Howard Zinn Papers, 1956-1970

Scope and Content Note

The records document the functions and activities of the Madison Hillel Foundation and are most complete for the period 1924 to 1965. The records are organizized in these seven series: Historical and Early Administrative Records, Correspondence, Financial Records, Subject Files, Oral Histories, Publicity, and Publications.

HISTORICAL AND EARLY ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS contains extensive files of newspaper clippings about Hillel from 1924 to 1932 and the minute books (1911-1932) of two University of Wisconsin-Madison Jewish student organizations which preceded the Hillel Foundation on campus. The Wisconsin Menorah Society, which was more academically oriented than Hillel, eventually merged with the Foundation. The Palestine Builders' Society was a Zionist group.

CORRESPONDENCE is extremely fragmentary and consists of only a few unrelated letters organized chronologically. Other correspondence is filed throughout the collection under appropriate subject headings.

Annual fiscal audits of the Foundation and its student loan fund have been filed under FINANCIAL RECORDS. These show receipts and disbursements and with the exception of 1932 are complete from 1926 to 1958.

The major emphasis of the SUBJECT FILES is the Building Fund. The records are those of Morris Jacobs, treasurer of the fund from its inception in 1943 to its completion in 1958. General correspondence offers a wealth of information regarding the efforts of members of the Wisconsin Jewish community to build a permanent facility for the UW-Madison Hillel. The entire campaign is exceptionally well documented and includes detailed financial records of the money raised as well as spent during the course of the fund-raising.

The remainder of the SUBJECT FILES pertain to various activities, interests, and duties with which Rabbi Alan Lettofsky has been involved, primarily during the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the files pertain to Jewish Studies and document classes, discussion groups, lecture series, and social activities sponsored by Hillel during this period. The Common Ground file relates to a defunct counseling center sponsored by seven UW-Madison religious centers. The Jewish Education Committee file is composed of material about pre-college education for Jewish youth. The Reactivation of King David Lodge file pertains to efforts to reorganize and institute the Madison B'nai B'rith Lodge and is composed primarily of printed material published by B'nai B'rith for the purpose of Lodge organization and administration. Copies of creative, non-traditional religious services written for various occasions are filed under Religious Services Performed at Hillel. The Printed materials file contains B'nai B'rith literature on Jewish community, Jewish life, and social issues such as aging, venereal disease, and youth cults. Articles about Jews, clippings, and photocopied fragments of Biblical commentaries comprise the Miscellany file.

In July of 1975, the Hillel Foundation at UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning sponsored a series of ORAL HISTORY PRESENTATIONS. Tape recordings of four of the speakers in this public program are available in this collection. Henry Shapiro, UPI's Moscow Bureau chief and professor of journalism at the UW relates some of his experiences as a Jew in the Soviet Union. Margaret Hollerman, a demographer and convert to Judaism discusses her experiences living in Japan. A Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin couple, Barbara and Milton Lorman, describe living as Jews in a small town. Farhad Selki, an Iranian student of Jewish descent, compares and contrasts his experiences as a Jew in Iran with his life in the U.S.

The PUBLICITY scrapbooks include announcements, advertisements, and articles about Hillel programs, activities and membership. They offer exceptional documentation of the changing interests and concerns of Hillel staff and students from 1956 to 1965.

An incomplete set of journals published by the Hillel Foundation at UW-Madison can be found in the PUBLICATIONS series. A complete run of its newspaper, The Hillel Review, is available in the Library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.