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Aiken Jewish community collection

Identifier: Mss 1042

Collection Overview

Mostly photocopied material chronicling the history of the Jewish community in Aiken, South Carolina, including the Adath (Adas) Yeshurun Synagogue. The scrapbooks are divided into six sections, which are arranged in original order. The Adath Yeshurun Synagogue section contains newspaper articles (1980s-1990s) re. history of synagogue, 70th anniversary program (1991), color photograph (1995) of board members, copies of real estate documents (1923-1925) for original acquisition of property, and data (1989) from building survey conducted by the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office; also reproduction images of 1933 synagogue dinner and children at religious school, ca. 1930s. The Early Families section includes articles (1980s-1990s) and obituaries re. members of Aiken's Jewish community including Mandle Suraksy (former Mayor), artist, Mina Surasky Tropp, Herbert Rudnick, (known for work with the S.C. Mental Retardation Commission) and Irene Rudnick; published memoirs about growing up in Aiken with references to the Jewish community include, "Memoirs, Mostly about a South Carolina Childhood" (1980) by Mina Tropp, "Jewish Life in Aiken, Childhood Memories of Esther Surasky Pinck" (1982), "My Family, My Town" (1994) by Rose Rubin and "A Down South Jew ... Go On With You" (1991); other articles about Aiken Jews cover the murder (early 1900s) of Abraham Surasky and history of Jewish merchants in Aiken. The Happyville section contains two articles on the history of the farming colony of Russian Jews that settled in Aiken County during the early 1900s. The Hadassah Sisterhood section includes photocopied images of early members (1943, 1954-1956, 1959, 1960) and color photographs taken at 1993 regular meeting of the Aiken Sisterhood and 1995 annual meeting. The Sons of Israel Cemetery section includes images of cemetery gates, and information (1994) on cemetery plots (owners, locations, etc). The miscellaneous material includes clippings (1990s) re. Jewish holidays in Aiken and fliers from events at Adath Yeshurun Synagogue; also color photographs from Succos (1990), Rosh Hashanah (1992), and Purim (1993) celebrations.


  • Creation: 1923-1995
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980s-1990s


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.

Historical Note

M.S. Polier was one of the first Jews to settle in Aiken, South Carolina in 1896. Originally from Russia, other members of the Polier family soon followed. Sarah Ann Polier married B.M. Surasky (ca. 1896) and the couple organized Aiken's first Jewish services in a Masonic Temple above a store on Laurens Street. By 1910 Aiken was home to 45 Jewish adults, and in 1921 a formal charter for a synagogue was issued. The cornerstone for Adath (Adas) Yeshurun (Congregation of Israel) Synagogue was laid in 1925.


0.375 linear feet

Language of Materials


Acquisitions Information

Materials donated by Doris Baumgarten.

Inventory of the Aiken Jewish Community Collection, 1923-1995 (bulk 1980s-1990s)
Processed by: Special Collections staff ; finding aid created by: Special Collections staff
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
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Charleston South Carolina 29424
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