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Natalie Kaplan papers

Identifier: MC-008

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of photocopies of family documents, photographs, a diary, correspondence and work done for classes at the Evening School and at Southeastern Massachusetts University. There are no originals in the collection, as these were retained by the family.


  • 180 - 1996
  • Majority of material found within 1928 - 1977

Language of Materials

Materials in English, with some documents in Russian

Biographical / Historical

Natalie Kaplan was born Natalie Lubavsky on September 1, 1899 in Saratov, Russia. Her father, Basil Lubavsky, was a Russian Orthodox priest and her mother, Catherine, a teacher. Natalie attended Saratov University and became a Red Cross nurse, with plans to become a doctor. The family fell victim to the Russian Revolution, falling on hard times. Natalie worked as a nurse to help support the family, at one point volunteering for service in Elmen, Russia, where she met and married her husband, Boris Pilkeny. Boris’s relatives had already emigrated to the United States, so in 1922, wanting a better future for themselves and their new son, Daniel, Boris and Natalie applied as well. They were sponsored by Boris’s brother, Samuel Kaplan, a successful New Bedford businessman. Unfortunately, at age 2, Daniel died of measles and scarlet fever contracted on Ellis Island after their arrival in New York City. They moved to New Bedford in 1923, where Boris established a medical practice, Natalie serving as his secretary and attending nurse. Boris died in 1945, and Natalie worked as a nanny and baby nurse to support herself and her two daughters, Esther and Leda. During this time, in 1965 Natalie earned her LPN. At age 74 she was diagnosed with heart disease, and was forced to stop working. She enrolled at SMU, attending classes until the year she died, 1977. Natalie Kaplan’s story, written by Jennifer Dulude, was published in Spinner: the People and Culture of Southeastern Massachusetts, volume V, 1996, as “Unforgettable Days,” pp. 118-133.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box)

MC 9, Natalie Kaplan papers
Judy Farrar
September, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Re-processed from CJC series G1.

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA