Essential Readings

Essential Readings in American Jewish History

The bibliography below outlines some of the elemental scholarly works on the history of Jews in the Americas. The American Jewish Historical Society compiles and maintains the list. General histories are listed first, followed by reference publications and periodicals.

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  • Diner, Hasia. The Jews of the United States, 1654-2000. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).
  • Feingold, Henry, et al. The Jewish People in America. 5 vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press for the American Jewish Historical Society, 1992).
  • Sarna, Jonathan D. American Judaism: A History. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).

Colonial and Early America

  • Barquist, David L., ed. Myer Myers: Jewish Silversmith in Colonial New York. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001).
  • Bingham, Emily. Mordecai, An Early American Family. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003).
  • Brilliant, Richard, ed. Facing the World: Jewish Portraits in Colonial and Federal America. (Munich and New York: Prestel, 1997).
  • Marcus, Jacob Rader. The Colonial American Jew, 1492-1776. 3 vols. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970).
  • Pencak, William. Jews and Gentiles in Early America 1654-1800. (Ann Arbor: University of Press, 2005).
  • Rezneck, Samuel. Unrecognized Patriots: The Jews in the American Revolution. (Westport: Greenwood, 1975).

Civil War

  • Korn, Bertram W. American Jewry and the Civil War. (New York: Atheneum, 1970).
  • Rosen, Robert N. The Jewish Confederates. (Chapel Hill, NC: University of South Carolina Press, 2000).
  • Sarna, Jonathan D. and Adam Mendelsohn, eds. Jews and the Civil War: A Reader (New York: New York University Press, 2010).

Immigration and Acculturation

  • Ben-Ur, Aviva. Sephardic Jews in America: A Diasporic History. (New York: New York University Press, 2009.
  • Barkai, Avraham. Branching Out: German-Jewish Immigration to the United States, 1820-1914. (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1994).
  • Cohen, Naomi. Encounter With Emancipation: The German Jews in the United States. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1984).
  • Goren, Arthur. New York Jews and the Quest for Community: The Kehilla Experiment, 1908-1922. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970).
  • Glenn, Susan A. Daughters of the Shtetl: Life and Labor in the Immigrant Generation. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990.)
  • Howe, Irving. World of our Fathers (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1976).
  • Lederhendler, Eli. Jewish Immigrants and American Capitalism 1880-1920. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
  • Moore, Deborah Dash. At Home in America. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981).
  • Orleck, Annelise. The Soviet Jewish Americans. (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2001).
  • Rischin, Moses. The Promised City: New York's Jews 1870-1904. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962).
  • Soyer, Daniel. Jewish Immigrant Associations and Ethnic Identity in New York, 1880-1939. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997).


  • Dollinger, Marc. Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern America. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).
  • Maisel, Sandy L. and Ira N. Forman. Jews in American Politics (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).
  • Michels, Tony. A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).
  • Orleck, Annelise. Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995).
  • Sorin, Gerald. The Prophetic Minority: American Jewish Radicals, 1880-1920. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.
  • Staub, Michael. Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).
  • Svonkin, Stuart. Jews Against Prejudice: American Jews and the Fight for Civil Liberties. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997

Material and Popular Culture

  • Buhle, Paul. Jews and American Popular Culture (3 volumes). (Westport, CT., Praeger Publishers, 2007).
  • Heinze, Andrew. Adapting to Abundance: Jewish Immigrants, Mass Consumption, and the Search for American Ethnicity. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990).
  • Gurock, Jeffrey S. Judaism's Encounter with American Sports. (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2005).
  • Hoberman, J. and Jeffrey Shandler. Entertaining America: Jews, Movies and Broadcasting. (New York: Jewish Museum and Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).
  • Kelman, Ari. Station Identification: A Cultural History of Jewish Radio in the United States. (University of California Press, 2009).
  • Joselit, Jenna Weismann. The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture 1880-1950. (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1994).
  • Shandler, Jeffrey. Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005).

