11 March 2009

UCLA: Western Jewish collection to go online in May

UCLA recently acquired a collection of Jewish history of the American West, compiled by the late Dr. Norton Stern and Rabbi William Kramer. David W. Epstein and Gladys Sturman catalogued, indexed and archived it.

Now digitized, it is expected to go online in May.

Kramer and Stern defined the American West as all the land west of the Mississippi River, Hawaii and parts of Mexico. Jews played a large role in the West's development because they were literate, knew about business and were trusted by gold prospectors and native Americans.

The collection was in some 400 boxes of photos, documents, scrapbooks, clippings, memoirs and other memorabilia. Stern, an optomotrist, searched small Western towns looking for relevant items, and amassed most of the collection.

Assisting the project were members of Congregation Shir Ami (Woodland Hills) with funding from the Jewish Community Foundation ($18,000 grant) and from Sturman herself ($10,000).

The collection has been digitized by history doctoral candidate Caroline Luce.

Also benefiting from Stern and Kramer's work are the American Jewish University (1,000 books), Autry National Center (2,000 photos) with ephemera to the Huntington Research Library - partnering with USC.

This new online resource should be valuable for those searching Western Jewish history.

No comments:

Post a Comment