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About this collection

This digital collection contains the papers of Lizzie Black Kander (1858-1940), whose social work among Russian Jewish immigrants in Milwaukee earned her the nickname, "Jane Addams of Milwaukee.” The original manuscripts are housed in three boxes (1 cubic foot) at the Milwaukee Area Research Center, Golda Meir Library, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as Milwaukee Mss DN.

 The papers relate to her founding and operation of the settlement house that ultimately became the Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee. They include reports, correspondence, promotional brochures, clippings, materials used in publishing a cookbook for fund-raising purposes, and minutes of meetings. Photographs include portraits of Kander, images of her family, group meetings, and the exterior of the Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee.

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(many documents are hand-written and their texts cannot be searched)

Scope and Contents

The Settlement House materials (1899-1941) include handwritten president's reports prepared by Kander, brochures about activities at the settlement house, and various legal and financial papers. also included are reports of an earlier organization, the Ladies Relief Sewing society.

The clippings from Milwaukee newspapers (1879-1955) are in both English and Yiddish. Included are articles about Jewish community settlement houses and centers in Milwaukee and about Kander's many activities, as well as her obituaries.

The folders containing writings of Lizzie Kander, 1878-1939, include her 1878 graduation address, poems and speeches written for the Wednesday Club (later Milwaukee Social Science Club), and other reports and speeches. There is also a folder containing writings, 1919-1928, by her husband, Simon Kander, or other people writing about Lizzie Kander.

The collection includes volumes of recipes taught in the settlement house cooking classes, minutes of the Abraham Lincoln Settlement House (which she ran from circa 1911-1930), and trip diaries.

Also in the collection are a 1928 recreational survey of Milwaukee, poems by unknown authors in honor of various friends and relatives of Lizzie Kander, and unsigned reports of the Milwaukee School Board Visitation Committee. Most of these are undated.


Lizzie Black was born in Milwaukee in 1858, the daughter of John and Mary Black, who were Jewish pioneer farmers from near Green Bay. She was educated in the Milwaukee public schools and in 1878 graduated from East Side High as valedictorian. In 1881 she married Simon Kander, a real estate and insurance salesman, who later served in the 1907 Wisconsin State Assembly.

Kander was one of the first women in Milwaukee to undertake social work with the Russian Jewish immigrants who began arriving in the city during the 1880s. She first established the Milwaukee Jewish Mission in 1896 in borrowed quarters in Temple B'ne Jeshurun and Temple Emanu-El. Her organization changed its name and location several times before moving circa 1951 to Prospect Avenue, where it became known as the Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee.

One of the first activities that Kander started at the Mission was cooking classes. The demand for recipes resulted in the publication in 1901 of a 200-page book, The Way to a Man's Heart. This evolved into the popular Settlement Cook Book, the profits from which helped fund her various settlement houses and center buildings.

Kander was also involved in Milwaukee community activities. From 1907 to ca. 1927 she was a member of the city's School Board. She was also a founder of the Girls' Trade and Technical High School and the Milwaukee nursery school system.

In 1938, she was the first person chosen for the Milwaukee Jewish Center Honor Lecture and at the 1939 New York World's Fair she was designated one of Wisconsin's outstanding women. She died in 1940, and in 1948 Kander Auditorium at the Girls' Trade and Technical High School was named in her honor.

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