Personal Papers

David Wolffsohn, circa 1915 (PHG\1000317)Arthur Ruppin, circa 1925 (PHG\1019214)Eliezer and Hemda Ben Yehuda, 1912 (PHG\1017404)Theodor Herzl, 1896 (PHG\1000953)

The Central Zionist Archives preserves more than 1,500 personal papers of the leaders and activists of the Zionist Movement and the Yishuv. Some of these archives are very small (one or two files), but most of them are very large (tens of boxes). The list of personal papers includes well-known figures in Zionist history, such as: Theodor Herzl, Nahum Sokolow, David Wolffsohn, Max Bodenheimer, Henrietta Szold, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Haim Arlossoroff and other functionaries and professionals, but also the papers of less well-known people who dealt with important aspects of Zionism and the development of the yishuv. The personal and public correspondence, diaries, family letters and photographs, are preserved in their archives and contribute to an understanding of their character and their work.

The collection of personal archives has been constantly growing. As the fields of study have changed over the years, so has the range of personal papers that the CZA is interested in collecting and preserving. Recently, the archives of men and women, who are perhaps less well known, but were active and influential in their specific areas of expertise, have been accepted for preservation by the CZA. For example, we are happy to have the papers Rudolfina Menzel, who developed the field of dog training in Palestine, and Sarah Bavli, who dealt with matters of nutrition, as well as the papers of people active in Zionist and Jewish affairs overseas, such as Yitzchak Harkavi, an active Zionist in South America, and Jean Halperin, a prominent activist amongst the Jews of France.
The important and historical collections are preserved in the underground storerooms of the building of the Zionist Archives in Jerusalem.
Registration of the various collections and record groups
A. Language of registration of the files
The descriptions of most of the files in the various record groups are in Hebrew. However, if most of the original documents in the files of the record group are in English, German or another language, the file descriptions are in English. Most of the file descriptions (about 80%) are in Hebrew.
B. Record groups of personal archives
Most of the personal papers have been given a notation beginning with the letter "A" (with the exception of the Theodor Herzl archives, “H1”, and the David Wolffsohn archives, “W1”).
For example:
Arthur Ruppin - A107
Eliezer Ben Yehuda - A43
Leib Jaffe – A13
If a personal archive is small and includes only a few files, it received the notation "AK". For example:
Joe Golan – AK657
Nathan Goralic - AK685
Every record group consists of files, sometimes a few files and other times, thousands of files, according to the amount of material accumulated by the person who produced the material. The files belonging to a specific record group are given a unique notation within the record group. For example:
C. Special documents/items of various types in the files:
Below the level of the heading or description of the file, special documents are indicated. These are either related to the general subject of the file or are exceptional items due to their content, their type (a map, photograph, poster, etc.) or their size. These items are described, given a notation and registered on a separate level, below the general description or heading of the file. Items of exceptional size (larger than A4) found in the files (a document, map, poster, handbill or photograph) are removed and stored in special store-rooms. In such cases, a special reference page is added to the file indicating the details of the removed item.