Lily Podvidz (1915-1981) was born in San Francisco and lived in Petaluma, California during the 1920s. She later worked in Washington, D.C. She was an educational administrator, author, editor, and an officer in national educational associations. In 1961, she became the director of B'nai B'rith's Department of Adult Jewish Education and she edited Jewish Heritage. Her husband, Nathan Edelman, was also her first cousin. Nathan was born in Paris in 1911 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1922. Also an educator, he taught at Columbia University, was a professor and the chair of the Romance Languages Department at Johns Hopkins University, and authored and edited scholarly publications on Romance languages.
The collection consists primarily of love letters exchanged between Lily and Nathan Edelman that express their feelings for each other and in which they discuss their emotional life; intellectual and cultural interests and activities; philosophical views; opinions on economic and political systems; and their reactions to world events. The correspondence, which provides a look into traditional courtship styles between men and women in an era of social change, also reveals the cousins' thoughts from adolescence to adulthood. The letters also reveal Lily's growth in understanding herself and her relationship with Nathan; glimpses of Jewish life in Petaluma and of the Menuhin family, to whom Lily was related. Also contains an autograph book with photographs of pupils from Petaluma High School (1927).