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Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

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Chicago Home for Jewish Orphans

In operation 1894-1946

Throughout the nineteenth century, the only home for Jewish orphans in the Midwest was located in Cleveland, Ohio. Given Chicago's growing population of poor and immigrant Jews, a number of concerned Jewish women approached the United Hebrew Charities about establishing an orphans home in Chicago. Organized in 1892, the home opened at 3601 Vernon Avenue on October 7, 1894; the orphanage moved in 1899 to a larger building, at 62nd and Drexel, across the street from the Home for Aged Jews. The home closed in 1946 and the building on Drexel was then used by the University of Chicago as a dorm called Woodlawn Hall; it was eventually demolished in 1965.

An article published in 2006 in Constructing the Past by Natalie Burda compares and contrasts the two Jewish orphanages in Chicago - the Chicago Home and the Marks Nathan Home. It focuses on the differences between the German Jewish immigrants and the Eastern European Jews, and how these differences affected the orphanages.

An article published in 1992 in the Chicago Tribune by Ron Grossman details a reunion of former residents. 

A booklet by the institution's Superintendent, Leopold Deutelbaum, published in 1908, gives a comprehensive overview of the facility, many photographs, and also includes a list of "graduates" and past directors. This collection includes 151 names of Graduates and Directors listed in the booklet.

This collection also  includes census data transcripts from the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 United States Federal Census. It includes an estimate of the year the individual was born, where they were born, and indicates which census the record was found. There are over 780 records in the collection. Very few of the individuals appear in more than one census year. Additionally, many children were only in the home for a short period and may not appear in any of the censuses which were only taken every ten years. Please note that the census records include the name of the individual at the time the census was taken, which may be the mother's maiden name and the original given names in cases where names were later changed. Additionally, sometimes individuals may have been called by nicknames or other forms of their name. For example, Julia might be called Julie, so multiple searches may be appropriate. We also offer links to FamilySearch.org records if you would like to view the original census document.

email: JJCD@jgsi.org


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