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Collections

Collections Overview

B'nai B'rith Grand Lodge No. 7 Record BookBelow are broad descriptions of the types of material you'll find at the American Jewish Archives. If you have any questions, please feel free to Ask an Archivist!

Researchers who need to conduct extensive research at the AJA may be interested in the AJA's Fellowship Program. Those who are new to archival research may be interested in Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research by Laura Schmidt and the Society of American Archivists.

Manuscripts

The archival and manuscript holdings of the American Jewish Archives include over 800 major manuscript collections and almost 16,000 smaller collections. All major manuscript collections (finding aids) and a portion of the small collections are cataloged in the AJA Online Catalog.

Photographs

The AJA Photograph Collection consists of over 25,000 images. It is heavily used by scholars, filmmakers and videographers, among others, to illustrate books, articles, films, and television programs. The complete photograph collection is cataloged in the AJA Online Catalog.

Microfilm

The AJA's microfilm collection consists of over 4,000 reels, including copies of the papers of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, and the records of the Socialist Labor Party of America. A portion of the microfilm collection is cataloged in the AJA Online Catalog.

Media

The AJA holds nearly 10,000 audio and video recordings consisting of oral histories, lectures, religious services, and music. A portion of this collection is cataloged in the AJA Online Catalog.

Nearprint

The archival-manuscript holdings of the American Jewish Archives are complemented by a large collection of ephemeral materials: newspaper and magazine clippings, leaflets, brochures, pamphlets, and organizational news releases. These materials are brought together in the "Nearprint" collection, which is divided into three categories:

  • Biography
  • Special Topics and Institutions
  • Geography

The Nearprint collections reflect the day-to-day development of Jewish life in mid and late twentieth-century America. Scholars invariably find in this collection data that does not appear in manuscript or non-ephemeral published sources. The Nearprint collection is cataloged in the AJA Online Catalog.