Harold Kleinsinger Collection, 1942-1979

Letterhead of 1944 correspondence to Professor Kleinsinger

Finding Aid (PDF)

Harold Kleinsinger was born in New York City on July 20, 1907. He studied at Fordham University and received a Ph. G and Ph. C there. He received his B.S. from the City College of New York and M.S. in Analytical Chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Kleinsinger was a professor of analytical chemistry and physics at the St. John’s University School of Pharmacy from 1931 to 1973. He established the Iota Chapter of Rho Pi Phi, and was an honorary member of the Skull and Circle honor society. He died in New York City on January 6, 2001.

This collection is comprised mainly of letters sent to Professor Kleinsinger, as well as a few pieces of memorabilia and other papers. Kleinsinger maintained correspondence with his former pharmacy students who joined the war effort, becoming pharmacists, medical technicians, chemists, soldiers and sailors during World War II. The letters include observations of daily life on the military base or aboard navy ships, requests for letters of reference, news of promotions in rank, and progress in their studies and research. On a more personal note, his students also sent announcements of marriages and births, and requested news of former classmates and professors back home at St. John’s University. Some of the students were Jewish, as was Kleinsinger: one former student, Nat Simon, writes to Kleinsinger about facing discrimination due to Jewish quotas in medical schools. There is one letter from pharmacy faculty member Hugh Luongo, who left St. John’s to serve in the war. Many of his students continued the correspondence for years after the war ended. Letters were sometimes addressed to Harold and his wife Frieda and their children. There are also a number of letters sent to Harold by his family members.

St. John’s University made important contributions to the wartime effort. In addition to the work of students in the pharmacy program, the university provided training for two hundred and fifty men for basic engineering. They were subsequently transferred to foreign battlefronts. St. John’s also offered free courses in engineering, science, and management war training with help from the U.S. Office of Education. St. John’s served as a training site for the Army Specialized Training Corps, (3230th Service Command Unit) from December 1943 to April 1944.

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