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Sara Gaíl de Farber and Bess de Farber Papers

Identifier: MSS 0416

Scope and Content

The majority of the collection includes materials related to Sara Gaíl's life and work in Argentina and the US. Regarding her early life and studies in Argentina, there are various identification cards and other official documents, letters from the University of Buenos Aires confirming her training curriculum, and notebooks and a sketchbook that she produced while training in early childhood education National University of La Plata. Additional artwork by Sara Gaíl as well as artwork by Emilio Grande, a cousin by marriage, also is enclosed. In addition, the collection holds Sara's and Joseph's marriage certificate from New York City and certificate of naturalization. Separate folders hold family photographs: the majority, taken by Joseph Farber, depicts Sara Gaíl with her children, while the rest is of her family in Argentina. Some of the photographs are copies. Larger photographs are housed separately in an oversize folder.

In addition, original letters and their photocopies sent to Catalina R. A. de Husson, the director of the early childhood education program where Sara Gaíl was trained, and greeting cards and letters to various family members and friends are also housed in the collection.

Flyers, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and notes from the audience in addition to an undated performance script with both Bess de Farber's and Rebecca Jefferson's comments are collected in one folder. Bess de Farber's genealogical research and her 2002 contribution of her mother's thesis and a photo collage to an exhibit to the Florida Jewish Museum are held in separate folders. A booklet issued by the Florida Jewish Museum to accompany the exhibition is enclosed.The last folder holds two books by Lina Husson; both have the author's handwritten dedication to Bess Farber.


  • Creation: 1918-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950s-1970s


Language of Materials

Includes materials written in Spanish, English, and Yiddish.


The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sara Gaíl de Farber, mother of Bess de Farber, grants manager at University of Florida's George A. Smathers Libraries, was born in Banfield, Argentina, a suburb of Buenos Aires, in 1918. She earned degrees in music theory, early childhood education, and medical social work in Buenos Aires. It is also where she met her future husband and second cousin, Joseph Farber, who was born in what today is Bielsk-Podlaski in north-eastern Poland. He arrived in the United States in 1912, at the age of eleven, and travelled to Argentina as an adult to live and work in Buenos Aires near his brother's and cousin's families. Sara joined Joseph when he returned to the United States. They got married in 1955 in New York City. Shortly after they moved to Florida; their daughter "Bessie" was born in Miami Beach the following year. Sara served as one of the first Spanish-speaking medical social workers at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, just as the Cuban immigrants were arriving in 1961. Her work focused on assisting Spanish-speaking family members diagnosed with tuberculosis who needed to be quarantined in A.G. Holley State Hospital, in Lantana, Florida. Bess became a classically trained clarinetist and as such, in 1995, she co-produced a performance piece with composer and pianist Craig Ames, titled Composing A Heart. On stage Bess played a musical score composed especially for this solo performance and narrated family stories about growing up in Miami with Jewish immigrant parents who spoke Spanish in the home. This performance was later revised by Bess de Farber in conjunction with Rebecca Jefferson, curator of the Price Library of Judaica. In its renewed version, Composing A Heart tells immigrant stories from the Price Library as well as that of Bess de Farber's family, which are now included in the Price Library's collections.


.65 Linear feet (2 Boxes and 1 Flat Folder)


This collection holds materials created by Joseph Farber, father, and mother and daughter, Sara Gaíl de Farber and Bess Gaíl de Farber, respectively. The larger part of the collection includes materials that relate to Sara Gaíl's life and work in Argentina and the US. Separate folders hold materials relating to Bess de Farber's performance commemorating her mother's and father's emigration to the US from Poland, and Argentina, respectively, and her family and genealogical research.


This collection is arranged in chronological and topical order.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Bess de Farber in 2016.

Related Materials

Bess de Farber donated materials regarding the first bilingual (English-Spanish) curriculum in Miami, held in collection MSS 0491.

A Guide to the Sara Gaíl de Farber and Bess de Farber Papers
Finding aid created by Katalin Franciska Rac
February 2018
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America