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Ozer Family Papers

1915-2015 (Bulk: 1937-2005)
8 boxes (10.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 1002

Born five days apart in June 1920 in Manhattan, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends earlier as part of a Workmen Circle teen group, and lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country's oldest nonprofit housing cooperative. The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working for RKO Pictures Inc. and as a substitute teacher, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community's boards and societies, and later volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo. The two were also able to pursue their passion for travel, beginning their adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips.

The Ozer Family Papers primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe's military service in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company, additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties, and extensive documentation of the couple's many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents, and Ruth's detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer's lives, including numerous oral history interviews and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. The greater Ozer family is also represented, from a family tree back to Abe's grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with his mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings about Abe's brother, Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation. Additional content on the Ozer's children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection.

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Background on Ozer Family


An image of: Abe and Ruth Ozer in Virginia, 1951

Abe and Ruth Ozer in Virginia, 1951

Both children of Jewish Eastern European immigrants, and born five days apart in the same Manhattan hospital in June 1920, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his Army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe served in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company during World War II, and received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship, while anchored off the coast of the Philippine island of Leyte following the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends before the war as part of a teen group of Workmen's Circle, a progressive Jewish community group. They lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country's oldest nonprofit housing cooperative.

The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working as a press agent for RKO Pictures Inc., and as a substitute teacher at Walton High School, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community's boards and societies, and after early retirement volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo.

The Ozers were also able to pursue their passion for travel, after being unable to take the intercontinental honeymoon of their dreams (making it only as far as Montreal), and having other commitments earlier in their lives. The couple finally began their travel adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips, with Ruth writing as early as 1982,

"We've roamed the globe. Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia, Central Asia, North Africa, the near East. We've visited ancient historic capitals, modern picturesque cities, jet-set resorts and spas and thousands of slides recall the sights, the sounds and encounters of our travels there."

The stories of the greater Ozer family provide the context around those of Abe and Ruth. These figures include Abe's parents Sadie Uretsky and Hyman Ozersky, and their families in Belorussia; Abe's brother Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion forecasting and purchasing, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation; Ruth's parents Lou and Mollie Newman; and Abe and Ruth's daughters, Alison, born in 1953, and Stephanie, born in 1956, as well as their children and families.

Scope of collection

The Ozer Family Papers are divided into two series: Family, and Travel. Family materials primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe's military service, and additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties. For chronological reasons, Abraham's surname post-change, Ozer, is used on all folders. The Travel series contains extensive documentation of the couple's many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents and memorabilia, and Ruth's detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer's lives, including numerous oral history interviews, photo albums, and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. Ozer family materials include a large family tree tracing the family and photographs back to Abe's grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with Abe's mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings and mixed materials about Abe's brother, Bernard Ozer. Additional content on the Ozer's children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection.

The collection also includes a Mansfield Model 950 8mm Editor, and a DeJur 8mm Model 750 Movie Projector with original case.

Series descriptions

1915-2015 (bulk1937-1995)
6 boxes (8.5 linear feet)

This series contains diverse family documents, ranging from biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, and audiovisual materials to collected certificates, books, and other memorabilia.

World War II and Abe's service are well documented, including his military desk nameplate, his frequent correspondence with Ruth, photographs, and military newsletters, which include Special Orders Extracts and Service Center newsletters and periodicals. An army scrapbook contains memorabilia and numerous photographs, covering his time in Wadesboro, NC; Fort Rucker, AL; Brisbane and Coolangatta, Australia; Manila, and Leyte, Philippines; and San Francisco, CA during and following the war. The collection also includes a military crewmen's helmet, probably from a later period, as well as small clutch of correspondence and memorabilia sent to Ruth by a different potential suitor, Milton Marcus, while he served in Europe during World War II, including postcards, various foreign and wartime currencies, and a Nazi armband on which is written "Cologne, July 4 1945."

