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Herbert Michelson papers

Identifier: IHRC3088


Documents concerning Estonian Boy Scouts and scouting associations in Estonia, Germany, US. Correspondence, publications, manuscripts of Michelson's books and articles, photographs, newspaper clippings.


  • 1907-2001


Language of Materials

Estonian, English, German, Hungarian, Finnish, Swedish, French, Italian, Russian, Danish, Polish.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Herbert Voldemar Michelson. August 27, 1904 (Kudina, Tartu county, Estonia) – September 26, 1986 (Toms River, NJ USA). Wife (since 1938): Adele Marianne Michelson (born Nirgi); daughter Enda-Mai Michelson-Holland; son: Mihkel Jaak Michelson. Went to school in Tartu (Tartu Reaalkool). Worked in bookshop Postimees in Tartu since 1921, became the store manager in 1928. Active figure in boy scouts and sports movement, published articles on youth movement and several scouting manuals. Scoutmaster of Tartu troop, assistant to the chief of Estonian Scouts in 1934. Michelson was also a successful athlete, winning the Estonian championship titles in pole vaulting (1930) and speed skating (1942). When Germany occupied Estonia in 1941, Michelson saved 21 young Estonians from being drafted to Hitler Youth Corps by legally adopting them. Fled to Germany in 1944 with his family and adopted boys. Worked at Augsburg Estonian Gymnasium. Chairman of Estonian National Committee in Augsburg (Eesti Komitee Augsburgis), member of Estonian World Council as a representative of Estonians in Germany (Ülemaailmse Eesti Kesknõukogu), founding member of Estonian Boy Scouts Association in Exile (Eesti Skaudid Paguluses, 1949). Emigrated to the US in 1950. Worked in Pittsburgh, then in Philadelphia as an instructor at American boy scouts training camp Breyer Training Area. Later became the director of BTA until his retirement in 1973. Member of the assembly of Estonian American National Council (Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides, ERKÜ), leader of its youth programs and the second North-American Estonian Festival, head secretary of Estonian Boy Scouts Association (Eesti Skautide Liit), member of Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia (EELK Philadelhpia Kogudus).


15 Linear Feet

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection transferred to the IHRC from the Estonian Archives in the U.S.A. (EAU) in 2003-2005.

Processing Information

Collection was processed and described as part of a collaborative project between the Estonian Archives in the USA (Lakewood, New Jersey), the National Archives of Estonia (NAE), and the IHRC Archives in September 2016. Pille Aguraiuja and Külli Niidassoo of the National Archives in Tallinn, Estonia, worked with IHRCA staff on the project.

Inventory of the Herbert Michelson papers.
IHRC Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Immigration History Research Center Archives Collecting Area