Guide to the Aaron Michael Barker Papers, 1905-1979 and undated, bulk 1917-1944
This collection includes two scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings, letters, receipts, family photographs, and the written memories of Jewish, Lithuanian-American merchant A. Michael Barker (1886-1943) of Wilson, North Carolina. Topics represented in the scrapbooks include family life, relief efforts for Jewish victims of World War I in Europe, the Zionist movement, Nazi atrocities against Jews in Europe, and the speeches of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Barker’s approximately 49 pages of memories (circa 1942-1943) detail his financial troubles, family updates, and feelings on the treatment of Jews in Germany.
- Collection Number
- Aaron Michael Barker papers
- 1905-1979 and undated
- 1.4 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials are in English and Yiddish
This collection consists of two scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings, letters, receipts, family photographs, and the written memories of A. Michael Barker (1886-1943) of Wilson, North Carolina. Additional items not contained in the scrapbooks include family photographs, a letter, and a ketubah. The scrapbooks were named for World War I and World War II according to the approximate time of the creation of their contents and the subject matter of the newspaper clippings. Topics represented in the scrapbooks include family life, relief efforts for Jewish victims of World War I in Europe, the Zionist movement, Nazi atrocities against Jews in Europe, and the speeches of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Barker’s approximately 49 pages of memories (circa 1942-1943) detail his financial troubles, family updates, and feelings on the treatment of Jews in Germany. Most of the correspondence is between Michael Barker or Anna Harris Barker and immediate and extended family members.
Barker created the scrapbooks from financial ledgers of his businesses in New Jersey and Wilson, North Carolina, and the financial entries are largely obscured by scrapbook inserts. While he created a majority of the content of the scrapbooks, some items were added after his death, presumably by another family member.
The materials in this collection are arranged chronologically. Loose inserts within the scrapbook were removed to preserve the bindings and arranged in folders according to their original order within the scrapbooks.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Aaron Michael Barker Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Inscription on inside cover: May, 1905, Michael Barker, Trenton, NJ
The World War I scrapbook includes newspaper clippings related to fundraising efforts for the relief of Jewish victims of the war in Europe, the service of Jewish men in the American armed forces, and the Zionist movement. Also included are receipts for personal and community donations to war relief funds, the Zionist Organization of America Palestine Restoration Fund, and Jewish social welfare agencies, as well as payment of dues for Michael Barker’s fraternal order memberships. Other items include letters from the Zion War Orphanage and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in acknowledgement of contributions from the Wilson, NC, Jewish community through Michael Barker; a copy of a petition sent to the President of the United States regarding the status of Palestine; promotional materials from the [American Jewish] Joint Distribution Committee; and a black and white photograph of an unidentified woman.
The visible financial records contained in the ledger date from at least 1905 through 1908, although many pages, including index pages, are obscured by scrapbook inserts. Types of information for Michael Barker’s Trenton, NJ business include merchandise transactions with area stores and accounts of profits and losses. Also included are operating expenses for Barker’s store in Wilson, NC.
Copies of telegrams, letters, and pictures related to the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, including requests for international aid and a letter of support from President Woodrow Wilson to Jacob H. Schiff.
Letter written in Yiddish on business stationery (John Taub, Dealer in Barrels, Bags and Burlaps) from Trenton, New Jersey.
Newspaper clipping, insurance documents, receipts for payment of dues to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a Zion War Orphanage brochure, and a letter of thanks from the Keren Hayesod to the Hebrew Mt. Zion Congregation for a financial contribution.
The World War II scrapbook and ledger includes writings by Michael Barker, newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, and other material, some of which postdates Barker’s death. Barker’s writings include short sayings, adages, verses, and scattered annotations to newspaper clippings. Barker recorded his "memories" (circa 1942-1943) on pages 99-147, in which he detailed his financial troubles and efforts to borrow money from friends and relatives. He also included commentary on the treatment of Jews in Germany, updates on family members, and the state of his health. There is also small amount of personal correspondence of both Michael Barker and Anna Harris Barker with friends and family members.
The newspaper clippings cover topics such as Nazi atrocities against Jews in Europe, speeches of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and other aspects of World War II. Also included are clippings of poetry, life, and religion columns. Other materials present in the scrapbook include black-and-white photographs of family members, Barker’s employees, and unidentified individuals; insurance statements and other documents related to the estate of Michael Barker; and Sunday school programs from Temple Oheb Sholom, Goldsboro, NC.
Financial entries contained in the ledger are obscured by scrapbook inserts. Among the visible financial records are accounts (circa 1939-1943) with Leder Brothers (Goldsboro, NC) and other businesses; transactions with family members, and payments of property rents.
Blueprint, property of Anna H. Barker, Wilson, NC.
Letter, Michael Barker to Mr. Arner, 28-29 May 1942.
Letter, Silas Lucas to Mrs. Anna Barker, Mrs. Morris [Minnie] Leder and Lieutenant Irving Barker, 28 December 1943.
Letter, Capt. Irving O. Kolman to Anna Barker; Tiphereth Israel Maggid (Kinston, NC), October and December 1943; Temple Oheb Shalom Messenger (Goldsboro, NC), 26 May 1944; correspondence and documents related to the estate of Michael Barker; newspaper clippings.
Receipt; newspaper clippings; condolence telegram to Lt. I. O. Barker from Lt. Impeciato and Co., 9 September 1943.
Letter, Ray Bowen to Mr. Barker, 18 July 1938; flier, envelope, and newspaper clipping.
Letter, Rheda and Kenneth to Minna [Minnie] Lee [Leder]; greeting card; wedding invitation; Temple Oheb Sholom (Goldsboro, NC) special D-Day services program, 6 June 1944.
Newspaper clipping; handwritten notes and poem.
Clipping from The Southern Israelite, circa 1942-1943.
Newspaper clippings; eulogy or obituary notes for Michael Barker; letter, Lilian Kolman to Minnie Lee [Leder], 5 June 1944; Chanukah program, Sunday School of Temple Oheb Sholom (Goldsboro, NC).
This series contains other Barker family items that did not originate from the scrapbooks, including a ketubah, a letter, and photographs.
Michael Barker, circa 1900s-1910s; Anna Harris Barker, circa 1900s-1910s; the Barker family in front of home on Vance St. (Wilson, NC), 1922; 2 photographs of Gladys [nanny and maid] with Minnie Lee Barker and Paul Barker, circa 1917-1922; Michael and Anna Barker, Arnold and Charles Leder [grandchildren] standing in front of Wilson, NC synagogue, circa 1943.
Aaron Michael Barker (1886-1943) was a Jewish, Lithuanian-American merchant of Trenton, New Jersey, and Wilson, North Carolina. Born in Kovno, the Russian Empire, Barker was known by his middle name, "Michael." He immigrated to the United States in 1900 and moved to Wilson, NC, in 1907. Barker married Anna Harris Barker (1890-1968) in Trenton in 1912, and the couple settled in Wilson, where they owned and operated a dry goods and shoe store. Barker's business failed during World War II, prompting him to seek assistance from friends and relatives before his death in 1943.
Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Business records -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century
- Jews -- North Carolina -- Wilson
- Jews -- North Carolina -- Goldsboro
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Civilian relief
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Jews -- United States
- World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Public Opinion
- Zionism -- United States -- Public Opinion
The Aaron Michael Barker papers are a gift of Michelle Leder. They were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as part of the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina Collection in June, 2014.
Processed by: Mary Mellon, June 2015
Accessions represented in this guide: 2014-0138