Public Identity Information

  • Berman, Lila Corwin. Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals and the Creation of an American Public Identity. (Berkeley, CA: University Press of California, 2009).
  • Brettschneider, Marla. The Narrow Bridge: Jewish Views on Multiculturalism in America. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1996).
  • Goldstein, Eric. The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).
  • Greenberg, Cheryl. Troubling the Waters: Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).
  • Wenger, Beth S. New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1996).
  • Wenger, Beth. History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).
  • Whitefield, Stephen. In Search of American Jewish Culture. (Hanover, N.D.: University Press of New England, 1999).


  • Dinnerstein, Leonard. Anti-Semitism in America. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).
  • Jaher, Frederic C. A Scapegoat in the New Wilderness: The Origins and Rise of Anti-Semitism in America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994).
  • Karabel, Jerome. The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 2005).
  • Oney, Steve. And The Dead Shall Rise Again: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank (New York: Pantheon, 2003).


  • Abrams, Jeanne. Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West (New York: New York University Press, 2006).
  • Bauman, Mark K., ed. Dixie Diaspora: An Anthology of Southern Jewish History. (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2007).
  • Eisenberg, Ellen, Ava F. Kahn, William Toll. Jews of the Pacific Coast: Reinventing Community on America's Edge. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009).
  • Gamm, Gerald. Urban Exodus: Why the Jews Left Boston and the Catholics Stayed. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999).
  • Moore, Deborah Dash. To the Golden Cities. (New York: Free Press, 1994).
  • Morawska, Ewa. Insecure Prosperity: Small Town Jews in Industrial America. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).
  • Rischin, Moses and John Livingston. Jews of the American West. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991).
  • Schloff, Linda Mack. And Prairie Dogs Weren't Kosher. (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1996).
  • Weissbach, Lee Shai. Jewish Life in Small Town America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005).


  • Antler, Joyce. You Never Call, You Never Write: A History of the Jewish Mother (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • Diner, Hasia, Shira Kohn, Rachel Kranson. A Jewish Feminine Mystique? Jewish Women in Postwar America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010).
  • Igra, Anna. Wives without Husbands: Marriage, Desertion and Welfare in New York. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
  • Klapper, Melissa. Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920. (New York: New York University Press, 2005).
  • Markowitz, Ruth. My Daughter, The Teacher: Jewish Teachers in the New York City Schools. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993).
  • Nadell, Pamela S., ed. American Jewish Women's History: A Reader. (New York: New York University Press, 2003).
  • Nadell, Pamela S. Women Who Would Be Rabbis. (New York: New York University Press, 2003).
  • Prell, Riv-Ellen. Fighting to Become Americans: Assimilation and the Trouble Between Jewish Women and Jewish Men. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999).
  • Rogow, Faith. Gone to Another Meeting: The National Council of Jewish Women. (University of Alabama Press, 1993).
  • Schwartz, Shuly Rubin. The Rabbi's Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life. (New York: New York University Press, 2005).
  • Schultz, Debra. Going South: Jewish Women and the Civil Rights Movement. (New York: New York University Press, 2001).

American Judaism

  • Diamond, Etan. And I Will Dwell in their Midst: Orthodox Jews in Suburbia. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).
  • Goldman, Karla. Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000).
  • Gurock, Jeffrey S. A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Jewish Community. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).
  • Raphael, Marc Lee. Profiles in American Judaism: The Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist Traditions in Historical Perspective. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988).
  • Fader, Ayala. Mitzvah Girls: Bringing up the Next Generation of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009).
  • Goldsmith, Emanuel S., Mel Scult, and Robert M. Seltzer, eds., The American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan. (New York: New York University Press, 1990).
  • Jick, Leon A. The Americanization of the Synagogue, 1820-1870. Hanover, N.H.: Brandeis University Press by the University Press of New England, 1976.
  • Kaplan, Edward. Spiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).
  • Mintz, Jerome R. Hasidic People: A Place in the New World. (Harvard University Press, 1992).
  • Prell, Riv-Ellen. Women Remaking American Judaism. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2007).
  • Sussman, Lance J. Isaac Leeser and the Making of American Judaism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995).
  • Wertheimer, Jack, ed. The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed. (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1987).


