Lipsky, Louis, 1876-1963

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Chairman of the American Zionist Council in New York.

From the description of Press release, 1952. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122392028

From the guide to the Louis Lipsky press release, 1952, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Louis Lipsky, noted Zionist leader, journalist and author, was born in Rochester, N.Y. in 1876 one of 11 children to Polish immigrant parents. The family came from a town called Philipova, a village near Suwalk. The Jewish community was almost entirely made up of landsmen from this area of Poland and much of the gentile Polish immigrants were also from the same area. Louis' father, Jacob Lipsky, came to America in 1874 to join his brother Isaac and two sisters. He was the second shochet (kosher butcher) in the community. Louis' mother came in 1875 with his older brother Abram. Louis was the first child born in America.

When brother Abram left for college, Louis took over his job as a freelance reporter for The Herald, a Rochester Newspaper. During this time he also worked as a law clerk with intention of becoming an attorney. In 1899, with the help of a well-to-do friend of his father's he acquired $300 to start a weekly periodical in his hometown, called The Shofar . Abram wrote sermons and Louis wrote the stories. Philip Cowen, publisher of The American Hebrew, saw a copy of The Shofar and brought Louis to New York City in March of 1900. The Shofar lasted for 13 months until the money ran out. That same year, 1900, LL became the managing editor of The American Hebrew . He also registered at Columbia University as a special student taking an eclectic course without a fixed curriculum. He would have been a member of the class of 1902 if he had graduated. LL remained with The American Hebrew for 14 years. During those years he was fascinated by the Yiddish theater and was caught up in a literary circle that included Mary Antin, Harry Scherman, Rita Scherman, and Charlotte Schacht (his future wife). When he married Charlotte in 1906 these friendships seem to be supplanted entirely by Zionist colleagues. In 1901 Dr. Stephen Wise asked LL to edit an new magazine called The Maccabean (later The New Palestine ) under the aegis of the Federation of American Zionists. LL was chosen for the post because he had written an account of the Zionist Convention in The American Hebrew that was the first time Zionism made the American press. This was the first Zionist publication in the English language. He remained editor for one year and passed the position on to Jacob de Haas who was also secretary of the FAZ. His association continued with the FAZ and to a large degree he set the pattern of Zionist policy in the United States in these early years. When de Haas retired LL became editor again.

During these years he also served on the Campaign Committee chaired by Oscar Straus for Teddy Roosevelt, he was a press agent for Harry Scherman and Herman Bernstein, and was commissioned to write a play by Louis Mann. He was also editor of The Jewish Herald for 3 months. He was secretary for Leo N. Levi, then National President of B'nai B’rith. He started writing for the secular press including pieces in The Reader, The Sunday Morning Telegraph, and The New York Daily Press . He translated the stories of Isaac Leib Peretz. In 1914 he became Secretary, a salaried position, of the Federation of American Zionists.

He was secretary then chairman of the Federation of American Zionists that became ZOA in 1917. Involved in the Brandeis-Weizmann rift, Lipsky supported Weizmann concerning financial support and control of Jewish Palestine. From 1922-1930 LL was President of ZOA.

From 1930-1959 he was President of the Eastern Life Insurance Co.

He was a founder of Keren HaYesod, also called the Palestine Foundation Fund and later incorporated into the Jewish Agency for Palestine. He was active in the United Palestine Appeal, and the American Zionist Council, in 1915 he advocated the establishment of the American Jewish Congress, in 1918 the American Jewish Congress became a reality. He later served as Vice President and Chairman.

During the years 1934-1945 LL channeled his energies to save Europe's Jews. Collaborating with Stephen Wise in the American Jewish Congress LL worked diligently trying to save Jewish lives. He wrote the rules and supervised the operation. He was keynote speaker at the first session of the World Jewish Congress in 1936. During this period he served as Vice President and later, Chairman of the Administrative Committee and Chairman of the Executive Committee.

After the war he fought the British over the partition of Palestine, against Arab interests in the United Nations, and against divisive elements in American Judaism. In 1954 he chaired the Committee For Public Affairs of the American Jewish Congress. In the 1950s he retired from the American Jewish Congress. In 1955 he formulated the idea of an organization to offer support to Israel but have no part in politics. This viewpoint found some expression in the League for Israel. He retired from active participation in any organization except for the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1956. That same year he delivered the address on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of Weizmann's death.

In 1906 he married Charlotte Schacht, who was herself a founding member of the American Women’s Division of the Organization for Rehabilitation through Training (ORT). His sons were: Eleazar Lipsky, 1912-, head of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, NYC ; Joel Carmichael, 1915-, author of The Shaping of the Arabs (1967), A Short History of the Russian Revolution (1964), and Death of Jesus (1962); and David.

