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Simonhoff family papers

Identifier: Mss 1100

Collection Overview

Choir books, photographs, publications, and other papers of the Simonhoff family, particularly Jacob J. Simonhoff, cantor of Brith Sholom in Charleston, South Carolina. The collection includes Simonhoff's handwritten choir books for alto, tenor, soprano, and bass as well as two publications by Lillian C. Simonhoff: an autobiography and a memoir about her husband, Samuel Simonhoff.


  • Creation: circa 1904-1983


Language of Material

Materials in English and Hebrew

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Jacob J. Simonhoff (1862-1950), native of Lithuania, was an authority on Jewish religious music and composed a variety of liturgical music. He immigrated to the United States in 1893 and served as the first cantor of Ahavas Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1901, Simonhoff was hired as cantor of Brith Sholom in Charleston, South Carolina, and remained in the position until moving to New York in 1922. There he served Congregation Talmud Torah Moses before retiring to Miami Beach, Florida, in 1932.

Harry Simonhoff (1890-1966), son of Jacob J. and Jenny Simonhoff, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Charleston in 1917. He earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1919 and completed a special studies program at the Harvard University Law School in 1920. After his studies, Simonhoff returned to Charleston to begin his private law practice. From 1921 to 1922, he served two terms as a representative in the South Carolina State Legislature. Harry Simonhoff was also a published author; his works include Under Strange Skies (1953), The Chosen One (1964), Saga of American Jewry, 1865-1914 (1959), and Tolerance in Carolina in 1697 (1966). His last work, And Abram Journeyed (1967), was published after his death.

Lillian C. Simonhoff (1901-1984), wife of Jacob J. Simonhoff's second son Samuel, was born in the state of Georgia, and moved to Charleston as a teenager. Samuel and Lillian were wed in 1925. The couple had four children: Joy Epstein (1926- ), Elaine Ehrenkranz (1930-2008), Michael Simonhoff (1937- ), and Sherna Simonhoff Brody (1942- ). Samuel Simonhoff (1896-1980) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. After completing high school, Simonhoff served for one year in the United States Army. He then attended the College of Charleston on a scholarship and in 1921 received a law degree from the University of South Carolina.


0.4 linear feet (1 document box, 1 oversize folder)


Choir books, photographs, publications and other papers of the Simonhoff family. Materials primarily relate to Jacob J. Simonhoff and his work as a cantor. Also included are materials relating to his sons Harry and Samuel Simonhoff, and daughter-in-law, Lillian C. Simonhoff.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2009 by Sherna Simonhoff Brody.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include Metered Rhymes (2002) by Samuel Simonhoff and The Chosen One (1964), And Abram Journeyed (1967), and the pamphlets Tolerance in Carolina in 1697 (1966), Two men of Columbus, Ga: The son, Albert Moses Luria, Civil War casualty at 19; the father, Raphael Jacob Moses, at the deathbed of the Confederacy (1962), Reformer Gustavus Poznanski of Charleston, S.C (1960), Lt. Meyer M. Cohen in the Seminole War (1960), Isaac Harby: 1824 (1959), David Camden De Leon: 1846 (1959), Sheftall of Savannah Georgia: 1819 (1958), Edwin De Leon: Confederate Agent, 1865 (1959), Solomon Heydenfeldt: A Charlestonian Who Became Justice of California Supreme Court (195?), Jacob Henry: 1809 Legislator of North Carolina (195?), Jacob Mordecai: 1810 (195?), and Judah P. Benjamin: Statesmen Jurist, 1863 (195?) by Harry Simonhoff.

Separated Material

Metered Rhymes (2002) by Samuel Simonhoff and And Abram Journeyed (1967) by Harry Simonhoff have been separated and individually cataloged in the College of Charleston's online catalog.

Processing Information

Processed by Joshua Minor, November 2011.

Inventory of the Simonhoff Family Papers, circa 1904-1983
Processed by: Joshua Minor; machine-readable finding aid created by: Joshua Minor
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)