Rare Books and Archival Material

Archival material and other items requiring special care are available for researchers at the Special Collections Library. These materials include manuscripts, personal documents, correspondence, professional papers, rare books, and audio recordings by various members of the Weinreich family. Here are some highlights from the collection:

Manuscripts

Among the manuscripts we find a Yiddish operetta in three acts called Shmerl nar in Boiberik, written by Uriel and Gabriel Weinreich and Abe Brumberg; a poem written by Malka Lee upon Uriel Weinrech’s untimely death in 1969; a letter written in verse by Itzik Manger to H. Leyvik in London, June, 1941; and Max Weinreich’s Yiddish translation of Sigmund Freud’s Introduction to Psychoanalysis.

Personal Documents

The hundreds of documents include passports, immigration documents, wedding invitations, ksubes, circumcision records, school reports and university records, diaries and phonebooks of the Weinreich & Silverman families, Max Weinreich’s Yiddish Pen Club membership card (1947) and Yiddish Writers’ Union membership card (New York 1949), many photographs, eulogies for Uriel Weinreich, tickets and receipts dating back to the 1940s, family trees, CVs, and bibliographies.

Correspondence

Members of the Weinreich and Silverman families were writing each other letters on a daily basis whenever they were not together, and the thousands of letters have been carefully preserved. On the Weinreich side, the correspondence begins in 1940, when Regina and Gabriel Weinreich in Vilna were separated from Max and Uriel, who traveled to Denmark and later to New York. In 1941, thirteen-year-old Bina Silverman was writing letters home to her parents in New York from Camp Boiberik. In 1943, Uriel Weinreich was already sending letters from the US Army. By 1948, the lives of the Weinreichs and Bina Silverman were intertwined. Their letters give a vivid account of the events and their thoughts.

In 1948, Max Weinreich taught at UCLA where Bina was his student; in 1949–1950, Uriel and Bina went on a research trip to Switzerland. Later, Uriel was writing home to his parents and wife from Munich and Israel in 1951, and from Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1955. In 1956, he was sending letters from Israel, India, and Indonesia; in 1957, from Palo Alto; and in 1958 from Boston.

In addition to the internal family correspondence there are also letters from several generations of prominent Yiddish cultural figures like Avrom Sutzkever, Melekh Ravitsh, Y.Y. Trunk, Irving Howe, Dvoyre and Benye Hrushovski-Harshav, Khone Shmeruk, Dov Noy, Shikl, Rokhl and Gele Fishman, Mordkhe Schaechter, Dan Miron, Rakhmiel Peltz, Zachary Baker, Susanna Heschel, and the Mlotek family.

Professional Papers

These include notes to Uriel Weinreich’s English-Yiddish, Yiddish-English Dictionary; Syllabi, bibliographies, index cards, research notes, and notebooks of Max, Uriel and Bina Weinreich; a copy of the published Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry with additional handwritten notes inside; papers relating to the the YIVO folksong project, Y.L. Cahan, and the Vilna Ethnographic Commission.