Jewish History Resources
Organizations in New York State
Collecting Material Specific to Jewish Communities and their History
The following is an introduction to the many groups in New York State committed to preserving the historical records of Jewish individuals and communities. This directory includes information on religious, academic, political and historic organizations. The genealogist is encouraged to contact those organizations directly for specific information on services and holdings.
The directory is not comprehensive in that it includes only repositories identified in the HDI, HRRS, and related Internet searches. The researcher is encouraged to contact local synagogues and Jewish community centers for information on congregational and community histories and records.
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10128 (212) 415-5544
The Association collects material concerning the history and activities of the 92nd Street Y and its predecessor organizations. Holdings include the records of the Young Men's Hebrew Association, 1874-1945, the Young Women's Association, 1902-1945, the Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls, 1897-1962, the Surprise Lake Camp, 1902-1976, the 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association, 1945 to date, and smaller collections relating to these organizations. The 92nd Street Y collections are accessible by appointment only.
Agudath Israel of America. Orthodox Jewish Archive
84 William Street
New York, NY 10038 (212) 797-9000
The Archives holdings include records, papers, graphic material, and publications documenting the history of Agudath Israel of America, Agudath Israel worldwide, and Orthodox Jewish organizations and communities in the United States and abroad. The collections reflect major themes of 20th century Jewish history, including immigration, relief and rescue of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, Jewish educational activities, children's camps, social welfare programs, and political activity. Researchers must notify the Archives prior to visiting.
165 East 56th Street
New York, NY 10022 (212) 751-4000 ext. 294
The repository maintains general subject files, 1906-1932, a chronological file consisting of correspondence, reports, and administrative records, 1906-1945, the correspondence files of AJC President, Mayer Sulzberger 1907-1912, the Cyrus Adler correspondence file, 1906-1935, and the Louis Marshall correspondence file, 1929-1939. Repository guides and inventories are available. Access to the collection is by appointment only.
American Jewish Committee. Records Center and Archives
165 East 56th Street
New York, NY 10022 (212) 751-4000
The American Jewish Committee Archives contains photographs, correspondence, minutes, studies, reports, statements and other papers. Subject guides and inventories are available from the Archives. Guides are available for the following subject areas: Anti-Semitism in the United States, Immigration to the United States, Materials relating to German Nazism, and Israel and the Middle East.
American Jewish Committee. William E. Weiner Oral History Library
165 East 56th Street
New York, NY 10022 (212) 751-4000 ext. 294
The oral history collection, 1960-1969, contains transcripts of interviews primarily concerning the American Jewish experience in the 20th century. The collections include materials on Holocaust survivors, recent Soviet immigrants to the United States, Jewish women, East European Jewish communities, and three generation family interviews. Other subjects covered include the American Jewish Committees, the arts, business, politics, journalism, education, and communal and religious activity. The collections are open by application to interested and accredited individuals for scholarly research. Guides to the Oral History Library are available. The researcher should contact the Library directly for specific information. The Library's hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30-5:30. It is closed legal and Jewish holidays.
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Archives
711 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10017 (212) 687-6200
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an overseas relief organization founded in 1914, maintains its organizational records and those of affiliated organizations and individuals. The repository is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday 9:00-2:00. It is closed on Jewish and legal holidays. The collections are described in finding aids. Access to the collection is by appointment only.
730 Fifth Avenue, 20th Fl.
New York, NY 10019 (646) 861-7635
The Blavatnik Archive is a private collection of documents, personal letters and diaries, photographs, postcards, periodicals and oral testimonies pertaining to 19th and 20th century Jewish history. Recognizing an important and largely unknown chapter of Jewish history, in 2006 the Blavatnik Archive undertook a long-term project to digitally record the personal testimonies of Jewish WWII veterans of the Soviet Army. Thousands of photographs and documents have been digitally preserved and over 1,000 video testimonies have been recorded in ten countries: USA, Canada, Russia, Israel, Germany, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Themes reflected include Pre-war Jewish life in Eastern Europe, WWII, Women at the Front, Holocaust, ethnic relations, anti-Semitism, post-war life and reflections. Call and email for research queries.
