Site Visit Report Summaries

Site Visit Report Summaries

Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives (Richmond, VA)

The Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives was founded in 1977 and has, since 1983, occupied space adjacent to Congregation Beth Ahabah. Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome, the sixth synagogue in the nation and the first in Virginia, was founded in 1789. Its outgrowth, Congregation Beth Ahabah, was established in 1841. The two congregations consolidated in 1898, and the Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives holds extensive files on both congregations. The museum and archives collects and interprets materials that pertain to Jewish history in Richmond, Central Virginia and the South. Holdings include manuscripts, personal papers, institutional records, genealogical materials, photographs, books, cemetery records, oral histories, rabbis’ sermons, records of Congregation Beth Ahabah, Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome and some other local synagogues, historic ketubahs, and artifacts. The records date from the late 1700s to the present. The records date from the late 1700s to the present. Most users come to do genealogical research, as well as architectural and historical research. The users also include local and traveling authors, journalists and students.

The archives has approximately 375-400 linear feet of paper collections, which are organized alphabetically by subject into 2000-2500 file folders in 891 manuscript boxes. Approximately 95% of their collections have been processed, described by subject or individual, using local terms, on the box level. Past Perfect is used to keep track of artifacts, donor files, library books, and some photographs.


Charlotte Jewish Archives at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)

The Charlotte Jewish Archives (CJA) is located within the Levine-Sklut Judaic Library and Resource Center, within Shalom Park, which was founded in 1989. The CJA’s collecting policies encompass all aspects of Jewish life and history in the greater Charlotte area. Their holdings consist of photographs, correspondence, brochures and programs, scrapbooks, oral histories and other audiovisual materials, clippings, meeting minutes, and artifacts dating from the early 1900s to the present. Users of the archival collections are generally other staff members from within Shalom Park who are looking for information or photos for exhibits.

There are approximately 69 linear feet of collections organized into 27 discrete collections. Three of these collections have been processed and are described at the folder level using local vocabularies. One is a Google Doc and the other two are paper finding aids. The 24 unprocessed collections have accession records. Approximately 75-80% of their materials are represented in Past Perfect.


Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina and Duke University’s Rubenstein Library (Durham, NC)

The Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina (JHFNC) was founded in 1996 and collects and preserves current and historical documents and artifacts relating to the Jewish experience in North Carolina. The JHFNC’s holdings are now permanently located at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The collection is being processed and the plan is to digitize the collection over time. The materials in the JHFNC collection consist of correspondence, electronic records, photographs, religious artifacts, and oral histories, and relate to the JHFNC’s operations and programming. Duke University’s collecting efforts are expansive and Jewish materials could fall into any number of categories. The majority of Duke’s researchers are undergraduate and graduate students and faculty as well as outside historians and senior scholars.

Duke library staff compiled a list of 15 or so archival collections that are predominantly related to Jews in America, totaling 435 linear feet, including the 80 linear feet of JHFNC records. Most collections are described in finding aids at the folder level, with some described at the box level and a few smaller collections described at the item level. All of Duke’s collections have at least collection-level description. Duke’s finding aids are in Archivists’ Toolkit, with their smaller collections generally in MARC.


Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County (Freehold, NJ)

The Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County was founded in 2006 and occupies the top story of a historic barn. The museum presents a regular schedule of exhibits, programs, and publications and, to that end, collects artifacts and other materials relevant to the Jewish experience in the region. Its archives focus on the records of farms and businesses, regional maps, legal documents, family memoirs, and newspaper clippings in addition to its own institutional records. Materials date from the 18th century to the present, and are open to visitors to the museum as well as the general public.

The Museum’s 32 linear feet of archival materials are currently unprocessed. The Museum is currently setting up a new cataloging system using Past Perfect.


Jewish Historical Society of Central New Jersey (New Brunswick, NJ)

The Jewish Historical Society of Central Jersey, founded in 1977, is located on the campus of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple. The society collects materials related to Jewish history in the Raritan Valley. Holdings include the records of synagogues, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations, as well as personal and family papers. Collections date from 1888 to the present day. Rutgers University professors are frequent users, as well as local community members.

The Society holds 66 collections, totaling approximately 240 linear feet. Materials are processed to the folder level, and inventories, in the form of Word documents, are available on-line through JewishGen.


Jewish Historical Society of Delaware (Wilmington, DE)

The Jewish Historical Society of Delaware, founded in 1974 and located at the Delaware Historical Society, collects materials that document the Jewish community of Delaware. Holdings include video, audiotape, slides, paper records, and photographs. Subjects include local families, the papers of notable individuals, and institutional records including the records of companies, congregations, and social welfare organizations. There are also a few collections devoted to subjects including the Holocaust, Israel, local cemetery records, and more. Materials date from the 1880s to the present. Users include genealogists and local historians.

The Society holds 80 collections, which come to over 350 linear feet of materials. The larger collections have full finding aids that describe materials to the box level, while the smaller ones have accession record information. There is a published guide to the archives, available online in PDF form, which provides an overview of each collection; more detailed paper finding aids are available upon consultation with the archivist. A new cataloging system using Past Perfect is currently in development.


Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County (Stamford, CT)

The Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County was founded in 1984 and collects manuscripts, personal papers, institutional records, genealogical materials, photographs, scrapbooks, synagogue records, cemetery records, oral and visual histories, graphic objects, historic newspapers, yearbooks and phone books, and artifacts that pertain to Jewish history in the Fairfield County, mainly relating to the Stamford area. They have also accessioned the materials of the Jewish Historical Societies of Greater Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Greenwich. The records date mostly from 1880 to the present, with the earliest photo dating to 1869. Most users come to do genealogical research, and they also have some users come in to research special projects and exhibits.

The Society has approximately 350 linear feet of paper collections, including the materials from Bridgeport, Greenwich and Norwalk. They have completed processing of approximately 65-70% of their collections, described by subject using local terms on the box level. They use Past Perfect to keep track of their scanned photos, oral histories and artifacts, and they have Excel spreadsheets with the box titles and locations.


Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford (West Hartford, CT)

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford was founded in 1971 and collects materials relating to Jewish history in the Greater Hartford area. The Society collects manuscripts, personal papers, institutional records, genealogical materials, photographs, scrapbooks, cemetery records, oral and visual histories, historic newspapers, graphic objects, and artifacts. The records date from 1890 until the present. Most users conduct genealogical research, research the history of local institutions, or research local history for special projects and exhibits.

The Society has approximately 120 collections comprising 600-650 linear feet, 40 of which have full finding aids in Archivists’ Toolkit, mainly the larger collections, which are mostly described to the folder level. The remaining 80 collections generally have series-level inventories in Archivists’ Toolkit, as well as front matter in paper form or in a suppressed view in AT.


Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven (New Haven, CT)

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven, founded in 1976, is housed at the Ethnic Heritage Center at Southern Connecticut State University, and documents the Jewish experience in the New Haven area. Holdings include microfilm, videotape, and DVDs, as well as paper records. Collections include the records of community organizations, synagogues, schools, businesses, as well as subject collections. Materials date back to 1830. Users include professors and students from all the local universities, and requests for research come in from 15 or 16 different states and 3 or 4 foreign countries every year.

Their holdings total approximately 300 linear feet. Inventories describe materials to the folder level. These inventories are currently available only on premises, though there is a guide to the archives available online, in pdf form.


Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts (South Deerfield, MA)

The Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts, founded in 2007, collects materials related to Jewish history in Western Massachusetts, and collaborates with local institutions such as the Museum of Springfield in sharing their holdings with the public. Archival holdings include the records of synagogues and day schools, organizations such as Hadassah, the personal papers of a local family, the papers of a rabbi, burial society records and a community pinkes. The society also has video footage of oral histories, the run of a local community newspaper, photographs, as well as a small number of physical objects, including circumcision tools. Materials date predominantly from the twentieth century. The primary user base consists of local historians and genealogists.

The Society’s archival holdings total approximately 8 linear feet. They are described to the folder level, in a Word document.


Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association (Providence, RI)

The Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association (RIJHA) was founded in 1951 and collects materials pertaining to Rhode Island Jewish history. The RIJHA collects manuscripts, personal papers, institutional records for local organizations and local synagogues, genealogical materials, and photographs. Holdings also include audio and video oral histories, artifacts, historic newspapers, yearbooks and city directories, family trees, and local obituaries, dating from the 1880s to the present. Their user population is generally made up of students from the local colleges and people doing genealogical research, as well as research for books and other projects with a Rhode Island Jewish connection.

The collections total approximately 1000 linear feet, which have been generally described by subject or individual, using local terms, on the box level.


University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Southern Historical Collection (Chapel Hill, NC)

The Southern Historical Collection (SHC) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill was founded in 1930 and focuses its collecting policies on materials related to the history and culture of the American South, broadly defined. The Southern Historical Collection contains diaries, journals, clippings, letters, correspondence, photographs, maps, drawings, ledgers, oral histories, moving images, albums, scrapbooks, and literary manuscripts. Major topics represented are Antebellum Southern history, business, labor, literature, race relations, religion, politics, slavery, social activism, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the New South, the Jim Crow South, and the South since 1954. Materials date from the 18th-21st centuries, with a few items from the 17th century and earlier and the majority from the 19th-20th centuries. A major research center for scholars and students of the American South, the SHC is also a resource for family and community historians and genealogists.

Collections documenting the Jewish experience comprise around 400-500 linear feet of material. Most collections have a basic finding aid online or are at least represented online. The finding aids are in EAD and there are also MARC finding aids and catalog records for each collection, which are linked to the xml. Description in the findings aids is primarily at the folder level, with some at the box level. Unprocessed materials are generally described on the collection level in order to aid discovery. The SHC uses Archivists’ Toolkit for accessions, Aeon for patron statistics, and Oxygen XML Editor to encode finding aids.


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