Harry Scherman family papers

Harry Scherman family papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Berman, Rita Scherman, b. 1882
Creator: Kielty, Bernardine
Creator: Scherman, Harry, b. 1887
Creator: Scherman, Louis V., 1884-1897
Creator: Scherman, William J., b. 1885
Title: Harry Scherman family papers
Dates: 1893-1972
Quantity: 1.6 Linear feet (4 document boxes)
Coll. Number: ms2836

Biographical/Historical Note

Harry Scherman, 1887-1969, was born in Canada, but soon moved to the United States and lived in many places with his family. After his parents separated, Harry and his brothers Louis and William were placed in the Jewish Orphanage Home in Atlanta, Georgia. His sister Rita and baby brother Teddy stayed with their mother. Teddy died soon afterward and Louis died while in the orphanage. The boys lived in the orphanage from February 12, 1893 until June 14, 1899. They were placed in the orphanage using the last name Scheinman (see folder 1:1 and correspondence dated 1 November 1896). In August of 1893 Rita went to England to stay with her grandparents for about three years. Harry later attended public schools in Philadelphia and college at the University of Pennsylvania. His first jobs included working for Louis Lipsky with "The American Hebrew" newspaper, Ruthrauff and Ryan advertising firm, and J. Walter Thompson Company. In 1916 he established the Little Leather Library and in 1926 the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Scope and Content Note

The Harry Scherman Papers consist of records concerning Harry Scherman and the Scherman family from 1893-1972. The papers include correspondence, diaries, and photographs. The correspondence contains letters written by Harry, Louis, and William to their mother and sister while the boys were living at the Jewish Orphanage Home in Atlanta, Georgia (1893-1899). The letters discuss the boys' activities at school and family news. Other correspondence consists of letters between Harry Scherman and Bernardine Kielty both before and after their marriage discussing family news and Sherman's work with the J. Walter Thompson Company selling books and magazines to stores, letters from Rita regarding her writings, and letters written to Rita by the Scherman family. The diaries, written by Rita, contain entries detailing her stay in England with her grandparents (1894), memoir-style entries regarding her early life (1898), and entries describing a trip to England (1905). The collection also contains materials relating to "Educational Playthings", an educational toy and furniture company, founded by Rita Scherman Berman.

Series 1 is comprised of biographical and personal information regarding the Scherman family such as clippings and notes by Bernardine on a possible book about Harry; Rita Scherman's diaries from 1894-1899 which gives many details of her early life (including the death of her brother Teddy, her brothers in the orphanage, and her trip to England) as well as her other diaries from the early 1900s. Other materials in series 1 include a typescript by Katherine Scherman Rosin, an unidentified diary/notebook of the Odds and Ends Club dated 1902; and a diary written by Bernardine Scherman in 1954 on a trip to Ireland, and an undated diary written by Harry Scherman on a canoe trip. Other folders contain personal, school, and business items of the Scherman family as well as material concerning "Educational Playthings", which was founded by Rita Scherman Berman.

Series 2 contains letters written by Harry and his brothers Louis and William to their mother and sister Rita while they were in the Jewish Orphanage Home in Atlanta, Georgia; typescripts of these letters, possibly done by Harry's daughter Katherine; several letters written 1894-1897 which were not included in the typescripts; miscellaneous family correspondence dated 1902-1904; correspondence dated 1902-1905 which is mainly between Louis Lipsky and Harry or Rita of which there are no original letters, only a typescript done by Harry's daughter Katherine. Also included are letters to and from Rita while she was on a trip to England, and letters Harry wrote to Bernardine before their marriage and after the birth of their daughter Katherine while he worked for J. Walter Thompson Company. Some letters are written to Chapin Howard dated 1918-1921 along with some other items of Howard's. The identity of this person is not explained, but a handwritten note of Bernardine Scherman's was left in the folder to show that there is a connection with theScherman family. For correspondence dated 1921-1922, most of these letters were written by Harry to his wife Bernardine while she was on a trip to Italy and France. There are many details of their young children's daily lives in these letters. The letters also mention their son Tom's musical talent and the first radio that Harry owned. Later correspondence dated 1924-1929 are also letters to Bernardine while she was on trips. Finally, correspondence from the 1940s to the 1970s includes letters concerning the death of Harry's mother Katherine Scherman and letters of condolence to Bernardine after Harry's death in 1969. There are also letters to and from Bernardine concerning Kielty genealogy.

Series 3 is comprised of photographs. Those that are labelled include a group picture of Harry, Rita, Louis, William, and Teddy as children. There are also several photograph Christmas cards of Harry and Bernardine Scherman.


Arranged by record type into three series: Series 1. Biographical material and diaries; Series 2. Correspondence; and Series 3. Photographs.

Index Terms

Educational toys--United States.
Great Britain--Description and travel.
Great Britain--Social life and customs--19th century.
Jewish Orphanage Home (Atlanta, Ga.).
Women authors, American.
Women travelers--United States.

General Notes

Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Harry Scherman family papers, MS 2836. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.


The Harry Scherman Papers were purchased by the University of Georgia's Hargrett Library on January 7, 1993. There were numerous handwritten notes included with the collection. These were initialed BKS and KSR, and were apparently written by Harry Scherman's wife, Bernardine Kielty Scherman, and daughter, Katherine Scherman Rosin, as they passed the letters back and forth. These notes were removed from the collection and placed in the accession folder.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


Series 1: Biographical material and diaries

11Biographical Information
2Diary-Rita Scherman, 1894
3Diary and Typescript-Rita Scherman, 1898-1899
4Diary-Odds and Ends Club, 1902
5Diary-Rita Scherman, 1903 1908
6Diary-Rita Scherman, July 1905
7Diary-Bernardine Scherman, 1954
8Diary-Harry Scherman, Undated
9Personal Items
10School Items
11Business Items
12"Educational Playthings" Materials-Rita Scherman

Series 2: Correspondence, 1893-1972, undated

21Correspondence, 1893-1896
2Correspondence, 1893-1896 (Typescript)
3Correspondence, 1897-1899
4Correspondence, 1897-1899 (Typescript)
5Correspondence, 1894-1897 (Not in Typescript)
6Correspondence, 1902-1904
7Correspondence, 1902-1905 (Typescript Only)
8Correspondence, 1905
9Correspondence, 1906-1911
10Correspondence, 1912-1913
11Correspondence, 1914
31Correspondence, 1915-1916
2Correspondence and Other Items-Chapin Howard, 1918-1921 1938
3Correspondence, 1921-1922
4Correspondence, 1924-1929
5Correspondence, 1930-1936
6Correspondence, 1942-1944
7Correspondence, 1947-1972
8Correspondence, Undated
9Correspondence-Empty Envelopes

Series 3: Photographs

2Photographs-People, Unidentified
3Photographs-People, Unidentified
4Photographs-Places, Unidentified
5Photographs-Places, Unidentified