Paul Baerwald Papers, 1857-1961 [Bulk: 1907-1950].
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.
Scope and Contents
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.