Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

A Finding Aid to the

Sheldon Blank Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 730

1914-1987. 4.5 Linear ft.

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Sheldon Blank Papers were donated to the American Jewish Archives by Sheldon Blank and the Blank Family. All property rights are assigned to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights to materials authored by Dr. Blank are held by the Blank heirs. Literary rights to materials authored by others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives.

The Sheldon Blank Papers are open to all users and available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives. File 5/4, Faculty Reviews, is restricted for 75 years from the date of creation. Please contact the American Jewish Archives with any questions regarding this restriction.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH top

Sheldon Blank (1914-1989) was born in Mt. Carmel, Illinois on September 17, 1896. Blank attended Hebrew Union College (HUC) and the University of Cincinnati (UC) earned a Ph.D. at UC in 1920. He was ordained a rabbi in 1923 by HUC. He then earned another Ph.D. at the University of Jena, Germany in 1925. He joined the faculty of Hebrew Union College in 1926 and was active there until his death over sixty years later. Blank was a professor of Bible and was in involved in a multitude of committees such as Academics, Curriculum and graduate study. He was also the editor of the HUC Annual for many years.

Blank was quite involved with both academic and professional organizations. He was on the Executive Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) 1968-1970. He was the president of the Society of Biblical Literature in 1952 and was also the president of the American Oriental Society in 1947.

Blank was the author of Prophetic Faith in Isaiah (1958), Jeremiah, Man and Prophet (1961), Understanding the Prophets (1969), Prophetic Thought-essays and Addresses (1977). He also wrote numerous articles and book reviews for scholarly journals.

He married to Amy Kirchberger Blank in 1926 and had two daughters, Elizabeth Levine and Miriam Sachs. Amy Blank was a poet, playwright, author and musician. Sheldon Blank died in 1989.

 

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE top

The SHELDON BLANK PAPERS contain correspondence, manuscripts of writings, speeches and other materials relating to Blank's career and personal matters, together with other papers of his wife, Amy (Kirchberger) Blank.

The collection is divided into four series:

SERIES A. CORRESPONDENCE (1914-1987)
  Subseries 1. General
  Subseries 2. Family
  Subseries 3. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
  Subseries 4. Refugee Files
SERIES B. WRITING (1921-1987)
  Subseries 1. General
  Subseries 2. Class notes
  Subseries 3. Sermons
SERIES C. AMY BLANK (1943-1987)
SERIES D. PERSONAL (1915-1968, n.d.)

SERIES A is split into four sub series and is arranged both alphabetically and chronologically. This was done to preserve the original order of the collection and also to make the series easy to navigate through. Subseries 2 contains some interesting Blank and Kirchberger family letters and subseries 3 delves into the behind the scenes work that Blank accomplished during his tenure at HUC-JIR.

Subseries 4 of the first series contains extremely important correspondence related to Blank’s attempts to get family, friends and scholars out of Germany prior to and during World War II. These letters are to and from the people he was trying to rescue as well as officials from both the United States and Great Britain. He was often successful in his attempts but not always. Those who were lucky enough to come to the United States were often sponsored by friends of Blank’s since one person could not financially vouch for as many people as he helped escape. Much research could be done on this subseries alone.

SERIES B and C contain the writings of both Sheldon and Amy Blank. Both were prolific writers and public speakers. Compelling to students of Biblical studies would be Blank’s notes for his classes at HUC-JIR. Both series are arranged alphabetically and contain fascinating work such as Blank’s dissertations for his two Ph.D. degrees and Amy’s many stories, poems and plays.

SERIES D contains awards and personal items owned by Blank. The photographs are an interesting look into the Blank and Kirchberger families while the many passports weave the story of the exciting life of travel the Blanks led. Lest one be overwhelmed by the greatness of Blank’s work in the field of Biblical studies or his humanitarian work with peace and housing World War II refugees, one can look and see his grades throughout his years at HUC and the University of Cincinnati as well as his yearbook and see that Blank was as human as any of us. This is also quite evident in the letters that Amy and Sheldon wrote to one another. The bond of love and friendship is readily apparent through their letters in Series A.

BOX AND FOLDER LIST top

Box	 Folder	 Contents
  
SERIES A. CORRESPONDENCE
Subseries 1. General

1	1	1920-1929.
	2	1930-1939.
	3	1940-1949.						
	4	1950-1959.
	5	1960-1969.
	6	1970-1989.
	7	A-F, general.
	8	Albright, William F. 1933-1937.
	9	American School of Oriental Research. 1960-1963.
	10	Atheneum. Herman Zeiger. 1960-1962.
	11	Central Conference of American Rabbis. Abraham Feldman. 1960.
	12	Chicago trip. 1979.
	13	Denver trip. 1979-1981.
	14	England. 1946, 1977, n.d.
	15	Eightieth birthday convocation. 1976.
	16	Encyclopedia Judaica. 1929-1930.
	17	Feinberg, Abraham. 1978.
	
