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Photos, Oral Histories, Ephemera, and more from     

DC Public Library Special Collections     

 

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About this collection

The Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project Collection consists of 26 oral history interviews conducted by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington in the early 1980s with Jewish senior citizens of DC, focused on growing up in Washington in the early years of the 20th century and development of the district’s Jewish community.

 

This oral history consists of audio of interviews and an index or transcript for each. Topics covered include arriving and settling in Washington, military service, education, businesses and professions, family relationships, synagogues, traditions and customs, and leisure time activities.

 

From December 1980 through 1981 the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington conducted interviews with individuals selected from a cross-section of senior citizens in the Jewish community. Ellen R. Epstein, a Society member and Director of the Center for Oral History, trained seven volunteers to conduct the interviews. A grant from the D.C. Community Humanities Council provided funds for transcribing the taped interviews. The Jewish Historical Society of Washington, D.C. donated this collection to the Washingtoniana division on January 21, 1982.

 

All of the interviews were digitized from 54 audiocassette tapes in summer 2014, along with all known transcripts and indexes.  Some sides of the tapes were blank. Portions of some interviews are inaudible due to poor quality recordings and degradation of the original audio cassettes.

 

Summarized accounts of the oral histories and photographs of some of the subjects are given in the Volume 11, July 1982 and Volume 12, November 1984 issues of The Record, a publication of the Jewish Historical Society.

 

The D.C. Public Library does not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission from the Jewish Historical Society of Washington, D.C., publish or exhibit information from the interviews.

 

Photo of the donation of bound transcripts of the Jewish Historical Society Oral History to DC Public Library in 1982. From left to right: Roxanne Deane, Chief of DCPL’s Washingtoniana Division; JHSGW Executive Director; Hardy Franklin, Director of DCPL; Donald E. Wolpe, President of the JHSGW; and JHS GW Vice President Carolyn Small Alper.

 
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