Adler-Hamburger Collection - PP100

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Maryland Historical Society Library

ca. 1870-1945

Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, October 1999 



Selma Van Leer Hamburger Adler (1898-1991) was born in Baltimore to parents Jeannie Van Leer Hamburger (1868-1942) and Benjamin Hamburger (1864-1929), both born in Baltimore and married there in 1891. Jeannie was the daughter of Solomon Van Leer (1823-1898), born at Gorredijk in the Netherlands, and Hannah Hirsh Van Leer (1833-1912), born in Briedenbach, Germany. Both arrived in the U.S. via New York in 1854, and married in 1855 in Baltimore. Benjamin Hamburger was secretary/treasurer and later president of the H.J. McGrath Co., an oyster and canning concern, and president of the Clover Club from 1917-1926. The family lived at 1222 W. North Ave. in 1900, moving to 2221 Linden Ave. by 1920. Selma Adler’s sister Florette Van Leer Hamburger was born in 1891.

Selma was educated at Western High School, then studied Romance Languages at Goucher College, being graduated and elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1920, and attended Columbia University in New York. After serving as Goucher’s assistant registrar in the 1920s, Selma was assistant to the director of the Maryland War Commission, researching, compiling, and editing the Commission’s 1933 publication Maryland in the World War 1917-1919: Military and Service Records. She was also an information desk supervisor at the Maryland Historical Society.

Selma Hamburger married Leon Adler (1885-1980) in Baltimore in 1927. Leon was born in Knoxville, Tenn., where he studied and began to practice law. He served in the army in World Wars I and II, commissioned as an ordinance officer in World War II before being transferred to the Judge Advocate General Corps, and serving as Post Judge Advocate at Ft. Meade. After World War II, he was a lawyer for the Veterans Administration. Leon was also an accomplished musician who played with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the 1920s and 1930s while establishing his law practice in Baltimore. Selma and Leon lived in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood during the 1920s to 1940s, moved temporarily to Washington, D.C. during World War II, and lived on University Parkway by the 1960s.

Collection Origin

Gift of Mrs. Selma H. Adler, 1984 (001429).

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 box with 5 folders containing 26 photoprints. Subjects are portraits of Adler and Hamburger family members, from ca. 1870-1945, including an 1870 portrait of Manes Hamburger and his wife. There are photographs of Camp Hancock (Ga.) and Camp Meade (Md.).

Note: The collection includes 1 folder of memorabilia including diplomas, military identification cards and certificates, family songs and poems, wedding invitations and menus, and other printed ephemera. There is also a ca. 1913 Eastman Kodak Camera.

Note: Related materials are found in the Manuscripts Department of the Maryland Historical Society: MS. 2645, the Adler Papers. This collection includes a diary of Leon Adler when stationed in Georgia (1918) which contains additional family photographs, a typescript of an essay by Leon Adler, and an "ethical will" left by Hannah Van Leer.


The photographs are arranged according to PP catalog numbers.

Container List

1 Box

Box 1: 5 Folders

PP100.1 – Leon Adler, 1941.

PP100.2 – Benjamin Hamburger, 1928.

PP100.3 – Selma Van Leer Hamburger, 1920.

PP100.4 – Leon Adler at McCoy, Knoxville, Tenn., 1926.

PP100.5 – Leon Adler with uke, Camp Hancock, Ga., ca. 1918.

PP100.6 – Selma Van Leer Hamburger at Atlantic City, 1922.

PP100.7 – Hannah Van Leer, 1912.

PP100.8-.9 – Leon Adler, ca. 1900.

PP100.10 – Selma Hamburger at age 7 months, 1899.

PP100.11 – Stuart Avenue at Camp Hancock, Ga. (postcard), 1918.

PP100.12 – Mr. and Mrs. Manes Hamburger, ca. 1870.

PP100.13 – Camp Hancock, Ga. (postcard), 1918.

PP100.14 – Benjamin Hamburger, Hannah Van Leer, Bertha Van Leer, and Morton Katz, ca. 1911.

PP100.15 – Selma and Florette Hamburger, 1900 (?).

PP100.16 – Flo and Selma Hamburger, 1903.

PP100.17 – Leon Adler during World War I, ca. 1918.

PP100.18 – Selma Adler, ca. 1940.

PP100.19 – Selma Van Leer Hamburger at Druid Hill Park, ca. 1925.

PP100.20 – Military Police Division, Woodrow Wilson General Hospital, Stanton, Va., 1944.

PP100.21 – Ammunition Division, Ordinance Dept., Washington, D.C., ca. 1940-1941.

PP100.22 – Isadore Adler, ca. 1915.

PP100.23 – The Hamburger family (?), ca. 1915.

PP100.24 – Leon Adler during World War II, ca. 1945.

PP100.25 – Colonel Thompson, Judge Advocate General of Camp Meade and Capt. Leon Adler, Asst. Judge Advocate General, 1943.

PP100.26 – Mrs. Matilda Hyman’s 90th birthday celebration at Farragut Hotel, Knoxville, Tenn. (group portrait, people identified), 1942. Mrs. Hyman was Leon Adler’s grandmother. © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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