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Independent Order of B'nai B'rith Lodge 171 (Denver, Colo.) Records

Identifier: B009


The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith Lodge 171, Denver, Colorado, was a pivotal Jewish philanthropic and social service organization in Denver from 1872 through today. This fraternal organization received a charter from the National Order of B'nai B'rith on April 7, 1872. David Kline was the first president and Louis Anfenger was the first secretary. Charles M. Schayer served as president in 1876. The B'nai B'rith Denver Chapter created Colorado's Anti-Defamation League, the Mountain States Hillel Foundation, and the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO). One of the most important projects of the Denver B'nai B'rith was the vital role it played in establishing the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives in 1899. The Denver B'nai B'rith continues to be a major Denver organization. The records include administrative records, correspondence, publications and photographs of the Denver Lodge #171 and some documents and photographs of the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization and a few records related to other lodges.


  • 1872-2018


Language of Materials

The materials are primarily in English with some Hebrew.

Biographical / Historical

B'nai B'rith is the oldest and largest of the national Jewish service organizations in the United States. It was founded in New York City in 1843 to unite "persons of the Jewish faith in the work of promoting their highest interests and those of humanity." B'nai B'rith sponsored Americanization classes, trade schools, and relief programs for immigrants, including aiding Jews to leave the East coast of the United States and settle in other parts of the country. B'nai B'rith created the Anti-Defamation League in 1913 to strengthen cooperation among different religions and to protect the status and rights of Jews. B'nai B'rith also founded the Hillel Foundation, which addresses the religious, cultural, and social needs of college students, as well as B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO). B'nai B'rith is now the oldest and largest Jewish Service organization in the world. The lodges, youth organizations, and women's chapters are located throughout the world. The B'nai B'rith Denver Lodge No. 171 received its charter from the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith on April 7, 1872. David Kline was the first president. The Denver Lodge developed out of the Denver Hebrew Cemetery Association. Lodge No. 171 has been very active in Colorado and the Lodge was one of the largest in the West. When the Ku Klux Klan rose to power in Colorado politics, the Denver Lodge organized the Anti-Defamation League to battle the Klan. During World War II the Denver Lodge sent packages to soldiers, promoted the sale of War Bonds, and raised funds for the Red Cross. One of the most important projects of Lodge 171 was the vital role it played in establishing the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives in 1899. In addition, Lodge 171 established the West Side Boys Club to help rehabilitate juvenile delinquents. The Denver Lodge is currently involved in restoring the Jewish cemetery in Leadville.


126 Linear Feet (97 containers)

Scope and Contents

The collection contains administrative records (including minutes), correspondence, and financial, membership, and miscellaneous records, as well as publications, photographs, memorabilia, and oral histories. The collection reflects the growth and development of a major social and philanthropic organization, and reveals the origins of Jewish institutions and organizations in Colorado. The collection also contains documents and photographs of the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization between the years 1969-1971 and records of other B'nai B'rith Units, Lodges, and Organizations.


The records are arranged in seven series: 1. Administrative Records, 1872-1992. 2. B'nai B'rith Youth Organizations and Other Units, Lodges and Organizations, 1872-1992. 3. Correspondence, 1950-1991. 4. Financial Records, 1872-1979. 5. Membership Records, 1872-1979. 6. Programs, Miscellaneous, and Mixed Type of Records, 1872-1993. 7. Publications, Photographs, and Memorabilia, 1872-2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith Lodge 171 (Denver, Colo.), August 1977 and October 2000.


Further accruals are expected.

Related Materials

Related collections include the Anti-defamation League, Mountain States Regional Office Records, B090, and the National Jewish Hospital Records, B005.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Most of the materials are in English, but some items are in Hebrew.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428