Georgia: ‘Southern Israelite’ digitized, online

Historic newspapers are a fountain of important information and even more so are Jewish historic papers.

At left, find a story from the July 30, 1937 Southern Israelite which has just been digitized, indexed and searchable online. Click on the image to see it expanded and more clearly.

Tracing the Tribe hears frequently about new newspaper digitalization projects. The newest project is that of the “Southern Israelite,” which was at first a mere temple bulletin in Augusta, Georgia, in 1925.

Thanks to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia, the Breman Museum and the Digital Library of Georgia, the Southern Israelite (1929-1958, 1984-1986) has now been digitized, indexed, and is freely searchable on line. There are more than 22,000 images in the collection.

This project makes it easier than ever to find information about Jewish families in the Southern states. At right, see the social column from the same 1937 issue (click on the image to see an expanded, more clear version).

As it grew in popularity, founder Rabbi H. Cerf Straus expanded to a monthly publication. He sold it to Herman Dessauer and Sara B. Simmons, who moved operations to Atlanta. The paper circulated throughout the state and the South. M. Stephen Schiffer, a former Atlanta Georgian employee, took over as sole owner in 1930.

Even in the early years, it covered not only southern Jewish news but all national and world issues impacting Jewish lives and communities. It carried columns about Jewish communities in Florida and Alabama, and its society columns mentioned almost every Jewish person who visited Atlanta, making this a valuable resource if your families were connected to southern communities.

Along with the monthly magazine, a weekly edition began publication in October 1934. In 1951, Israelite editor Adolph Rosenberg headed a corporation that took over ownership. One major local issue event that became known nationally was the Atlanta Temple bombing in October 1958.

The monthly magazine ended in 1973 as the weekly edition grew and, in 1987, the paper’s name was changed to the Atlanta Jewish Times – owned today by Jewish Renaissance Media.

According to information at the website, circulation is more than 25,000.

A DJVu reader is required to see images, and readers can install one from the first link above.

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