Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid to the Western Jewish History Center, Vertical Files, 1868-2010, bulk 1967-2010
BANC MSS 2010/775  
View entire collection guide What's This?
no PDF HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Western Jewish History Center, Vertical files
    Date (inclusive): 1868-2010,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1967-2010
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2010/775
    Creator : Western Jewish History Center
    Extent: Number of containers: 23 cartons, 1 box, 2 oversize boxes Linear feet: 29.95 linear feet
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The Western Jewish History Center, Vertical Files contain the office reference and research files of the Center and document its efforts to provide guidance and assistance in the study of western Jewish Americana.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English and Hebrew
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Western Jewish History Center, Vertical Files, BANC MSS 2010/775, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Western Jewish History Center--Archives
    Judah L. Magnes Museum
    Jewish museums--California--Berkeley
    Charities--California--San Francisco Bay Area
    Jews--California--San Francisco Bay Area
    Photographs.
    Clippings.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Western Jewish History Center, Vertical Files were transferred to The Bancroft Library from the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 2010.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Jeffrey P. Sahaida in 2013.

    Organizational History

    The Western Jewish History Center (WJHC) was established in 1967 at the Judah L. Magnes Museum to collect, preserve, and provide access to archival and oral history documentation about the Jewish community in the American West. The center was created by Seymour Fromer, under the direction of Moses Rischin, and from an early stage saw the involvement of a series of archivists and local historians, including Ruth Kelson Rafael, Fred Rosenbaum, and Ava Kahn.
    The archival collections collected by the Western Jewish History Center are now part of the Western Jewish Americana archives of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library. The collections encompass the entire western United States beginning with the 1849 Gold Rush and continuing to the present, with a specific focus on the Jewish experience in California and the San Francisco Bay Area.
    Many paintings, sculptures, and ritual objects initially collected by the Western Jewish History Center are now part of the museum collections of Jewish art and life.
    From 1967 until 2010, when the archives were transferred to The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at The Bancroft Library, the Western Jewish History Center occupied the top floor of the Magnes Museum, the former Jeremiah Thaddeus Burke mansion in Berkeley, California. The theme of Western American Jewish history, however, pervaded all activities of the Judah L. Magnes Museum, itself named after Judah L. Magnes (1877-1948). Magnes was the first native-born rabbi from the American West and the first Chancellor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a cultural and political activist who, in the eyes of the founders, symbolized the spirit of California's Jews in their achievements and contributions to global humanity.
    The Center published over twenty monographs and bibliographies based on its collections. These imprints include Taking Risks: A Jewish Youth in the Soviet Partisans and His Unlikely Life in California by Fred Rosenbaum (2004), winner of Forward Magazine's Book of the Year award, and The Jews of the West: The Metropolitan Years, edited by Dr. Moses Rischin (1979).
    The Western Jewish History Center staff and collections provided guidance and research materials to over a dozen fundamental studies in Jewish Americana including Jewish Life in the American West by Ava Kahn (2002); Pioneer Jews, A New Life in the West by Harriet Rochlin (2000); Towers of Gold by Frances Dinkelspiel (2008); and Cosmopolitans, A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the San Francisco Bay Area by Fred Rosenbaum (2009).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Western Jewish History Center, Vertical Files contain the office reference and research files of the Center and document its efforts to provide guidance and assistance in the study of western Jewish Americana. The files were originally divided into three reference areas, and this organizational structure has been retained by the archivist:
    • Series I: Names
    • Series II: Geographic Files
    • Series III: Subject Files
    The name files consist of family trees, lineages, and other genealogical background materials of named individuals and families. While some files contain original documents, many items are photocopies of original materials.
    The geographic reference and research files contain materials on Jewish synagogues, organizations, committees, and groups of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. However, the bulk of the files pertain to organizations within the western United States. While some files contain original documents and clippings, many items are photocopies of original materials.
    The subject matter reference and research files contain topical materials germane to the history of the western Jewish experience. While some files contain original documents and clippings, many items are photocopies of original materials.