I had a chance to conduct some more microfilm research recently at the local library. I am slowly going through archives for The Modern View - a St. Louis weekly Jewish newspaper from the early teens to the 1940s. I can go through about six months of issues before my eyes get too tired. I'm mostly scanning for surnames, but items of historical note tend to slow me down.
So far, my ancestors don't appear often in the social notes; in the early part of the timespan, they were still climbing their way out of the tenements. However, they do appear in lists. For example, The Modern View published annually a list of youth being confirmed by local synagogues. In 1915, they published a list of people who had given money to the Jewish Charitable and Educational Union, along with dollar amounts. My second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein, appears on the list for $6.
This may not have been a simple annual donation, though. Selig passed away in March of 1915. (A competing newspaper, The Jewish Voice, had an obituary.) I have had difficulty tracking down a will so far. He resided in the city of St. Louis, but there is an online index for city wills, and he doesn't appear in it. I've searched the St. Louis County index on microfilm without success. It's also possible the money was given by family after his death, but in his name.
Despite the timing of the listing, it could be a simple donation. Selig was very active in the community. He helped start a Free School for Jewish children, was active in the Chesed Shel Emeth Society, and was one of the founders of Tpheris Israel Congregation,