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Special Collections: Baron de Hirsch Agricultural School

Baron de Hirsch Agricultural School Alumni Association Records Collection Guide

For further details on the collection please utilize the finding aid. Please note this collection is not currently digitized. To view the collection, please make an appointment to visit Special Collections.

About the Collection

Baron Maurice de Hirsch was a German financier who undertook efforts to help Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe and Russia resettle and establish farming communities in America, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil during the late nineteenth century. In 1891, he established a fund of around $2.9 million dollars to help refugees resettle in the Americas, with portions of the fund going towards the establishment of the Baron de Hirsch Agricultural School in Woodbine, New Jersey. 

Officially opened in 1894, the Agricultural School’s first students came from the nearby Woodbine Farmer’s Colony. Students learned regular school subjects like arithmetic, English, and the sciences and also were taught about agriculture. They gained hands-on experience through farming activities at the school. However, due to the poor soil conditions in Woodbine and trouble with enrollment, the school closed permanently in 1917. Today, the location of the school houses the Woodbine Developmental Center.

Around 1911, Maurice Fels, a Philadelphia benefactor of several of the Jewish farming communities’ schools, began to gather information for a report on Hirsch Agricultural School alumni, including information about where they were employed and any further education they had pursued. He corresponded extensively with former alumni, sending out questionnaires and compiling a report for the school’s executive committee. This collection includes materials from Fels’ research for his report, including his correspondence with alumni, various drafts of his reports to the executive committee, and other research material he compiled. Also within the collection is a copy of a speech given by Harry Lubin at the first annual Baron de Hirsch Agricultural School Alumni Association Banquet in 1912. 

Collection processed by Daniel Tidcombe, January 2024.

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Copyright Notice

Stockton University does not own the rights to all of the items within this collection. Any researcher seeking to duplicate items within this collection are responsible for reaching out to the proper organizations to obtain permission or copyright on their own.