All images: Collection of Yeshiva University Museum

A sizeable portion of Eastern European Jewish immigrants who streamed into New York at the turn of the 20th century found work in the city’s expanding garment industry. Although only about 10% were actual trained tailors, many Jewish immigrants held experience in both producing clothing—since the garment industry in Russia was one of the only businesses open to Jews—and held industrial skills, making them prime candidates for operating machinery in clothing factories and sweatshops. 

Conditions were extremely poor in the sweatshops and factories where they found work, but immigrants discovered that the close-knit environment of clothing manufacture allowed them to work with their families, preserve cultural and religious traditions, make acquaintances and even start unions. By 1897, up to 75% of NYC laborers employed in clothing manufacture were Jewish. Some of these Jewish workers, as these colorful advertisements show, used their garment expertise to open their own apparel companies, hawking everything from caps to boots. Cherubic children appear frequently in these ads, and, unfortunately, children also appeared frequently in garment-industry sweatshops.

You can view more images in our partners’ digital archive here.

Celebrating Archivesby Susan Woodland, Senior Archivist, American Jewish Historical Society
October is Archives Month, and the archives community in metropolitan New York celebrated the week of October 7th with an extensive list of repository tours, programs, exhibits, a symposium on Disaster Recovery inspired by last fall’s superstorm Sandy, and an award ceremony. See the website of the Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York (ART) for photographs and information about the week’s activities.
The five partners of the Center for Jewish History participated in Archives Week with two events. First, on Monday October 7th, the Center was a co-host with ART of the Disaster Recovery symposium. Video from the sessions will be posted soon on the ART site.
And second, the partners joined together with Center staff to host a two-hour information session and a tour behind the scenes, free and open to the general public. The information session included Q&As on conservation treatments with common family history items like books, photographs and older documents with Felicity Corkill, associate conservator; tips on reformatting older audio-visual formats with Zachary Loeb, reference services librarian, and Sarah Ponichtera, processing archivist; and what not to do with scrapbooks with Michael Simonson, archivist at LBI, and Susan Woodland, senior archivist at AJHS.
Tours are a regular part of the Center schedule, but the Archives Week tour was special in that it highlighted work that goes on in the building to support the work of the archivists and librarians in the areas of preservation, digitization and access to information.
Center staff who spoke during the tour included Jennifer Rodewald, manager of the Gruss Lipper digital lab; Rachel C. Miller, senior manager for archival processing in the Shelby White and Leon Levy processing lab; Miriam R. Haier, senior manager for communications and publications; Laura Leone, director of archive and library services; Moriah Amit, reference services librarian, genealogy specialist; and Melanie Meyers, senior reference services librarian for special collections.

Celebrating Archives
by Susan Woodland, Senior Archivist, American Jewish Historical Society

October is Archives Month, and the archives community in metropolitan New York celebrated the week of October 7th with an extensive list of repository tours, programs, exhibits, a symposium on Disaster Recovery inspired by last fall’s superstorm Sandy, and an award ceremony. See the website of the Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York (ART) for photographs and information about the week’s activities.

The five partners of the Center for Jewish History participated in Archives Week with two events. First, on Monday October 7th, the Center was a co-host with ART of the Disaster Recovery symposium. Video from the sessions will be posted soon on the ART site.

And second, the partners joined together with Center staff to host a two-hour information session and a tour behind the scenes, free and open to the general public. The information session included Q&As on conservation treatments with common family history items like books, photographs and older documents with Felicity Corkill, associate conservator; tips on reformatting older audio-visual formats with Zachary Loeb, reference services librarian, and Sarah Ponichtera, processing archivist; and what not to do with scrapbooks with Michael Simonson, archivist at LBI, and Susan Woodland, senior archivist at AJHS.

Tours are a regular part of the Center schedule, but the Archives Week tour was special in that it highlighted work that goes on in the building to support the work of the archivists and librarians in the areas of preservation, digitization and access to information.

