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Sara N. Evans

Sara Nachamson Evans led the Jewish community of Durham both directly, as president of Hadassah, and by example, rescuing Jews from the Holocaust. After marrying Emanuel J. Evans in 1928, Evans and her husband expanded her father’s store into a successful local chain, Evans United Department Stores. Evans also had a legacy from her mother, one of the founding members of Hadassah, and Evans served the organization in various roles throughout her life as president of her local chapter, president of the Seaboard Region from 1942–1945, national vice president from 1954–1957, and life member of the national board from 1942–1986. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s she travelled throughout the South, organizing local and state chapters. During WWII, she and her husband signed 55 affidavits for refugees, guaranteeing jobs for them so they could receive visas, hiring many of the refugees themselves. After the founding of the State of Israel and her husband’s election as mayor of Durham from 1951–1963, Evans used her fame as “first lady” of Durham to build support for Israel among Southern politicians. The couple also created and helped fund the Judaic studies program at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

More on: Zionism
More on Sara N. Evans
Date of Birth
July 2, 1905
Date of Death
March 23, 1986

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sara N. Evans ." (Viewed on January 21, 2018) <>.


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