Center for Holocaust Studies
1610 Avenue J
Brooklyn, NY 11230 (718) 338-6494
The Center holds oral histories, manuscripts, documents, artifacts, and publications from Holocaust survivors and Allied liberators of concentration camps. There is a large collection of taped interviews with Holocaust survivors and former American soldiers and liberators. The Center's library includes books, journals, pamphlets, and clippings relating to the Holocaust. The archives holds personal documents, letters, memoirs, diaries, passports, music, maps, etc. dealing with all aspects of the Holocaust and its aftermath. Photographs of pre-Holocaust, Holocaust, and post-Holocaust periods. Artifacts and art related to the Holocaust. The Center is open Monday through Thursday, 9-5. It is closed on Jewish holidays and legal holidays.
New York, NY 10011
The Center for Jewish History, will bring together the collections of four major Jewish institutes of higher learning: The American Jewish Historical Society, specializing in American Jewry, the Leo Baeck Institute, specializing in German-speaking Jewry, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, specializing in Eastern European Jewry, and the Yeshiva University Museum which specializes in interpreting and exhibiting Jewish art, culture and history.
Congregation Rodeph Sholom
7 West 83rd St
New York, NY 10024 (212) 362-8800
The Congregation's historical records correspondence, financial and legal documents, photographs, and printed material generated by the Congregation's activities from its founding in 1942 until the present, with the bulk dating from the 1920s to the present. The collection includes records of the Congregation's religious school, of its cemetery, of miscellaneous organizations, and minutes of its Board of Directors are included. The collections are available by appointment only.
Congregation Shearith Israel
8 West 70th Street
New York, NY 10023 (212) 873-0300
Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue is the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, founded in 1654. The Congregation's historical collections include records of Congregation Shearith Israel as well as of affiliated societies and other Sephardic Jewish organizations, the papers of Rabbi David de Sola Pool and Tamar de Sola Pool, and papers of other individuals associated with Shearith Israel. Access to the collections is by appointment only. The archives is closed on Jewish and legal holidays.
Eldridge Street Synagogue
12-16 Eldridge St.
New York, NY 10002 (212) 219-0888
The Eldridge Street Synagogue is the first synagogue built in America by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. The Synagogue collects material pertaining to the Eldridge Street Synagogue and documents concerning ethnic groups (Jews, Italians, and Chinese) which inhabited New York City's Lower East Side. The Synagogue collection consists of financial papers, burial records, minutes, correspondence, souvenir programs, and other related documents. Access to the collections is by appointment only.
15 West 16th St.
New York, NY 10011 (917) 606-8259
Hadassah's archival collections include the records of Hadassah, its chapters and departments, and related organizations, such as Hadassah Medical Organization, the papers of Hadassah leaders, including founder Henrietta Szold. The material documents Hadassah activities in Palestine, Israel, and the United States, its relations with the Zionist movement, the U.S. government, and the Jewish community, Arab-Jewish relations, and other areas. The collections also include photographs and films on these subjects. The Archives is open to qualified researchers only. The Archives is open Monday through Thursday, 9:30-4:30, and is closed legal and Jewish holidays.
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
333 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10003 (212) 967-4100
HIAS, founded in 1880, is an international migration and refugee resettlement agency. HIAS assisted thousands of Holocaust survivors in resettlement and since the mid-70s has helped Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union resettle in the United States. HIAS maintains arrival case files on microfilm from 1923 to the present, the HIAS annual reports, 1913 to the present, the records of the HIAS Women's Division, and a photograph collection. Researchers should contact the HIAS Public Affairs Officer directly for information on the availability of the collections and search services offered by the society. Researchers should also contact the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for information on the Institute's HIAS collection.
