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Center for Jewish History - New York City

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The Center for Jewish History is a partnership in New York City of five Jewish history, scholarship and art organizations: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, New York, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. It is also an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.


The Center is a 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) facility created from four existing buildings and two new buildings. The partners' collections include more than 100 million documents, 500,000 books and thousands of art objects, most of which had been poorly housed in the member institutions and were at risk of damage or destruction. The Center is heavily involved with the preservation of records that define moments in Jewish immigration to New York City. A $670,000 grant awarded in 2007 helped with the cataloging of these materials.

The partners' collections include the original handwritten copy of Emma Lazarus' 1883 "Give me your tired, your poor" poem that was later inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty; Sandy Koufax's Brooklyn Dodgers jersey; a letter from Thomas Jefferson to New York's oldest Jewish congregation; and the first Hebrew prayer books printed in America. The collections range from the early modern era in Europe and pre-colonial times in the Americas to present-day materials from across the globe. The Center provides access to a comprehensive collection of historic archival materials, including Franz Kafka, Theodor Herzl, Moses Mendelssohn, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein.

Electronic Resources at the Center

There are 8 state of the art public computers and 4 computer kiosks at the Center for Jewish History that offer access to more than 40 paid subscription databases, with many resources unique to the Center. Benefiting scholars of Jewish Studies as well as generalists, and genealogists the electronic resources are available onsite only in the Lillian Goldman Reading Room reference complex as well as in the Reading Room itself.

To help you begin your research prior to coming down to the Center, we have compiled a list of some free resources that may be of use.

Bibliographies at the Center for Jewish History

Holocaust Resources: An Annotated Bibliography of Archival Holdings at the Center for Jewish History

Made possible through the generous support of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, Inc.

Women In Daily Life: An Online Bibliography This selected bibliography of Center for Jewish History partner collections which highlight Women in Daily Life represents all of the areas in which Jewish women have played a major role including: domestic life, social life, and formal occupations. (Made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.)