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Indiana Historical Society Uses Grant to Add Records to Indiana Jewish Historical Society Digital Collection

July 8, 2022

The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) has added more than 5,000 new scans to its Indiana Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) Digital Collection a project made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Indiana State Library.

IHS received the $15,000 Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) grant in 2021 and used it to digitize part of the IJHS Collection originally processed in 2000. The digital collection now includes 5,196 new scans and 167 PDFs (scans from bound volumes and other multi-page items were then used to create PDFs). All scans and PDFs were added to the collection and amounted to 431 new digital records.

As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow, said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.

The IJHS Collection includes more than 100 archival boxes and bound volumes. Researchers will find photographs, oral history transcripts, synagogue records, immigration papers, family records and business ledgers when browsing its holdings the IJHS Collection is one of the largest in the IHS archives.

The grant project allowed us to focus on the digitization of visual and manuscript material in the collection, said IHS Vice President of Archives and Library Suzanne Hahn. These items have been uploaded to our digital collection and provide enhanced accessibility to Indianas Jewish history for researchers and the public. Those who are curious will find material that highlights Jewish families, businesses and religious organizations beginning as early as 1848 and continuing through the early 21st century. The digital collection enriches researchers understanding of Jewish community, culture and life as well as its evolution and growth through generations.

The IJHS collection highlights the diverse Jewish communities found across the state of Indiana, with almost every county represented in the physical collection and more than 30 counties represented in the digital collection. Although many American Jewish communities are associated with larger metropolitan areas, one of the strengths of the IJHS collection is its rich documentation of Jewish life in rural communities and small towns. Researchers can experience the geographical diversity of the collection by using the interactive map located on the digital collections landing page.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library.

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