Workmen's Circle/Der Arbeter Ring Branch 304 photograph collection, between 1924 and 1973

Overview of the Collection

Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring. Branch No. 304 (Seattle, Wash.)
Workmen's Circle/Der Arbeter Ring Branch 304 photograph collection
between 1924 and 1973 (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: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Selections from the collection can be viewed on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

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

Custodial History

Collected by the Washington State Jewish Historical Society. The collection is from the estate of Ben Stein who served as the secretary, financial secretary, and president of Branch 304.

Acquisition Information

Donated from the estate of Ben Stein, March 16, 1972

Processing Note

Processed by Ryan Hard; Sarah Julsonnet, processing completed in August 2010.

Photographs were relocated from the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring Branch 304 Records (Accession No. 1859-001) on May 16, 1978, April 3, 1990, March 13, 1991, and December 24, 2007.

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
XH6 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 case file has photocopy of original with names written on it.
May 18, 1924
XH6 2
Portraits of the officers and Standing Committee of Local 304
Includes Ben Stein as the Financial Secretary
1/1 3 1934
XH6 4 1935
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.
XH6 6 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.
between 1950 and 1960?
1/1 8 between 1950 and 1960?
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
between 1950 and 1970?
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
between 1950 and 1970?
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.
between 1943 and 1944
1/2 12
Ralph Perlmutter wearing uniform
Written on verso: Son of Mrs. Lax 2317 E. Union.
between 1943 and 1944?
1/2 13 between 1943 and 1945
1/2 14 between 1943 and 1945
1/2 15 between 1943 and 1945
1/2 16 March 13, 1943
1/2 17 December 1943
1/2 18
Gerald A. Berool in naval uniform, San Diego, California
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 between 1950 and 1960?
1/3 24 between 1970 and 1980?
XH6 25
Architect's rendering of AR Building
Harry E. Nordquist (Architect)
between 1933 and 1980?

Ben Stein and FamilyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/4 26 between 1900 and 1940?
1/4 27 between 1917 and 1940?
1/4 28 between 1920 and 1950?
1/4 29 between 1955 and 1965?
1/4 30-31
Passport photos of Ben Stein
Liberty Studio, Seattle, WA
1/4 32 between 1960 and 1970?
1/4 33 between 1960 and 1970?
1/4 34 1968
1/4 35-36
Ben Stein presenting something to two men
Condition note- Polaroid photos are deteriorated.
between 1960 and 1970?
1/4 37 May 1966
XH6 38a-c between 1946 and 1960?
XH6 39a-e between 1946 and 1960?
Box/Folder item
1/5 40 between 1910 and 1930?
1/5 41 between 1920 and 1940?
1/5 42-44
Genna & Muma
Photos are of the same baby and woman however two photos are labeled Genna & Muma while the third is labeled Bella & Misho.
1/5 45
Photo booth photos of a family
Appears to be the same woman, man and baby as the photos marked Genna & Muma.
between 1969 and 1970?
1/5 46
"Ma" Taltman standing on sidewalk
Written on photo: 1529-34th Ave.
November, 1947
1/5 47
Herman Gold sitting on steps
On verso; Son of Mrs. Yetta Gold.
berween 1940 and 1950?
1/5 48 between 1940 and 1950?
1/5 49 between 1940 and 1950?
1/6 50
Portrait of a group of young men, probably a school group
Caption on photo: E.P.S. 25, 1915-1916
between 1915 and 1916
XE1 51
Portrait of a man
between 1924 and 1970?

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Stein, Ben. approximately 1890---Photographs

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring. Branch No. 304 (Seattle, Wash.)--Photographs (collector)