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Jewish Educational Loan Fund, Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.) Records

Identifier: Mss 036

Scope and Contents

The social historian interested in institutionalized care during the late 1800s and early 1900s or in the involvement of Atlanta's Jewish community in social service and "good works" will find this collection of special interest. The case files of the European children who came to Atlanta during the World War II are also of special interest as they provide insight on "homefront" attitudes and understanding regarding the situation in Europe. The collection is divided into three series. Each series is arranged in alphabetical order by subject or last name and chronologically within each folder.

Series I, General Administrative Files, 1887-1976, consists of the administrative files including legal papers and minutes of the Jewish Orphan Home and Jewish Children's Service.

Series II, Case Files of Orphan Home Residents, 1901-1937, consists of the case files of residents of the Jewish Orphan's Home.

Series III, Case Files of European Children Administered by the Orphan Home, Case Files of European Children Administered by the Orphan Home.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1883 - 2017

Conditions Governing Access

A written request must be submitted to the Director/President of the Jewish Educational Loan Fund before research permission is given.

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 Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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 Loan Fund, Inc., was originally established in 1889 as the Hebrew Orphan's Asylum. Although the suggestion to establish a Jewish orphanage was first discussed at the 1870 convention of the B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 5, little was accomplished, until 1886, when the communities of Atlanta, Richmond and the District of Columbia organized a fund raising campaign. It was decided to locate the home in the city that raised the most money. Within two years Atlantans collected more than half the money needed, and the Home was built in Atlanta on Washington Street between Love and Little Streets near what was then the southern border of town. The Home was of a Venetian style, built of brick and trimmed in terra cotta. The central building, clinic dairy, servant's cottage and playground occupied an entire square block. Officially changing its name from the Hebrew Orphan's Asylum to the Hebrew Orphan's Home in 1901, the facility was home to hundreds of Jewish children from the Southeast between the years 1889 to 1930, when it closed as a resident facility. Ralph A. Sonn was superintendent from 1889 until his retirement in 1924. Under his direction the children received religious instruction at either Ahavath Achim or The Temple, attended classes at nearby Fraser Street School, and were trained to be typists, stenographers, plumbers and printers. In 1948, the name of the Jewish Orphan's Home was officially changed to The Jewish Children's Service, Inc. Regional foster home placements and adoptions were administered under the auspices of this bureau. In 1988, the official name was again changed to the Jewish Educational Loan Fund, to more accurately portray the organization's present function, which is to provide interest-free loans to Jewish students whose families live in any of the affiliated communities throughout the Southeast.


33 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Jewish Educational Loan Fund, Inc., originally provided funding for and orphanage in Atlanta. Over the years it provided funding for displaced European Jewish children and eventually interest-free loans to Jewish students in the Southeast. The records consist of general administrative files which include annual reports, legal papers and minutes; case files of residents of the Home and case files of European children brought to Atlanta under the auspices of the Jewish Children's Service during the years immediately prior to, during and after World War II.


The collection is divided into three series: Series I: General Administrative Files, 1887-1976 Series II: Case Files of Orphan Home Residents, 1901-1937 Series III: Case Files of European Children Administered by the Orphan Home

Related Materials

Mss 045, Jacob A. Blumberg Family Papers Mss 049, B’nai B’rith Gate City Lodge #144 Records Mss 050, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization – Deborah Chapter, 1358 Records Mss 088, Columbus Lodge No. 77 Independent Order B’nai B’rith Records Mss 142, B’nai B’rith Girls DJG Chapter (Atlanta, Ga.) Records

Processing Information

Processed by Sandra Berman (June 1992); addition by Victoria H. Schaeffner (June 2018). Finding aid converted to EAD format by Jeremy Katz (April 2013) and entered into ArchivesSpace by Lindsay Resnick (June 2020).

Jewish Educational Loan Fund, Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.) Records, Mss 036
Sandra Berman (June 1992); addition by Victoria H. Schaeffner (June 2018)
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • April 2013: Finding aid revised to EAD format by Jeremy Katz

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States