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Samuel Berg Collection

Identifier: MG Berg -(Offsite)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 15 boxes, 12 are archival cartons, 3 are flat boxes.

Series 1 contains correspondence. The first subseries is Sam Berg's correspondence by date, followed by specific files Berg kept on specific correspondants. The remainder of Series 1 contains correspondence by Ethel and Mote, as well as unsigned letters and letters not involving any family member. The correspondence series makes up a powerful story of the lives of the three siblings. There are many letters about family matters including arguments such as their mother's will and Moe's health. Correspondants also include cousins from the United States, as well as Russia. There is also a good amount of correspondance on Sam's work with the Atomic Bomb Comission and the New Jersey Historical Society. Ethel's correspondence includes information on her travel, students and work with orphanages, as well as the scholarship she created in Moe's name. Moe's correspondance is ecletic including family members, invitations, and fans.

Series 2 contains papers relating to Moe. This includes his OSS file, several folders of military orders and information and translations. There are also several baseball programs, and a baseball card. Of note are Sam's recollections of Moe. The Misc folder also has some notes about Moe.

Series 3 contains papers of Sam. Sam's papers include work with the military and medical work specifically including a good amount of Sam's work with the Atomic Bomb Commission. Additionally, the series contains research Sam has done on Newark history including local hospitals, the Morris Canal, and Roseville. There is a Walking Tour of Newark along the Passaic, which Sam put together c. 1983. The series also includes clippings files created by Sam, including two large folders on his brother Moe with articles spanning the 1930s through 1980s. There are also several interesting articles of Sam and the family that ran in the Newark News.

Series 4 includes other papers. First, the Newark Public Library's correspondance, records, and items from a Berg exhibit in 1993, which were incorporated into this collection sometime afterwards. There are also miscellaneous files on family members and two friends. Notably, the material on Ethel, Bernard and Rose includes vital records, notes, writings, and other papers. Also in this series are three copies of a Yiddish manuscript. Possibly a translation is in Bernard's folder. The text in this document says that it is a document by Bernard, that was translated at Sam's request. It looks to be a children's story.

Series 5 includes photos, films, negatives, and other graphic materials. It is minimally processed. While some folders contain photos of specific family members this in no way indicates that this is every photo of this family member. Sam Berg donated a wealth of photographic material and there are many folders of unprocessed photos.Photo subjects generally include travel and family.

Series 6: This carton contains medical publications (not by Berg) as well as books. Most are about atomic energy and radiation. There is one signed copy of the Moe Berg biography.

Series 7: There are three cartons of uniforms in this collection comprising two military uniforms (one definitely belonging to Sam), one baseball uniform (belonging to Moe) and one unidentified shirt.

Series 8: Oversized material includes Moe's diploma, several posters, Moe's face mask, and a resolution to Sam Berg from Clara Maas hospital. Epherema includes Japanese souvineers, a baseball, a scorebook, and other material from Moe and Sam.


  • 1898 - 1993


Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff. Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

Biographical / Historical

Born in 1898, Dr. Samuel Berg of Newark, N.J. led the Atom Bomb Medical Research Commission into Nagasaki after the second atomic bomb was dropped there in World War II. Dr. Berg had a private practice in Newark from 1924 to 1984, ans was elected to the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Historical Society in 1959. Samuel Berg was the son of Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants Rose Tashker Berg (1874-1957) and Bernard Berg (1870-1942). Rose Tashker and Bernard Berg were married in 1897 in Newark, at the home of Elias and Anna Reich, 136 Prince Street. Anna Reich was Bernard Berg's aunt, the sister of his mother. After their marriage Rose and Bernard Berg opened a laundry at 86 Ludlow Street in New York City and lived behind the shop; it was here that Samuel Berg, the oldest of three siblings, was born. Bernard Berg studied pharmacology at night, became a registered pharmacist, and worked in several pharmacies in New York. In 1906 Bernard Berg opened his own drugstore at the corner of 2nd and Warren St. (now West Market Street) and moved the family to Newark. In 1910 he bought a building at 92 South 13th Street in the Roseville section of Newark and re-located his business there; the family, by then including Ethel and Morris ("Moe"), lived above the store.

Samuel Berg attended South 8th Street School and Barringer High School in Newark. He received his BS degree from New York University and his MD from Bellevue Medical College (1921). Berg did his internship at Newark City Hospital and maintained a private practice (except during his years in the military) from 1924 to 1984 in Newark. He also worked as Assistant Pathologist (1934-1968) at Newark Hospital, first under Harrison S. Martland, MD and later under Edwin Albano, MD. During World War II Samuel Berg joined the U. S. Army, where he served as a pathologist and set up blood banks in the Pacific Theater. At the end of the War II he served as Director of Laboratory Studies, Nagasaki Unit of the Commission for the Investigation of Effects of the Atom Bomb. Berg was elected to the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Historical Society in 1959, the first Jewish member of the Board, and was the author of "Harrison S. Martland, M.D.: The Story of a Physician, a Hospital, an Era" (NY: Advantage, 1978).

Ethel Berg (1900-1986) was a teacher, and later principal, at 1st Avenue School in Newark. She wrote a book about her brother, Morris. She was also actively involved in charities for children. When the family homestead at 92 South 13th Street was sold, Ethel bought the "old Pingry School House" at 88 North 6th Street in Belleville and moved there.

Morris "Moe" Berg (1902-1972) was a graduate of Barringer High School, Princeton University (1923), and Columbia University Law School; he was a talented linguist who spoke many languages and a professional baseball player. Although Berg's position in college had been shortstop, he played professionally as a catcher for clubs in Chicago and Cleveland, before joining the Washington Nationals in 1932. In 1934 Berg accompanied an American all-star baseball team to Japan, purportedly as a translator. His real mission, however, was spying for the U.S. government by taking photographs of Tokyo and other strategic locations in Japan. In 1943 Berg joined the newly established Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, for which he worked until the end of the World War II. After the war he returned to Newark, worked intermittently as a lawyer, and lived first with his brother, Samuel Berg, MD, and for the last years of his life with his sister, Ethel.


12.75 Linear Feet (12 Paige boxes, 3 flat boxes)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

See also: Berg Photograph Collection.

Separated Materials

Discarded: covers/issues of Life and Look magazines; a hot pot pad or pillow, misc. social security / medicare booklets, and a copy of the Constitution.

Beth Zak-Cohen, 2021
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library Repository

3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States