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Harry Sunshine Family Papers

Identifier: Mss 060

Scope and Contents

Researchers studying the Harry Sunshine Family Papers will gain insight into immigration and Jewish businessmen in Atlanta, Georgia. All material is arranged in alphabetical order and chronologically within each folder.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1919 - 1975

Biographical / Historical

Harry Sunshine's father, Benzion Sunshine, was born in Voroshilovskove, Russia in 1868. Benzion married Gussie Spector, a girl from his village, in 1894. She was born in 1876. They lived in a small cottage that had dirt floors. Be Zion was deeply religious and he came from a long line of rabbis. When Benzion came to America in 1913 he was using the name Sensen, the same name he used in Russia. When he landed in Galveston, Texas he was given the name Sunshine. He immediately moved to Rock Island, Illinois, where Gussie's relatives were living. He stayed there for six months but he did not like it and moved to Atlanta where he had some cousins. Harry, who was born in 1896, followed his father to America. He landed in Savannah and moved to Atlanta. When the rest of the family came in 1914 they landed in Baltimore and moved directly to Atlanta. When Harry got to this country, he was seventeen years old. He started to peddle junk and opened his junk metal shop in Anniston, Alabama before he went to serve in World War I. When he returned, he met Lillie Shemper and a year later they got married in Hattiesburg synagogue in 1920. They went back to Atlanta and stayed with his family before moving to New Orleans to go to school. When they returned to Atlanta they bought a house and started a clothing business that blossomed into Sunshine Department Stores. They had four children, their youngest being Phillip. He was a member of Ahavath Achim Congregation. He passed away in Atlanta on APril 18, 1967 at the age of 70.


0.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Harry Sunshine was actively involved in both the Jewish and general communities and generously supported a number of different causes in Atlanta and in the State of Israel. The papers include correspondence, family history, legal documents, obituaries, and records relating to land purchases and support of the State of Israel, Grady Memorial Hospital, and Sunshine Department Stores.


All material is arranged in alphabetical order and chronologically within each folder.

Separated Materials

All photographs transferred to visual arts and all oversized material transferred to oversized collection.

Harry Sunshine Family Papers, Mss 60
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States