Biographical materials are available for Abe, Ruth, and other family members, including his parents Sadie and Hyman. Of note is the fact that Sadie Ozersky's 1932 Certificate of Citizenship contains a field "Race: Hebrew" while Hyman's 1938 Certificate does not contain this field. Other documents reveal Abe and Ruth as young adults while in school, and later in their jobs and with family. In addition to Abe's army scrapbook, the collection contains a family photo album, a small box of assorted slides of the family, a portrait of Mollie Oretsky, several published books on community organizations, and multiple larger format photographs, certificates, and diplomas. Three envelopes contain keychain photo viewers, most with photographs of Abe and Ruth at formal events. The Ozer family is also self-documented via assorted audiovisual materials of home movies and family oral histories, including multiple 8mm reels, VHS cassettes, a box of assorted slides, mini digital videocassettes, one DVD, and several audiocassettes.

1969-2005
2 boxes (2 linear feet)

The materials in this series are arranged chronologically within three parts: travel documents and memorabilia, slides, and travel journals. The documents and memorabilia contain various items kept from Ruth and Abe's travels, including itineraries, maps, daily cruise programs, and industry packets. The couple took extensive photographic documentation of their travels, and the slides and slide inventories in the collection represent a sampling from their over thirty years of travel, although there are some slides that do not seem to match the inventories and lists taken from the original slide carousels. The travel journals are small notebooks of thoughts and daily notes kept by Ruth for each trip.

Inventory

Series 1. Family
1915-2015 (bulk1937-1995)
6 boxes (8.5 linear feet)
100th Anniversary Program, Teatrul Evreiesc de Stat
1976
Box 3: 1
Contents:

Primarily in Yiddish. TES, the State Jewish Theater in Bucharest, Romania is the oldest Yiddish-language theater with uninterrupted activity in the world.

Amalgamated Housing Corporation
1950-2003
Box 3: 2
Amalgamated Housing Corporation - Story of a Co-Op Community: The First 75 Years
2002
Box 3
Contents:

75th anniversary published history of Amalgamated Housing Cooperative - 1927 and Park Reservoir Housing Cooperative - 1957.

Baseball World Series Score Card – Brooklyn Dodgers vs. New York Yankees
1941
Box 1: 1
Bronx Consumers Cooperative - Stock Certificate
1962
Box 1: 2
Byrne, Sadie - Correspondence
ca.1963-1964
Box 1: 3
Jaffrey, Arthur - Correspondence
1947 Feb
Box 1: 4
Marcus, Milton - Correspondence
ca.1945
Box 1: 5
Military Helmet
undated
Box 3
Newman Family - Genealogy
ca.2000
Box 6
Orelzsky, Mollie - Education Certificate
1915
Box 1: 6
Oretsky, Mollie Newman - Photograph on button
1919
Box 1: 7
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Army Newsletters
1943-1945
Box 3: 3
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Awards
1946-1949
Box 1: 8
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Discharge
1945
Box 1: 9
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Map of Ordnance Depot, Tacloban, Philippines (hand-drawn)
ca.1944
Box 3: 4
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Miscellaneous
ca.1945
Box 1: 10
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Name Change
1948-1950
Box 1: 12
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Order to Report
1941 Dec
Box 1: 12A
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Pay and Pension
1943, 1946, 1948
Box 1: 13
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Photographs
1943
Folder OS1
Contents:

Two oversized photographs, one of the 311th Ordnance Company with many individuals identified, and another of the 91st Ordnance Depot Company, Camp Rucker, AL.

Ozer, Abraham - Army - Prayer Book for Jews in the Armed Forces
1941
Box 1: 14
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Scrapbook
1942-1945
Documents
1942-1945
Box 1: 15
Contents:

Includes Selectees' Handbook, Army Songbook, San Francisco Port of Embarkation handbook, holiday event program from the 311th Ordnance Mt. Company, official army correspondence and awards, and a roster of one of Abe's companies.

Documents - Australia
1944
Box 1: 16
Contents:

Mostly programs from entertainment events set up for the Army, and some additional souvenirs and identification cards.

Documents - Philippines
1944-1945
Box 1: 17
Contents:

Includes programs, Domain of the Golden Dragon awards, 28th Replacement Depot pamphlet, a page from a Seder reading, an order awarding the 168th Ordnance Depot Company the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque, and souvenirs, including a Japanese government-issued Philippine first series 1 peso note and four flattened cigarettes in a branded General MacArthur "I Shall Return" pack.