  • Cohen, Beth. Case Closed: Holocaust Survivors in Postwar America. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007.
  • Diner, Hasia. We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust, 1945-1962.(New York: New York University Press, 2009).
  • Fermaglich, Kirsten. American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares: Early Holocaust Consciousness and Liberal America. (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2006).
  • Lipstadt, Deborah. Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust (New York: Free Press, 1986).
  • Novick, Peter. The Holocaust in American Life (New York: Free Press, 1986).
  • Wyman, David S. The Abandonment of the Jews. (New York: Pantheon, 1984).

Zionism/State of Israel

  • Cohen, Naomi. Americanization of Zionism, 1897-1948. (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2003).
  • Kaufman, Menachem. An Ambiguous Partnership: Non-Zionists and Zionists in America, 1939-1948 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press).
  • Mart, Michelle. Eyes on Israel: How America Came to View the Jewish State as an Ally. (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2006).
  • Raider, Mark. The Emergence of American Zionism. (New York: New York University Press, 1998).
  • Raider, Mark and Shulamit Reinharz, eds. American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise. (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2005).

Reference Works

  • American Jewish Historical Society. American Jewish Desk Reference: The Ultimate One Volume Reference to the Jewish Experience in America. (New York: Random House, 1999).
  • American Jewish Year Book. (Philadelphia [etc.]: American Jewish Committee, Available Online:
  • Bauman, Mark. Jewish American Chronology: Chronologies of the American Jewish Mosaic. (Santa Barbara, CA.: Greenwood, 2011).
  • Dobkowski, Michael N. Jewish American Voluntary Organizations. (New York: Greenwood, 1986).
  • Hyman, Paula E. and Deborah Dash Moore, eds. Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (2 vols). (New York: Routledge Press for the American Jewish Historical Society, 1997).
  • The Jewish Women's Archive, Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia
  • Kaganoff, Nathan M. Judaica Americana. (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, Inc. for the American Jewish Historical Society, 1995).
  • Marcus, Jacob Rader. The Concise Dictionary of American Jewish Biography. (Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, Inc., 1994).
  • Norwood, Stephen H. and Eunice G. Pollack, eds. Encyclopedia of American Jewish History. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2008).
  • Pinsker, Sanford. Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia. (New York: Taylor and Frances, 1992).
  • Singerman, Robert, comp. Judaica Americana: A Bibliography of Publications to 1900. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990).
  • Stern, Malcolm. First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654-1977. (American Jewish Archives and American Jewish Historical Society, 1977).

Documentary Sources

  • Blau, Joseph L. and Salo W. Baron, eds. The Jews of the United States, 1790-1840: A Documentary History. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964).
  • Cohen, Jocelyn and Daniel Soyer, eds. and trans. My Future is in America: Autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish Immigrants. (New York: New York University Press, 2006).
  • Kahn, Ava F. Jewish Voices of the California Gold Rush: A Documentary History, 1839-1880 (Detroit: Wayne State University, 2002).
  • De Sola Pool, David. Portraits Etched in Stone. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952).
  • Hershkowitz, Leo. Wills of Early New York Jews (1704-1799). (New York: American Jewish Historical Society, 1967).
  • Marcus, Jacob Rader, ed. The American Jewish Woman: A Documentary History. (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1981).
  • Marcus, Jacob Rader, ed. American Jewry, Documents, Eighteenth Century. (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1959).
  • Marcus, Jacob Rader, ed. The Jews in the American World: A Sourcebook. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2004).
  • Marcus, Jacob Rader, ed. Memoirs of American Jews 1775-1865 (3 vols. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1955).
  • Schappes, Morris. A Documentary History of the Jews in the United States, 1654-1875. (New York: Schocken Books, 1971).
  • Staub, Michael. The Jewish 1960s: An American Sourcebook. (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2004).
  • Wenger, Beth, ed. The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America. (New York: Doubleday, 2007).


  • American Jewish Archives. (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 1949-).
  • American Jewish Historical Quarterly. (New York and Waltham, MA: American Jewish Historical Society, 1961-1977).
  • American Jewish History. (Waltham, MA: American Jewish Historical Society, 1978-1993; as of 1994: Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press for the American Jewish Historical Society).
  • Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society. (New York: American Jewish Historical Society, 1892-1960).
  • Southern Jewish History. (Atlanta, GA: Southern Jewish Historical Society, 1998- ).
  • Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly: Western Jewish History (1968- ).