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Alvin and Frankie Rubinstein travel diaries and correspondence


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Alvin Zachary Rubinstein (1927-2001) was a political scientist and international relations scholar, who was best known for his studies of the foreign relations of the former Soviet Union and Russia. It is likely that he was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927 to Russian immigrant parents, Max and Sylvia Rubinstein. He had a younger sister, Sydelle. He was educated at New York State Maritime Academy and went on to earn his B.B.A. from the City College of New York in 1949. Following this, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950 and 1954 respectively.

A lifelong career in teaching began in 1956 at Harvard's Russian Research Center and then as a lecturer at City College of New York in 1957. Dr. Rubinstein joined Penn's political science department in September of 1957 as a lecturer, which soon led him to becoming an assistant professor in 1959, and associate professor in 1961. Promotion to full professor of political science occurred in 1966, a position he held until his death. At Penn he served as director of The Anspach Institute for Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from 1968-1970, and as the chair of the Graduate Program in International Relations from 1966 through 1970.

Over the course of a very active career, Dr. Rubinstein was appointed as Speaker for the U.S. Information Agency (U.S.I.A.) in Hungary, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, South Korea, Pakistan and India. He was a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, as well as visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University (1974-1975), and a Senior Associate at St. Anthony's College, Oxford University (1985). He received awards from the Ford, Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and Earhart foundations, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Philosophical Society.

Dr. Rubinstein was the author of numerous articles on political science and over 20 books, including Moscow's Third World Strategy, which was awarded the Marshall Shulman Prize by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. The dedication in his book reads, simply, "Always Frankie."

Alvin Rubinstein died on December 18, 2001 at age 74, following a stroke that occurred at a retirement luncheon being held for him on December 6. He was survived by his wife, Frankie, and sister Sydelle.

At a memorial held for him on January 22, 2002 that was reported in the Daily Pennsylvanian, "approximately 200 people... praised Rubinstein for his life's devotion to scholarship, research and his students. Above all, they spoke of his love for life and his exuberance." It was also noted that his course on "Contemporary International Politics" had long been considered one of the most popular classes at Penn. Furthermore, "nearly all the speakers mentioned Rubinstein's adoration for his wife, Frankie Rubinstein."

Frankie Rubinstein (1918-2019) was an English teacher, having taught at Philadelphia's Overbrook High School from approximately 1951 to 1955 and at the Philadelphia High School for Girls from about 1958 to 1971. She was also a published author in the area of Shakespeare Studies, with articles appearing in Shakespeare Quarterly and Renaissance Studies, among other journals. She also produced a monograph, A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Sexual Puns and their Significance, published in 1984.

She was born Frankie Grossman in 1918, probably in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Frankie's parents were Harry Grossman and Sadye Bloom. Her parents divorced when she was a child. A 1930 census record shows an 11-year-old Frankie Grossman living on North 41st Street in Philadelphia, with her mother, maternal grandmother Elizabeth Bloom, and step-father George Kimmelman. George Kimmelman was an English teacher at South Philadelphia High School, which may have influenced Frankie's lifelong interest in literature. Frankie was married and amicably divorced from Morton Herskowitz prior to meeting Alvin Rubinstein in 1958. Frankie's journal shows that she and Alvin were married and travelling together by 1960.

Frankie Rubinstein survived Alvin Rubinstein, but there is no clear record of her death as of this writing. Frankie's name does appear on a list of "Memorial Tributes" from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia from 2019, when she would have been 101 years old. There is no evidence that she had any children.

Works cited:

Dina Ackermann and Dina Ackerman. Memorial honors life of Penn prof, Sunday's Houston Hall service celebrated the life of Alvin Rubinstein. The Daily Pennsylvanian, Accessed 14 September 2022.

"Death of Dr. Rubinstein, Political Scientist." University of Pennylvania Almanac, Accessed 14 September 2022.

This collection consists of correspondence, journals, diaries, photographs, newspaper clippings, and ephemera. The bulk of this material documents the extensive travels of Alvin and Frankie Rubinstein to countries in Europe, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union, from 1960 to 2000. The most prominent voice in the collection is Frankie Rubinstein's, who wrote most of the correspondence. However, her husband Alvin did write some correspondence and the collection also includes several journals in which he took extensive notes on trips to Yugoslavia and Moscow in the 1960s.

Correspondence is mostly addressed to family and friends, with a familiar and candid tone, and frequently provides rich descriptions and observations of their experiences. The range of topics is extensive, including but not limited to -- summaries of dinner conversations with dignitaries, descriptions of sights seen, opinions of people met, and personal chit-chat between people who knew each other well. A large portion of the correspondence was addressed to George and Sadie Kimmelman.

Because their travels were motived chiefly by Alvin Rubinstein's research and academic work as a political scientist, the experiences that Frankie commented on provide a complimentary perspective to his work, as well as a valuable point of view of her own. Their correspondence also offers a view into countries that few American citizens traveled to at the time.

The arrangement of the collection was imposed by the archivist, as any original order or provenance for the collection was lost.

The collection is organized into two series:

I. Travel diaries and correspondence

This series contains all of the Rubinstein's correspondence and other writings over the course of their travels and is arranged in chronological order and by type of material.

II. Frankie Rubinstein personal papers and photographs

This series contains Frankie Rubinstein's personal writings, photographs, and ephemera, most of which before was created before her relationship with Alvin Rubinstein. A notable exception are a diary and some notes from 1958-1959 that reveal details and impressions of her courtship with Alvin. This series is arranged chronologically by material, with papers first, followed by photographs. Researchers interested in political science, travel diaries and accounts, and an American woman's perspective and experiences from this time period should find this collection useful.

