployed in the city who were looking to begin farming. Furthermore, loan funds were low because repayment of debt was low. Often, the JAS could not provide much actual financial help; it was able to make a difference through education, community service, and small second mortgages. In 1972 the JAS was disbanded and its surviving projects were once again incorporated into the larger mission of the Baron de Hirsch Fund.)

Much of the information in the institutional sketch came from Jewish farmers of the Catskills : a Century of Survival by Abraham D. Lavender and Clarence B. Steinberg (University Press of Florida, 1995).

Related AJA Collections

PC-416 Blaustein, Joseph - Superintendent of the Jewish Agricultural Society
Agricultural Nearprint Special Topics box (includes file on the Jewish Agricultural Society)
For more information on the Jewish Agricultural Society, please see the Records of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, undated, 1819-1991 (bulk 1882-1935), *I-80, at the American Jewish Historical Society.


The Kooperman and Kooperman Records on the Jewish Agricultural Society, Inc. Loans consist mostly of records documenting the law firm’s correspondence with the Jewish Agricultural Society, individuals receiving loans, and other stakeholders such as banks and insurance companies. The files also contain records of mortgages and property insurance, as well as continuation searches, abstracts and reports of title, and affidavits of title. This collection reveals the inner workings of how The Jewish Agricultural Society, Inc., made loans to Jewish farmers in the early and mid twentieth century. It documents specific individuals who were assisted in the Catskills region of New York State, and how those individuals used the money loaned. The records document what steps were taken to secure the loans and to close the loans. Although the collection covers only a small geographic area, it is representative of the broader work that the JAS was conducting. The collection has been arranged alphabetically by the last name of the individual receiving or closing a loan.


Box	Folder	Contents
1	1	Bakal, Aaron and Lena.  1951-1952.  
1	2	Baliba, Bessie (Esther) and Gorstein, Louis and Asna.  1937-1938.  
1	3	Barnabell, Abraham, Lerner, Max and Singer, Dora.  1955.  
1	4	Berkey, Ralph and Sadie.  1950-1955.  
1	5	Cohen, Joseph.  1939.  
1	6	Curran, Elizabeth M.  1938-1939.  
1	7	Deutsch, Joseph, Samuel and Sarah.  1941-1946.  
1	8	Dryer, Benjamin.  1941-1947.  
1	9	Dwash, Mordko and Lena.  1953-1955.  
1	10	Eis, Isaac and Rebecca.  1949-1950.  
1	11	Epstein, Elias and Jennie.  1942.  
1	12	Esther Brook Dairy Farm.  1934.  
1	13	Freidman, Irwin and Anna.  1954.  
1	14	Frydman, Henry.  1953.  
1	15	Gainen, Nathan A. and Belle.  1945.  
1	16	Gibber, Louis.  1943.  
1	17	Ginsberg, Charles.  1934.  

2	1	Ginsburg, Jacob and Esther.  1950.  
2	2	Glasser, Isidore.  1941.  
2	3	Goldfarb, Ralph and Goldie.  1952.  
2	4	Goldfarb, Ralph and Goldie.1951-1953.  
2	5	Goldin, Sam and Rose.  1940-1952.  
2	6	Goldsmith, Herman.  1939.  
2	7	Golub (Gollub), Fay.  1941-1942.  
2	8	Gonick, Samuel and Rebecca.  1948-1949.  
2	9	Goodman, Anna.  1938-1945.  
2	10	Gross, Paul and Helen.  1953.  
2	11	Hammerman, Sam.  1943-1946.  
2	12	Jacobwitz (Jakubowicz), Solomon and Frieda and Perle, Bendet.  1951-1957.  
2	13	Jaffe, Elias and Fannie.  1939, 1956.
2	14	Kadfowitz, Isaac.  1934.  
2	15	Kagan, Abraham and Sarah.  1943-1952.  
2	16	Kamens, Robert, and Sadie and Lane, Martin.  1950.  
2	17	Kestecher, Rubin and Bennie.  1935-1952.  

3	1	Kovinsky, Rose.  1941-1942.  
3	2	Krassoff, Max and Dora.  1952.  
3	3	Krevat, Morris and Anna and Krevat, Goldie.  1938-1941.  
3	4	Kross, Julius.  1938.  
3	5	Kurlander, Abraham and Anna.  1944-1945.  
3	6	Lipsky, Irving and Edith.  1952-1955.  
3	7	Litwak, Jack, and Litwak, Kitty.  1942-1952.
3	8	Miller, Bessie.  1937-1944.  
3	9	Mulqueen, John F. and Jane T.  1921-1934.  
3	10	Noonan, Martin A.  1953.  
3	11	Osborne, Alexander,  Ethel, Zachary.  1933-1934.  
3	12	Pacht, Louis and Mary.  1943.  

4	1	Piccoult, Jack.  1934-1939.  
4	2	Pollack, Ben.  1934-1943.  
4	3	Pudzinski, Israel and Met, Chaim.  1949-1950.  
4	4	Rabinowitz, Boris and Beatrice, and Topcyzk, Jankiel.  1952-1958.  
4	5	Resnick, Samuel and Fannie Blum.  1946.  
4	6	Rosen, Julius.  1942-1948.  
4	7	Rosenthal, Harold.  1962.  
4	8	Roth, Meyer and Roth, Morris and Bertha.  1955-1963.  
4	9	Sarsky, Anne and Sraibman, Morris.1939.  
4	10	Schordine, Frank and Adele and Le Boeuf, Rennie.  1958-1962.  

5	1	Seifer, Pearl, and Tuttle, Arthur and Dorothy.  1946-1952.  
5	2	Shapiro, Sam.  1939-1940.  
5	3	Sherman, Sam and Hashomer Hatzair, Inc.  1944-1947.  
5	4	Shimm, Morton and Rose.  1954-1958.  
5	5	Shor (Shore), William and Sadie.  1938-1939.  
5	6	Shostack, Dora.  1942-1943.  
5	7	Silk, Frank and Sylvia.  1951-1955.  
5	8	Tennenbaum, Samuel.  1935-1949.  
5	9	Thatcher, Lewis M. and Virginia.  1929-1934.  
5	10	Tinkelman, Harry.  1932.  
5	11	Van Gelden, Max.  1939-1940.
6	1	Wagner, Sam and Harry.  1939.  
6	2	Wein, Harry (Jerry).  1937.  
6	3	Weinbaum, Charles.  1939-1944.  
6	4	Winegar (Vinegar), Sarah, and Winegar, Morris and Sadie.  1943.  
6	5	Worth, Kenneth and Rosalind.  1952-1955. 
6	6	Zafir, Arthur and Anna.  1952-1955.  
6	7	Zaltzman, Gerszon and Dwoyra.  1955-1956.  
6	8	Zucker, Celia.  1934.  
6	9	Miscellaneous Mortgages, Correspondence, and Notes.  1924-1951, undated.  
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