During the 1920s several Jewish families migrated to the Toms River, New Jersey area and began to farm. They soon established the Toms River Community of Jewish Farmers with about 50 families as members. At its height during World War II, more than 350 families were members. Many were poultry farmers and suffered economically when the market price for eggs tanked in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Along with advancements in refrigeration technology, Southern states were able to produce cheaper egg and poultry prices due to not having to transport grain as far. Many of the farms went out of business as a result.
Currently, not much is known about the beginnings of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Toms River Community of Jewish Farmers, which met monthly during the 1950s and early 1960s – and possibly at other times – to organize activities, socialize, educate, and inform each other. Some of the activities organized included the maintenance of the Community House, the operation of a summer day camp for children, and the celebration of religious holidays. Social events included plays, games, and fashion shows. The Auxiliary’s meetings also featured reports on local, national, and international events, as well as announcements about families’ accomplishments or births, marriages, and deaths. By 1965, the community ordered the construction of the Toms River Community Center.
The collection was acquired in two parts from Dina Robinson in 2021. The first part sorted includes meeting minutes and attendance lists from the groups’ general and executive meetings from the 1950s and early 1960s. It also includes a few pieces of correspondence from 1959 and 1961, primarily thank-you letters. Also included is a locally published booklet entitled History of Pioneers: Reminiscences and Personal Histories of the Jews of Toms River, originally published in 1976 and reprinted in 1998. There is one issue of The Day-Jewish Journal, from Brooklyn, New York, regarding the Mohoth Chitim Campaign to provide Passover food to new immigrants to Israel.
The second part sorted has a more varied collection of items. These include various legal property documents such as deeds and mortgages and legal correspondence. Other personal legal documents include wills, bills of sale, and a partnership agreement. Additionally, construction records and blueprints of two separate properties are also present.
While Stockton University’s Bjork Library’s Special Collection and Archives owns the collection, Stockton may not own the copyright for all of the items. Researchers wishing to reproduce materials are responsible for obtaining the proper permissions.