Heritage Article Winter 2010-2011

AJHS Boston Collections Find New Home

The American Jewish Historical Society’s collection of Boston and New England archival holdings has relocated from the campus of Hebrew College in Newton, MA to the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Located at 101 Newbury Street in
Boston, NEHGS has over 25,000 members worldwide and is the oldest genealogical organization in the US. Its holdings date back to the 1600’s; many of its members today can trace their roots back to that time. In recent years, NEHGS has made special efforts to collect historical and genealogical records relating to later-arriving groups such as African-Americans, Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans.

Now, NEHGS houses the largest collection of Jewish community records in New England. The New England Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society will remain a part of national AJHS, which is headquartered in New York City. However, the New England  Archives will have access to NEHGS’s highly advanced platform for digitizing and disseminating searchable images of archival documents. The New England Archives of AJHS has scanned well over a million pages of its own materials and will continue to do so until every document in its collections is available online through the NEHGS website,  which attracts over 15,000 individual daily users who make over 16 million downloads every month.

Remarking on the relocation of the archives, Justin L. Wyner, chair of the AJHS Boston Board of Overseers said, “The partnership between AJHS and NEH GS reflects our mutual awareness that the Jewish experience is an integral part of American history extending
back to the first permanent Jewish settlement in New Amsterdam in 1654. Now, researchers can find the records of the Boston Jewish community in a context reflecting the interconnectedness of that community with its neighbors.”

For information about hours, holdings and research opportunities, please contact Judi Garner, AJHS Boston Archivist, at 617-226-1245 or judi.garner@ajhsboston.org.

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