The Milstein Family Communal Archives Project

The Milstein Family Communal Archives Project is led by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and aims to chronicle the Jewish experience in New York City in the 20th century by providing online access to archival documents from five agencies that assisted Jewish immigrants coming to America:

  • 92nd Street Y
  • The Educational Alliance
  • F•E•G•S Health and Human Services System
  • NYANA (New York Association for New Americans)
  • Surprise Lake Camp

From the introduction on the project website:

"The history of the Jewish experience in New York in the 20th century can be told through the history of the agencies that welcomed Jewish immigrants to America, acclimatized them to their new surroundings, and gave them the encouragement and skills to succeed in their new environment - while still holding fast to their Jewish heritage. The Milstein Family Jewish Communal Archive Project website is part of a three year program, generously funded by the Milstein Family Foundation and its successor the PIM (Paul and Irma Milstein) Foundation. It was developed in response to a growing awareness of the need to preserve the records documenting the history and contribution of the Jewish communal agencies in New York City. This project, led by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, seeks to preserve this archival heritage and to encourage scholarship in the areas of Jewish social and cultural history in New York.

Over the past century, Jewish social service agencies have amassed a vast and extraordinarily rich archive of documents, photographs, and other materials documenting the history of the New York Jewish community. Recognizing the importance of preserving the heritage of twentieth century Jewish immigration and history in New York, the project was conceived in order to stimulate interest in exploring the treasures of these archives and to publicize each agency’s history and contribution. In addition, the agencies will be working with YIVO to preserve their own historic records and make them available to scholars. These agencies represent a cross-section of the social, educational, religious, occupational, recreational and vocational life of the Jewish immigrants and served as models to the community at large."