Photographs
1943-1944
Box 1: 18
Photographs
1944-1945
Box 1: 19
Ozer, Abraham - Army - S/Sgt. A. Ozersky Desk Nameplate
ca.1944-1946
Box 3
Ozer, Abraham - Army - Unit Reunion
1945, 1983
Box 1: 20
Ozer, Abraham - Birth Certificates
1982, 2007
Box 1: 21
Ozer, Abraham - Correspondence - Miscellaneous
1942-1946
Box 1: 26
Ozer, Abraham - Death, Funeral
2015
Box 1: 27
Ozer, Abraham - Education
1952-1968
Box 1: 28
Ozer, Abraham - Education - Certificates and Diplomas
ca.1932-1954
Box 1: 29
Ozer, Abraham - Education - Diploma and CPCU designation
1940, 1954
Folder OS 1
Ozer, Abraham - Education - Stuyvesant High School Yearbook
1937
Box 1: 30
Ozer, Abraham - Education - College of the City of New York Yearbook
1940
Box 1: 31
Ozer, Abraham - Name Change
1946
Box 3: 5
Ozer, Abraham - People's Tax Plan Proposal
1943
Box 1: 32
Ozer, Abraham - Plaque, Amalgamated Housing Consumers Society
1989
Box 6
Ozer, Abraham - Plaque, American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters, Inc.
1954
Box 6
Ozer, Abraham - Plaque, College of the City of New York School of Business and Civic Administration diploma
1940
Box 6
Ozer, Abraham - Van Cortlandt Cooperative Federal Credit Union - Commemorative 1936 coin
2011
Box 1: 33
Ozer, Abraham - Veterans Administration - Disability Claim
1946-1954
Box 1: 34
Ozer, Abraham - Veterans Administration - National Service Life Insurance
1942-1950
Box 1: 35
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - 50th Anniversary Cards
1969
Box 1: 36
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Album
1944-1970
Box 1: 37-43
Contents:

Photograph and memorabilia album documenting Abe and Ruth's wedding, honeymoon, and early married life.

Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Education
ca.1928-1968
Box 2: 54
Contents:

This folder is restricted.

Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Keychain Photograph Viewers
ca.1968-1973
Box 3
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Keychain Photograph Viewers
ca.1980-1996
Box 3
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Marriage Certificate
1947
Box 3: 6
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Medical
ca.2013
Box 2: 55
Contents:

This folder is restricted.

Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Miscellaneous Correspondence
1979-1996
Box 1: 44
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Photographs
ca.1950-1977
Box 1: 45
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Photographs - Norman Thomas Luncheon
1950
Folder OS1
Ozer, Abraham and Ruth - Wedding and Honeymoon
1946-1948
Box 1: 46
Ozer, Alison - Correspondence
ca.1973-1974
Box 1: 47
Ozer, Alison - Education
1960-1965
Box 2: 56
Contents:

This folder is restricted.

Ozer, Alison - Education
1961-1965
Box 1: 47A
Ozer, Bernard - Clippings
ca.1966-1991
Box 1: 48
Ozer, Bernard - Clippings
ca.1975-1990
Box 1: 49
Ozer, Bernard - Obituary and Miscellaneous
ca.1975-1991
Box 1: 50
Ozer, Ruth - Birth Certificates
1920, 2007
Box 1: 51
Ozer, Ruth - Correspondence
1969 May 22
Box 1: 52
Ozer, Ruth - Death Certificate
2013
Box 1: 53
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Certificates
1931-1934
Box 1: 54
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Elementary School Memory Book
ca.1934
Box 1: 55
Ozer, Ruth - Education - High School and College Diplomas
1938, 1942
Box 1: 56
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Hunter College High School Class Photograph
1937
Box 1: 57
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Hunter College High School Yearbook
1938
Box 1: 58
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Hunter College Yearbook
1942
Box 1: 59
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Hunter College Reunion Booklets
1992-2007
Box 1: 60
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Hunter College Reunions
1992-2007
Box 1: 61
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Hunter College Sing Programs
1937-1939
Box 1: 62
Ozer, Ruth - Education - Hunter College Sing Programs
1940-1942
Box 1: 63
Ozer, Ruth - Education - School Work
ca.1941-1983
Box 1: 64
Ozer, Ruth - Employment and Retirement
ca.1983
Box 1: 65
Ozer, Ruth - Identification Cards
ca.1940, 1976
Box 2: 1
Ozer, Ruth - RKO Album
1942-1948
Box 2: 2
Contents:

