Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri records
The collection documents the history of Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri through the society’s meeting minutes, membership lists, and financial records. The collection materials span from 1906 (the Societatea Banatiana’s founding year) and go as far as 1982, but the bulk of the collection date...
|Collection:||Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri Records|
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|Online Access:||Link to finding aid|
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Processing Information: Volume 41 was cleaned for mold in 2012. The remaining volumes in the collection are in stable condition. Item identification closely followed the notations of Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri member Carmen D. Valentino, who provided a collection inventory and labeled each of the collection’s volumes prior to the collection's arrival at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
The entire collection has been digitized including the pages within each volume. The digitized collection also includes photographs, clippings, and ephemera that are not in the physical collection and are instead held at the Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri sponsored museum at Descent of the Holy Spirit Romanian Orthodox Church in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
The oversized map in Series 6 was removed to conservation for repair. The finding aid will be updated when conservation is complete and the item is returned to the collection.
4.2 Linear feet ; 54 volumes, 1 flat file
The collection is open for research.
The collection documents the history of Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri through the society’s meeting minutes, membership lists, and financial records. The collection materials span from 1906 (the Societatea Banatiana’s founding year) and go as far as 1982, but the bulk of the collection dates from 1906-1955. Minute books offer insight into the society’s goals and activities while membership lists provide member names and sometimes member addresses. Membership dues account books include notations on dues collected and frequently contain membership indexes. The membership indexes often provide a member’s birth and death dates, initiatation date, home address, age, and marital status. In a few instances, a member’s former Romanian village may be listed in these indexes. Property inventories, library and bar ledgers, and sick and death benefit account books provide additional insights into the organization’s general activities.
Also included in the collection are records from the Vasili Alecsandri Society prior to its merger with Societatea Banateana. These records span Vasili Alecsandri’s only years of independent existence, 1912-1913. In addition, one 1916-1919 income and expense account book from an affiliated group in Ambler, Pennsylvania is included, presumably because the group was directly associated with Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri. Finally, one Philadelphia Romanian-American Voluntariul meeting minutes book spanning 1909-1913 is included. No records indicate the relationship of this group to Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri.
The physical collection does not contain membership correspondence, society publications, or photographs. However, the digital collection contains facsimilies of photographs, clippings, and ephemera that may be of interest to researchers. (The originals are at the Societatea's museum.)
Most of the early documents were written exclusively in Romanian. English begins to appear more frequently in the documents created after 1930. English translations of meeting minutes appear consistently after 1936.
Researchers of Romanian-American life in the 20th century, early 20th century immigration, ethnic fraternal societies in the United States, and insurance institutions may find this collection useful. The collection may also be useful for genealogy purposes.
Founded in 1906 by immigrants to Philadelphia from the province of Banat in southwestern Romania, the Societatea Banateana was one of the first Romanian-American beneficial and cultural organizations created in the United States. In 1913, it merged with Vasile Alecsandri, a similar society that was founded in 1912, and formed Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri. Like many other ethnic organizations of the time period, the society offered social opportunities and economic relief for its members. Through the society, members enjoyed cultural events that celebrated Romanian heritage, and the society also provided its members with sick and death benefits. The society was also responsible for the establishment of Philadelphia’s first Romanian Orthodox parish, Descent of the Holy Ghost Romanian Orthodox Church (known today as Descent of the Holy Spirit Romanian Orthodox Church). The society’s headquarters was located on the northwest corner of Third and Brown Streets in Old Fellows Hall until it purchased the property of 229 Brown Street in 1923. The Society remained on Brown Street until 1974. After 1974, it rented space from the parish it helped to establish, which had found a permanent home at 1323 Ashbourne Road in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. In 1993, the society established a cultural museum at the church that documents the history of the Greater Philadelphia’s Romanian-American community. The society continues to host social and cultural events for the community. The collection documents the history of the society and the Philadelphia area’s Romanian community for three-quarters of a century. The collection consists primarily of Societatea Banateana-Vasile Alecsandri’s meeting minutes (general meetings and committees), membership lists, and financial records. Among the financial records are membership dues books, property inventories, sick and death benefits paid, and income and expense books for the organization and the organization’s library and bar. Also included in the collection are records from the Vasili Alecsandri Society prior to its merger with Societatea Banateana, records from an affiliated group in Ambler, Pennsylvania, and a minute book from the Philadelphia Romanian-American Voluntariul – an unrelated but similar Romanian fraternal organization. The collection is in Romanian and English.