02 August 2008

Minnesota: Jewish history archives

The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest (JHSUM) has gathered and presented the Upper Midwest Jewish story - in Minnesota and the Dakotas - for almost 25 years. It encourages people to donate stories, documents, photographs and artifacts to its collections.

Open through October 6, is "We Couldn't Live at Home" at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, focusing on the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children which cared for young Minnesotans unable to live with their parents.

JHSUM's agenda includes plans to support multi-generational development, collection growth and collaborative programming. It is the repository for all types of regional Jewish historical materials illustrating the challenges and contributions of Jewish residents.

The Kaplan Family Jewish History Center (Barry Family Campus, Minneapolis) houses the offices and collections of family and oral histories, photography, videos and genealogy, including the Steinfeldt Family Photography Collection and the Ackerman Family South Dakota Collection. The Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives (Andersen Library, University of Minnesota) hold synagogue and Jewish institutional records and rural Midwest community historical materials.

JHSUM has contributed 90 images and several documents to the Minnesota Reflections shared photo archive, depicting Jewish family and community life (late 1940s-1959):

The document selection includes the congregational charter, written in Yiddish, of Agudas Achim Synagogue; a government commendation for a Minneapolis scrap dealer from WWII; and several examples of anti-Semitic business correspondence coupled with responses.

It is part of the Minnesota Digital Library Coalition (MDLC), along with libraries, archives, historical societies and museums creating a computer-accessible collection of photos, maps and documents.

More than 8,000 unique photos and images are in the searchable database, including some 500 photos from the Steinfeldt Photography Collection covering early Minnesota Jewish life through 1949; more will be added. The digitized materials will be available here.

See the JHSUM link above for more information on other exhibits:

- Teacher Annie Ginsberg, an extraordinary legacy
- Saving World War II Memories: The Upper Midwest Jewish Story
- Too Short? Jews and Sports in Minnesota
- Rabbis in Top Hats: Early 20th century assimilation
- The Shanedling Family of Virginia, Minnesota
- "We Knew Who We Were: Memories of the Minneapolis Jewish North Side."
- "Jewish Roots in Hurley, Wisconsin"
- Unpacking on the Prairie
- Belonging: Jewish Teen Life in the Twin Cities, 1945-1970

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