D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Samuel Robinson Papers (1891-1973)
M96.3.1 ; OS96.3.1 ; OS96.3.2

[Written on the back of the photograph], "Grandfather, Pack Square" Samuel Robinson Collection,
D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville 28804

Title Samuel Robinson Papers (1891-1973)
Creator Samuel Robinson
Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/robinson/robinson.html
Subject Keyword Samuel Robinson; Esther Kroman Robinson ; Carolina Mountain Club ; Congregation Beth HaTephila ; George Masa ; Jewish businesses ; merchants ; optometry ; civic leaders ; environmentalism ;
Subject LCSH Robinson, Samuel
Boy Scouts of America
Masa, George
Carolina Mountain Club
Jews -- North Carolina -- Asheville -- Sources
Jews -- Southern States -- History
Southern States -- Ethnic relations
Unger, Sidney
Description Personal papers and awards of Asheville optometrist, engineer and civic leader Samuel Robinson. A leader in environmental issues, he was active in the Carolina Mountain Club and the Boy Scouts of America. He worked to recognize George Masa's work with the Great Smoky Mountains and to name one of the peaks for Masa, a local photographer, and founding member of the Carolina Mountain Club. The collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, awards, correspondence, essays, speeches, and a personal diary. Items pertaining to his association with the Beth HaTephila Congregation have been placed with that collection as an addendum.
Publisher D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville 28804
Contributor Leah R. Karpen [daughter]
Date 2001-05-28
Type Collection ; Text
Format 3 document boxes
Source M96.3.1, OS96.3.1, OS96.3.2
Language English
Relation Beth HaTephila Congregation (Asheville, NC), D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Sol Schulman Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Carolina Mountain Club Archive, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Schochet Family Papers, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; "Jewish Roots in the Carolinas: A Pattern of American Philo-Semitism,", Charlotte, N.C.: The Charlotte Israelite, 1955, in the D. Hiden Ramsey Collection printed material - various publications (M80.5.2.6) ; Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, UNC Chapel Hill ; American Jewish Historical Society ; "A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life," Documenting the American South, UNC Chapel Hill ; The Family Store Project: A History of Jewish Businesses, 1880-1990, a 12-panel exhibit displayed in a variety of locations in downtown Asheville in the fall of 2006 by History @ Hand.
Donor Donor number: 142, 227
Acquisition 1996-00-00 ; Second acquisition 2005-05-05 [149 items] ; Third acquisition
Citation Samuel Robinson Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville 28804
Processed by Special Collections staff, 1996
Last update 2005-12-08, JW ; 2009-12-11, HW ; 2012-02-01, HP
Biography From Cactus, 1913 yearbook of the University of Texas:
Student Assistant in Applied Math, Vice President Engineering Department
"His long suit is calc and politics, and an inborn desire to eradicate aristocratic tendencies.
Sam will have an idea on any subject, no matter how insignificant.
He is one of the Russian trio, though, and may be an anarchist some day?"
Samuel Robinson was born in Grodno [Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth] in 1891 and came to the United States with his family in 1901. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas with a degree in engineering. He worked with fisheries in Texas, and in the oil fields in Louisiana. He was a surveyor for the Houston harbor. He later received his degree in optometry and practiced this profession in Asheville until he was in his early eighties. He was married to Esther Kroman after moving to Asheville.

He was an active member of the Carolina Mountain Club, and was a member of its board of directors. In 1961 he instigated the naming of a 6,000-foot peak in the Great Smoky Mountains for George Masa, a founder of the Carolina Mountain Club and a noted photographer. Dr. Robinson was a noted local Boy Scout leader for more than 25 years, and was a member of the national council of the Boy Scouts of America. He worked for the American Forestry Association and the [Asheville] Metropolitan Planning Board. He was an active member of Temple Beth HaTephila in Asheville for fifty eight years, missing services only when out of town.

Dr. Robinson performed his own laboratory work in his optometry profession. During the Depression, and at other times, he never turned away patients, making adjustments for payment according to the patient's ability to pay. He was known to have lost white patients due to his insistence on serving blacks first who had arrived first, even during the Depression years. He worked to integrate the black scouting movement within the Daniel Boone Council. He strove to raise standards within the optometry profession, and lectured at professional meetings on difficult optometric problems, on complexities of prisms, and on his own method of glaucoma therapy. He had seven children, seventeen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren at the time of his death on December 22, 1973.
  • Photographs
  • Awards
Items List
Box Description
M79.13.07 Beth-Ha Tephila Congregation Related Items & Assorted Items
[filed with Beth HaTephila material M79.13.07]
OS96.03.01 Awards and Activities
M96.03.01 Miscellaneous Photographs
M96.03.01 Scrapbooks
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