Beth Abraham Synagogue, Auburn, collection
Scope and Content
This collection contains correspondence, photographs, publications, programs, calendars, clippings, artifacts, and a variety of other administrative materials documenting the life of the Beth Abraham Synagogue in Auburn, Maine. Most of the collection dates from the 1990s up to the dissolution of the congregation in 2017, but there is a significant scattering of material from the middle and early 20th century, particular useful for historical information about Auburn's oldest Jewish congregation.
This collection is open for research, except for any folders marked '[R]' for restricted.
The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.
The earliest known reference to a Jewish house of worship in Auburn comes from the 1898-99 Androscoggin Directory, with a listing of a "Hebreux [sic] Synagogue" at 70 Second Street, in what is today known as New Auburn. (At the time the community was also known as the Barker Mill District.) The congregation purchased that building, the Estes Building, and by 1902 had grown enough to organize as a corporate parish and officially become the Beth Abraham Synagogue. By 1917 the congregation purchased a larger building on the same street, formerly owned by the Union Music Society. That building was destroyed by fire in 1918 but was rebuilt several years later. In 1933, however, it was again destroyed, this time in the New Auburn Fire that destroyed much of the business district of that community.
Construction began later that year on a new building, located on Laurel Avenue in New Auburn, and the congregation's new home was dedicated on June 23, 1934. The synagogue remained the heart of the Orthodox community in central Maine until, with membership declining, the parish was closed and the building deconsecrated in 2017.
For more historical information, please visit this site.
2.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes, plus oversize items)
Language of Materials
Folders are arranged alphabetically by title; artifacts are in box 3, except for the Torah cloths which are in Archives oversize storage in Ladd Library.
Gift of Barbaro Shapiro, 2019 and 2020.
Processed by Pat Webber, 2021.
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