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Greenfield Family papers

Identifier: MS 0860
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

Letters from Morris Greenfield to his future wife, Bessie Peters, and a family photograph, which includes three generations of the Greenfield family, document a very small part of the lives of members of the Greenfield family from 1915 to 1918.


  • Creation: 1915 - 1918

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are 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 the Greenfield Family Papers 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

The earliest known origin of the Greenfield family is in Tsfat, Palestine, in 1882. The Greenfields were a family of rabbis with Eliezer Greenfield being the most well-known. The Greenfield children began immigrating to the United States in the early twentieth century.

Oyser (Oscar) Greenfield was the first to immigrate – entering through the port of Galveston in 1906. Oscar was born in Palestine in 1879. He married Chaya Rochel (Rachel) Cohen and the two had nine children between 1900 and 1919. Rachel died in Houston on 22 December 1946 and Oscar died on 23 January 1956. Both are buried at Adath Israel cemetery in Houston. The rest of the Greenfield family, including Oscar’s five sisters and two brothers, immigrated over the next decade. Eventually, Rabbi Eliezer Greenfield came to the United States around 1928. He died in 1930 and is buried in Safed, Israel, with his wife Rachel Nathan Greenfield.

Oscar Greenfield’s younger brother Morris was born 1893, in Palestine and immigrated to the United States around 1912. He married Bessie Peters (Polycov) in Houston, May 1915. The couple had two sons, Max and Joseph. Morris and his nephew, Nathan Lohr, opened Greenfield Bros. General Merchandise on Runnels Street in Houston shortly after arriving in the United States. Later, Morris owned and operated a junk yard for many years and owned a liquor store at the time of his death in 1964. Bessie was born in 1897 and died in 1960. Both are buried at Beth Yeshurun cemetery in Houston along with other members of the Greenfield family, including Morris’s younger brother, Jacob Behr Greenfield. Jacob Greenfield donated $50,000 for the chapel located in the old Southmore Blvd. location of Beth Yeshurun, known today as the J.B. Greenfield chapel.

Max Greenfield was born 18 March 1916, in Houston. He married Francine Loeser in 1938 and the couple had two children, Larry (b. 1939) and Ronald (b. 1943, d. 1992). Francine was born in Louisville, Kentucky, 12 July 1917, and grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. Max worked in real estate in the Houston area and died 5 August 1967. Francine died in 1997, and is buried with Max at Emanu El cemetery in Houston.

Larry Greenfield grew up in Houston and attended Sunday School at Congregation Beth Israel as a child. He has been a member at Congregation Emanu El since 1950 – bar mitzvah there in 1952, and confirmed in 1956. Larry’s future wife, Marianne Duval, joined Emanu El the year before he did and the two married in 1959.


1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of one box containing nine letters in Yiddish from Morris Greenfield to his future wife, Bessie Peters (Polycov), in 1915 and one large family photograph with three generation of Greenfields from 1918.


The materials in this collection have been arranged chronologically in one series as follows:

Series I: General

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Larry J. Greenfield donated the materials February 2019.

Guide to the Greenfield Family papers, 1915-1918
Traci Patterson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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