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Inventory of the Simonhoff Family Papers, circa 1904-1983

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Choir books, photographs, publications and other papers of the Simonhoff family. Materials primarily relate to Jacob J. Simonhoff and his work as a cantor. Also included are materials relating to his sons Harry and Samuel Simonhoff, and daughter-in-law, Lillian C. Simonhoff.
Title: Simonhoff family papers
Creator: Simonhoff family
Date(s): circa 1904-1983  
Extent: 0.4 linear feet
(1 document box, 1 oversize folder)
Repository: Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Mss 1100
Language of Material: Materials in English and Hebrew

Biographical Note

Jacob J. Simonhoff (1862-1950), native of Lithuania, was an authority on Jewish religious music and composed a variety of liturgical music. He immigrated to the United States in 1893 and served as the first cantor of Ahavas Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1901, Simonhoff was hired as cantor of Brith Sholom in Charleston, South Carolina, and remained in the position until moving to New York in 1922. There he served Congregation Talmud Torah Moses before retiring to Miami Beach, Florida, in 1932.

Harry Simonhoff (1890-1966), son of Jacob J. and Jenny Simonhoff, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Charleston in 1917. He earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1919 and completed a special studies program at the Harvard University Law School in 1920. After his studies, Simonhoff returned to Charleston to begin his private law practice. From 1921 to 1922, he served two terms as a representative in the South Carolina State Legislature. Harry Simonhoff was also a published author; his works include Under Strange Skies (1953), The Chosen One (1964), Saga of American Jewry, 1865-1914 (1959), and Tolerance in Carolina in 1697 (1966). His last work, And Abram Journeyed (1967), was published after his death.

Lillian C. Simonhoff (1901-1984), wife of Jacob J. Simonhoff's second son Samuel, was born in the state of Georgia, and moved to Charleston as a teenager. Samuel and Lillian were wed in 1925. The couple had four children: Joy Epstein (1926- ), Elaine Ehrenkranz (1930-2008), Michael Simonhoff (1937- ), and Sherna Simonhoff Brody (1942- ). Samuel Simonhoff (1896-1980) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. After completing high school, Simonhoff served for one year in the United States Army. He then attended the College of Charleston on a scholarship and in 1921 received a law degree from the University of South Carolina.

Collection Overview

Choir books, photographs, publications, and other papers of the Simonhoff family, particularly Jacob J. Simonhoff, cantor of Brith Sholom in Charleston, South Carolina. The collection includes Simonhoff's handwritten choir books for alto, tenor, soprano, and bass as well as two publications by Lillian C. Simonhoff: an autobiography and a memoir about her husband, Samuel Simonhoff.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.


    • Simonhoff, Jacob J.
    • Simonhoff, Harry
    • Simonhoff, Lillian C., 1901-1984
    • Simonhoff, Samuel, 1896-1980
    • Simonhoff family


    • Cantors (Judaism)--South Carolina--Charleston
    • Jewish authors

    Types of Material

    • Choirbooks
    • Black-and-white photographs
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Publications

    Related Resources

    Related Material

    Related materials in Special Collections include Metered Rhymes (2002) by Samuel Simonhoff and The Chosen One (1964), And Abram Journeyed (1967), and the pamphlets Tolerance in Carolina in 1697 (1966), Two men of Columbus, Ga: The son, Albert Moses Luria, Civil War casualty at 19; the father, Raphael Jacob Moses, at the deathbed of the Confederacy (1962), Reformer Gustavus Poznanski of Charleston, S.C (1960), Lt. Meyer M. Cohen in the Seminole War (1960), Isaac Harby: 1824 (1959), David Camden De Leon: 1846 (1959), Sheftall of Savannah Georgia: 1819 (1958), Edwin De Leon: Confederate Agent, 1865 (1959), Solomon Heydenfeldt: A Charlestonian Who Became Justice of California Supreme Court (195?), Jacob Henry: 1809 Legislator of North Carolina (195?), Jacob Mordecai: 1810 (195?), and Judah P. Benjamin: Statesmen Jurist, 1863 (195?) by Harry Simonhoff.

    Separated Material

    Metered Rhymes (2002) by Samuel Simonhoff and And Abram Journeyed (1967) by Harry Simonhoff have been separated and individually cataloged in the College of Charleston's online catalog.


    Choir books, 1926, undated

    Handwritten choir books, undated   folder 1

    Individual books for alto, tenor, soprano, and bass.

    Songs of Praise, Psalms 113, 116, 118, 1926   folder 2

    Published score for cantor and mixed choir composed by Jacob J. Simonhoff.

    Photographs, circa 1904-1960s

    Jacob J. Simonhoff, circa 1904-1940s   folder 3

    Portrait of Harry Simonhoff, 1960s
    (JHC oversize box 3 | Simonhoff folder)

    Family portrait, circa 1904
    (JHC oversize box 3 | Simonhoff folder)

    Photocopied family portrait of, left to right, Harry Simonhoff, Fannie Simonhoff, Jenny Simonhoff, Etta Simonhoff, Samuel Simonhoff, Jacob J. Simonhoff, and Rose Simonhoff.

    Clippings and publications, 1939-1983, undated

    Jacob J. Simonhoff, 1950, undated   folder 4

    Includes several photocopied newspaper obituaries and material related to his tenure at Ahavas Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia.

    The Day, 1939   folder 5

    Hebrew language newspaper.

    The Day, 1939
    (JHC oversize box 3 | Simonhoff folder)

    As I Remember Sam, 1983   folder 6

    Memoir about Samuel Simonhoff by Lillian C. Simonhoff.

    Reminiscences, 1975   folder 7

    Memoir of Lillian C. Simonhoff's life and travels.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    This collection is open for research.

    Copyright Notice

    The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

    The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Simonhoff family papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Materials were donated in 2009 by Sherna Simonhoff Brody.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Joshua Minor, November 2011.

    Encoded by Joshua Minor, January 2012.

    Reviewed, edited, and uploaded by Martha McTear, January 2012.

    Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.

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