Guide to the Records of the Synagogue Documentation Project, 1904-1999

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Records of the Synagogue Documentation Project
Collector
Synagogue Documentation Project
Collection Number
MSS#317
Date [inclusive]
1904-1999
Extent
.5 cubic feet (1 boxes)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
The Synagogue Documentation Project was organized in 1997 by Rabbi Walter Jacob of Congregation Rodef Shalom to collect architectural information about the buildings that had served as synagogues in the small towns of Western Pennsylvania. The project was then turned over to the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Archives and the object of the project was expanded to include the collection of archival materials related to Jewish life in those small towns. The materials include one folder pertaining to the administration and history of the project, as well as the questionnaires used by the volunteers. Some information about the towns can be found on these. The other folders hold the materials from 12 towns, respectively.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Records of the Synagogue Documentation Project, 1904-1999, MSS# 317, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

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History of Synagogue Documentation Project

The Synagogue Documentation Project was organized in 1997 by Rabbi Walter Jacob of Congregation Rodef Shalom to collect architectural information about the buildings that had served as synagogues in the small towns of Western Pennsylvania. The project was then turned over to the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Archives and the object of the project was expanded to include the collection of archival materials related to Jewish life in those small towns. The Jewish populations in these towns have decreased. Indeed, there are no longer Jews living in some of the towns. Many congregations have disbanded, and the synagogues have been sold and used for other purposes. Project volunteers were assigned to locate people who had been part of those communities, and enlist their help in collecting records of the congregations, photographs of the synagogue buildings, personal papers, or any other materials that would document what had been a strong Jewish presence in those towns. An explanation of the project and a call for materials was posted in the Jewish Chronicle. Approximately 50 towns were identified for the project. The fact that few records were collected from the twelve towns from which any records were found, underscores the ephemeral nature of such materials.

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Scope and Content Notes

The materials include one folder pertaining to the administration and history of the project, as well as the questionnaires used by the volunteers. Some information about the towns can be found on these. The other folders hold the materials from 12 towns, respectively.

The towns represented in this collection are Braddock, Brownsville, Canonsburg, Clairton, Duquesne, East Liverpool, Indiana, Johnstown, Masontown, McKeesport, Midland, and Oil City-all in Pennsylvania. The materials collected from each town were sparse, in no case constituting more than one file folder. Included among the materials from congregations are by-laws (Duquesne ); member lists (Brownsville); histories (Canonsburg, East Liverpool, Indiana, Midland); and programs (Braddock, Duquesne, Johnstown); as well as clippings, a copied ledger, and other miscellaneous pieces.

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Arrangement

The Synagogue Documentation Project records are housed in one archival box and are arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System  Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Winter, 2001-2002

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

These materials came in one accession in 2000.

Acc.# 2000.0050 Gift of J. Robert Myers for the Synagogue Documentation Project.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Rae Barent and  Susan Melnick on August 2, 2000.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Doug MacGregor on January 10, 2002.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Synagogue Documentation Project (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Beth Jacob Congregation (Duquesne, Pa.)
  • Beth Israel Congregation (Indiana, Pa.)
  • B'nai Israel Congregation (Midland, Pa.)
  • B'nai Jacob Cemetery (East Liverpool, Ohio)

Subject(s)

  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Braddock
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Canonsburg
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Brownsville
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- McKeesport
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Midland
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Clairton
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Duquesne
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Indiana
  • Jews -- Pennsylvaina -- Johnstown
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Masontown
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Oil City
  • Jews -- Ohio -- East Liverpool

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Collection Inventory

  boxfolder
Administration  1997-1999 11

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  folder
Braddock  1940-1984 2

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  folder
Brownsville  c1950-1983 3

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  folder
Canonsburg  undated 4

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  folder
Clairton  1934-1998 5

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  folder
Duquesne  1925-1960 6

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  folder
East Liverpool  1922-1998 7

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  folder
Indiana  1993-1996 8

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  folder
Johnstown  1954-1996 9

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  folder
Masontown  undated 10

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  folder
McKeesport  1913-200 11

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  folder
Midland  1956 12

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  folder
Oil City  1998 13

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