Mostly photographs from various RKO social events, send off or welcome parties for those heading out or returning from overseas, and a Women's Army Corps (WAC) drive parade.

Ozer, Ruth - RKO - Publicity News
ca.1951
Box 3: 7
Ozer, Ruth - RKO - The RKO Story (book jacket)
1982
Box 3: 8
Ozer, Ruth - RKO - The RKO Story
1982
Box 3
Contents:

Complete studio history of RKO by Richard B. Jewell with Vernon Harbin. Inscribed to Ruth Ozer from Stephanie and Andy.

Ozer, Ruth - War Finance Committee Certificate
1944
Box 2: 3
Ozer, Stephanie - Education - Certificates and Diplomas
ca.1970-1973
Box 2: 4
Ozer Family - Album
ca.1944-1969, 1994
Box 2: 5
Contents:

Small clutch of photographs including Abe, Ruth, Selma, Mollie, and other family members or friends. A 1994 photograph notes that is it of a photograph displayed in the Holocaust Museum, depicting Abe at age 13 or 14, at what may be a Workmen's Circle protest march, holding a sign reading "Germans are Modern Cannibals."

Ozer Family - Audiovisual materials
ca.1954-2012
Box 4
Ozer Family - Baby Cards
ca.1953-1956
Box 2: 6
Ozer Family - Family History
ca.1947-2015
Box 2: 7A-C
Ozer Family - Photographs and Slides - Amalgamated Housing Corporation apartment
ca.1972-1993
Box 2: 8
Ozersky, Hyman - Certificate of Citizenship
1938 Feb 7
Box 2: 9
Ozersky, Hyman – Cemetery Perpetual Care Agreement
1980
Box 3: 9
Ozersky, Hyman - Yahrzeit Plaque
1965
Box 2: 10
Ozersky, Sadie - Certificate of Citizenship
1932 Nov 28
Box 2: 11
Ozersky, Sadie - Death Certificate, Will
1966, 1991
Box 2: 12
Ozersky, Sadie - Passport
1979
Box 2: 12A
P.S. 44 Bronx class photograph
1933
Folder OS1
Rabsons Magazine
1941
Box 2: 13
Uretsky Family - Genealogy
ca.2000
Box 6
Contents:

Large printed Uretsky family genealogy tree with color photos. Includes ancestors going back to 1864.

Uretsky Family - Genealogy
ca.2001
Box 2: 13A
Workmen's Circle
ca.1964, 1993-1996
Box 2: 14
Workmen's Circle Certificate
1936
Folder OS1
Mansfield Model 950 8mm Editor
ca.1959
Box 7
DeJur 8mm Model 750 Movie Projector
ca.1956
Box 8
Series 2. Travel
1969-2005
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Album
1988
Box 2: 15-17
Contents:

Original album was labeled "Summer 1970" on cover and "France Russia England" on inside cover.

