Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Paul Baerwald Papers, 1857-1961, bulk 1907-1950

Summary Information


This collection documents the life of Paul Baerwald, a banker and philanthropist who served as chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from 1932-1961. It also includes materials by and about Baerwald's father, Hermann Baerwald, a German educator and historian.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0059
Bib ID 4078513 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Baerwald, Paul, 1871-1961
Title Paul Baerwald Papers, 1857-1961, bulk 1907-1950
Physical Description 1.5 linear feet (3 document boxes)
Language(s) English , German .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection has been arranged into two series.


Scope and Content

This collection documents the work of Paul Baerwald, particularly in his capacity as chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from 1932 to 1961. Materials include correspondence, photographs, speeches, reports, and clippings.

  • Series I: General, 1916-1961

    This series contains a variety of materials, including biographical information, letters from Baerwald to his children and extended family, business papers, and drafts of speeches given at conferences and meetings.

  • Series II: Correspondence, 1924-1961

    This series holds a small amount of personal and business correspondence, as well as associated reports, articles, and pamphlets. Some files contain letters from prominent individuals such as Albert Einstein, Herbert Lehman, and John D. Rockefeller, while others concern organizations and committees Baerwald worked closely with. Many of the conversations relate to the JDC. There are also several files on the Baerwald School of Social Work, which include photographs taken at the school's original building in France and biographies of some of the first students. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Paul Baerwald Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of Mrs. Myron S. Faulk, Jr., daughter of Paul Baerwald, in 1968.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Faulk, Mrs. Myron S., Jr. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1968. Accession number--M-40.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Correspondence, manuscripts, notes, speeches, reports, clippings, printed material Surveyed Julie Miller 05/--/87.

Papers processed Elena Locascio, Geneseo College 2012 2009.

Finding aid written Carolyn Smith September 2009.

Revision Description

2010-08-28 xml document instance created by Carolyn Smith

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Baerwald, Hermann, 1828-1907 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Baerwald, Paul, 1871-1961 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bet ha-sefer la-ʻavodah sotsyalit ʻa. sh. Paʼul Berṿald Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Educators -- Germany Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Herbert H. Lehman Collections (Columbia University) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Historians -- Germany Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International relief Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jews -- Charities Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Philanthropin (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Refugees Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social service Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical sketch

Paul Baerwald was born in 1871 in Frankfurt, Germany. His father, Hermann Baerwald, was Director of the Philanthropin, a Jewish high school in Frankfurt, for 31 years. Baerwald left Germany at nineteen to join the investment firm Speyer & Brothers in London, and in 1895 he was sent to work in New York City. Baerwald became a partner at Lazard Freres in 1907. He met Edith Jacobi in New York, and they were married in 1909. The couple would have four children, Pauline, Jane, Florence, and Herman.

In 1914, Paul Baerwald helped found the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an international relief organization that provides help to Jews suffering as a result of poverty, persecution, natural disaster, or war. He retired from Lazard Freres in 1930 to devote his full attention to philanthropic work, and would serve with the JDC for 45 years, first as treasurer, and then as chairman in 1932 and honorary chairman from 1945 until his death. In 1949, JDC opened a school in Versailles, France, to train social workers. The school was transferred to Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1958 and was named the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work in his honor.

In addition to his extensive work with JDC, Baerwald served on President Franklin Roosevelt's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees during World War II. He was a close friend of New York governor and senator Herbert H. Lehman, and they collaborated on JDC projects as well as other public and philanthropic works. Baerwald was also a trustee and founder of the New York Foundation; trustee of the Palestine Economic Corporation; treasurer of the Wollman Foundation; and trustee and treasurer of the Soloman and Better Loeb Convalescent Home.

Paul Baerwald died in New York on July 2, 1961.