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Samuel Barnet papers

Identifier: MC-068

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, various documents, correspondence, and a street sign.


  • 1919 - 1991


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Judge Samuel Barnet (1891 – 1981) was born in New York, the second of six children. The family moved to New Bedford when he was a year old, and he was educated in New Bedford’s public schools. He graduated from Boston University Law School in 1912, and upon passing the bar that year and returning to New Bedford, he became the youngest attorney ever to practice in that city. His wife, Mollie Copeland Byer, died in 1919 after four years of marriage; they had no children. Around this time, he became involved in civic and community affairs, particularly those related to children and the Jewish community. He was active in the Jewish War Relief effort following World War I, and served as Director of the local chapter of the National Jewish Welfare Board for many years; much of his correspondence is included in that collection (see MC 66/CJC National Jewish Welfare Board Records, 1918 – 1946). In 1920, he became the first Jew ever elected to serve on the New Bedford School Committee, and his involvement in the schools paved the way for the hiring of Jewish schoolteachers in the city. He was appointed justice of the Third District Court in New Bedford in 1930, a seat he held until his retirement from the bench in 1971. His interest in the welfare of children extended to the founding of Camp Avodah, a summer camp for Jewish boys, and to the local Boy Scout Organization, which he served in the capacity of Director. He was a founder of the Tifereth Israel Synagogue, President of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) in New Bedford, and was an active fundraiser on behalf of the State of Israel. In 1951, the Israeli government issued bonds to develop and bolster its new economy; Judge Barnet promoted the sale of over $250,000 worth of Israel Bonds in the early 1950s. These and many other activities earned him the honor of B’nai B’rith Man of the Year in 1957. A street in the North End’s Industrial Park, the creation of which he championed in the 1930s as a member of the New Bedford Industrial Development Committee, bears his name.


2.5 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 oversize file folder)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most items were a gift of Judge Barnet’s estate in 1981 (accession #N7); the street sign was a gift of Oscar Epstein, 1991 (accession # N22).

Processing Information

Maura McGurk ’07, June 2006

Samuel Barnet papers
Judy Farrar
June 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Originally processed in 2006. Reprocessed, and records added from CJC H28 and H10.

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