Organizations  /  Jewish Mothers Club

The Jewish Mothers Club began as an all-volunteer effort to help women and their families living on the East Side of Buffalo with childcare and temporary foster care. It was active from the early years of the twentieth century to the mid 1950s when it closed.


The Jewish Mothers Club was initially founded as the Jewish Mothers Club Nursery and Temporary Home and was first located at 252 Adams Street. It started around 1914 with a group of older women with immigrant Eastern European Jewish roots. By the 1920s many of their daughters had graduated from the Buffalo Public School system, and some had held office jobs. Their mothers encouraged them to help and the organization expanded to include a younger generation of organizers. This younger group changed the club into a more formalized organization with officer roles and regular meetings that led to its legal incorporation on April 21, 1919. The articles of incorporation included the Club’s breadth of functions: a day nursery and temporary home with sleeping quarters, food service, supervision and medical attention. The Club offered women childcare while they worked. It also offered respite care for mothers recovering from the birth of a child who could turn to the home for temporary care of their older children while they were in recovery. In some instances, after the death of a mother, fathers might place their children in the home until they could stabilize their own position with the aid of other relatives and neighbors.

Financial support for the club and temporary home came through fundraising and fees. Fees range from $.10-$.50 a day depending upon ability to pay. These did not cover the entire cost of care and additional income was raised through appeals, fundraisers, and donations of food and clothing from retailers, as well as free services from doctors, dentists and barbers. The largest fundraising event attended by officers, volunteers, children and donors was the annual picnic held in Orchard Park.

The Jewish Mothers Club closed in the mid 1950s after the board determined that it was no longer needed. On October 25, 1955 the officers voted to dissolve the corporation. In March the following year, the certificate of dissolution was filed in the office of the Secretary of State and the Erie County Clark’s office. The assets of the organization totaled $77,000 at this time and the main beneficiaries were Camp Centerland and the Jewish Center’s Suburban Building Fund.


Volunteer Lay Leaders

active in the 1920s through 1950s (let us know of missing names)

  • Bessie Wander
  • Tsipeh Maisel
  • Fanny Siegel
  • Sadie M. Clark
  • Rose Brown
  • Esther Bedell
  • Anna Maisel
  • Ida Kulick
  • Jenny Wasserman
  • Leah Rosenthal
  • Lena Chodorow
  • Minnie Cutler
  • Sarah Dubowsky
  • Rose S Weintraub
  • Maime Kahn
  • Rose L Weintraub
  • Anna Jacobs
  • Anna Guber
  • Ida Memel

Recollections from Anna Maisel’s sons: Daniel and Richard Maisel.

The Maisel’s were a multi-branch family that came to Buffalo in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through family chain migration. Edward Maisel  (Elijah) and Tsipeh (Tsiporah) Horowitz Maisel from Beshenkovici, Vitesk (then in Russia), had several sons, all of whom eventually came to Buffalo over a twenty-year period as antisemitism increased and conditions for Jews worsened. Louis Maisel left in 1890 at 16 and eventually became a furniture maker in Buffalo. Alexander Maisel left in 1894 and first went to England, then to Buffalo, eventually establishing Maisel’s Music Store at 915 Broadway above his brother’s store: Maisel’s Furniture & Appliances. Sam Maisel established a Jewelers and Fur store at 913 Broadway. Edward, Tispeh and James Maisel, the youngest son, came in 1902. All of the boys worked as tradesman and shopkeepers except for James Maisel who attended college and became a lawyer. Another son, Henry Maisel left before his parents and younger brother in 1900, and married Anna Schwartz Maisel, later Corresponding Secretary of the Jewish Mothers Club. Daniel Maisel was born in 1920 in Buffalo, and his younger brother Richard was born in 1928, while sister Beverly was born in 1923.

In 1921 when Daniel Maisel celebrated his first birthday at the Home at 56 Johnson Street with his mother, an officer of the club, and his grandmother, a founder of the club, the home was caring for Jewish children aged from 18 months to 12 years of age. There were five full-time employees and a range of volunteer workers. The home had a domestic educator and a field officer to visit parents. Anna Maisel served in various leadership capacities for the following thirty years after this photograph was taken.

Daniel Maisel remembers his mother’s involvement and the annual fundraiser

“She [Anna Maisel], was the Secretary and Treasurer. She used to be there all the time.”  On fundraising, Daniel Maisel remembers, “They had a picnic in Orchard Park. There was a place there, with a creek and a dance hall and other things. Every year we would go to the picnic. I remember that it was the only time that my mother let me eat hotdogs and when I came home I always had to take milk of magnesia. My brother and sister and I used to enjoy the picnics but we didn’t like the milk of magnesia!”

Daniel Maisel, February 26, 2021.

Richard Maisel remembers learning about the club’s founding and its links to  consumption and other illnesses before and after World War I:

“Consumption was a very prevalent disease at that time. The mother would get consumption and die and there would be a father left with three kids….as the need got greater, the older generation of women, that would be my grandmother [Tsipeh Maisel], decided to form an organization, the Jewish Mothers Club. …just to provide a temporary home until their regular home could be re-established. My grandmother and several other ladies of the first generation were the ones who got the idea and formed it and then they brought in other Jewish people which would include my mother, and [that] second generation had a lot of skills that the old generation did not have. She [Anna Maisel] had a year of business school before she got married and she became the Corresponding Secretary… She formed with the other second-generation ladies, long lasting friendships and for years, every Tuesday night she would go to the board meetings of the Jewish Mothers Club.”

Richard Maisel, February 26, 2021.

Distributing the Assets

When the Jewish Mothers Club closed, it distributed its assets of approximately $77,000 to several Jewish and general organizations that included:

  • Rosa Coplon Jewish Old Folks Home: $20,000
  • The Women’s Labor Zionist Organization of America Inc. (Pioneer Women): $3,000.
  • Cerebral Palsy Association of Western New York Inc. : $2,000.
  • Aid Club of Buffalo New York.: $1,000.
  • Buffalo Hebrew School, 206 N. Park Ave., Buffalo: $5,000.
  • Children’s Hospital, 219 Bryant St., Buffalo: $5,000.
  • Camp Centerland Jewish Mothers Club Scholarship Fund: $4,000
  • Jewish Center, Buffalo 787 Delaware Ave, for the Suburban Building Fund: Remainder of monies, and its building at 56 Johnson Street: $34,823.99.

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Thank You

Thanks to brothers Daniel Maisel and Richard Maisel; Daniel Maisel’s daughters, Barbara Spector and Elizabeth (Betty) Maisel, Gail Golden, daughter of Beverly Maisel Goldsman, sister of Daniel and Richard Maisel, and to Geoffrey Golden, grandson of Beverly Goldsman.

Thanks to Donald and Sharon Wander and the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies for permission to reproduce images created by Izon-Don Dannecker as part of a multi-year documentation project carried out by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project.