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A Guide to the Hyman Walborsky Memorial Collection

Finding aid created by Katalin Franciska Rac

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections

May 2017

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Josephs, Aileen, 1964-
Title: Hyman Walborsky Memorial Collection
Dates: 1916-2016
Abstract: The collection includes personal documents, photographs, correspondence, an album, a documentary on DVD, and a screenplay written and collected by Aileen Josephs. The items in the collection record her family's history from her personal view including her own personal and professional growth as a female immigration lawyer and activist.
Extent: .42 Linear feet. 1 Box.
Identification: MSS 0375
Language(s): Includes materials written in English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Yiddish.

Biographical/Historical Note

Aileen Josephs, née Walborsky, was born in Mexico City in 1964. This collection is dedicated to her father Hyman Walborsky's memory. His family immigrated to the Unites States from Poland. Hyman's father, Israel Wolborsky left Poland for the US in 1923, after his marriage to Sara Miadovitch. She and their firstborn son Hershel, later Harry (1924-2002), followed Israel in 1929 to America. Hyman, the younger son (and Aileen's father) was born in New York in 1931. It is unclear if Hyman or his elder brother Harry changed the family name to Walborsky. After serving in Korea, Hyman worked for the underwear company Exquisite Form. The company sent him to various Latin American countries as a representative and to set up factories. He met his future wife and Aileen's mother Aura Navarro in Maracay, Venezuela. Harry became a chemistry professor and taught until his retirement at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Aileen was born in Mexico, where Exquisite Form had sent her father to set up a factory. She spent her childhood in Mexico. In 1982 she enrolled in Brandeis University and continued her studies at Boston College Law School. She became an immigration activist and studied immigration law. For her senior thesis, she conducted fieldwork among the Salvadorian community in Waltham, Massachusetts and advocated the establishment of a statutory type of safe haven for refugees from warzones and regions afflicted by natural disaster. She completed her studies cum laude and her human rights advocacy became her calling as an immigration lawyer. With her husband she decided to move to Florida and in addition to her legal practice, she works as Guatemala's honorary consul. Their son is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Scope and Content

In Folders 1-6, including items pertaining to her grandparents' and father's lives, and her own life and work. Folder 7 holds the lists of the items that she donated to the Price Library providing also biographical background to them.

Folder 1 holds a photo album with pictures that record the life of different family members in Poland and the United States. A list of names of the pictures on the photographs is also enclosed. A DVD with the digitized photos in the album is also attached. In Folder 2 Israel Wolborsky's documents (passports, marriage contract, other official documents) are held. Letters, postcards, and a hand-written address booklet in Yiddish and English are in Folder 3. Sarah Walborsky's funeral documentation is in Folder 4. Aileen Josephs's Bar Mitzvah album can be found in Folder 5; in Folder 6, there is a screenplay from 2009 titled "Crossing Borders" by Josephs based on a case she worked on as well as the documentary "Persecuting Crimes of the State" about legal persecution of crimes against humanity that she produced in 1991. Her speech delivered in December 2009 at the L' Dor V' Dor Congregation in Lake Worth to commemorate her father is also attached.

Two prayer books, one of them printed in Poland, the other in the United States, previously in Israel Wolborsky's and possibly other family members' possession and use, are also part of the collection.

Two bounded volumes of Harry Walborsky's studies are separated from the archival collection.


This collection is arranged in chronological order.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Hyman Walborsky Memorial Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Aileen Josephs.

Contents List

Box Folder
11 Photo album and DVD. undated
12 Israel Walborsky's personal documents. 1916, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1928, 1936, 1956, 1990, undated
13 Correspondence and address booklet. 1925, 1952, undated
14 Sarah Walborsky's funeral. 1964, 1964, undated
15 Aileen Josephs's Bar Mitzvah album. 1977, undated
16 Documentary and screenplay. 1991, 2009
17 Aileen Josephs's donation documentation. 2016
1 Two prayer books. undated

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Human rights

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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