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Rabbi Jacob S. Raisin papers

Identifier: Mss 1075

Collection Overview

The collection contains Jacob Raisin's papers, letters, manuscripts and typescripts for his books, diaries, and one copy of a published monograph. Also included are newspaper clippings and articles by and about Rabbi Raisin, as well as diplomas, certificates, photographs, and ephemera. Collection includes selections of Raisin's correspondence, personal writings, and professional writings, many of which were published in Jewish newspapers and periodicals.


  • Creation: circa 1700, 1889-2009


Language of Material

Materials in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish

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 Salmon Raisin (1878-1946) served as rabbi of Charleston's Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) from 1915 to 1944, and as rabbi emeritus from 1944 to 1946. A noted Hebraist and scholar, he was the author of several books and many published articles and essays.

Jacob Raisin came to America in approximately 1892 from Nieswiez, Russia (now Nyasvizh, Belarus). Educated in the public schools of New York and later at City College, he began his rabbinic career in 1900 after graduating from both Hebrew Union College and the University of Cincinnati. His brother Max was also ordained by Hebrew Union College, graduating in 1903. Jacob went on to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Denver in 1911, a D.D. from Hebrew Union College in 1913, and an LL.B. from Albany Law School in 1915. Before coming to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1915, he served in synagogues in Port Gibson, Mississippi; Butte, Montana; East Las Vegas, New Mexico; and Troy, New York. While in Charleston he also led services in small communities in Dillon, Florence, Darlington, Georgetown, and Beaufort, South Carolina, and Parris Island Marine Base.

Raisin was a prolific author whose works include Georg Elyot: Katavaha Ve-Helekh Ruhah Hayeha (Hebrew), 1899; A Glimpse into Jewish Science, 1900; Sect, Creed and Custom in Judaism: A Study in Jewish Nomology, 1907; Reform Judaism Prior to Abraham Geiger, 1910; The Haskalah Movement in Russia, 1913; Jewish Contributions to the Progress of Russia, 1919; Twice Told Talmud Tales, 1929; and Gentile Reactions to Jewish Ideals with Special Reference to Proselytes, 1953 (published posthumously). He contributed articles to numerous English and Hebrew magazines and journals, including H.U.C. Journal, The New Era, The Masonic Observer, The Jewish Tribune, The Ark, The Jewish Forum, The American Hebrew, and The American Israelite.

Rabbi Raisin was active in educational and civic organizations both within and outside the Jewish community. He was a member of Charleston's local Zionist group B'nei Zion (Sons of Zion) and the Zionist Organization of America. He served as a member of the County Board of School Commissioners (Charleston), the Salvation Army, the Chamber of Commerce, the Charleston Community Chest, the Jewish Welfare Board, and many other organizations. In 1917 Jacob Raisin married Jane Lazarus and the couple had three children: Mordenai, Rachel, and Aaron.


5.63 linear feet (12 document boxes, 8 oversize folders)


Clippings, correspondence, sermons, programs, certificates, diplomas, diaries, photographs, objects, and other papers of Jacob S. Raisin, Reform rabbi, author, and scholar. Raisin's writings focused on ethical behavior, intellectual history, religious observance and tradition. Materials also relate to Raisin's wife, Jane Lazarus Raisin, their children, Mordenai Lazarus Raisin Hirsch, Rachel Marla Raisin, and Aaron S. Raisin, and other family members, Raisin's record of professional activities and public service, particularly his involvement with Charleston's Jewish community, and the religious life of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim congregation.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Biographical and family, 1892-2009
  2. Rabbinic work, 1900-2003
  3. Correspondence, circa 1890-1936
  4. Writing, 1889-2007
  5. Miscellaneous, circa 1700, 1908-1919

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2005 and 2012 by Mordenai Lazarus Raisin Hirsch and Rachel Marla Raisin.

Alternate Form of Materials

Digital reproductions available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include the Lazarus and Hirsch families papers (Mss 1018), Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim congregation records, 1798-2002 (Mss 1047), the Willard N. Hirsch papers (Mss 1074), and an oral history interview with Mordenai Raisin Hirsch and Rachel Marla Raisin (Mss 1035-083).

Separated Material

Published items removed and cataloged separately.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Epstein, August 2012.

Inventory of the Rabbi Jacob S. Raisin Papers, circa 1700, 1889-2009
Processed by: Jessica Epstein; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jessica Epstein
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.

Revision Statements

  • Finding aid revised April 2014 by Martha McTear: Removed specific title from separated materials statement.

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)