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American Jewish Historical Society

Coordinates: 40°44′17″N 73°59′38″W / 40.738047°N 73.993821°W / 40.738047; -73.993821
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American Jewish Historical Society
American Jewish Historical Society logo
American Jewish Historical Society is located in Manhattan
American Jewish Historical Society
Location within New York City
Location15 West 16th Street
Manhattan, New York U.S. 10011
Coordinates40°44′17″N 73°59′38″W / 40.738047°N 73.993821°W / 40.738047; -73.993821
DirectorGemma R. Birnbaum
Public transit accessSubway: 14th Street – Union Square
Websiteajhs.org Edit this at Wikidata

The American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) was founded in 1892 with the mission to foster awareness and appreciation of American Jewish history and to serve as a national scholarly resource for research through the collection, preservation and dissemination of materials relating to American Jewish history.[1][2][3][4]


The Center for Jewish History on 16th Street

The American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) is the oldest national ethnic historical organization in the United States. The Society's library, archives, photograph, and art and artifacts collections document the American Jewish experience. AJHS is located at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.[5]

AJHS serves public educational and interpretive functions by publishing a journal, a newsletter, monographs and reference works; organizing and curating exhibits; and developing resources and curricula on the American Jewish experience.

In 2007, it was among over 530 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.[6]

Past Presidents

  • 1892–1898: Oscar S. Straus
  • 1899–1921: Cyrus Adler
  • 1921–1948: A.S.W. Rosenbach
  • 1948–1952: Lee M. Friedman
  • 1952–1954: Salo W. Baron
  • 1954–1955: David de Sola Pool
  • 1955–1958: Jacob Rader Marcus
  • 1958–1961: Bertram Korn
  • 1961–1964: Abram Kanof, MD
  • 1964–1967: Leon J. Obermayer[7]
  • 1967–1969: Philip D. Sang
  • 1969–1972: Abram Vossen Goodman
  • 1972–1975: Abraham J. Karp
  • 1975–1976: Maurice Jacobs
  • 1976–1979: David R. Pokross
  • 1979–1982: Saul Viener
  • 1982–1985: Ruth B. Fein
  • 1985–1988: Morris Soble
  • 1988–1990: Phil David Fine
  • 1990–1993: Ronald C. Curhan
  • 1993–1998: Justin Wyner
  • 1998–2003: Kenneth J. Bialkin
  • 2003–2007: Sidney Lapidus
  • 2007–2010: Daniel R. Kaplan
  • 2011–2014: Paul B. Warhit
  • 2014–2020: Bernard J. Michael
  • 2020-present: Felicia Herman



The Society publishes books, a genealogy program, museums tours, academic assistance and other related educational activities. Additionally, the American Jewish Historical Society publishes the following publications:

  • Heritage, a bi-yearly newsletter[8]
  • American Jewish History[9]
  • Jews in Sports Online[10]



The American Jewish Historical Society has some 40 million items in its archives,[11] including manuscripts, printed material, photographs, audio files, film files, digital material, and objects.[12] Important elements of the Society's collection include hundreds of historical manuscripts and other records of American Jewish groups, including the papers of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, the Synagogue Council of America, the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, and the Hebrew Benevolent Society,[13] as well as the papers of HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) from 1954 to 2000; United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York and predecessor organizations from 1909 to 2004; and the American Soviet Jewry Movement.[14]

The Society holds the original manuscript of "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus,[11] as well as very early American Jewish documents, including Judah Monis's Hebrew grammar textbook (1735), the first American siddur for Jewish holidays printed in English (1761), and the first Hebrew‐English prayerbook published in the United States (1826).[13] The Society also holds documents from American Jewish Patriots of the American Revolution, including the marriage contract of Haym Salomon (1777).[13] The Society's Loeb Portrait Database of American Jewish Portraits is a repository of more than 400 portraits of pre-1865 American Jews.[14]

The Society also maintains the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1969 at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California, and became part of the American Jewish Historical Society in 2001.[15]


  • 2014: "October 7, 1944," multimedia exhibition created by choreographer Jonah Bokaer.[16]

Online exhibitions & collections

  • Jewish Museum in Cyberspace[17]
  • Jewish-American Hall of Fame[18]
  • Jews in Sport Online[19]

See also



  1. ^ American Jewish Historical Society: Organized at New York, June 7th, 1892. Washington City, U.S.A.: American Jewish Historical Society. 1892. hdl:2027/inu.30000093657793. OCLC 691194237.
  2. ^ American Jewish Historical Society: Report of Organization. Abstract from the Minutes, 1892. Baltimore, MD: American Jewish Historical Society. 1892. hdl:2027/uc1.$b31191. OCLC 262540372.
  3. ^ "Education Report, 1893–94. IX. History, Biography, and Genealogy: American Jewish Historical Society. Washington, D.C.". The Executive Documents of the House of Representatives: For the Third Session of the Fifty-Third Congress, 1894–95: in Thirty-Five Volumes. Washington: G.P.O. 1895. p. 1571. OCLC 50617458. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  4. ^ Queen, Edward L.; Prothero, Stephen R.; Shattuck, Gardiner H. (2009). Encyclopedia of American Religious History (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Facts On File. p. Volume 1. ISBN 978-1-4381-0995-4. OCLC 370721276.
  5. ^ Sarna, Jonathan D. (2004). American Judaism: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10197-3. OCLC 52509494. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  6. ^ Roberts, Sam (July 6, 2005). "City Groups Get Bloomberg Gift of $20 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  7. ^ "Philadelphia Lawyer Heads Jewish Historical Society". The New York Times. The Associated Press. March 17, 1964. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  8. ^ "Heritage: Magazine of the American Jewish Historical Society". American Jewish Historical Society.
  9. ^ "America Jewish History". American Jewish Historical Society.
  10. ^ "Jews In Sports Online". Jews in Sports. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Jennifer Schuessler, Jewish Center Faces Backlash After Canceling Play Criticized as Anti-Israel, New York Times (October 11, 2016).
  12. ^ Donations of Materials to AJHS Collections, American Jewish Historical Society.
  13. ^ a b c Manuscripts Showing Jews' Role In U.S. History Are Documented, New York Times (March 29, 1971).
  14. ^ a b Special Holdings, American Jewish Historical Society.
  15. ^ "Mel Wacks papers regarding Gerta Ries Wiener and the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, 1970–1996". Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  16. ^ Milzoff, Rebecca (November 14, 2014). "Dance; The Quiet Bravery of a Doomed Revolt: Jonah Bokaer's 'October 7, 1944' at Center for Jewish History". The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  17. ^ "Welcome to The Jewish Museum in Cyberspace". www.amuseum.org. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  18. ^ "Jewish-American Hall of Fame". www.amuseum.org. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  19. ^ "Welcome to Jews in Sports Online". February 9, 2010. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2020.

Further reading