The library of the Jewish Theological Seminary has launched “Grounded in Wisdom: Expanding Access to Jewish-American Archival Collections,” made possible through a grant of more than $70,000 from the National Archives for the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The one-year project will provide online access describing 418 archival collections, dating from the late 19th through the 20th centuries and encompassing formats including documents, drawings, artifacts, photographs, slides, audio recordings, films, musical scores, and manuscripts. This will enable the JTS library to hire two archivists to collect and standardize all documentation and upload it to an archival management system that will allow it to be easily searched and shared.
The collections comprise what were originally three separate archives—The JTS Library Archives, the JTS Music Archives, and the Joseph and Miriam Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism Archives. Notable collections include the personal papers of Rabbi Judah Nadich, General Dwight Eisenhower’s adviser on Jewish affairs; Israel Rosenberg, a founder of the Central Relief Committee of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Fund, whose relief efforts helped many devastated Jewish communities after World War II; art and Judaica collector Michael M. Zagayski, and Morton Smith, the often-controversial professor of ancient history at Columbia University whose scholarship drew connections between early Christianity and magical rituals. The papers of Solomon Schechter, architect of the American Conservative Jewish movement and the founder of the United Synagogue of America, also are included. For more information, go to www.jtsa.edu.