Our Archive Collections include a fascinating range of documents from the personal and working lives of rabbis, scholars and teachers. From hand written letters to annotated typescripts, from research notes to photographs, material that is so easily thrown away is preserved to enable the thinking and practices of its creators to be explored and developed, maintaining a direct link to the lives of leaders and educators who have had an impact on British and Progressive Jewry.

LBC Audio Archive

The LBC Audio Archive includes over 1200 recordings of lectures and seminars given at the college between 1985 and 2005. Delivered by rabbis, academics and professionals from the ranks of Progressive Anglo-Jewry and British Jewish Studies, they form a remarkable record of scholarship, theology, philosophy and debate and include the words of many friends, colleagues and significant figures who are no longer with us. They present a fascinating picture of British Jewish life and learning covering a broad range of topics. The recordings are listed on our library catalogue here.

John Rayner Papers

Rabbi John Rayner, 1924-2005, was a Liberal rabbi and leader of Progressive Judaism, known for his erudition, oratory and teaching. Born in Berlin he escaped Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport and went on to serve in the British Army. Educated at Emmanual College Cambridge he would later further his Jewish studies at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Ordained in 1953 his first pulpit was at the South London Liberal Synagogue. He joined the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in 1957 becoming Senior Minister in 1961 and Emeritus Rabbi at this retirement in 1989. He chaired the World Union of Progressive Judaism and the Council of Reform and Liberal Rabbis, was President of the Union for Liberal and Progressive Synagogues and was joint chair of the London Society of Christians and Jews. He received a CBE in 1993. At Leo Baeck College he lectured in Liturgy and Rabbinic Literature 1966–2003, was Director of Studies 1966–69 and Vice-President 1969–2005. His was the co-editor of the Liberal Jewish prayer books Service of the Heart and Gates of Prayer and published many books including The Practices of Liberal Judaism (1958) and Towards Mutual Understanding between Jews and Christians (1960). He was co-author of Judaism for Today (1978) and The Jewish People: Their History and their Religion (1987).

The papers contain sermons, lectures and eulogies delivered by Rayner throughout his long career to a range of communities and organisations. They touch on all manner of Jewish life, thought and history and their intersection with contemporary life and politics including developments in Liberal and Progressive Judaism in the UK, biblical commentary, rabbinic literature, liturgy, the Jewish festivals and life cycle. There are 1137 sermons given between 1953 and 2004; mostly typewritten in full with some hand written annotations. There are 646 lectures delivered between 1951 and 2004, mostly handwritten ranging from short notes and references to fuller texts. There are 1000 eulogies delivered between 1954 and 1989, many written for congregants of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

The sermons and lectures are listed on the LBC Library Catalogue here and also available online here. 46 boxes, approx 2800 items.

Israel Mattuck Papers

Rabbi Israel Mattuck, 1883-1953, was a liberal Rabbi and from 1911-48 first minister of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. Born into an orthodox family in Lithuania he was brought up in America, studying at Harvard and receiving ordination from Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati. Successful as a preacher and organiser he helped to grow the Liberal movement and produced its key prayer books alongside editing the Liberal Jewish Monthly and his own publications which include What are the Jews? (1937) The Essentials of Liberal Judaism (1947) and Jewish Ethics (1953). He was on the first executive Committee of the Council of Christians and Jews in 1942 and helped found the London Society of Christians and Jews in 1927.

The papers contain sermons delivered at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue throughout Mattuck’s ministry. Largely typewritten with some annotation there are also handwritten documents. They are largely from the 1920s and 30s.

Many of the sermons are listed on the LBC Library Catalogue here. 29 boxes, approx 1000 items.

Willy Wolff Papers

Rabbi Willy Wolff, 1927-2020 was a journalist and Rabbi. Born in Berlin his family escaped the Nazis arriving in London in 1939. After 30 years writing for British national newspapers he was ordained at Leo Beack College in 1984. He served at West London Synagogue, Newcastle Reform Synagogue, Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue, Wimbledon Synagogue and Milton Keynes and District Reform Synagogue. He was also involved in bringing the Darlington Hebrew Congregation into the Reform Judaism family and was Deputy Editor of Manna magazine. He was made State Rabbi of Mechlenburg-Vorpommern in Germany (a post which had previously been vacant for 65 years). He served the Jewish communities in Schwein, Rostock and Wismar in East Germany until his retirement. In 2014 he was named an honorary citizen by the City of Schwerin. He further rose to fame after featuring in filmmaker Britta Wauer’s documentary about Berlin’s historic Weissensee Jewish Cemetery, “In Heaven Underground” in 2011. She immortalised the man himself in her 2016 follow up “Rabbi Wolff – A Gentleman Before God.”

