Matthew Ritchie was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1907. From 1946 to 1960, he served as an internal revenue agent in Phoenix, Ariz. He then became a technical advisor in San Francisco's Appellate Division. He was involved in various civic, Jewish, and interfaith organizations. From 1951 to 1952, he was the president of the Arizona Brandeis Zionist District, the chairman of Phoenix's American Zionist Council (1953), and a member of the national executive committee of the Zionist Organization of America (Z.O.A.) in 1955. Also in that year, he served as the vice-president of the Z.O.A.'s western states region. In 1960, when he was living in San Francisco, Ritchie was the president of the Z.O.A. and served as the director of public relations for that organization.
The collection consists of Matthew Ritchie's correspondence (including correspondence between Ritchie, the Hopi Indians, and the U.S. Congress regarding a conflict between the Hopi and the U.S. government); minutes and memorandums from various organizations; radio scripts; newspaper and magazine articles relating to the Z.O.A.; programs; reports; bulletins; press releases; and newsletters.