The American Jewish Historical Society is the oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States. AJHS provides access to more than 30 million documents and 50,000 books, photographs, art and artifacts that reflect the history of the Jewish presence in the United States from 1654 to the present.
The collection contains the records of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, the largest and most influential organization created by the American Jews to coordinate efforts on behalf of Soviet Jews, which survives today as NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia. The bulk of the collection covers the activities from the early 1970s through late 1980s. The collection includes minutes of meetings, memoranda, correspondence, newsletters and publications of the NCSJ and its precursor, the American Jewish Committee on Soviet Jewry (1964-1971). Among other materials are individual files Refuseniks, prisoners of conscience and Jewish émigrés. The collection also includes a considerable number of reports from the visits to the USSR by Soviet Jewry Movement activists and other. Significant part of the collection is represented by the audio recordings that include 13 minute programs on the WEVD Radio dedicated to Soviet Jewry topics and recordings of phone conversations with Refuseniks. There is also a considerable number of photographs, posters and publications, several film strips and VHS tapes.
The provenance of this Collection Addendum is as follows: Brenda Gervertz, Executive Director of the organization from 1989-1995, donated the Records of the North American Jewish Students Appeal to the American Jewish Historical Society. Gervertz donated this additional collection, mostly detailing the latter years of the organization, in 2004.
The records of the North American Jewish Students Appeal (NAJSA or APPEAL) contains documents on two levels of concern: those documents dealing with the NAJSA as a student-run organization promoting Jewish identity among college-aged youth; and those documents dealing with the APPEAL as a fundraising organization for several well-known student constituent organizations. The Constituents were: the Jewish Student Press Service, Lights in Action, the North American Jewish Students Network, the Progressive Zionist Caucus,Response: A Contemporary Jewish Review, Yavneh Religious Students Organization, and Yugntruf Youth for Yiddish. Documents include correspondence, financial records, minutes, press releases, information on grants awarded to student organizations for programming and publishing, student journals and newspapers, photographs, and ephemera.
Raphael Lemkin, an international lawyer, initiated the use of the term "genocide," and succeeded in persuading the United Nations to adopt the Genocide Convention in 1948. Documents include personal correspondence and artifacts; correspondence, documentation, clippings, and articles regarding the United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment on the Crime of Genocide treaty; and source material for the unfinished manuscript,History of Genocide. Collection includes photographs, identity cards, articles, papers, essays, clippings, magazines, research materials, term papers, posters, United Nations materials, and microfilm.
The records of the American Jewish Congress, a national Jewish agency, concerned primarily with Jewish and other minority civil rights, include the constitution, by-laws, and minutes of the Administrative and Executive Committees and Governing Council of the Congress. The collection has materials generated by the National Biennial Conventions, Executive Directors, including Phil Baum and Henry Siegman, and the General Counsel files of Will Maslow, Commissions and the Jerusalem Conferences of Mayors, Regional Chapters, National Women's Division, Business and Professional Chapters, Public Relations, and miscellaneous activities conducted by American Jewish Congress.
Contains the correspondence and personal diaries of Samuel Price. The latter describes events of a general nature and particularly life in the Jewish community in great detail in Newark (1913) and Springfield, Mass. (1913-1962). Of special interest is his extended comments on American politics, labor strikes, religion in the public schools, American military incursions in Mexico, World War I, and the Irish War of Independence.
This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Celia Adler and Lazar Freed, including theatrical materials such as scripts, programs and sheet music, correspondence, newspaper clippings, assorted publications, and photographs of many of the members of the Adler family and their friends from the Yiddish theater. These materials reflect the wide scope of the Adler acting family and their immense influence on Yiddish theater, Broadway and motion pictures.
Jacques Judah Lyons, hazzan, rabbi and community leader, was born in Surinam and emigrated to Philadelphia in the early 1800s. Minister of the New York Congregation Shearith Israel for 38 years, he gathered extensive materials on early Jewish history in the United States, Canada and the West Indies. His papers include manuscripts, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, notebooks, photographs and a Sansom ship's log book. Contains material relating to Jews in North and South America generally and more specifically to Congregation Shearith Israel and the Jews in New York, the Touro Synagogue and cemetery and the Jews in Newport, Rhode Island, Philadelphia and the West Indies. Also contains material relating to Jews in the wars of the United States, correspondence of the Jews with George Washington and items relating to Haym Salomon. Collection consists of manuscript material and five notebooks and three scrapbooks of Lyons. Contains also material not listed in calendar consisting of sermons by Lyons, a manuscript prayer book used in Surinam and a guide for religious ceremonies at Congregation Shearith Israel, as well as letters written during the Civil War period and correspondence relating to the personal life and career of Lyons.
Contains thirteen letters, on a variety of subjects. Of most interest are a letter written to Walter Lippmann, referring to a talk with Felix Frankfurter regarding Brandeis' confirmation as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1916), and a letter to Abraham H. Sakier regarding Brandeis' desire not to have his name connected with any fund-raising project for a university in Palestine (1930).