The papers contain typewritten sermons and handwritten notes for sermons delivered at Sabbath morning and festival services to various British congregations Rabbi Wolff served between 1985 and 2001. 12 boxes.

Vivian Simmons Papers

Rev. Vivian Simmons, 1886-1970, was the Minister of the West London Synagogue 1914-40. Born in Salford he received his higher education in Germany. During the First World War he was a British army chaplain. He later served at the North Western Reform Synagogue (Alyth) 1942-3, Birmingham Liberal Jewish Synagogue 1943-48, North London Progressive Synagogue 1948-56 and Wembley and District Synagogue 1956-61. He wrote the Path of Life (1961) and was active in the Jewish Religious Education Board also teaching Jewish pupils at public schools.

The papers contain typewritten sermons 1948-1967.

The sermons are catalogued individually and are listed on the LBC Library Catalogue here. 1 box, 39 items.

Irene Bloomfield Archive

Dr Irene Bloomfield, 1918-2001, was a psychologist, psychotherapist and group analyst specialising in working with holocaust survivors and second generation groups. She worked for the NHS for many years, was a founder and Director of the Raphael Centre, the specialist Jewish counselling service and Lecturer in pastoral care and counselling at Leo Baeck College.

The archive contains articles, conference papers, public lectures, teaching lectures and other publications with a particular emphasis on psychology and psychotherapy and their role and relationship with religion, Judaism, pastoral care, the holocaust and its legacy. The archive includes an album of appreciation presented to Bloomfield on her retirement from teaching at Leo Baeck College. 6 boxes, 1 folder, with hand list.

Bruno Italiener Archive

Rabbi Bruno Italiener, 1881-1956 served communities in Darmstadt (1907-1927) and Hamburg (1928-1939) and as a German army chaplain during the First World War. He escaped Nazi Germany to England ministering at St George’s Settlement Synagogue, West London Synagogue and Southport Reform Synagogue. He was a scholar of Hebrew manuscripts publishing a facsimile of the Darmstadt Haggadah, a history of the Hamburg Tempel and many articles.

The archive contains material related to Italiener’s research, publications and ministry including correspondence between 1921 and 1928 regarding his edition of the Darmstadt Haggadah; documents relating to the Hamburg Tempel, his service there and his publication Festschrift zum hundertzwanzigjährigen Bestehen des Israelitischen Tempels in Hamburg 1917-1937; material related to his ministry at West London Synagogue 1928-1956; correspondence with Leo Baeck; haggadot and WWI material. It include letters, photographs, article offprints, publications and a range of ephemera. 4 boxes.

H.I. Bach Archive

Hans Israel Bach, 1902-1977, was a scholar, author and editor. Born in Stuttgart in 1902, he received a doctorate in German literature from the University of Berlin in 1928. His work as author and editor in Germany included participation in the critical edition of Jean Paul’s writings and from 1933-39 co-editing the Jewish monthly Der Morgen. He came to England as a refugee from Nazi Germany and continued his work including editing the progressive journal Synagogue Review. His scholarship ranged from philosophy to art, music to Jewish thought. His publications include his noted biography of Jacob Bernays, 1974 and The German Jews: A Synthesis of Judaism and Western Civilisation 1730-1930, 1984.

The papers relate to his work, research, publications and personal life including letters, photographs, scholarly articles, cuttings, personal notes and biographical material. There is a range of material from Bach’s research into Jacob Bernays. 9 boxes with partial hand list.

Krauss Archive

Professor Dr Samuel Krauss, 1866-1948 was a Jewish scholar, historian, philologist and teacher. Born in Hungary he was a teacher and leader of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Vienna until the Anschluss after which he came to England as a refugee, passing away in Cambridge. A prolific author he wrote on many topics across Jewish history, practice and law including his Talmudische Archaeologie. He contributed to the Jewish Encyclopaedia and was awarded many honorary doctorates including from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. His son, Dr Stephen Krauss 1902-1975, originally trained as a psychologist,  later becoming a psychiatrist in England. He was the editor of the Encyclopaedic Handbook of Medical Psychology published shortly after his death.

The archive includes assorted papers, photographs and small objects including honorary certificates and presentations. 1 large box.

The Leo Baeck College Archive

The Leo Baeck College Archive is kept at the University of Southampton Special Collections as part of its Anglo-Jewish Archives. It includes documents from the College’s history and administration from its founding in 1956 to 1997. Further information including the contents list of the archive can be found on the University of Southampton’s Archive Search here and details of how to access the archive can be found on their website here.