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Jewish Educational Alliance (Savannah, Ga.) Records

Identifier: Mss 352

Scope and Contents

The Jewish Educational Alliance (Savannah, Ga.) Records consist of scrapbooks, board records, financial records, committee records, building construction and renovation records, men's club records, photographs, scrapbooks, slides, videotapes, and audio cassettes dating from 1920 to 2007. The collection documents the early history of the JEA and its growth and development over time. There are undated materials throughout the collection which are located in the front of their respective folders.

The records are arranged into eight series:

SERIES 1: Administrative records

This series contains scholarship applications, reports, rosters, surveys, constitutions, endowment records, guidelines, resumes, manuals, membership records, correspondence, newcomer papers, certificates, charts and trust agreements.

SERIES 2: Building records

This series consists of contracts, committee documents, fund campaign materials, and correspondence related to construction and building renovations. While there are some documents concerning former property of the JEA in downtown Savannah, most of the materials relate to the current building at the corner of Abercorn Street and DeRenne Avenue. These materials are arranged in chronological order.

SERIES 4: Committee records

This series contains committee papers to include agendas, minutes, membership records and other committee related information. Building Committee records are located in Series 3. Finance and Budget Committee records are located in Series 5.

SERIES 5: Financial records

This series contains audits, budgets, and financial statements as well as several cash books and bank books. It also includes committee meeting minutes, accounting papers and financial staff papers.

SERIES 6: Meeting records

This series primarily contains meeting minutes from the Board of Governors, which often include interfiled annual, financial, and committee reports as well as other documents relevant to business discussed by the Board. Due to the original arrangement of the materials, these items could not be separated without the loss of information and have therefore been kept intact. This series also includes other meeting minutes and meeting reminders.

SERIES 7: Men’s Club records, 1959-1988

This series consists of club minutes, executive committee minutes, treasurer’s reports, miscellaneous financial records, and correspondence relating to club activities, members and political issues including the Immigration Bill and the State of Israel. The materials are arranged chronologically. Undated materials are located at the front of their respective folders.

SERIES 8: Program records

This series contains materials for programs and events related to the JEA. It may include, program guides, theatre critiques, planning records and sales receipts. There are also children’s books and other program related materials.

SERIES 9: Scrapbooks, 1920-1986

This series contains 113 scrapbooks arranged chronologically with some overlaps and gaps. Eight of the scrapbooks are identified in front as the “property of William Pinsker,” JEA Executive Director from 1920 to 1930. Most of the materials in the early scrapbooks relate to sports and entertainment activities. Later scrapbooks contain more varied information including announcements of births, deaths, confirmations, marriages, business enterprises, social organizations and civic activities. Prominent Jewish citizens have their careers and involvement in the community documented as well. The newspaper clippings in the scrapbooks are from the Savannah Morning News, the Savannah Evening Press, and the Southern Israelite, a regional Jewish newspaper published in Atlanta. The scrapbooks have been kept intact whenever possible. However, clippings in scrapbooks #57-67 were loose, so these volumes were photocopied and filed in boxes. Also, loose oversize pages were filed separately in an oversize folder.


  • Creation: 1915 - 2008


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA) was chartered August 2, 1912 to meet the leisure and Americanization needs of the Jewish community in Savannah. In the original charter, objectives were outlined for promoting the English language and for providing a building for such endeavors as a Kindergarten, a library, classes promoting domestic and professional skills and recreation (including a gymnasium). In addition, the charter sought to provide meeting space for worthy organizations.

In time, the goals of the JEA expanded. A 1927 report by the organization set forth the objectives of the JEA, “To develop of our youth conscious, thinking, self-respecting Jews to whom their Jewishness will be an integral part of a full life; to encourage these young men to think for themselves and to feel for others…to give our members an opportunity for cultural advancement; to develop in them a feeling of communal responsibility…”. In 1941, Executive Director Jerome Labovitz called the JEA, “The community’s Jewish center” and stated that it “served as a coordinating factor.”

In 1914, two years after the original charter, the JEA leased a building on the northeast corner of Barnard and Harris streets. In two more years, the JEA built its own structure, largely by the donations of Colonel Sigo Myers in honor of his brother Herman. This building opened in January 27, 1916 and was located at 328 Barnard Street at the corner of Barnard and Charlton streets. World War I disrupted activities and the JEA building was rented out to the Chatham County Board of Education from 1918 until November 1920.

Within a few years of the reopening, the JEA had become a strong social force in the Jewish community offering family nights, dances, socials, plays, contests, lectures, concerts and sports. The JEA also offered social services such as transient relief, unemployment and social case work that were later taken over by the Savannah Jewish Council, now the Savannah Jewish Federation. In December 1950, the JEA purchased 11 acres on Abercorn Street just north of DeRenne Avenue for their second building which opened in the spring of 1955.

The JEA Men’s Club was organized in the late 1930s by JEA members and has been involved in many of the JEA’s social and athletic activities since. During the 1950s the club co-operated with the Women’s Club to host joint events and raise funds for the JEA. Their athletic events included the Golden Glove boxing bouts, the Boys Junior City Basketball Tournament and an indoor softball league. In the 1950s, the club took over the responsibility of the JEA team sports from the JEA Athletic Association and began serving as co-sponsor of the JEA Blood Drive.


14.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA) was chartered August 2, 1912 to meet the leisure and Americanization needs of the Jewish community in Savannah. The Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA) records consist of scrapbooks, board records, financial records, committee records, building construction and renovation records, men's club records, photographs, scrapbooks, slides, videotapes, and audio cassettes dating from 1920 to 2007.


The collection is arranged into 10 series: 1. Administrative records; 2. Building construction and renovation records; 3. Committee records; 4. Financial records; 5. Meeting records; 6. Men's Club records; 7. Program records; 8. Visual materials; and 9. Audiovisual materials; 10. Scrapbooks

Custodial History

The Jewish Educational Alliance Records are part of the Savannah Jewish Archives that were transferred from the Georgia Historical Society to the Breman Museum in 2015.

Separated Materials

Oversize materials removed to oversized collection and photographs removed to visual arts collection.

Jewish Educational Alliance (Savannah, Ga.) Records, Mss 352
N. Birkheimer, undated; V. Frey, 2001; L. Spracher and V. Frey, 2002; L. Stoudt, 2006; H. Kirkland, 2009; J. Katz and L. Resnick, 2015.
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