Hebrew Union College. Klau Library
One West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10012 (212) 674-5300
The library maintains reference works on Jewish Cemetery records which will be of use to genealogists. The references include cemeteries in the following countries: Algiers, Austria, Barbados, Curacao, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
Institute for Research in History
1133 Broadway, Rm. 923
New York, NY 10010-7903 (212) 691-7316
The Institute maintains a directory of the archives of the audio/video of Holocaust testimonies in the United States. Researchers should contact the Institute directly for information on accessing the collections.
Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, Inc.
787 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14209-2005 (716) 886-7750
The Federaton maintains records of its agencies and programs, as well as material concerning Buffalo's Jewish community. Subjects documented in the collections include the Jewish Family Service, Jewish day camps, community relations, ecumenism, area synagogues, fund-raising, Israel, the Bureau of Jewish Education, and aid to individuals and outside organizations. The collection also includes papers of and pertaining to prominent Buffalo Jews including the papers of Joseph Markel. The researcher should contact the federation directly for information on hours and collection availability.
New York, NY 10027 (212) 678-8973
The Jewish Theological Seminary Archives maintains records of Jewish communities and organizations, papers of individuals and families, photographs and other graphic material, and manuscripts concerning all aspects of Jewish life in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The collections focus on Jewish religious beliefs and practices, modern Jewish scholarship, and the Conservative movement in Judaism.
The Joseph and Miriam Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism maintains the institutional records of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, records of Conservative synagogues (1902-1972), papers of Conservative rabbis from the early 19th century to the present, oral histories, and over 4000 photographs.
The Archives is open Monday through Thursday, 12:00-4:00 and Friday 10:00-2:00. It is closed on Jewish holidays.
Judaica Museum. The Hebrew Home for the Aged
5961 Palisade Avenue
Bronx, NY 10471 (718) 548-1006
The Museum maintains the records of the Hebrew Home for the Aged. Holdings include minutes of the Board of Directors, 1915-1923 and 1935-1945 (in Yiddish), minute books of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, 1970-1980, publications of the Home, including bulletins, 1947-1964, miscellaneous programs, clippings, flyers, 1951-1976, and yearbooks, 1969-1985. Access to the collections is by appointment only. The Museum's hours are Monday-Thursday, 1:00-4:30 and Sunday, 1:00-5:00.
129 East 73rd Street
New York, NY 10021 (212) 744-6400
The Leo Baeck Institute Archives, dedicated to documenting the history of German- speaking Jews, established the Family Research Department to assist genealogists and family historians. The Department holds thousands of family trees, family histories, memoirs, and community records. The Archives hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:30-4:30 and Friday 9:30-2:30. It is closed Saturday and Sunday. The Institute's collections will become part of the new Center for Jewish History. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact the Institute before visiting the Archives.
Queensborough Community College. Holocaust Resource Center and Archives
Springfield Blvd. and 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364 (718) 225-1617
The collection includes photographs, films, sound and video recordings and oral histories. The Center also maintains books, periodicals and films related to Holocaust studies. Researchers should contact the Center prior to visiting.
Research Foundation for Jewish Immigration
New York, NY 10018 (212) 921-3871
The Foundation collects materials on the immigration, resettlement and acculturation of German-speaking refugees from 1933-1945. The collection includes biographical files, oral history collection, and records of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, Inc. The collections are accessible by appointment only, Monday through Friday. The Foundation is closed legal and Jewish holidays.
Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies
17 S. Madison Ave.
Spring Valley, NY 10010 (914) 356-2700
The Center holds materials related to concentration camp experience including photos, letters, documents, and artifacts. The collection also includes video and audio taped oral histories of camp survivors, liberators, and eyewitnesses as well as personal memoirs and art portfolios by camp survivors. The Center is open Sunday through Thursday, 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Sephardic Community Center. Sephardic Archives
1901 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11223 (718) 627-4300
The Archives collects documents, memorabilia, and artifacts from the Sephardic community with an emphasis on, but not restricted to, the Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn. Records include congregational records, publications, and photographs.
United Jewish Appeal - Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc. Oral History Project
130 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022 (212) 836-1847
The collection includes cassette recordings of oral histories, original transcripts, photographs of narrators and some supplemental material. A guide to the Oral History Project is available by contacting the Project's office.