Center staff who spoke during the tour included Jennifer Rodewald, manager of the Gruss Lipper digital lab; Rachel C. Miller, senior manager for archival processing in the Shelby White and Leon Levy processing lab; Miriam R. Haier, senior manager for communications and publications; Laura Leone, director of archive and library services; Moriah Amit, reference services librarian, genealogy specialist; and Melanie Meyers, senior reference services librarian for special collections.

All images: Collection of Yeshiva University Museum

Shana Tova!

The start of this year marks a new beginning for us here at the Center for a Jewish History. We’re opening the new David Berg Rare Book Room to showcase treasures from the collections of our five partners, launching a program season packed with everything from concerts to symposia, and embarking on an exploration of the Jewish community of 18th-century Metz, France with a conference and exhibition (co-sponsorsed by YIVO) that we would love for you to attend.

You can start planning your visit to the Center by clicking here.

For more historic greeting cards like the ones above, visit the Center for Jewish History’s Flickr photostream. You can also click here to connect with the Center for Jewish History on Facebook and Twitter.  

All the best in 5774!

Image of the day: Hanukah greeting card. Issued by the Jewish Welfare Board. Paper, printed. 1945. Collection of Yeshiva University Museum. 
For more, visit the Center for Jewish History’s Flickr photostream.Click here to connect with the Center for Jewish History on Facebook and on Twitter. 

Image of the day: Hanukah greeting card. Issued by the Jewish Welfare Board. Paper, printed. 1945. Collection of Yeshiva University Museum. 

For more, visit the Center for Jewish History’s Flickr photostream.
Click here to connect with the Center for Jewish History on Facebook and on Twitter

The Goldbergs, Puzzle AdvertisementYear: 1932Creator: Pepsodent Co. Type: Color LithographThe Goldbergs, one of the first successful television sitcoms, spawned from a popular radio program and ran from 1949 to 1956. The show centered around a family of Eastern European Jews living in the Bronx, and often explored themes of ethnicity, financial struggles, and family.
The undeniable star of the show was matriarch Mollie Goldberg, played by series writer and creator Gertrude Berg. A “bighearted, lovingly meddlesome, and somewhat stereotypical” mother with a Yiddish accent, Mrs.Goldberg in each episode, would address the audience from the apartment window, as depicted in the puzzle above. The Goldbergs was part of a roster of shows on early ’50s television dealing with lower-class immigrant families and their problems; however, as mainstream Americans found prosperity in postwar America and moved to the suburbs, so did the Goldbergs, and the show quickly lost its working-class Jewish roots as television studios moved to portray a more affluent, patriarch-centered, white American lifestyle, exemplified in shows such as Leave It to Beaver. Source

The Goldbergs, Puzzle Advertisement
Year: 1932
Creator: Pepsodent Co.
Type: Color Lithograph

The Goldbergs, one of the first successful television sitcoms, spawned from a popular radio program and ran from 1949 to 1956. The show centered around a family of Eastern European Jews living in the Bronx, and often explored themes of ethnicity, financial struggles, and family.

The undeniable star of the show was matriarch Mollie Goldberg, played by series writer and creator Gertrude Berg. A “bighearted, lovingly meddlesome, and somewhat stereotypical” mother with a Yiddish accent, Mrs.Goldberg in each episode, would address the audience from the apartment window, as depicted in the puzzle above. The Goldbergs was part of a roster of shows on early ’50s television dealing with lower-class immigrant families and their problems; however, as mainstream Americans found prosperity in postwar America and moved to the suburbs, so did the Goldbergs, and the show quickly lost its working-class Jewish roots as television studios moved to portray a more affluent, patriarch-centered, white American lifestyle, exemplified in shows such as Leave It to Beaver. Source

