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Alfred M. Silberfeld Genealogical Research Collection

Identifier: MSS 0369

Scope and Content

The collection holds various personal documents (mostly photocopies), newspaper clippings, photographs, and correspondence that pertain to Alfred Silberfeld's extensive genealogical research in the course of which he explored his and his wife Sylvia's family histories. Family tree-charts are also enclosed. The collection also includes correspondence with archives in the United States, Israel, and Poland, and with family members, close and distant relatives, and their descendants. A minority of the items reflect on his active membership in the lodge Knights of Pythias. Two folders hold several of Silberfeld's poems written from the 1930s are collected in a scrapbook. Additional poems and short stories by Silberfeld, in the form of typed manuscript and newspaper clippings, and his biography are kept separately. Some of the stories were authored by family members. Alfred Silberfeld's ethical will is housed together with additional documentation of his funeral. Another folder holds materials related to the conference organized to commemorate Silberfeld's contribution to genealogical research. Additionally, three CDs and two floppy diskettes contain documentation of Silberfeld's research. Two videotapes hold recordings of one of Silberfeld's lectures and visual materials. On a third VHS cassette, a tour in the Pythian Museum is recorded. An audio tape of Rabbi Jacob Halpern's service at Siberfeld's funeral is also attached.


  • 1900-2015


Language of Materials

Includes materials written in English, Hebrew, Polish


The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Alfred M. Silberfeld was born and raised in New Jersey. After completing his high school studies in 1939, he worked for two years at the cosmetics firm of his father's second cousin, Helena Rubinstein. Afterward, he became an office machine operator in the U.S. Department of Labor. Nights and weekends, he was a comic master of ceremonies and performed in nightclubs in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In 1943, he joined the team of the Hudson Dispatch in Union City, New Jersey, working first as a cub reporter and later as a rewrite editor. Silberfeld worked as an advertising manager and associate editor of the West New Yorker, later aka Jersey Pictorial. He also worked for the Metropolitan Service Company. After a short intermission spent in the retail business, he operated two businesses of his own: Silco Air Conditioning and Television and Silco Printing and Advertising Specialties.

Max Schlanger, his employer at Metropolitan Service Company, sponsored his membership in 1951 in Abraham Lincoln Lodge #6, Knights of Pythias, West New York, New Jersey. He became a lifetime member in the Knights of Pythias in 1966. He served in numerous positions of responsibility and leadership in lodges in New Jersey, Florida, nationally, and internationally, including Grand Chancellor and Supreme Representative. From 1976 until the time of his death, he was involved with genealogical research. Silberfeld corresponded with different Jewish historical and genealogical societies, such as the American Jewish Historical Society, the Jewish Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, the periodical Hadassa, and more. He continued his genealogical research until his death.

As a retiree in Florida, he continued both his genealogical research and activities as a Pythian. He founded the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County in 1990. The Society organized a memorial event after his death, as the attached email correspondence in folder no. 4 that includes the event program illustrates. For his first Yahrzeit (anniversary of his death), the family organized a memorial ceremony.


2.40 Linear feet (6 Boxes)


This collection contains research papers, personal correspondence, and literary works of Alfred M. Silberfeld and his relatives. The collection includes copies of personal documents and photographs of Silberfeld's extended family and ancestors, collected and arranged as part of Silberfeld's genealogical research.


This collection is arranged in topical and chronological order.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The collection is a donation of Heath Lynn Silberfeld, daughter of the late Alfred M. Silberfeld.

A Guide to the Alfred M. Silberfeld Genealogical Research Collection
Finding aid created by Katalin Franciska Rac
October 2016
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