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Inventory of the Mendelsohn Family Papers, 1920-1968, 2001

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Photographs, eulogies, audio interview, and clippings relating to the Mendelsohn family of Charleston, South Carolina. Benjamin Mendelsohn and his wife, Fay Zamler Mendelsohn, settled in Charleston in 1907 where Benjamin operated a tailor shop on King Street and Fay later opened her own store, the Bandbox, selling women's hats and dresses. The collection also includes images of the related Bluestein family.
Title: Mendelsohn family papers
Creator: Mendelsohn family
Date(s): 1920-1968, 2001    
Extent: 2.25 linear feet
(1 slim document box,1 oversize flat box, 1 audiocassette)
Repository: Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Mss 1139
Language of Material: Materials in English

Biographical Note

Benjamin Mendelsohn (1877-1921) was born to Charlotte and Mendel Shlomo Mendelsohn in Gmina Grajewo, Poland. He married Fay Zamler Mendelsohn (1883-1967) and the couple had three children: Hannah Mendelsohn Berkman (1905-1972), Harry Mendelsohn (1906-1985), and Moses Joseph Mendelsohn (1907-1992). Benjamin immigrated to the United States sometime between 1906 and 1907 and Fay followed in 1907 with their three children. The couple settled in Charleston, South Carolina, where Benjamin opened a tailor shop at 298 King Street, making uniforms for Citadel cadets. After her husband's death in 1921, Fay remarried Sam Jaffe and in 1931 opened a small shop called the Bandbox that sold hats and dresses.

Hannah Mendelsohn married Nathan Berkman (1901-1978). Harry Mendelsohn married Dorothy Bluestein (1911-1986) and the couple had two children, Burnet Mendelsohn (1934- ) and Joseph Mendelsohn. Moses Joseph Mendelsohn married Florence Goldberg (1911-1973).

Collection Overview

The collection consists primarily of photographs of the Mendelsohn family and the related Bluestein family. The majority of images picture Harry Mendelsohn, his wife Dorothy Bluestein Mendelsohn, and Moses J. Mendelson and his wife Florence Goldberg Mendelsohn. Photographs also include other family members at weddings or events, such as the 10th anniversary of the Castle Pickney Motel and the 200th anniversary of the Hebrew Orphan Society. The collection also contains an interview recorded in 1947 by Charleston's radio station WCSC in which Fay Mendelsohn describes her immigration to the United States and the opening of her hat and dress store, the Bandbox; a typescript of Fay's eulogy; and clippings featuring Jane Mendelsohn and Bessie Bluestein.

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.


    • Mendelsohn, Benjamin
    • Mendelsohn, Fay
    • Mendelson family
    • Bluestein family


    • Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Charleston
    • Businesswomen--South Carolina--Charleston
    • Clothing trade--South Carolina--Charleston


    • Charleston (S.C.)--History

    Types of Material

    • Black-and-white photographs
    • Color photographs
    • Audiocassettes
    • Eulogies
    • Clippings (information artifacts)

    Related Material

    Related materials in Special Collections include the panel discussion, "King Street as a Classroom," (Mss 1035-366).


    Photographs, 1920-1966, 2001   box 1 | folder 1

    Contains images of two of Fay and Benjamin Mendelsohn's children and their wives: Harry Mendelsohn and his wife Dorothy, and Moses J. Mendelsohn and his wife Florence. Also includes images of Dorothy's family, the Bluesteins, as well as Bernard Mendelsohn and Edward Kornsberg, a cousin of the Bluesteins. Additional photos document events such as the 10th anniversary of the Castle Pickney Motel and the 200th anniversary of the Hebrew Orphan Society.

    Fay Mendelsohn resolution and eulogy, 1967   box 1 | folder 2

    Clippings, 1968, undated   box 1 | folder 3

    Includes photographs of Jane Mendelsohn and Bessie Bluestein's involvement in various Jewish organizations during the 1960s.

    Crayon portrait of Benjamin Mendelsohn, undated   Oversize Box 2

    "The Pearl Baum Show, Interview with Fay Zamler Mendelsohn, Recorded at WCSC in Charleston, SC, 1947," 1947   audiocassette 1139-A01
    (JHC Audiocassettes Box 3|1 Audiocassette)

    Audiocassette containing an approximately twelve minute interview with Fay Zamler Mendelsohn on immigrating to the United States and starting her own clothing and hat business.

    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], Mendelsohn family papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Materials were donated in 2012 by Burnet and Jane Mendelsohn.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Amy Lazarus, November 2015.

    Encoded by Amy Lazarus, November 2015.

    Reviewed and uploaded by Joshua Minor, November 2015.

    Table of Contents