08 June 2009

Museum of Family History: Philadelphia exhibit

Steve Lasky - of the virtual Museum of Family History - has added a portion of a 1905 book, "The Russian in the United States," which was republished in 1907 as "The Immigrant Jew in America."

Its focus is the Russian Jewish population in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago at the turn of the 20th century.

It is a somewhat revealing look at the life of the Jewish immigrant, and with some imagination and careful reading it will paint an interesting picture for you about what life was like for a Jew in these cities more than one hundred years ago. The preface (1905 version) of the book states that the book "is intended to present the rise and development of the Russian Jews who have come to the United States during the past twenty-odd years, to show the qualities they brought with them, to present the facts as to their adjustment to the conditions here, and to look a little into the future."
The book addresses in general terms the US Jewish population and about the lives of Jews in Russia and their environment. A chapter about this immigrant demographic was written by former Forward editor Abraham Cahan.

It also covers Jewish life in the US, including philanthropy, economic and industrial production, religious activity, educational influences, amusements and social life, politics, health and sanitation, and law and litigation.

Because this year's international conference on Jewish genealogy will be in Philadelphia this August, Steve has first put online the section on life in Philadelphia; New York and Chicago will follow. To see the material, click here.

The material on Philadelphia's Russian Jews has been added to the Jewish Philadelphia exhibit, "Living in America: The Jewish Experience - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania," which can be viewed here.

For more information about the Museum or any of its exhibits, write to Steve Lasky.

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