Workmen's Circle/Der Arbeter Ring Branch 304 photograph collection, circa 1924-1970s  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring. Branch No. 304 (Seattle, Wash.)
Workmen's Circle/Der Arbeter Ring Branch 304 photograph collection
circa 1924-1970s (inclusive)
48 photographic prints; 2 posters; 1 label (1 box, 3 oversize folders) ; various sizes
Collection Number
Photographs, flyers, and posters of the meetings, members, and activities of the Workmen's Circle Seattle Lodge No. 304 and in other cities. It also contains photographs of Ben Stein, an immigrant to Seattle from Minsk, who served as secretary, financial secretary, and president for the group.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Additional Reference Guides

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by King County 4Culture

Historical NoteReturn to Top

In April of 1892, a group of Jewish garment workers from New York City's Lower East Side formed a mutual aid society called the Workingmen’s Circle. This small collective soon grew to a membership of 300, and it officially became known as the Workmen’s Circle (Der Arbeter Ring in Yiddish) in 1900. The Workmen’s Circle provided benefits that poor immigrants were otherwise denied: life insurance, health benefits, unemployment relief, homes for the aged, and funeral assistance. By 1920 there were over 80,000 members, and The Workmen’s Circle had become one of the largest Jewish organizations in America.

The programs initiated by the Workmen's Circle encompassed a host of social, cultural, and political issues deemed important to the Jewish community. In addition to promoting labor rights and the strengthening of trade unions, the organization provided educational and cultural programs that emphasized Jewish heritage through theater, music, literature, summer camps, and Yiddish instruction. The Workmen's Circle also sold war bonds to provide support during both World Wars, and partnered with other Jewish organizations to actively promote and fund the settlement and expansion of Israel during the early years of its existence. After World War II, the organization de-emphasized their socialist leanings in an effort to distance themselves from communist affiliation.

The Seattle, Washington branch of the Workmen's Circle -- Branch 304 -- was organized in 1909, and their first location was a rented store on 14th Avenue and Main Street. In 1920, the members bought a building at 120 21st Avenue that had previously been a blacksmith shop. Property was then purchased for the organization at 1614 East Union Street in 1937, with the grand opening of this location taking place in December 1942. Activities in Seattle included summer picnics, festive observances of Jewish holidays, New Years Eve celebrations, banquets, and lectures. Though Branch 304 eventually closed its doors in 1973, the Workmen's Circle organization continues to operate in several cities across the country.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection contains photographs, flyers, and posters of the meetings, members, and activities of the Workmen's Circle in Seattle and other cities. It also contains photographs of Ben Stein, an immigrant to Seattle from Minsk, who served as secretary, financial secretary, and president for the Seattle Lodge No. 304.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Workmen's Circle (Der Arbeter Ring) Branch 304Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Meetings and Celebrations
box:oversize item
XH2 1
 15th Anniversary group photo of the Workmen's Circle Local 304, Seattle
Framed picture of Karl Marx hangs behind group on wall.Accompanying material in casefile has photocopy of original with names written on it.
May 18, 1924
XH2 2
 Portraits of the officers and Standing Committee of Local 304
Includes Ben Stein as the Financial Secretary
1/1 3 1934
XH2 4
 Portraits of National Executive Committee Workman's Circle, 1933-1935
Rappoport Studios, New York (photographer)
1/1 5
 Workmen's Circle Golden Jubilee, 1900-1950 label
Printed on label: General Office 175 East Broadway New York 2, N.Y., Phone ORchard 4-3400.Written on label: Donated by Jacob Blatt N.W. Delegate.
XH2 6
 Workmen's Circle Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary meeting at Madison Square Garden, New York City
Alexander Archer, Union Photography, New York (photographer)
May 28, 1950
1/1 7
 Executive committee and founders of Workmen's Circle Branch 304
From accompanying material: Left to right, front row: Charles Shapiro (founder), Max Alt (founder), Nathan Kosokoff (founder), Ben Stein (financial secretary), Harry Pnish, Morris Ringold. Standing: Hyman Blatt, Benjamin Sterling, Edward Sidell (recording secretary), Isaac Kundin, Jacob Raine, Harry Hanchin, Sam Arshon, Ben Radinsky.Same image found in Rosalie Steinbrecher Photograph Collection, PH Coll 1087.3.
circa 1950s
1/1 8 circa 1950s
Events and Performers
box:oversize item
XE1 9
Poster for event featuring "Famous Artists of the Jewish Stage"
Contains portraits of Israel Welichansky, Masha Benya, Charlotte Cooper, and Pola Kadison
XE1 10
Poster for event featuring "Outstanding Celebrities of the Yiddish Stage and Radio"
Contains portraits of Mort Freeman, Shifra Lerer, Herschel Gendel, and Pola Kadison
World War II
Box/Folder item
1/2 11
 Seattle Jewish Community Hospital train
Workmen's Circle in conjunction with several Jewish agencies purchased two trains of thirteen cars that were loaded with medical supplies and amenities for troops as part of their operations to support the war effort.
circa 1943-1944
1/2 12
Ralph Perlmutter wearing uniform
Written on verso: Son of Mrs. Lax 2317 E. Union
circa 1943-1945
1/2 13
Man standing outdoors in uniform
circa 1943-1945
1/2 14 circa 1943-1945
1/2 15 circa 1943-1945
1/2 16 March 13, 1943
1/2 17 December 1943
1/2 18
Gerald A. Berool in naval uniform, San Diego, CA
Written on verso: 11-44 Bugle School U.S. M.J.C [Military Junior College], San Diego, California.
January 1944
Box/Folder item
1/3 19-23
Views of duplex buildings
1/3 24 ca 1970s
XH2 25
 Architect's rendering of AR Building
Harry E. Nordquist (Architect)

Ben Stein and FamilyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/4 26 undated
1/4 27
Portrait of man in full dress uniform
1/4 28 undated
1/4 29
Portait of Ben Stein with a woman and boy
1/4 30-31
Passport photos of of Ben Stein
Liberty Studio, Seattle, WA
1/4 32
Ben Stein standing in front of fireplace
1/4 33
Ben Stein standing with man in front of building
1/4 34 undated
1/4 35-36
 Ben Stein presenting something to two men
Condition note- Polaroid photos are deteriorated.
1/4 37 May 1966
XH2 38 undated
XH2 39 undated
Miscellaneous People
Box/Folder item
1/5 40 undated
1/5 41 undated
1/5 42-44
 Genna & Muma
Photos are of the same baby and woman however two photos are labelled Genna & Muma while the third is labeled Bella & Misho.
1/5 45
 Photobooth photos of a family
Appears to be the same woman, man and baby as the photos marked Genna & Muma.
1/5 46
 "Ma" Taltman standing on sidewalk
Written on photo: 1529-34th Ave.
November, 1947
1/5 47
Herman Gold
On verso; Son of Mrs. Yetta Gold
1/5 48 undated
1/5 49 undated
1/6 50
 Portrait of a group of young men, probably a school group
Caption on photo: E.P.S. 25, 1915-1916
XE1 51
Portrait of a man

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Personal Names :
  • Stein, Ben. approximately 1890---Photographs
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring. Branch No. 304 (Seattle, Wash.)--Photographs (collector)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)