The American Jewish Historical Society

It is during this period of increased Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe amid rising industrialization and the populist backlash that the American Jewish Historical Society was founded in 1892 to preserve and disseminate Jewish American history.  The professionalization of knowledge was part of the larger pattern of institutionalizing and specializing in subjects and disciplines during the late nineteenth century.  Its first two presidents were Oscar S. Straus, future Secretary of Commerce and Labor, and Cyrus Adler, a scholar of archaeology and Semitics at the Smithsonian Institution.  Also on the committee were prominent Jewish men from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Galveston, and San Francisco.[1]  Similar to the Anglo-Jewish Exhibit in London in 1887, the Jewish Historical Society called for their own American Jewish Historical Exhibition.  As reported in the New York Tribune on June 30, 1901, the executive committee had already begun its work on determining a location for the exhibit, publicity, creating a bibliography and finding an office for the exhibition staff.[2]


[1] “A Jewish Exhibition: Movement Started To Have One in New York During the Coming Winter.” 1901. New York Times (1857-1922), Jun 27, 1901.

[2] “For a Jewish Historical Exhibition.” 1901. New - York Tribune (1900-1910), Jun 30, 1901.