Mailing Address:
Special Collections
College of Charleston Library
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424

(843) 953-8016

Title: Hebrew Benevolent Society papers

Collection #: Mss 1059

Dates: 1867-1984

Size: 2 linear ft.

Biographical Note:

Founded in 1784, the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charleston, South Carolina, claims to be "the oldest Jewish charitable society in the United States." Since its early records are lost, not much is known of its goals and actions until after the Civil War; in fact, the date of its founding was not realized until the early 20th century. Incorporated in 1830, it is known to have assisted in burial of the dead, help for the poor, and medical help to the ill; it functioned under the aegis of Congregation Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim of Charleston.

Reorganized after the Civil War, it aided indigents and worked with physicians to minister to the Jewish poor, raising funds from memberships, gifts and legacies, and annual Purim balls. In 1951, instead of coming to the aid of individual petitioners, the Society joined with similar organizations to organize the Charleston Jewish Social Services, which received the bulk of its annual disbursements. In 1950, the organization received the assets of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charleston, S.C., and in 1965, its history, written by Thomas J. Tobias, was published.

Scope and Content Note:

Two volumes of minutes (1867-1962) detail all aspects of the organization, its meetings, members, contributions, finances, etc., with some reports of officers, such as President and Treasurer. The minutes (1869-1915) of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charleston, S.C., often referred to as "Israel's Hope," are included as well.

The series of financial records include accounts (1896-1947) of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society, before it merged with the Hebrew Benevolent Society and account books of various named funds managed by the organization, including the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society Fund (1950-1963); the Rosa Blank Memorial Fund (1918-1963); the Samuel D. Turtletaub Memorial Fund (1922-1963); the Henry Hirschmann Memorial Fund (1925-1951); and the Joseph Goldman and Max Turtletaub Memorial Funds (1948-1963), later amalgamated into the Joseph Goldman, Max Turtletaub, A[rthur] V. Williams and Samuel Samet Memorial Loan Fund.

The final series includes a history of the organization by Thomas J. Tobias, a scrapbook (1952-1962) documenting mostly the organization's annual meetings, and loose programs, clippings, etc. of other annual meetings, 1959, 1962, 1972 and 1984.












Minutes (1867-1923) of Hebrew Benevolent Society. Volume of regular, annual and special meeting minutes detail members, finances, charitable gifts and causes, annual fundraising Purim Balls, etc. With periodic notices of deaths of members and later reports of officers and committees. Holographs and typescripts.









Minutes (1924 – 1962) of Hebrew Benevolent Society. Volume of mostly annual meeting minutes with reports of officers detailing finances and actions of Society, noting deaths of members, new members, some charity recipients, reports of Charleston Jewish Social Services and merger (1950) with Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society.









Minutes (1869 –1915) of Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charleston, S.C. or "Israel’s Hope." Minutes of regular, special and annual meetings note income, expenses, charity, new members, death of members, etc.









Financial Records









Accounts (1896-1947) of Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society, later joined to Hebrew Benevolent Society. Recapitulations of income from investments, member names and dues, notations of charity, with information on recipients only in the 1920’s and afterwards. Bound volume with some loose (ca. 1940s) papers.








Account book (1950-1963) of Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society Fund. Brief notations of assets.









Account book (1918-1963) of Rosa Blank Memorial Fund, showing income and disbursements.









Account book (1922-1963) of Samuel D. Turtletaub Fund, showing income and disbursements.









Account book (1925-1951) of Henry Hirschmann Memorial Fund showing receipts and disbursements and payments of a mortgage.









Account book (1948-1963) of Joseph Goldman Memorial Fund and Max Turtletaub Memorial Fund, later called Joseph Goldman, Max Turtletaub, A. V. Williams and Samuel Samet Memorial Loan Fund.










Print, ephemera, and documentary materials









The Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charleston, SC; Founded 1784. An Historical Sketch by Thomas J. Tobias. 1965 history of society published by the society.









Scrapbook (1959-1962) of Hebrew Benevolent Society documenting annual meetings. Clippings, invitations, programs, correspondence, photos of speakers, etc. With concurrent resolution SC House of Representatives and Senate re Society’s 175th anniversary.









Loose scrapbook and other materials (1959-1984) include invitations, programs, etc. re annual meetings (1959,1962, 1972, 1984).