2	1	G-I, general. 
	2	Glueck, Nelson. 1947-1963.
	3	Goldburg, Eric. 1936-1958.
	4	Goldenson lectures. 1955-1956, n.d.
	5	Gottschalk, Alfred. 1958-1959.
	6	Grand Rapids speech. 1977.
	7	Harper & Brothers. 1956-1966.
	8	Harper & Row. Prophetic Faith. 1958-1962.
	9	Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. 1955-1962.
	10	J-L, general.
	11	Jeremiah. 1960-1963.
	12	Jewish Publication Society. Bernard L. Frankel. 1941.
	13	M-R, general. 
	14	Marcus, Jacob Rader. 1922-1923.
	15	Marcus, Jacob Rader. 1969.
	16	Mattuck, Israel. 1917-1955.
	17	Miscellaneous.
	18	Montagu, Lily. 1948-1961.
	19	Montefiore, Claude G. 1918-1958, n.d.
	20	Ninetieth birthday. 1986-1987.

3	1	One-hundreth anniversary of Hebrew Union College. 1973.
	2	Oxford University Press. New English Bible. 1972.
	3	Personal and college business. 1964-1965.
	4	Prophetic Faith. 1968.	
	5	S-Z, general and unidentified.
	6	Standard Bible Committee. 1952.
	7	Union of American Hebrew Congregations biennial. 1972.
	8	University Publishers. Jeremiah. 1961-1962.
	9	Vanity file. 1950-1979, n.d.
	10	Vietnam War protests. 1967-1968.

Subseries 2. Family 
	
4	1	Blank family. 1925-1964. 
	2	Kirchberger, Cissie. 1935-1960.
	3	Kirchberger family. 1914-1938, n.d.
	4	Kirchberger family history. 1885.
	5	Kirchberger, Oscar. 1912-1947.
	6	Marriage and Amy’s citizenship. 1926.

Subseries 3. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

	7	Academic Affairs. 1947-1960.
	8	Academic committee. 1966.
	9	Academic Procedures and Academic Evaluations committee. 1967-1968.
	10	Academic Procedures and Academic Evaluations committee. 1972.
	11	Committees. 1939-1944.
	12	Committees. 1947-1960.

5	1	Curriculum committee. 1941-1955, n.d.
	2	Curriculum committee. 1973.
	3	Executive committee. 1955, 1959.
	4	Faculty reviews. 1962 and n.d. [Restricted until 2037]
	5	Graduate Study committee. 1971-1973.
	6	Personnel file. 1978-1989.
	7	Ph.D. candidates. 1963-1970.
	8	Task force. Kopald-Goldston. 1973.
	9	Torah commentary. 1966.

Subseries 4. Refugee files

	10	1935-1940.

6	1	1936-1938.
	2	1939.
	3	1940-1947.
	4	1940-1941.
	5	n.d.
	6	Affadavits and visas. 1940-1948.
	7	Berger, K. and Oscar Kirchberger. 1938-1939.
	8	Oscar, Vera, Ralph. 1945-1948.

SERIES B. WRITING
Subseries 1. General

7	1	B-J, general.
	2	Bible commentary.
	3	Bible commentary.
	4	Bible Study. Manuscripts at the Hebrew Union College.
	5	College journal. 1921.

8	1	Deuteronomy and Amos.
	2	Dissertation. University of Cincinnati. 1920.
	3	Dissertation. University of Jena. 1925.
	4	Ezekiel and Holiness Code.
	5	Haifa journal. 1926.
	6	Hebrew Union College papers.

9	1	Job.
	2	K-W, general.
	3	Koheleth. Class project. 1971.
	4	Law.
	5	Law.

10	1	Miscellaneous fragments. 
	2	Plays.
	3	Purim spiels. 1932-1959.
	4	Speeches. 1931-1963.
	5	Speeches. 1965-1976.
	6	Speeches. 1977-1987.

11	1	Teacher lectures. 
	2	Teacher’s Institute lecture.
	3	University of Cincinnati papers.
	
Subseries 2. Class Notes
	
	4	Amos and Micah. Bible 301.
	5	C survey.
	6	Exodus.
	7	Ezekiel. Bible 402, 7, 8.
	8	Golden Calf.
	9	Isaiah.
	10	Isaiah. Anonymous material.
	11	Jeremiah.

12	1	Job.
	2	Joshua and Judges.
	3	Moab and Ammon.
	4	Notes, general.
	5	Prophetic thought. 1964-1966.
	6	Ruth.
	7	Samuel and Chronicles.
	8	Test questions. 1942.
	9	Notes on the word Torah.
	10	Notes on Wisdom.
	11	Numbers.
	12	Prophets and nationalism.
	13	Prophets for teachers.
	14	Zechariah.

Subseries 3. Sermons

	15	A-H, general.

13	1	I-P, general.
	2	R-Z, general.
	3	1929-1973.
	4	Undated, untitled.

SERIES C. AMY BLANK

14	1	Children’s stories. Unpublished.
	2	Correspondence. 1942-1958, 1987.
	3	Kirchberger family.
	4	Music. 1943, 1960.
	5	Notes.
	6	Plays.
	7	Poems.
	8	Services.
	9	Speeches.
	10	Spoken Choice. Correspondence. 1959.
	11	Stories.

SERIES D. PERSONAL

15	1	Awards.
	2	Passports.
	3	Photographs.
	4	University of Cincinnati yearbook and scrapbook.
	5	University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College grades. 1915-1918, n.d.
	

  
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Copyright © 2006 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives