Leo Finkelstein Papers


This collection contains materials relating to Leo Finkelstein, resident of Asheville, North Carolina, the Asheville Lions Club, and the Beth Ha-Tephila Cemetery in Asheville. It contains computer discs, notes, scrapbooks, book drafts, correspondence, photographs, programs, fliers, and other materials related Leo Finkelstein, his wife Sylvia, and the Lions Club, Elks Club, and Jewish Community in Asheville, North Carolina.

The index for the Leo Finkelstein papers, 1903-1998.

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A list of questions about buying and selling produce and fish products for businesses.

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Finkelstein explains his family's past, starting in 1799 in Lithuania and ending with his life in Asheville.

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Finkelstein explains his family's past beginning in Lithuania and ending in Asheville.

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Finkelstein explains his family's past, beginning in 1799 in Lithuania and ending with his life in Asheville.

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Harry and Fannye Sherman Finkelstein wedding; circa 1904

A photograph of Harry and Fannye Finkelstein's wedding.

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A newspaper clipping explaining the struggles of Asheville's first pawnshop after getting loans became significantly easier.

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Leo and Sylvia Finkelstein, circa 1980

A photograph of Leo and Sylvia Finkelstein.

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Group Photo, Party of Asheville, NC, Jewish Community, circa 1920
Group Photo, Costume Party of Asheville, NC, Jewish Community, circa 1920

A group photo of a Costume Party held by the Asheville Jewish community.

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A program cover of Those Asheville Blues.

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Leo Finkelstein was awarded the title of "Most Memorable" in 1997 at a talent show in Green Tree Ridge.

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An article about the music group "Sanctimonious Seven" that Leo Finkelstein joined when he started learning piano after his retirement from pawnbroking.

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A clipping from the Asheville Citizen Times showing Julie Nixon standing in front of the Finkelstein loan office.

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A newspaper clipping about Leo Finkelstein's life after he retired and a brief overview of his career as a pawnbroker.

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Group of children in front of car, Asheville, NC, 1910s

An antiquated photo of a group of children in front of a car.

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Plaque, Lion of Judah Award Presented to Leo Finkelstein, 1997
Father of Leo Finkelstein in front of car, circa 1910

A photograph of Leo Finkelstein's father in front of a car.

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Deputy sheriff certificate for Leo Finkelstein, 1936
Asheville, NC Convention badge for Leo Finkelstein, 1933

An NC State Convention badge for Leo as "Exalted Ruler."

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This article explains the life of a pawnbroker from bizarre items (like a stuffed bear), rich clients who pay interest just to keep their winter coats safe over the summer, con artists, and a minister who scraped by pawning his Bible every Monday and retrieving it every Saturday evening.

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A conglomeration of papers Leo collected over his lifetime, from newspaper clippings about a bookmobile and his father's death to letters from the Buncombe County library. It includes pictures from the Asheville Lions Club and Leo's years serving the military.

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Leo Finkelstein's account of Asheville in the early twentieth century, how the Jewish community functioned, and pawnbroking during the Depression.

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Leo Finkelstein's handwritten account of his memories as a part of the Lions Club.

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Historical reports from the time when Leo served as historian of the Lions Club.

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Letters of correspondence between Leo and the Lions Club where he describes his military training. He talks about his daily schedule, his comrades, his longing for home, and his new perspective on life.

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Leo's diary that he kept during the war. It includes handwritten entries, pictures of civilians he met, autographs, and a list of the places he went.

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A collection of photos taken in a desert-like area with two couples and a little girl.

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A record of Leo's financial statements, what he held in his pawnshop, the interest he charged, and the worth of the items.

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Records from Lions Club meetings from 1998 with tidbits about Leo's health and involvement in the community. It also includes information about Leo's swing band, the Sanctimonious Seven.

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Various memorabilia from Leo Finkelstein's life, including handwritten letters, flyers, Lions Club and Beth ha-Taphila information, and newspaper clippings.

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A bulletin from the Asheville reform synagogue, Beth ha-Tephila, which gives information on all the happenings of the Jewish community.

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Contains the dedication of the Jewish cemetery and memorial park to Lou Pollock, a man who was instrumental in its foundation. Many Jews came to Asheville for health reasons, and died there without any money to be buried. As burial is very important for the Jews, they formed a cemetery committee that buries any Jew of the congregation who dies, regardless of means.

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Letter correspondence between Leo and his son-in-law, Marvin. Marvin asks for money because he cannot support his wife and child with his store job.

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Information about Sylvia's mother, Rose Bein, and her death in 1960. Includes letter correspondence between Leo and friends and papers about the inheritance money.

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Information and an appraisal report of Leo Finkelstein's property.

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A packet of user manuals and receipts for various household items.

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Papers kept by the Asheville Lions Club that give an account of Leo in his old age.

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A copy of the 1922 Asheville High School yearbook and a photo of the 60-year reunion in 1982.

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Miscellaneous memorabilia including Leo's involvement in the Valley of Asheville Brethren, his epistolary book Letters from Leo, and a Q & A about pawnbroking.

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Fliers describing important events at the Asheville Jewish Community Center and miscellaneous cards from Phyllis Finkelstein, Leo's daughter.

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An advertisement for buying Leo's books: Asheville and the Poor Man's Bank.

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Letter Correspondence between Leo Finkelstein and the Veteran's Administration about medical compensation for injuries Leo received in the war. The Administration claims that his current medical problems have nothing to do with the war, but Leo continues to fight for compensation.

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Description of Jewish life in Asheville at the start of the 20th century. Leo begins with his family history in Russia and explains how his father came to America after a series of unfortunate events.

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Leo Finkelstein's family has it roots in Lithuania, but his father had to flee after hitting a Russian soldier on the head. After living in various countries, he settled in Asheville according to the advice of a doctor and opened up a pawnshop on Main Street.

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Looking back into the past, a member of the Asheville Lions Club reminisces on the "good old days" in the 1930s.

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