American Jewish Historical Society

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Archives & Finding Aids

Finding Aids for our Personal and Institutional holdings are available online at the Center For Jewish History Web site. Click here to view the samples (Link opens in a new window.)

The American Jewish Historical Society houses approximately 1,300 archival collections, comprising 10,000 linear feet.

The holdings are divided into two categories: Personal papers, which include the papers and artifacts of individuals and families, and Institutional records, which contain the records of schools, synagogues, orphanages and other organizations related to Jewish life in the Americas.

Materials in our archival collections include correspondence, journals, administrative records, clippings, manuscripts, and memorabilia. AJHS' oldest document is a court record created in 1572 during the Mexican Inquisition. The Society houses a significant amount of Colonial-era material and its collections document many of the important nineteenth- and twentieth-century events and trends of American Jewish life.

AJHS' collections include the personal papers of many notable eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American political and communal Jewish leaders such as Haym Salomon, financier of the American Revolution; Uriah P. Levy, the nation's only Jewish Commodore; Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of State for the Confederacy; Moses Michael Hays, founder of the Bank of Boston; and Emma Lazarus, poet laureate of America's immigrants. Collections of notable twentieth-century figures include the papers of Henry Roth, author of the classic Call it Sleep; Molly Picon, international star of theater, radio, and television; and Stephen S. Wise, prominent Reform rabbi and Zionist leader.

AJHS houses the archival records of many of the nation's major Jewish organizations, especially those focusing on international relief efforts and national communal defense: the American Jewish Congress; the National Jewish Welfare Board; the Baron de Hirsch Fund; the Boston office of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society; and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.

Click here to view our latest finding aids.

Researchers can access AJHS' archival collections in our reading rooms in New York or Boston during our normal hours. To determine where a collection is located, please view the holdings box or contact a member of the reference staff by phone at 212-294-6160 x5100 or by email. The majority of the collections are in New York, while material related to New England Jewish history are housed in Boston, MA.




    Center for Jewish History

    15 West 16th St.
    New York, NY 10011
    Tel: 212-294-6160
    Fax: 212-294-6161

    99-101 Newbury Street
    Boston, MA 02116-3062
    Tel: 617-226-1245
    Fax: 617-226-1248
This section was last updated on September 17, 2014
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