Lipsky authored books, short stories, essays, plays, book reviews, and drama criticism. Among his works are: 30 Years of American Zionism, Stories of Jewish Life, Shields of Honor (1927), A Gallery of Zionist Profiles (1956), and Tales of the Yiddish Realto .

  • 1876, November 30: Born, Rochester, N.Y.
  • 1899: Began producing The Shofar. 13 issues
  • 1900 - 1914 : Became manager of The American Hebrew in New York City
  • 1900: Took courses at Columbia University
  • 1901 - 1918 : Editor of The Maccabean with brief intermissions. First Zionist publication in the U.S. in English
  • 1902 - 1913 : Wrote short stories, essays, plays, book reviews and drama critiques. Translated I.L Peretz from Yiddish. Contributed material to the New York Morning Telegraph.
  • 1903: Secretary to Leo N. Levi, President of B'nai B'rith; ran a Boys Club on the Lower East Side
  • 1906: Married Charlotte Schach
  • 1912: Became Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Federation of American Zionists (in 1917 to become Zionist Organization of America)
  • 1913: Attended World Zionist Congress in Vienna; visited London and made contact with English Zionists
  • 1913 - 1946 : Attended all Congresses with the exception of the one in 1939
  • 1914: Accepted the first paid position in Zionist movement-Secretary of FAZ. Resigned his post as editor of The American Hebrew. Called for Extraordinary Conference of Zionists. Brandeis entered the movement at this time
  • 1915: Named Chairman of the Executive Committee of FAZ.
  • 1915 - 1921 : Served as Chairman of FAZ to become ZOA in 1917
  • 1915 - 1949 : Led struggle for Jews to organize locally and nationally and to elect their own spokesmen
  • 1915 - 1917 : Active participant to secure American support for the Balfour Declaration
  • 1916: Attended preliminary meeting of AJC in Philadelphia
  • 1920: With Chaim Weizmann established the Keren Hayesod as the fund raising instrument of WZO. Split with Brandeis over Keren Hayesod. Brandeis favored independent organizations
  • 1921: Defeated Brandeis at the Cleveland Convention causing a split in the movement. Founded The New Palestine as an instrument to support the Keren Hayesod. He was its first editor
  • 1922: Elected chairman of National Executive Committee of ZOA at its convention
  • 1922 - 1930 : Chairman of ZOA
  • 1923: Served on Executive Committee of WZO
  • 1924: Founded in London The New Judea as official organ of WZO. J. Hodess was the editor. Visited Palestine for the first time
  • 1926 - 1930 : Elected President of ZOA
  • 1926: Brought Habimah to the U.S
  • 1927: As President of ZOA paid expenses of Habimah to go to Palestine where they established Israel's national theater. This created a furor in the U.S. that nearly cost him the presidency. Collected writings were published in three volumes
  • 1930 - 1954 : Left ZOA as paid official, but served, on call, without pay, as propagandist, speaker, planner, and organizer traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe
  • 1930 - 1959 : President of Judean Insurance Co. (later to become the Eastern Life Insurance Co.)
  • 1933 - 1946 : Served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine
  • 1934: Elected Vice President of AJC; served also as Chairman of its Governing Council and head of its National Administrative Council
  • 1934 - 1945 : Actively worked with Stephen Wise with the American Jewish Council to organize America against Hitler. Worked to open doors for Jewish immigration into Palestine
  • 1936: With Wise and Goldman founded the World Jewish Congress. Co-Chairman of UFA
  • 1940: Co-Chair with Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of UPA; Co-Chair of Keren HaYesod; Chairman of the General Council of the American Jewish Congress
  • 1941: Fought to have Palestine secure a place in the rescuing of Jews
  • 1943: Named Chairman of the Board of Elections for the American Jewish Congress, devising rules of procedure whereby Jewish communities through democratic elections to form the AJC as the spokesman for a united Jewish community to aid in the up building of post war Jewish Palestine. Served as the Chairman of the Committee of Five Session supervising the conduct of 3 day sessions
  • 1943 - 1947 : Principal factor in mobilizing American opinion to open the doors of Palestine to survivors of the Holocaust
  • 1944: Elected Co-Chair of the Interim Committee of the American Jewish Congress together with Henry Monsky and Dr. Israel Goldstein
  • 1945: Made two trips to London to confer with Weizmann and other Zionist leaders to help bring survivors to Palestine. Headed AJC delegation to the organizing conference of the UN in San Francisco to press for the creation of a Jewish state
  • 1945 - 1949 : Served as Co-Chairman of the Interim Committee and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Jewish Congress
  • 1947 - 1949 : Headed movement, through the American Jewish Congress, to prevent rescinding of American support for partition
  • 1949 - 1954 : Chairman of the American Zionist Council, representing all branches of the Zionist movement in the US to mobilize with US help to protect the new state of Israel
  • 1950: Visited Israel for first time
  • 1954: Chairman of American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs later American Israel Committee for Public Affairs, an instrument to build a viable state
  • 1956, November 12: Principle speaker at the Chaim Weizmann Memorial Lecture: “Herzl, Weizmann and the Jewish State.” Made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute
  • 1956: Published A Gallery of Zionist Portraits
  • 1959: Retired as President of The Eastern Life Insurance Company
  • 1960: Became Honorary Chairman of the Board of the Eastern Life Insurance Company
  • 1962: Published Tales of the Yiddish Realto stories of the Yiddish theater at the turn of century
  • 1963: Died, New York City.

