All posts by Johnna Kaplan

About Johnna Kaplan

Johnna Kaplan is the editor of the AJHS-NEA newsletter. A freelance writer based in Hartford, Connecticut, she covers travel, history and Jewish issues, among other topics, and has been published in newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, the Jewish Daily Forward, and She is the currently the editor of Hartford City Center HamletHub and writes about Connecticut on her blog, “The Size of Connecticut.”

The Eliot Snider Papers

Massachusetts LumberThe AJHS–NEA archives are filled with stories of individuals and families who have affected the Jewish communities of Greater Boston and New England. Eliot Snider is the focus of one  such collection.

Four years before Eliot was born, his father – Harry, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania – founded the Massachusetts Lime and Cement Company, later re-named Massachusetts Lumber, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Continue reading The Eliot Snider Papers

The Percy Brand Papers

Percy BrandThe life of Percy Brand, whose papers are held by the American Jewish Historical Society–New England Archives, sounds like a plot from a movie. Born Peretz Brand in Liepaja, Latvia, in 1908, Brand began studying violin when he was ten years old. By the time he was 33, he had become concertmaster of the Latvian Symphony Orchestra in Riga. In that year, 1941, the Germans took control of the Baltic countries. Brand’s wife Sara and their children Mendel and Judith Basya were killed. Brand himself was sent Buchenwald in Germany. Continue reading The Percy Brand Papers