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center for jewish history

The NYPL Librarian Who Spied on the Nazis

Florence Mendheim was a Jewish librarian for the New York Public Library, and in 1933 she went undercover to spy on Nazi-associated groups in the United States. Her collection, featuring a large amount of antisemitic propaganda, is held by the Leo Baeck Institute, and is an invaluable window into the spread of fascist propaganda in America leading up to World War II. Florence, the…

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

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…

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Building on Jewish History – Cyrus Lazelle, Warner Eidlitz, and Adolph Ochs

The near freezing weather and packed crowds aren’t enough to deter the thousands who cram into Times Square every December 31st to watch the ball drop from the top of One Times Square. The New Years Eve event often has nearly a billion people watching, but there’s more to the building than the flashy billboards and crystal ball. Adolph Ochs was born to two…

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Building on Jewish History – Jarmulowsky’s Bank

A couple of doors down from the Forward Building (and notably two stories taller) stands Jarmulowsky’s Bank. Sender Jarmulowsky immigrated to America from Russia, and by 1873 he had set up his bank on the Lower East Side. In addition to the Jarmulowsky Bank Building, he was also instrumental in the construction of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and subsequently served as its first president….

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Not Just a Bundle of Letters

Dear Mr. Editor, I have been in the country only two months, and I find myself in such terrible circumstances that I need your advice. So begin many of the letters submitted to the Bintel Brief. In 1897, Abraham Cahan founded the Jewish Daily Forward, a Yiddish newspaper based on the Lower East Side of New York City. Included in the newspaper was a…

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A Brief History of Jewish Philanthropy

The other day while procrastinating and scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across two friends raising money for charities for their birthdays and three fellow students promoting the non-profits they’re interning at. In the day and age of social media campaigns, hashtags, and endless GoFundMe’s, giving has become a lot more personal. Jewish giving in America finds its roots in the landsmannschaften and…

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Mind the Gap: Transition from Traditional to Contemporary

October 24 -25, the Center for Jewish History will host the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) annual conference. This year is titled, Now! And Then? Preserving Modern and Contemporary Collections in Libraries and Archives. From CCAHA, “this two-day conference will explore ways to anticipate, plan for, and address preservation concerns in modern and contemporary collections.” As part of the conference, two…

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Highlight from the John Herzog Collection of Jewish Bonds: An 1822 Russian Bond with Nathan Rothschild’s Signature

In July 2018, the Center for Jewish History received a rare collection of Jewish bonds and financial paper in support of settlement in the land of Israel and later the State of Israel.  The donor collector was donated by financier John Herzog, Chairman Emeritus of Herzog, Heine, Geduld, Inc., a firm founded by his father in 1926 and about which John wrote A Billion…

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Highlight from the Sidney Lapidus Collections of Judaica: Discourse on the Restoration of the Jews

AJHS Board Chairman and CJH Board Treasurer Sidney Lapidus is not only a dedicated and generous philanthropist, but also a great collector of Anglo-American political treatises and essays and lawbooks on slavery, many of which he has donated to his alma mater, Princeton University, and to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where he has established the Lapidus Center for the Analysis…

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