From the guide to the Louis Lipsky Papers, 1898-1976, (American Jewish Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn The Hadassah Medical Organization Papers in the Hadassah Archives, 1918 - 2009 Hadassah
referencedIn American Jewish League for Israel (AJLI), records, 1927, 1957-2009 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. Yivo archives - Interviews in Amerikaner, Yiddishe Geschichte Bel-Pe, 1963-1964. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Lipsky Family Papers, 1904-1992 (bulk 1925-1992) American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Louis Lipsky papers, 1898-1976 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Annual conventions, 1914-1971. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Stone, Elihu, 1888-1952. Papers, 1913-2015 Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society
referencedIn General Jewish Council Records, 1934-1947 American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Louis Lipsky press release, 1952 L. Tom Perry Special Collections
creatorOf Lipsky, Louis, 1876-1963. Press release, 1952. Harold B. Lee Library
referencedIn Richards, Bernard G. (Bernard Gerson), 1877-1971. Bernard G. Richards papers, 1897-1967 Jewish Theological Seminary of America
referencedIn Friedenwald, Harry, 1864-1950. Papers, 1907-1943. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn The Hadassah Medical Organization Papers in the Hadassah Archives, 1918-2009 Hadassah the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
referencedIn Isaiah Leo Kenen, papers, undated, 1919-1985 American Jewish Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Christian Emergency Council for Palestine corporateBody
associatedWith American Committee for Jewish Palestine Participation at the NY World's Fair, 1939 corporateBody
associatedWith American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science corporateBody
associatedWith American Economic Council for Palestine corporateBody
associatedWith American Fund for Hebrew University corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Conference (founded 1943) corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Congress (founded 1918) corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee JDC (founded 1914) corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish League for Israel (AJLI) corporateBody
associatedWith American League for Israel corporateBody
associatedWith American Palestine Campaign corporateBody
associatedWith American Student Zionist Federation corporateBody
associatedWith American Zionist Commonwealth corporateBody
associatedWith Antin, Mary, 1881-1949 person
associatedWith Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur kinder und jugend aliyah corporateBody
associatedWith Avadia, A., Palestine Comptroller for the Zionist Executive Bakstansky, L. person
associatedWith Avukah: American Student Zionist Federation corporateBody
associatedWith Ben Gurion, David person
associatedWith B'nai B'rith (founded 1843, Sons of the Covenant) corporateBody
associatedWith Brandeis, Louis Dembitz person
associatedWith Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews corporateBody
associatedWith Chona person
associatedWith Cohen, A. B., Scranton, PA person
associatedWith Cohen, Joseph person
associatedWith Council for German Jewry corporateBody
associatedWith Cowen, Philip person
associatedWith de Shalet, M. person
associatedWith Dine, Rutzi person
associatedWith Eban, Abba (Aubrey, 1895-) person
associatedWith Edelman, A. person
associatedWith Epstein, Judith (Mrs. Moses P. 1895-) person
associatedWith Federation of American Zionists (FAZ) later ZOA corporateBody
associatedWith Federation of Palestine Jews in America corporateBody
associatedWith Ferband Labor Zionist Order corporateBody
associatedWith Feuerstein, Dr. Emil person
associatedWith Finklestein, Dr. Louis person
associatedWith Friedberg, Harry person
associatedWith Friedenwald, Harry, 1864-1950. person
associatedWith General Jewish Council corporateBody
associatedWith General Jewish Council person
associatedWith Goldberg, Abraham person
associatedWith Goldberg, Meyer person
associatedWith Goldberg, Rabbi Solomon person
associatedWith Goldman, Nahum person
associatedWith Gottheil, Prof. Richard person
associatedWith HaBimah: The Stage started in Moscow, 1917 moved to Palestine, 1930. corporateBody
associatedWith Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. corporateBody
associatedWith HaShomer HaTzair: Zionist/Socialist pioneer youth movement (Kibbutz) corporateBody
