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Bea Asherman Papers

 Collection
Identifier: B343

Overview

Bea Asherman was a longtime volunteer for National Jewish Health, beginning when she joined the New York Auxiliary Chapter of the National Home for Jewish Children, later the National Asthma Center. She became president of the New York auxillary, and then a national auxiliary board member and trustee. She continued to volunteer after the National Asthma Center merged with National Jewish Hospital. She helped establish 17 auxiliary chapters in New York. Collection contains photographs, correspondence, journals and newsletters related to Bea Asherman from 1924 through 1998. She died in 1999 in New York.

Dates

  • 1924-1998

Creator

Biographical / Historical

Bea Asherman was a longtime volunteer for National Jewish Health, beginning when she joined the New York Auxiliary Chapter of the National Home for Jewish Children, later the National Asthma Center. She became president of the New York Auxiliary, and then a national auxiliary board member and trustee. She continued to volunteer after the National Asthma Center merged with National Jewish Hospital in 1978. She helped establish 17 auxiliary chapters in New York. She dedicated more than six decades of her life to the National Asthma Center and National Jewish Hospital. While the organization evolved over the years and went through several name changes and expansions, Bea’s commitment to providing support for people with respiratory, cardiac, and immune conditions was a constant. Fannie Lorber, who founded the Denver Sheltering Home in 1907, was her inspiration. As “The Home” evolved from a place for tuberculosis “orphans” into an asthma treatment center, Fannie’s son, Arthur, was the visionary who combined compassionate care with groundbreaking research and thus created the premier treatment center for respiratory diseases in the country. Friends introduced Bea Asherman to the New York Auxiliary Chapter of the National Home for Jewish Children in Denver. The auxiliary chapters were the heart of the Children’s Home, and served as a remarkable fundraising mechanism that began in the 1920s and eventually grew to 1,500 auxiliaries across the country. Bea first supported the Home as a member of the New York Chapter, where she later became president, and then as a national auxiliary board member and trustee. Bea’s husband, George, helped her as she worked tirelessly to raise money through the auxiliaries. Their children Ira, Isabel, and Marian, watched in amazement as their mother went from meeting to meeting without ever missing a family meal. “The chapters threw theater parties and would sell tickets to Broadway shows to raise money,” Ira recalls. He still remembers seeing “Inherit the Wind” with Paul Muni and Ed Begley. Marian and Isabel cannot forget going to the annual luncheons each year at a different hotel. “For us, they were memorable days.” Following in his mother’s tradition, Ira eventually became a member of the hospital’s singles chapter in New York City. In addition to the theater parties, Bea spearheaded hundreds of events ranging from flea markets and bingo to gala luncheons and glamorous dinner dances. Beyond fundraising, Bea helped to grow the auxiliaries by recruiting new members. “Everyone I know is a member — neighbors, relatives, friends, and enemies!” she wrote in a 1977 National Asthma Center newsletter. Bea was also a talented writer and infused her creativity into chapter publications and events. She kept New York Chapter members apprised of the latest news in her update called, “From the Bea Hive.” Ira remembers traveling with his mother one year to the annual convention that was held each year in Denver and seeing the impact of the care provided. “We were taking a flight out to the convention, and I saw a child who was sick in a bed on the flight. I remember an ambulance picked him up at the airport. A few months later, I returned to Denver, and I saw that same child playing basketball at the hospital.” In her book, A Gift of Love from the Bea Hive, Bea wrote, “This volunteer work has greatly enriched my life with many rewarding results … I have the joy and gratification of helping sick, asthmatic children to a better life. I think I received more than I gave and give I did in time, effort, family support, and yes, even money. Proud to say I am still at it.” Bea passed away in 1999. Ira Asherman and his wife, Sandy, continued this tradition of support for National Jewish Health and have led seminars on volunteerism for the institution.

Extent

2.25 Linear Feet (2 containers)

Scope and Contents

Photographs, correspondence, dinner journals, newsletters, and papers from Bea Asherman, who was a member and president of the New York Auxilliary Chapter of the National Home for Jewish Children at Denver, which became the National Asthma Center. She continued to volunteer after NAC merged with National Jewish Hospital.

Arrangement

The papers are arranged in three series: 1. Photographs, 1941-1981. 2. Papers, 1924-1998. 3. Dinner Journals and Newsletters, 1950-1997.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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