A Guide to the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection of Temple University Libraries

The Greater Philadelphia Jewish Federation materials document the important role this organization played in Philadelphia's Jewish philanthropy, including the founding of the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center. The collections at Temple are the official repository for Federation materials.

The Abraham Lincoln Freedman collection includes books, journals and edited manuscripts documenting Freedman's career as a legal scholar, attorney, judge, civil rights advocate, and reformer and activist. Freedman was Philadelphia's city solicitor, and a crucial player in Philadelphia's Reform movement. He was instrumental in efforts to combat anti-Semitism, job discrimination, and college and professional school admission discrimination against Jews and other minorities.

The South Philadelphia Hebrew Association holdings comprise headshots, rosters, and even Photo collage noting various accomplishments of the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association basketball team, with a championship watch won by this basketball team that, from 1933 to 1947, won seven of 14 championships in the old American League. The coach of this team was Eddie Gottlieb, one of the founders of the National Basketball Association.

The PJAC Photographic Collections span more than 100 years and include more than 15,000 pieces that visually document the rich history of Philadelphia's Jewish community through images of families, organizations, synagogues, schools, activities and events.

PJAC's Oral History Collections contain recordings from the Jewish Business Archives Oral History Project, the Woodbine Oral History Project and the Women's Leadership Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. These tapes document Jewish entrepreneurs and business leaders, the history of the Jewish community of Woodbine (Cape May County), N.J., and community leaders Kosher Wines, corner of 4th & Monroe in South Philadelphia, c. 1933 from the 19005 through the 19905, respectively.

Visiting the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection

The Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection is located in the Temple University Libraries' Urban Archives, which are open 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Researchers should call 215-204-8257 in advance to arrange for use of archival materials, most of which must be retrieved from secure off-site storage.

Occasionally special holiday hours apply; see http://library.temple.edu/collections/urbana for more information.

Ground Floor, Paley Library

1210 Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122

Ph: 215-204-8257 F: 215-204-3681

E-mail: pjac@temple.edu

Web: http://library.temple.edu/collections/pjac

 

About the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection

The Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC) was established in 1972 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. The collections at PJAC preserve the history of Jewish communities and Jewish life in the greater Philadelphia region, including Southern New Jersey, the Philadelphia suburbs and parts of Pennsylvania as far west as Harrisburg. These materials tell the rich story of Philadelphia as a center of development for Jewish cultural organizations. The collection is considered one of the most extensive and varied of its kind outside of New York City. It includes the stories of over 800 important individuals and organizations that left their mark on the Philadelphia region.

In 2009, Temple University Libraries' Urban Archives acquired the Philadelphia Jewish Archive Collection. These materials are a strong fit for the Urban Archives, which focus on the 19th- and 20th-century social, economic and political development of Philadelphia. The collections also help support the university's strong History, Religion, Jewish Studies, and Urban Studies departments.

 

Collections

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) collections contain lists of passengers arriving at the Port of Philadelphia and records of the needs of individual families (port cards) and their naturalization efforts, all compiled by this organization that assisted emigrating Jews to settle in the United States beginning in the 1880s.

The Immigrant Bank Ledger Books collection contains documents maintained by three private businesses that arose to assist Eastern European Jews coming to the United States from 1880 to the 1925. At these "immigrant banks," which were intimately related to HIAS (see above), families made deposits on steamship tickets that brought relatives from Eastern Europe to the United States. This collection contains 44 volumes and is the most robust collection of ledgers known to exist in the United States.

 The Hebrew Sunday School Society collection contains materials from this group founded in 1838 by Rebecca Gratz as the first to offer Jewish religious education to American children. The collection houses: founding resolutions and minute books from 1838, anniversary programs, correspondence, administrative reports, photos, scrapbooks, materials on the Boy and Girl Scout troops the Society sponsored, and more.

The Israel Chanin Diary, written in Yiddish by a young Jewish immigrant about his life as a teenage boy in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia from 1924 to 1929, represents the struggles, triumphs and everyday interactions of Jews who came to America to prosper. Chanin eventually became a doctor, practicing in Jersey City, N.J., serving whomever was in need.

Israel Chanin

The Jewish Publication Society (JPS) collection contains nearly 800 boxes of materials from the oldest continuous Jewish publishing company in the United States, which operates out of Philadelphia to this day. The JPS makes available a diverse array of books related to Jewish culture, religion, philanthropy and more. Prominent members of the Philadelphia Jewish community were involved with the JPS throughout its history, including Cyrus Adler, Henrietta Szold and Solomon Schechter.

The Jewish Community Relations Council materials document this organization, founded in 1939 to combat a wide variety of social concerns including discrimination, church- state separation, and the freeing of Soviet Jews. One of the Council's projects in the 19605 and 19705 paired Jewish and African American business owners in a North Philadelphia peer- to-peer program. The collection also includes a record of discrimination problems brought to the Council's attention.

 

Supporting the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection

Now that the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection has moved to Temple University Libraries, we need your help to build a strong foundation for the future. A $1.8 million endowment campaign has been established to ensure that PJAC remains the premiere archive documenting the accomplishments of the Jewish community in Philadelphia and neighboring counties and states. Endowment funds will also be used to retain an archivist dedicated to the collections' preservation, growth and access.