Philadelphia: University’s Jewish history collection

In Philadelphia, Temple University has taken in a treasure trove of local Jewish culture and history.

While attendees of the international Jewish genealogy conference – Philly 2009 – heard all about the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center’s move to the university, it merits additional mention.

The university’s dean of libraries Larry Alford, says the collection – a gift from the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center – is breathtaking: “The collection began to be built in 1972. It is five million items, some 4,500 linear feet of boxes.” The collection documents Jewish life, experiences, culture, and history in this area.

Alford says it’s a historian’s dream, packed with hidden jewels throughout: “And that’s what makes it so exciting for researchers. Discovering letters, documents that perhaps haven’t been read before that really add to our understanding of history, understanding of life in the 19th century and the early 20th century, perhaps documents that shed light on historical mysteries.”

One prime item is Israel Chanin’s diary, written by the teenaged Lithuanian immigrant from 1924-1929.

Read more here.


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