TABLE OF CONTENTS


Introduction

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Arrangement

Conditions of Access and Use

Administrative Information

Search Terms

Box and Folder Listing

Series A. Correspondence. 1847-1900

Series B. Sermons and Addresses 1854-1928

Series C. Nearprint 1855-1925

Series D. Photographs

A Finding Aid to the Isaac Mayer Wise Papers. 1838-1931.

Manuscript Collection No. 436


Introduction

Repository: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
Creator: Wise, Isaac Mayer, 1819-1900.
Title: Isaac Mayer Wise Papers.
Dates: 1838-1931
Quantity: 1.2 linear feet (2 Hollinger boxes, 24 folders).
Abstract: The Isaac Mayer Wise Papers (1840-1933) describe the rabbinic and professional activities of Isaac Mayer Wise, organizer of Reform Judaism and founder of the Hebrew Union College. He also served as a rabbi in both Albany, New York and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Collection Number: MS-436
Language: Collection material in English.

Biographical Sketch

Isaac Mayer Wise

Isaac Mayer Wise was born in Steingrub, Bohemia in 1819. After studying in various yeshivot in Prague, Czechoslovakia and Vienna, Austria he became a rabbi in Radnitz, Bohemia. Because of the poor prospects in Europe at the time, Wise immigrated in 1846 to New York. He shortly thereafter became the rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Albany. There he became an advocate for reforms such as confirmation, choral singing and mixed pews.

Wise's reforms were not popular with his Albany congregation. He broke off in the early 1850s to form Anshe Emeth Congregation in Albany. Wise considered taking a pulpit in Charleston, South Carolina but in 1854 moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. He remained at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in that city for the remainder of his life.

Wise remained actively involved in the creation of an "American Judaism." Shortly after his arrival in Cincinnati, he created the weekly paper known as The Israelite and a German supplement titled Die Deborah. He also started the Zion College- a school for Hebrew and secular studies. It folded a short time later.

In 1855, Wise was a leader at a conference in Cleveland, Ohio that drew fire from both Orthodox communities and the reform radicals. They were discussing a possible union of American Jewish congregations.

Isaac Mayer Wise is known as the founder of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1875. This was one part of his larger goal of establishing a union of congregations. Wise was president of HUC until his death- ordaining more than 60 rabbis and outgrowing their first campus. He was involved in the formation of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

Wise died in 1900. He was married to Therese Bloch by whom he had 10 children. She died in 1874. He then married Selma Bondi, by whom he had four children, among them Rabbi Jonah B. Wise.


Scope and Content Note

The Isaac Mayer Wise Papers (1840-1933) describe the rabbinic and professional activities of Isaac Mayer Wise, organizer of Reform Judaism and founder of the Hebrew Union College. He also served as a rabbi in both Albany, New York and Cincinnati, Ohio.


Arrangement

The papers are divided into four series:

A. Correspondence
B. Sermons and Writings
C. Nearprint
D. Photographs

Conditions of Access and Use

Terms of Access

The collection is open for use; no restrictions apply.

Terms of Reproduction and Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce, with exceptions for fair use, may be obtained through the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio. Please address queries to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. For more information, see the American Jewish Archives copyright information webpage.


Administrative Information

Alternative Forms of Collection

The Isaac Mayer Wise Papers are on microfilm (MF-2827 to MF-2841) and are available through interlibrary loan. A finding aid to the microfilm collection is available.

Preferred Citation

Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Isaac Mayer Wise Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:

[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-436. Isaac Mayer Wise Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Provenance

The Isaac Mayer Wise Papers were received from various donors.

