The Records of HIAS (I-363) are officially live!

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AJHS and CJH Archivists are happy to announce that the finding aid for the records of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) I-363 is online and ready to use!

After three years of surveying, organizing, rehousing, and encoding, the American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History are proud to present a processed collection of documents, photographs, and audio/visual materials representing nearly 100 years of exceptional HIAS service.

Using the Finding Aid

Just as a book jacket summarizes the key parts of the story inside, a finding aid illuminates the personalities, themes, historical significance, and file types within an archival collection. The HIAS finding aid in particular contains pertinent histories of the organization, notes on how the archivists (then and now) organized the materials, and how those materials relate to the struggles of immigration and the overall successes of the organization.

The finding aid for the HIAS collection is available to view online HERE.

Requesting Materials for Research

Due to the size of the collection (over 700 linear feet), the HIAS Records are stored off-site. If you would like to research materials from the collection, please contact with the specific box and folder numbers you are interested in. Please allow at least 2 business days after confirmation for us to arrange a delivery.

All research is done on-site in the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History.

HIAS Photograph Collection

The HIAS Photograph Collection documents the history of HIAS’ promotional, administrative, and community work, primarily from the 1940s to the 1990s. Many of these photographs were used in HIAS publications such as annual reports, project pamphlets, and general newsletters to promote the work of the organization. Along with the organization’s official photographs are images of HIAS’ collaboration with various affiliate organizations, including HIAS-ICE Emigration Association (HICEM), National Refugee Service (NRS), and United Service for New Americans (USNA), among others.

The HIAS Photograph Collection has been digitized and can be found HERE.

HIAS Client Database

HIAS maintains an extensive archive of client file cards. As part of this processing project, AJHS created a searchable database for viewing select information from the cards of individuals that were helped by HIAS between 1955 and 2000. Because of privacy issues, access to the entirety of these cards is carefully restricted.

The AJHS HIAS Client Database can be found HERE.

Future projects

In the coming months of 2019 and 2020, AJHS and CJH will embark on an additional digitization project of select HIAS materials, as part of the ‘New York Neighbors: The Shared Jewish and Chinese Immigrant and Refugee Experience’ grant with generous funding from The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

We will be posting more about this amazing project in the coming months, so stay tuned! To learn more about this project’s many facets, along with from insights from Dr. Annie Polland, Executive Director of AJHS, Bernard Michael, CEO of the Center for Jewish History, and Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America, please read our post HERE.

— Janine Veazue, Center for Jewish History archivist

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