Ozer, Abraham - Passports
1969-2003
Box 2: 18
Ozer, Ruth - Passports
1969-2003
Box 2: 19
Travel Inventories and Documentation
ca.2005
Box 2: 20
England, Ireland, Scotland
1969-2002
Box 2: 22
Photo Album - France, Russia, England
1970
Box 2: 23
Brochure - Italy
ca.1974
Box 2: 24
Mediterranean
1993 Jun-Jul
Box 2: 25
California
1995-1997
Box 2: 26
Black Sea
1996 Jun-Jul
Box 2: 27-28
Western Europe
1997 Aug-Sep
Box 2: 29-30
Rhine
1998 Jul-Aug
Box 2: 31-32
Holy Land
1998 Oct-Nov
Box 2: 33
Mediterranean Aegean
1999 Sep-Oct
Box 2: 34
Paris
2001 Mar
Box 2: 35
Italy
2002 Sep
Box 2: 36-37
Canada
2003 Sep
Box 2: 38
Slides - Paris, Italy, England
1971 May-Jun
Box 2: 39
Slides - Israel, Jerusalem, Masada
1972 Jul-Aug
Box 2: 40
Slides - USSR, Leningrad
1975 Oct
Box 2: 41
Slides - USSR, Moscow
1975 Oct
Box 2: 42
Slides - Czechoslovakia - Brno, Prague
1976 May
Box 2: 43
Slides - Slides - USSR - Leningrad, Minsk
1977 May-Jun
Box 2: 44
Slides - USSR - Moscow, Leningrad
1979 Aug-Sep
Box 2: 45
Slides - USSR - Moscow
1981
Box 2: 46
Slides - Yugoslavia, Egypt
1984 Feb-Mar
Box 2: 47
Slides - USSR - Paris, Moscow
1985 Aug-Sep
Box 2: 48
Slides - Balkans - Frankfurt, Bulgaria, Sofia
1988
Box 2: 49
Slides - Poland - Warsaw, Sofia, Plovdiv
1989 Jul
Box 2: 50
Slides - Czechoslovakia to border of Poland
1989 Jul
Box 2: 51
Slides - Turkey - Istanbul
1992 Sep
Box 2: 52
Slides - Holy Land - Turkey, Greece, Israel, Egypt
1998 Oct-Nov
Box 2: 53
Travel Journals
1970-2002
Paris, Russia, Austria, London 1970; Paris, Italy 1971; Mexico, 25th anniversary 1972
1970-1972
Box 5
Turkey, Israel, Greece
1972
Box 5
Paris, Madrid; Rome, Mediterranean
1974
Box 5
Yugoslavia, Vienna, Hungary, Amsterdam
1975
Box 5
Russia
1975
Box 5
Hungary, Czechoslovakia
1976
Box 5
Romania
1976
Box 5
Russia
1977
Box 5
Spain, Morocco
1978
Box 5
USSR
1979
Box 5
Italy
1980
Box 5
Scandinavia, Russia
1981
Box 5
Denver and Points West
1982
Box 5
Amsterdam, Paris, London
1982
Box 5
France
1983
Box 5
Yugoslavia, Egypt
1984
Box 5
England
1984
Box 5
Paris, Riviera
1985
Box 5
Paris, Moscow, Leningrad
1985
Box 5
Seattle and Coast, 1986; Canada, 1991
1986-1991
Box 5
Portugal, Lisbon and South 1986; Portugal, Porto and North 1987
1986-1987
Box 5
China
1987
Box 5
Switzerland
1988
Box 5
Balkans - Sofia, Istanbul, Budapest
1988
Box 5
Eastern Europe - Poland, Budapest, Amsterdam
1989
Box 5
Paris, Brussels
1990
Box 5
Paris, London
1992
Box 5
Turkey, Istanbul
1992
Box 5
Mediterranean - Venice, Athens, Barcelona
1993
Box 5
Florida
1994
Box 5
Paris, Strasbourg
1994
Box 5
Italy
1994
Box 5
California
1995
Box 5
France
1996
Box 5
Black Sea
1996
Box 5
Western Europe
1997
Box 5
Rhine River and Heart of Europe
1998
Box 5
Holy Land: Turkey, Greece, Israel, Egypt
1998
Box 5
Mediterranean/Aegean
1999
Box 5
Paris
2001
Box 5
Italy
2002
Box 5

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Received from Alison Ozer, November 2017

Digitized content

Selected material from the Ozer Family Papers has been digitized and is available online through Credo.

Processing Information

Processed by Sean St. Marie, Spring 2018.

Language:

English

Language:

Yiddish

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Ozer Family Papers (MS 1002). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customs
  • Housing, Cooperative
  • Hunter College--Students
  • Jews--New York (State)--New York
  • Tourism
  • United States. Army. Ordnance Corps
  • Workmen's Circle (U.S.)
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Ozer Family [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Slides (photographs)

Link to similar SCUA collections