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Donations of Materials to the AJHS Collections

The American Jewish Historical Society’s collections document the Jewish experience in the Americas, from the earliest European contact to present day. To that end, the American Jewish Historical Society limits its collections to those items that are significant and representative of this experience. The collecting strategy—as defined by the Board of Trustees—is documentation of the evolution of American Jews that includes both how we lived as Jews and as Americans. That covers the broad spectrum of Jewish family, institutional, and communal life in North, South, and Central America as well as the Caribbean. Importantly, it reflects our role in the Americas, ranging from politics to entertainment to sports. In support of this strategy, the AJHS seeks important and representative materials that illuminate breakthrough moments or turning points of American Jewish life.

The form of the Society’s documentation is primarily materials in paper (printed as well as manuscripts), photo, audio, film, or digital form. The collection also houses important objects.

Our collections are heavily used by scholars and students in the worldwide arena of academic research and publications, as well as by the community at large seeking information about the broad spectrum of American Jewish history. Additionally, AJHS exhibits selected collection items and loans items to other Institutional exhibits.

Please submit inquiries via email or mail; please note that we receive a high volume of queries, and we answer them in the order they were received. Please note that AJHS does not accept any donations that have not been approved in advance by AJHS library/archives staff. Please do not send in unsolicited donations of books, archival materials, or objects.

Please include the following information when contacting AJHS about your potential donation:

For Archives or Object Donations: Type of material (letters, photographs, objects, etc.); approximate estimate as to size of collection (two boxes, a folder, etc); photographs of materials, if available.

For Books: a list of titles, authors, and years of publication.

Please note the following important exclusions to our collecting policy:
AJHS only collects materials about the American Jewish experience. We do not accept materials from outside this geographic area, such as Israel, Europe, or Asia. We exclusively collect materials from North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean only.

AJHS does not accept the following items:
Items that are duplicative of existing materials in either library or archival collections; textiles or clothing, including military uniforms; vinyl LP’s; religious items, responsa, or prayer books; Bar/Bat Mitzvah certificates and/or books; individual sets of passports or immigration papers, unless they are part of a larger collection of personal documents.

Please Note
The American Jewish Historical Society does not appraise donated materials in accordance with professional codes of ethics, but can provide a list of certified appraisers. When an item or material would be inappropriate for the AJHS collections, the Society may make a recommendation for a more suitable placement.

Learn More

Please send donation inquiries to the Chair of Collections and Engagement:
Melanie Meyers
Chair of Collections and Engagement
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
email: mmeyers@ajhs.org

Looking to Support AJHS?

We accept donations online via our website, through the mail, via stock transfers and donor advised funds, and over the phone. Your gift is tax-deductible, and all funds directly support our mission to collect, preserve, and educate the public about American Jewish history.

Click here for more information about making a monetary donation to the American Jewish Historical Society.