associatedWith Hebrew Orphans Home corporateBody
associatedWith Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America corporateBody
associatedWith Himmelfarb, Paul person
associatedWith Horowitz, J. L. person
associatedWith Hyman, Joseph C. person
associatedWith Isaiah Leo Kenen, 1905-1988 person
associatedWith Jacobs, Mrs. Edward person
associatedWith Jacobstein, Lina Lipsky person
associatedWith Jewish Agency for Palestine corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Institute of Religion corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Labor Committee (founded 1934) corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Publication Society of America corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Teachers Seminary and Peoples University, NY corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish War Veterans of the United States (founded 1896) corporateBody
associatedWith Judean Industrial Corporation corporateBody
associatedWith Judean Insurance Co. (later Eastern Life Insurance Co.) corporateBody
associatedWith Kadima (founded 1882 in Vienna) firs Jewish student organization corporateBody
associatedWith Kaplan, Jack J. person
associatedWith Kaplan, Mordechai M. person
associatedWith Lemalie, Aimee person
associatedWith Lipsky, Annie Rosenberg person
associatedWith Lipsky, Charlotte (Schacht) called Eddie or “Heddah in letters person
associatedWith Lipsky Family family
associatedWith Lipsky, Julius (Gint) person
associatedWith Lodzer True Bros. Benevolent Society, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Mack, Judge Julius W. person
associatedWith Mizrachi Organization (founded 1902) corporateBody
associatedWith Montor, Henry person
associatedWith National Council of Jewish Women (founded 1893) corporateBody
associatedWith Newman, Emanuel person
associatedWith New York Achooza Aleph corporateBody
associatedWith Nizer, Louis person
associatedWith Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League corporateBody
associatedWith Order of the Sons of Zion corporateBody
associatedWith Organization of Women Zionists corporateBody
associatedWith Palestine Zionist Executive corporateBody
associatedWith Perlman, Max person
associatedWith Pool, David de Sola, 1885-1970 person
associatedWith Richards, Bernard G. (Bernard Gerson), 1877-1971. person
associatedWith Richards, Bernard, Malden MA person
associatedWith Rose, Leon H. person
associatedWith Rothenberg, Morris, 1885-1970 person
associatedWith Rudavisky, Jochanon I. person
associatedWith Sachar, Harry person
associatedWith Schacht, William person
associatedWith Scherman, Harry person
associatedWith Scherman, Rita person
associatedWith Silverman, Robert, Rutland, MA person
associatedWith Society for Jewish Culture corporateBody
associatedWith Solomon, A. J. person
associatedWith Speichandler, A. person
associatedWith Stone, Elihu David, 1889-1952 person
associatedWith Stone, Hon. Elihu, Boston, MA person
associatedWith Sulzberger, Mayer person
associatedWith Suwalk and Vicinity Relief Committee of New York corporateBody
associatedWith Synagogue Council of America (founded 1925) corporateBody
associatedWith Szold, Henrietta person
associatedWith Szold, Robert person
associatedWith The Daniel Sieff Research Institute corporateBody
associatedWith UJA for Refugees and Overseas Needs corporateBody
associatedWith Unger, Rabbi Jerome person
associatedWith United Jewish Appeal (UJA) corporateBody
associatedWith United Jewish Socialist Labor Party: Poale Zion of America corporateBody
associatedWith United Palestine Appeal (Night of Stars) corporateBody
associatedWith Ussishkin, Abraham Menahem Mendel person
associatedWith Walker, James J. person
associatedWith Weidberg, Dr. Joseph M, Miami, FL person
associatedWith Weizmann, Chaim, 1874-1952. person
associatedWith Wertheim, David person
associatedWith Women's Emergency Council corporateBody
associatedWith World Zionist Organization (WZO) corporateBody
associatedWith Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. corporateBody
associatedWith Young Judea: U.S. Zionist Youth Organization (founded 1909) corporateBody
associatedWith Young Men's/Young Women's Hebrew Association (YM/YWHA) corporateBody
associatedWith Zionist Action Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) corporateBody
associatedWith Zionist Revisionists of America corporateBody
associatedWith Zucker, Louis C., 1895- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
City and town life
Social life and customs


Birth 1876

Death 1963



Ark ID: w6zc8s9w

SNAC ID: 64288897