155 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 1001 (212) 533-7800
The collection includes minutes of USY National Youth Committee (1951-present; News and Views/Achshav (1951-present), Convention Programs (1951-present), photographs, slides, video cassettes, archival correspondence, brochures, sourcebooks, and publications. Resarchers should contact the Synagogue prior to visiting.
Women's League for Conservative Judaism
48 East 74th Street
New York, NY 10021 (212) 628-1600
The Women's League for Conservative Judaism maintains photographs, award certificates, copies of calendar diaries, Convention materials, audio tapes, correspondence and historical data dating to the League's founding in 1918. The archives are accessible by appointment only.
World Zionist Organization, American Section. The Zionist Archives and Library
515 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022 (212) 753-2167
The collections includes personal and organizational papers relating to the following organizations: the World Zionist Organization (1897-1980), Zionist Organization of America, American Christian Palestine Committee, American Jewish Conference, American Zionist Council, Jewish Agency (1923-1980), Keren Hayesod, Federation of American Zionists, Pro-Palestine Federation, American Friends of the Hebrew University, and many other organizations. Personal papers include those of Emanuel Neumann, Jacob de Haas, Robert Szold, Theodor Herzl, Abraham Tulin, Julian Mack, and many others. The collection also includes photographs, films, slides, broadsides and musical recording. Researchers should contact the library for specific information on accessing the collections.
500 West 185th St.
New York, NY 10033 (212) 960-5451
The Yeshiva University Archives holds organizational records and personal papers concerning Jewish life, and especially Orthodox Jewish life, in the United States, Central and Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. Topics include migration, relief efforts following World Wars I and II, the Holocaust, communal institutions and activities in Europe and America, and cultural and educational institutions, including Yeshiva University.
The University's Rare Books and Manuscripts section collects manuscripts in the fields of Bible, Rabbinics, and Jewish history. The collections consist of literary and rabbinic manuscripts, historical papers, and other materials, including the commentaries on Bible and Talmud, responsa, sermons, letters, and records of Jewish communities and institutions. The bulk of the collection reflects Orthodox Jewish life in Europe and the United States.
The University Archives and Special Collections are open Monday through Thursday, 9:00-5:00 p.m. Access to the collections is by appointment only.
2520 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10033 (212) 960-5390
The Yeshiva University Museum holds manuscripts and photographs collections relating to Judaism. The manuscripts collection includes marriage contracts, scrolls, scrapbooks, notebooks, and other items, photographs and postcards relating to Jewish customs, people, institutions, and scenes, reproductions of works by Jewish artists, and Jewish New Year cards. Access to the collections is by appointment only. The users must have a specific request and agree to abide by the Museum's handling restrictions. The Museum collections will be transferred to the Center for Jewish History. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact the Museum before visiting.
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
555 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019 (212) 246-6080
The Institute collects materials concerning Jewish life in Eastern Europe, the United States, and elsewhere, especially material concerning Yiddish-speaking Jews and their descendants. Holdings include personal papers, records of organizations, photographs, and other material concerning Jewish history and culture, especially of Eastern European Jewry and related communities in the United States and elsewhere. The subjects documented in the collections include materials on Yiddish language, literature, theater, press, and education, migration and resettlement, Holocaust, Jewish social and political movements including landsmanshaftn, mutual aid societies, Jewish fraternal orders, and Jewish labor movement and orders, religious practices, and other matters.
The Library also maintains a number of reference sources that will be useful to a genealogy project including information regarding specific cities and towns in Eastern Europe, reference books on the etymology and geographical distribution of Jewish family names, biographical directories and lexicons. In addition the Archives has a collection of thousands of photographs, with a searchable index.
Zionist Organization of America. The Jacob Goodman Library and Archives
4 East 34th Street
New York, NY 10016 (212) 481-1500
The collection includes archives, manuscripts, photographs and oral histories pertaining to the history of the Zionist Organization of America. Researchers can obtain a guide to the collections of the Jacob Goodman Library and Archives directly from the library.