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Wagman Family photos

Identifier: MS 0799
Finding aid note: Forms part of the Houston Jewish History Archive. Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Scope and Contents

The Wagman family photographs consist of a scrapbook, 12 loose portraits and group shots, and a copy of Josep Wagman’s Naturalization Certificate. The materials are in good condition and range in date from the early 1920s to the late 1950s. Researchers interested in Jewish families that immigrated to America or the genealogy of Jewish families would find this collection insightful.


  • Creation: 1920 - 1955

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research. Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from Wagman Family photographs must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Josep Wagman immigrated to America from Romania in the early 1900s with his wife Rachel and their seven children, Sam, Abe, Hester, Moses, George, Benny, and Sarah. A produce merchant by trade, Josep served in World War One, and died May 2nd, 1960.

Abe Wagman moved to Houston and married Sadie Keller. Together they had two sons: Joseph Leo Wagman and Robert (Bob) Irving Wagman, the latter of whom had one son (Gary) with his first wife, Freda before remarrying Sylvia Merritt, the donor of the materials. Together they had a son (Adam) and a daughter (Elyssa). The family joined countless others as part of Houston’s tight-knit Jewish community.

At the end of World War II, Bob served for a year in the Navy as a cook. He left college at the University of Houston to pursue an artistic career at Feather and Feather Art School, which later became the Art Institute. Bob worked at the Houston Chronicle as a commercial artist, before going on the work in advertising and open a commercial art studio in his own home. He also owned six “U-Frame-It” businesses.

A partial family tree depicting the relationships of family members shown in the collection photographs can be found in the control folder.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The Wagman family photos offer a glimpse into the growth of a Jewish family that immigrated from Romania in the early 1900s and made a place for themselves in America. Interconnected with several other Jewish families in the Houston area, the Wagman family photographs fill out the genealogical web that intertwines much of the Houston Jewish community.


The materials are arranged by date in a single series, as follows:

Series I: Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Sylvia Wagman donated the materials in November of 2018.

Related Materials

The Beth Yeshurun Collection (MS 722) contains an exchange of letters featuring Sara Wagman (sister-in-law of donor, included in photograph.)

Related Materials

There is overlap in the Family trees linking the Wagman Faamily to the David Wolf Family Papers (MS 757) through the Krakower name.

Guide to the Wagman Family photos, 1920-1955
Gabby Parker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA