Peryle Hayutin Beck (b.1915-d.2006) was the primary founder of the Ira M. and Peryle H. Beck Memorial Archives of Rocky Mountain Jewish History at the University of Denver. This year marks the 100th anniversary of her birth. For nearly thirty years, Peryle continued a close and active involvement in the programs and activities of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and Beck Memorial Archives. She contributed many historic objects and photographs, including beautiful textiles created by her mother Anna Ginsberg Hayutin.
Peryle Beck’s grandparents were eastern European Jewish immigrants who came to America as part of the great wave to America in the late 1800s. Both families later settled in the predominantly Eastern European Jewish enclave on the “West Side” of Denver. Peryle was born on June 14, 1915 to Morris and Anna Ginsberg Hayutin and was one of the four first cousins named “Pearl.” At age eight, Peryle changed the spelling of her name to recover the Yiddish pronunciation favored by her grandmother Pearl Hayutin. Peryle was an unusually independent teenager, and began driving her own Model T around Denver at the age of sixteen.
Peryle met Ira Beck at the BMH Synagogue, and on June 11, 1935 they were married at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver. Peryle and Ira Beck shared an interest in Jewish history, culture, and the performing arts. The Becks traveled extensively, and as a result, scrapbooks in the Beck Family Papers, B120, contain many performance programs in Denver and New York and material from the Beck family’s European and Middle East travel. In 1942, Peryle received a MA in Speech from the University of Denver and later received a teaching certificate. Her thesis was an original drama entitled “Uprooted,” which depicted the wanderings of the Jewish people from Exodus to the pogroms in Russia.
The couple became parents of a daughter, Devra Beck Simui. Devra holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a practicing psychoanalyst on the east coast, where she lives with her husband, Dr. Emil Simui. The Becks’ legacy lives on through an endowment, which continues to fund exhibits, programming, and the acquisition of collections that preserve and provide access to Jewish history and culture in the Rocky Mountain region.