While this collection does speak to Alvin Rubinstein's research and scholarship, none of the material directly relates to his academic work at Penn.

Chronology of places visited in the collection:

1960 England, Yugoslavia, Moscow, France, Italy, Switzerland

1961 Italy, Greece, Switzerland

1964 Hungary, England, Yugoslavia

1966 Yugoslavia – February, Geneva, Switzerland – May, Italy – July, Atlantic City – August, Egypt

1969 Yugoslavia, Spain, Italy, Switzerland

1970 England, India, Germany, Moscow, Jordan, Qatar

1971 Yugoslavia

1974 Yugoslavia, Turkey

1975 England

1976 India

1977 Scotland, France, London, Switzerland

1979 England, Israel

1981 England, Yugoslavia, Germany

1983 Egypt

1990 England

1991 England, Israel

1994 Beach Haven, NJ

1998 Germany, Italy

2000 Israel

Sold by, Matthew Van Saun, 2021.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kenneth Cleary
Finding Aid Date
2022 September 22
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Frankie Rubinstein's Travel Journal from Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland, and France, 1960.
Box 1 Folder 1
Alvin Rubinstein's Travel Journal from Yugoslavia to Moscow, 1960.
Box 1 Folder 2
Postcards from Yugoslavia, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Moscow, 1960.
Box 1 Folder 3
Correspondence from Greece, 1961.
Box 1 Folder 4
Postcards from Italy, Switzerland, and France, 1961.
Box 1 Folder 5
Correspondence from England, Yugoslavia, and Hungary, 1964.
Box 1 Folder 6
Postcards from Yugoslavia, 1964.
Box 1 Folder 7
Frankie Rubinstein's Travel Journal from Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland, and England, 1966.
Box 1 Folder 8
Correspondence from Yugoslavia and Switzerland, 1966.
Box 1 Folder 9
Postcards from Yugoslavia, Italy, Egypt, and France, 1966.
Box 1 Folder 10
Alvin Rubinstein's Travel Journal from Yugoslavia, 1969.
Box 1 Folder 11
Correspondence from Spain, 1969.
Box 1 Folder 12
Postcards from Spain, Italy, and Yugoslavia, 1969.
Box 1 Folder 13
Correspondence from England, Germany, and India, 1970.
Box 1 Folder 14
Postcards from England, Germany, Belgium, Jodran, India, and Moscow, 1970.
Box 1 Folder 15
Notes from Yugoslavia, 1971.
Box 1 Folder 16
Postcards from Yugoslavia and Turkey, 1974.
Box 1 Folder 17
Correspondence from England, 1975.
Box 2 Folder 1
Postcards from England, 1975.
Box 2 Folder 2
Correspondence from India, 1976.
Box 2 Folder 3
Correspondence from England, Scotland, France, and Switzerland, 1977.
Box 2 Folder 4
Postcards from Belgium, France, and England, 1977.
Box 2 Folder 5
Correspondence from England, 1979.
Box 2 Folder 6
Postcards from England and Israel, 1979.
Box 2 Folder 7
Correspondence from England and Yugoslavia, 1981.
Box 2 Folder 8
Postcards from Hungary, Yugoslavia, and England, 1981.
Box 2 Folder 9
Correspondence from Egypt, 1983.
Box 2 Folder 10
Postcard from Egypt, 1983.
Box 2 Folder 11
Correspondence from England, 1990.
Box 2 Folder 12
Correspondence from England and Israel, 1991.
Box 2 Folder 13
Postcards from England and Israel, 1991.
Box 2 Folder 14
Two sketches of "Dave Gray's Beach Haven.", 1994.
Box 2 Folder 15
Frankie Rubinstein's Travel Diary from Italy and Germany, 1998.
Box 2 Folder 16
Three Diaries from Frankie Rubinstein, 1998-2000.
Box 2 Folder 17
Frankie Rubinstein's Travel Diary from Israel, 2000.
Box 2 Folder 18
Alvin Rubinstein's travel journal from Yugoslavia, undated.
Box 3 Folder 1
Correspondence from Yugoslavia, undated.
Box 3 Folder 2
Correspondence from England, undated.
Box 3 Folder 3
Correspondence from the Netherlands, undated.
Box 3 Folder 4

Harry Rubinstein and Mary Foley Rubinstein, Billete Kilometrico [mileage ticket], 1928.
Box 3 Folder 5
Frankie Rubinstein, correspondence and notes, 1958-1959.
Box 3 Folder 6
Frankie Rubinstein, correspondence and notes, 2002-2003.
Box 3 Folder 7
Frankie Rubinstein, correspondence, notes, and ephemera, undated.
Box 3 Folder 8
Newspaper clippings, 1959 and undated.
Box 3 Folder 9
Photographs, Frankie Rubinstein's childhood, circa 1920s.
Box 3 Folder 10
Photographs, Frankie Rubinstein with George and Sadye Kimmelman, circa 1930s.
Box 3 Folder 11
Photographs, Frankie Rubinstein and others, circa 1940s.
Box 3 Folder 12
Photographs, Frankie Rubinstein and others, circa 1950s.
Box 3 Folder 13
Photographs, Frankie Rubinstein at Beach Haven, NJ, with others, circa 1970s.
Box 3 Folder 14
Photograph, Alvin Rubinstein seated in center with conference attendees, circa 1980s.
Box 3 Folder 15
Photographs, Alvin and Frankie Rubinstein on Queen Elizabeth II cruise, 1982.
Box 3 Folder 16
Photograph, Alvin Rubinstein and Alexander Haig, 1999.
Box 3 Folder 17
Photographs, Alvin and Frankie Rubinstein, 2000-2001.
Box 3 Folder 18
Photographs, Frankie Rubinstein and others, 2002.
Box 3 Folder 19

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