Processing Information

Processed by Melinda McMartin, December, 2000


Box and Folder Listing

Series A. Correspondence. 1847-1900
Series A. Correspondence (1847-1900) consists of one box, arranged alphabetically by name. Most of the correspondence is with family members, although three folders concern pulpits in Albany, New York.
Box Folder
1 1 A-K, General
1 2 Congregation Anshe Emeth (Albany, N.Y.) 1850
1 3 Congregation Beth El (Albany, N.Y.) 1850-1851
1 4 Congregation Beth Jacob (Albany, N.Y.) 1847;1853
1 5 Allegemeine Zeitung des Judentums 1847-1877
1 6 Bondi, Selma 1876-1878
1 7 Heller, Maximilian 1879-1896
1 8 Huebsch, Adolph 1866-1873
1 9 L-W, General
1 10 Philipson, David 1886-1888
1 11 Wise, Pauline 1888-1894
1 12 Zirndorf, Heinrich 1876-1890
1 13 Wise Family Miscellaneous Correspondence [Foreign Language] 1848-1900
Series B. Sermons and Addresses 1854-1928
Series B. Sermons and Writings (1854-1928) consists of a 3/4 Hollinger box of sermons and articles. This series also contains Wise's last will and testament.
Writings are arranged alphabetically by topic.
Box Folder
2 1 Bible Commentaries undated
2 2 The Catastrophe at Eger 1854
2 3 Congregation B'nai Jeshurun (Cincinnati, Ohio) undated
2 4 Defense of Judaism and Essence of Judaism 1889;1868
2 5 Judaism: Its Doctrines and Duties 1872
2 6 Shall Jesus of Nazareth Be Taught in the Sabbath School? undated
2 7 Miscellaneous Speeches and Addresses 1848-1876
2 8 Miscellaneous Books
2 9 Writings [re: Arts, Messianism, Sin, Theology]
2 10 Writings [re: Jewish Theology; Christianity; Jewish values]
2 11 Last Will and Testament 1894-1928
Series C. Nearprint 1855-1925
Series C. Nearprint (1855-1955) consists of 1/4 Hollinger box. It contains Wise's naturalization certificate, a folder of unidentified items and a book with notices about his death pasted in.
Box Folder
2 12 Naturalization Certificate 1851
22 13 Unidentified and Miscellaneous Death Notices; Memorials 1855-1900, undated 1900-1910
Series D. Photographs
Photographs are filed in the photo collection
Series D. Photographs (circa 1840-1933) consists of 24 folders. It is organized into two subseries: photographs of Isaac Mayer Wise and family photographs. It includes photographs of children and grandchildren. Of special interest are photographs of Adolph Ochs, who married Iphigenia Wise.
Folder
1 Wise, Isaac Mayer pre-1865
Folder
2 Wise, Isaac Mayer 1865-1880
Folder
3 Wise, Isaac Mayer 1880-1900
Folder
4 Wise, Isaac Mayer [Busts, Plaques, etc.]
Folder
5 Farm located at College Hill, Cincinnati, Ohio
Folder
6 Birthplace [Czechoslovakia]
Folder
7 Boat [Isaac Mayer Wise] Docked at South Padre Island, San Antonio, Texas
Folder
8 Bloch, Theresa [First wife]
Folder
9 Bloch, Theresa and children
Folder
10 Parents and relatives Theresa Bloch Wise
Folder
11 May, Emily Wise and Family [Daughter of Isaac and Theresa Wise]
Folder
12 Wise, Leo and wife [Son of Isaac and Theresa Wise]
Folder
13 Wise, Julius [Son of Isaac and Theresa Wise]
Folder
14 Bernheim, Ida Wise and Family [Daughter of Isaac and Theresa Wise]
Folder
15 Wise, Isadore [Son of Isaac and Theresa Wise]
Folder
16 Ochs, Iphigenia Wise and Family [Daughter of Isaac and Theresa Wise]
Folder
17 Wise, Harry and Family [Son of Isaac and Theresa Wise]
Folder
18 Wise, Selma Bondi [Second Wife of Isaac Mayer Wise]
Folder
19 Wise, Elsa [Daughter of Isaac and Selma Wise]
Folder
20 Wise, Jean and Jonah [Twin daughter and son of Isaac and Selma Wise]
Folder
21 Wise, Isaac, Jr. [Son of Isaac and Selma Wise]
Folder
22 Isaac Mayer Wise's Grandchildren
Folder
23 Isaac Mayer Wise's Grandchildren [Albums] 1918;1931
Folder
24 Miscellaneous Relatives of Isaac Mayer Wise

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the AJA's online catalog.

Persons and Families

Wise, Isaac Mayer -- 1819-1900. -- Photographs

Institutions

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Hebrew Union College
Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Subjects

Reform Judaism

Genres and Forms

Photographs

Occupations

Rabbis -- Ohio -- Cincinnati