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Mount Zion Temple records

Identifier: umja0016

Scope and Content

This collection contains administrative materials related to the day-to-day functions of Mount Zion Temple, and includes: board meeting minutes, including ledger books of minutes dating back to 1857; annual meeting reports; committee materials including correspondence, reports, and planning documents; programs and religious events materials such as youth group activities and High Holy Day services; rabbi correspondence; anniversary planning and historical research; photographs and CDs; and prayer and hymnal books. The materials cover the date range from 1857 to 2020, although the bulk of the materials date from the 1950s to the 1970s.


  • Creation: 1857-2020
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950s-1970s


Use of Materials

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives; please contact the archives for more detailed copyright information.

Historical Note

Founded in 1856 by eight German-Jewish families, Mount Zion Hebrew Association (as it was then called) was the very first Jewish congregation in Minnesota. Through the 1860s the congregation met in rented rooms around St. Paul before their first building was completed in 1871, located at East Tenth Street and Minnesota Street in the Lowertown district. In 1878 Mount Zion joined the liberal Reform Judaism. When larger numbers of Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to St. Paul, Mount Zion congregants came to their aid to offer support, creating relief groups. In 1904 a new temple was completed at the intersection of Holly and Avon; they looked to move again in 1951 to Summit Avenue. The new building, completed and dedicated in 1954, was designed by internationally recognized architect Erich Mendelsohn. In 2006 Mount Zion celebrated their 150th anniversary; they currently have over 650 households.

For more information on the history of Mount Zion Temple, please consult W. Gunther Plaut's 1956 publication Mount Zion, 1856-1956: The First Hundred Years, or Mary Ann Barrows Wark's publication Mount Zion Temple 150th Anniversary Commemorative Book. Both publications can be found in the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives collection. Further historical information can also be found at Mount Zion Temple's website, at


12.45 Cubic Feet (14 boxes -- 3 Hollinger boxes, 1 half Hollinger, 9 Paige boxes, 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of administrative records from Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul, the very first Jewish congregation in the Minnesota.


This collection is comprised of the following series:

Series 1: Administrative

Series 2: Programs and Committees

Series 3: Correspondence

Series 4: Erich Mendelsohn and New Building materials Series 5: Rabbi Margolis papers

Other Finding Aids

Item level inventory of folders in Boxes 12 and 13 is available; contact archivist.

Source of acquisition

Collection donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest by Mount Zion Temple in 1990; added to in 1992 and 2008. Further materials were donated in 2018 and 2022. Series of Rabbi Margolis papers came to the archives from Mount Zion Temple, but were initially donated to the synagogue from the Margolis family.

Related Materials

The Mount Zion Oral History records (umja0025) includes oral histories from Holocaust survivors and social justice leaders; these oral histories were conducted in preparation for Mount Zion Temple's 150th anniversary in 2006. The oral histories are digitized and available online; see the finding aid for that collection for more information.

More materials related to Mount Zion Temple are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society. The collection is called the Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation records; materials date from 1853 to 1958 and is comprised of 7.5 cubic feet worth of materials. For more information, contact the Minnesota Historical Society at

Mount Zion Temple records, 1857-2020
Finding aid created by Kate Dietrick
July 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • December 2016: Revised to include new accession of two boxes
  • December 2022: Revised to include newly donated materials

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Collecting Area