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Jewish Studies Research Guide

Electronic databases, digital libraries and archives, source collections, and bibliographies

American Jewish Archive (AJA) is located on the historic Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). Founded in 1947 by the renowned historian Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus (1896--1995), it is the largest free-standing repository dedicated solely to the study of the American Jewish experience. It contains more than 15 million pages of documents, audio-visual recordings, microfilm, and photographic images.


Early New York Synagogue Archives The synagogue is the traditional prayer and meeting space for Jewish communities. The history of New York synagogue life is an essential piece of New York City history. It tells the story of the Jewish immigration and the continuity of Jewish life in the “New World” from the 18th century until today.Over the years, three significant Manhattan Jewish communities—Shearith Israel, B’nai Jeshrun, and Ansche Chesed—moved from the Lower East Side to Harlem, midtown, and the Upper West Side. The Kane St. Synagogue remained in its original neighborhood in Brooklyn and the Eldridge Street Synagogue stayed at its original location; the latter has been designated a National Historic Site. Each of the five communities was comprised of immigrant populations that arrived from Europe and settled in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The combined collections of these synagogues, from 1730 until the beginning of the 20th century, document the lives of people and communities that are all still vibrant today.

Jewish Women's Archive is an international organization dedicated to collecting and promoting the extraordinary stories of Jewish women. JWA explores the past as a framework for understanding the pressing issues of our time; inspires young people with remarkable role models; and uses Jewish women’s stories to excite people to see themselves as agents of change. This website is the world’s largest collection of information on Jewish women, and draws more than 3 million visitors a year seeking information, inspiration, community, and a sense of identity. We hope you enjoy exploring the thousands of stories of inspiring women here! JWA also hosts public programs; trains the thought leaders of tomorrow through the Rising Voices Fellowship; sparks conversation with its blogpodcast, and social media presence; and is a leading voice in feminist and Jewish spheres.

Board of Delegates of American Israelites Records (1859-1881, 1887, 1932) The Records of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites documents the life cycle of the first successful national and international relief and civil rights organization in the United States geared toward the Jewish people. Founded by reformist New York Jews, the Board worked with the newly created Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris, and the older, more established organization, the London Committee of Deputies of British Jews to further the political and religious right of Jews in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The collection documents the Board of Delegates communications with these organizations, the Board's work in protecting U.S. Constitutional rights against a one-religion state and the Board's determination to defend the equal rights of Jews in the United States. In addition, the collection contains surveys and correspondence documenting the founding, location, and membership constituency of synagogues from the dues-paying congregations of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites.

Lucille Klau Carothers American Jewish Periodical Center is located in the Klau Library on the Cincinnati campus, the AJPC houses a microform and print collection of American Jewish newspapers, journals and magazines published in eight languages.

The Jewish communal register of New York city, 1917-1918 aims to provide  a genealogical view of New York Jewry and, as the authors pointed out "will add to the progress of the general community an of the country as a whole by furnishing the proper materials and the proper view-point for a true understanding of the efforts the Jews in the foremost city of America are making to contribute their share tot he fulfillment of the best ideals of American life." (Introduction)

Gershwind-Bennett Isaac Leeser Digital Repository holds the papers of the German-born Isaac Leeser (1806–68), who emigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen, and became an important public figure and Jewish intellectual organizer and community leader. His legacy includes the publication of the first printed Hebrew Bible in the United States, Biblia Hebraica, an English translation of the Pentateuch as The Law of God, and the periodical The Occident and American Jewish Advocate. The collection includes a map of Leeser's extensive travels in the U.S. Books and other publications, in addition to Leeser's correspondence.

American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Archives 

Comprising the organizational records of JDC, the overseas rescue, relief, and rehabilitation arm of the American Jewish community, the JDC Archives houses one of the most significant collections in the world for the study of modern Jewish history. With records of activity in over 90 countries dating from 1914 to the present, the JDC Archives is an extraordinary and unique treasure in the archival world. The JDC Archives is located in two centers, one at JDC’s NY headquarters and the second in Jerusalem, and is open to the public by appointment. (Website)



From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America was a Library of Congress exhibition marking 350 years of Jewish life in America. The physical exhibition was accessible between September 9 and December 30, 2004. It featured more than two hundred treasures of American Judaica from the collections of the Library of Congress, augmented by a selection of important loans from other cooperating cultural institutions. An informative timeline and several digitized items are available for users online.