Boston, MA – June 28, 2013 - Three years after initiating a partnership to collaborate on programming and record access, NEHGS and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) announce a further strengthening of their strategic relationship. On May 1, 2013, the two organizations entered into a custody agreement that calls for NEHGS to fully provide for the care, maintenance, growth, and accessibility of the AJHS New England Archive — that portion of the AJHS collections relating to the Jewish cultural and genealogical history of Greater Boston and New England.
Founded in 1892, AJHS is the country’s oldest ethnic historical society. Headquartered in New York City, it provides access to more than 25 million documents and 50,000 books, photographs, art, and artifacts that reflect the history of the Jewish presence in the United States from 1654 to the present. Since May 2010, the New England Archive of AJHS — which holds the reference library of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and over two million items from leading Jewish communal organizations in the fields of education, philanthropy, science, sports, business and the arts — has been housed at NEHGS. The three full-time and two part-time archivists who care for the collection have joined the NEHGS staff as part of the custody agreement.
One of the partnership’s first projects will be digitization and development of online access to the unique records of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Boston office (1886–1977). The HIAS collection contains more than 30,000 individual arrival cards and case files for primarily Jewish immigrants who arrived in the United States through the Port of Boston, as well as ship manifests, administrative correspondence, photographs, and information, including queries, pertaining to displaced persons after World War II.
NEHGS also established the AJHS New England Archive Board of Overseers, an advisory committee chaired by Justin L. Wyner, past President of the AJHS Board of Trustees, which will meet quarterly to offer advice on collection development opportunities within Jewish communities and on the creation of a fund for the continued support of the Archive.
“This strategic arrangement has many benefits, not least of which are allowing the AJHS New England Archive to benefit from additional resources through our institutional infrastructure as America’s founding genealogical society, and expanding our constituent access to important Jewish historical and genealogical research materials not previously represented in our collection,” said D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO.
Learn more about the AJHS-NEA collections: www.ajhsboston.org