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Leo Finkelstein Papers

Identifier: AC-107

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials relating to Leo Finkelstein and Asheville, North Carolina. It contains drafts of Finkelstein's two books, personal histories, digital photographs, print photographs, correspondence to the Asheville Lions Club, and academic papers.

Scrapbooks, photo albums, and Finkelstein's World War II diary are available only on microfilm. Some digital materials are stored on zip discs that are currently inaccessible. Original materials are located at the Archives of Beth Ha-Tephila Congregation in Asheville, North Carolina. Original materials, including the color photos in Series III, in this collection were donated separately by Patricia Beaver in 2001.

Series I: Papers and Book contains copies of a variety of materials belonging to Leo Finkelstein and housed in the Archives of Beth Ha-Tephila in Asheville, NC. This includes photo albums, including fifteen photographs of gravestones at Beth Ha-Tephila Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina written in Hebrew dated 1995, two photographs of Asheville businesses including Finkelstein's Loan Office from the 1950s scrapbooks, notes, recollections, and stories used in Finkelstein's books, military documents, financial documents, vital records, his World War II scrapbook, diary, and discharge papers, documents relating to the Lions and Elk Clubs, and the Asheville Jewish community. Materials in this series are contained on three microfilm reels and date from 1912 to 1999. Some materials in the scrapbooks have been glued over other materials, rendering them illegible and inaccessible. Items on microfilm are duplicated on CDs and floppy disks. Series I also contains Patricia Beaver's donated materials on the Jewish Community in Asheville, Finkelstein's notes, fliers, and materials relating to the Asheville Lions Club, Elks Club, and the Jewish Community.

The Series II media items are copies of Series I items and duplicated on microfilm, CD, and zip drives. The zipdrives were not digitized due to lack of proper in-house equipment.

Series III contains six color 4x6 photographs of Leo Finkelstein and Pat Beaver's class when the class visited Asheville, North Carolina and Leo in 1996. These are housed in Cold Storage.


  • Creation: 1903-1998, undated

Conditions Governing Access

No Interlibrary loan.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections. The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. C.). Reproductions are made only for use as personal study or research. 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. The Archives of Beth Ha-tephila Congregation in Asheville, North Carolina retains copyright.

Biographical Note

Leo Finkelstein (1905 - 1998) was a life-long resident of Asheville, North Carolina. He owned a pawnshop and was a member of the Asheville Jewish community and several civic organizations, including the Lions Club and the Elks Club. He served as president of Beth Ha-Tephila. After retirement, Finkelstein collected and compiled stories and personal histories into two books, Letters from Leo: World War II Correspondence to the Asheville Lions Club (1997) and Asheville and The Poor Man's Bank (1998), which were edited by Appalachian Studies Director Patricia Beaver. He married Sylvia Eva Bein in 1945.

Beth Ha-Tephila is a reform Jewish Community in Asheville, North Carolina. It organized in 1891 of primarily European immigrants who immigrated to Asheville in the late 1880s. The Beth Ha-Tephila Cemetery is a Jewish cemetery in Asheville organized in 1891.


1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes, 2 small CD boxes)

Language of Materials



The Leo Finkelstein Papers contain materials relating to Leo Finkelstein, resident of Asheville, North Carolina, the Asheville Lions Club, Elks Club, and the Beth Ha-Tephila Cemetery in Asheville. It contains computer discs, notes, scrapbooks, book drafts, correspondence, photographs, programs, fliers, and other materials related Leo Finkelstein, his wife Sylvia, and the Jewish Community in Asheville, North Carolina, with some items duplicated on paper and in media formats.


There are three series in this collection - Series I: Papers and Book, Series II: Media, and Series III: Color Photographs. Most papers are in the original order as much as possible. The color photographs have been sleeved and are in a folder in Cold Storage.

Acquistions Information

This collection was donated by the Finkelstein family to the Archives of Beth Ha-Tephila Congregation in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1998, and allowed the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection to maintain duplicates within its manuscript collection. Patricia Beaver donated additional materials in 2001, which were also microfilmed and the originals maintained in the collection.

Processing Information

Processed in 2000 and 2010; Added accessions were incorporated with additional processing in 2013 by Anita Elliott. This collection was reprocessed as part of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant funded extensive processing of the backlog within the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection between 2012 and 2014.

AC.107: Leo Finkelstein Papers, 1903-1998, undated
Processed by: Kathryn Staley; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kathryn Staley, Rachel Critzer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository