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Silvia Tennenbaum papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00499

Scope and Contents

The Papers consist of almost 70 years of Tennenbaum's personal journals beginning in 1944. They include descriptions of her travels in Europe, Israel, Germany, Russia, and the U.S.. There are also notes for her novels. It also includes writings, photo albums, correspondence, and research.

Dates

  • 1944 - 2013

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:
  1. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
  2. Researchers must sign an Access Agreement Form before using this collection, agreeing to protect the confidentiality of living persons.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works of Silvia Tennenbaum within this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Silvia Pfeiffer Tennenbaum was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the daughter of Lotti Clara Stern and Erich Pfeiffer-Belli. Her parents divorced in 1930 and in 1934, her mother married William Steinberg, a conductor who would lead several symphonies, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1952-1976). The Steinberg family fled Nazi Germany in 1936 and young Silvia spent the next two years living in Basel, Switzerland with her Aunt, Getrude Ritz-Stern. In 1938, reunited with her mother, stepfather and stepbrother, she emigrated to America where the family settled in New Rochelle, New York. Silvia Pfeiffer graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1946; she then attended Barnard College, earning a BA with honors in Art History in 1950. She started graduate school at Columbia University but left in 1951 upon her marriage to Lloyd Tennenbaum, a rabbi. The Tennenbaums lived the next seven years in Lynchburg, Virginia--it was during these years that Silvia Tennenbaum gave birth to three sons and started her writing career. Twenty years later, she would parlay that experience into her first book, Rachel the Rabbi's Wife (1978). After a brief stint in Plainfield, New Jersey, Lloyd Tennenbaum was appointed rabbi to two congregations on Long Island's North Shore and the family settled in Huntington, New York where Silvia Tennenbaum began writing in earnest. In 1981, after thirty years of marriage, the Tennenbaums separated and were divorced in 1986. By then, Silvia Tennenbaum had returned to graduate school at Columbia University and completed her MA in art history in 1983. An avid traveller and prolific diarist, she is also the author of Yesterday's Streets (1981), a fictionalized account of life amongst upper-middle class Jews in Frankfurt, Germany from the start of the twentieth century to the Nazi take-over. In 2012, the city that Silvia Tennenbaum had fled from as a young child to escape the Holocaust decades earlier named Yesterday's Streets as their "Book of the Year."

Extent

7 boxes (7 linear feet)

0.043 Gigabytes

Language of Materials

English

Overview

Author. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, her family fled Nazi Germany in 1936 and eventually emigrated to America. She married Rabbi Lloyd Tennenbaum in 1951 (divorced 1986). Her first novel Rachel the Rabbi's Wife (1978) portrays her own life experiences. She also the author of the novel Yesterday's Streets (1981), about life amongst upper-middle class Jews in Frankfurt, Germany in the early twentieth century. Her papers include almost seventy years of personal journals beginning in 1944 with descriptions of her travels in Europe, Israel, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. There are also notes for her novels. [NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]

Arrangement

This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time. Note that in most cases, container numbers start over at 1 with each new accession.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Other Finding Aids

One or more content listings to individual accessions in this collection are available for download. Links can be found in the description of the individual accessions.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Silvia Tennenbaum began donating her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2012.

Accruals

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Accessioned by Kathleen Banks Nutter, 2013

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created.
Title
Silvia Tennenbaum papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Date
2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020-06-24: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063