The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Mantinband (Rabbi Charles) Papers
Collection Number: M327
Dates: 1931 - 1997
Volume: .70 cu.ft.
Provenance: Materials in this collection were donated by Mrs. Carol Mantinband Ginsburg, daughter of Rabbi Mantinband, between June 1998 and February 1999.
Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Charles Mantinband was born in New York City on April 2, 1895, to Samuel and Delia Gottlieb Mantinband. Charles and his five siblings grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, where he graduated from Maury High School in 1912. He earned a Bachelor of Science from City College of New York in 1916, a Master of Arts from Columbia University in 1918, and a Doctorate from Burton College and Seminary in 1958. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Lincoln University. Mantinband received his religious training at Rabbi Stephen S. Wise's Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. He and his wife, Anna Kest, were married on April 4, 1918, and two children, Carol and Bill, were born to them. They also had two adopted sons, Dan and Frank Aaron, who were orphans of the Holocaust.
In 1918, Mantinband accepted his first job as director of the Young Men's Hebrew Association in Memphis, Tennessee. Before the year was out, he was sent by the Jewish Welfare Board to Camp Forrest in Chickamauga, Georgia, where he served as a chaplain. The next year, he was transferred to Staten Island, New York. In 1920, Mantinband began attending the Jewish Institute of Religion. In his third year at the Institute, Mantinband was offered the rabbi position at Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie, New York. He worked at Vassar for three years, before moving to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1926. During his time in Williamsport, Mantinband wrote a weekly column entitled "Please Stand By" for the Williamsport Sun. From 1942 to 1946, Mantinband worked as a chaplain at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
After World War II, Mantinband requested a position with a small congregation in the South. He was sent to Alabama, where he served the tri-cities area of Florence, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia from 1946 to 1952. It was during his years in Alabama, when he played an active role in the Alabama Council on Human Relations, that Mantinband first became involved with racial issues. In 1952, the Mantinbands moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to serve the congregation at Temple B'Nai Israel. While in Hattiesburg, Mantinband chaired the Mississippi Council on Human Relations and became actively involved in civil rights activities. He maintained open friendships with African-Americans, including Clyde Kennard and Vernon Dahmer. Because of his stance on race relations, he received numerous threats from people within the community and his home was under constant surveillance. He even had trouble with members of his own congregation. The pressure eventually became too great, and in 1963, Mantinband accepted a post in Longview, Texas, to be closer to family members who lived in Shreveport, Louisiana. In June 1963, Rabbi Mantinband was one of over two hundred clergymen and leaders of all religious faiths invited by President John F. Kennedy to attend a White House Conference on the "present aspects of the nation's civil rights problems."
Mantinband retired in 1971, after almost fifty years of service in the rabbinate. He was completely blind for the last few years of his life, including his last year of service at Longview. He died on August 3, 1974. According to his wife, Mantinband's most cherished honors were the first George Brussel Memorial Award by the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue of New York, the Southern Regional Council Life Fellowship award, and Rabbi Allen Krause's dedication of his ordination thesis to Mantinband.
The bulk of the collection consists of materials that document the life and career of Rabbi Charles Mantinband. The collection is comprised of twelve folders that contain biographical materials, seven folders that contain various writings by Mantinband, and two folders that contain items related to the Civil Rights Movement. Of particular interest in the collection are photographs related to Mantinband's ministry, a copy of Anna Kest Mantinband's biography of Charles Mantinband, Time for Remembering, and a copy of Mantinband's dissertation, "The Church and Race Relations."
M327-1 Rabbi Charles Mantinband
M327-3 Presentation of Books at William Carey College
M327-4 Book Presentation
M327-5 Rabbi Charles and Mrs. Anna Mantinband
M327-6 Presentation of the Jewish Welfare Fund
M327-7 The Mantinbands and Others at an Art Exhibit
M327-8 Sculpture of James Deutsch
M327-9 A Group of Young Men after Confirmation