Marriage Contract Form (Ketubah)
Creator: Chaim GrossType: Lithograph on paperYear: 1979Repository: Yeshiva University Museum
——-
Join the 16th Street Book Club for a discussion of The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer!Tuesday, August 14th at 7pmWhen the wife of renowned art critic Daniel Lichtmann plunges to her death, she is not alone. Lying next to her is Benjamin Wind, the very artist Daniel most championed. Dedicating himself to uncovering the secrets of their relationship, Daniel discovers a web of mysteries leading back to pre—World War II Vienna. Ambitious, haunting, and stunningly written, The Marriage Artist is an “elaborate psycho-political-sexual puzzle, with…hard truths, startling visions, and eerie insights into the mystical and memorializing powers of art, and that endless hunger we call love” (Booklist).
Learn more about the book club here.

Marriage Contract Form (Ketubah)

Creator: Chaim Gross
Type: Lithograph on paper
Year: 1979
Repository: Yeshiva University Museum

——-

Join the 16th Street Book Club for a discussion of The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer!

Tuesday, August 14th at 7pm

When the wife of renowned art critic Daniel Lichtmann plunges to her death, she is not alone. Lying next to her is Benjamin Wind, the very artist Daniel most championed. Dedicating himself to uncovering the secrets of their relationship, Daniel discovers a web of mysteries leading back to pre—World War II Vienna. Ambitious, haunting, and stunningly written, The Marriage Artist is an “elaborate psycho-political-sexual puzzle, with…hard truths, startling visions, and eerie insights into the mystical and memorializing powers of art, and that endless hunger we call love” (Booklist).

Learn more about the book club here.

The Breakers, Atlantic City. Postcard c. 1940. Yeshiva University Museum.The Breakers was one of many grand hotels lining the Atlantic City coast in the 1940s. The area became a top vacation destination for East Coasters in the 20th century, perhaps propelled by increasing disposable income among the middle class and the adoption of proper swimming outfits by men and women. You can view a newly uploaded set of summer photos, with retro swimsuits and summer camps galore, on the Center flickr page under the tag “Summer Recreation.”

The Breakers, Atlantic City. Postcard c. 1940. Yeshiva University Museum.

The Breakers was one of many grand hotels lining the Atlantic City coast in the 1940s. The area became a top vacation destination for East Coasters in the 20th century, perhaps propelled by increasing disposable income among the middle class and the adoption of proper swimming outfits by men and women. You can view a newly uploaded set of summer photos, with retro swimsuits and summer camps galore, on the Center flickr page under the tag “Summer Recreation.”

Trial of Jews of TrentYear: 1478Type: Manuscript, handwritten on paperCountry: Trent, GermanyRepository: Yeshiva University Museum
In 1475, a two-year-old Christian boy named Simon disappeared in Trent, a small town in Germany. He was eventually found dead in the cellar of a local Jewish man, which began a blood libel and a fraudulent, violent investigation. Already brimming with antisemitism from a recent fiery sermon given by the area’s friar, townsfolk became convinced the boy was murdered by Trent’s small Jewish community as a blood ritual. Men and women from all eighteen Jewish families in the town were arrested and tortured into confessing their crimes. The trial finally culminated in six men being burned at the stake and two beheaded.The Duke of Wurtemberg ordered a trail record to be written, and the only surviving German copy can be viewed here.

Trial of Jews of Trent
Year: 1478
Type: Manuscript, handwritten on paper
Country: Trent, Germany
Repository: Yeshiva University Museum

In 1475, a two-year-old Christian boy named Simon disappeared in Trent, a small town in Germany. He was eventually found dead in the cellar of a local Jewish man, which began a blood libel and a fraudulent, violent investigation. Already brimming with antisemitism from a recent fiery sermon given by the area’s friar, townsfolk became convinced the boy was murdered by Trent’s small Jewish community as a blood ritual. Men and women from all eighteen Jewish families in the town were arrested and tortured into confessing their crimes. The trial finally culminated in six men being burned at the stake and two beheaded.

The Duke of Wurtemberg ordered a trail record to be written, and the only surviving German copy can be viewed here.