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Jewish Americans - Archives Dept.: Researching Local Jewish History

This guide suggests how to use the Archives Department to study the history of Jewish people in the greater Milwaukee area. It provides recommendations for search paths and search tools, and lists some pertinent collections.


Suggested Collections on Jewish History

The Archives Dept. includes primary sources for your research on the Milwaukee-area Jewish community. Topical strengths of our collections include local congregations; Zionism; cultural and aid organizations; education; and social work. Wisconsin Jewish Archives' oral history interviews pertaining to the Milwaukee area are also available.

A list of pertinent collections follows. We have many other collections on the general topic, which you may explore by using the search strategies described elsewhere in this guide, or by asking an archivist.

How To Use This Guide

Search@UW: Keyword search for all archival holdings at UWM (see Search@UW tab below for details)

Search Finding Aids: Keyword search for archival collections with finding aids - which include content lists, background information on the collection, etc. NOTE: not all collections have finding aids, so don't discount Search@UW!

Suggested Collections: Some primary source, archival records on the local Jewish community.  Collection titles link to the finding aids. The "NEW" link, if available, gives you digital access to the whole collection.


Search the library catalog to locate archival and manuscript collections which provide sources on the history of local Jewish people and organizations.

Use the simple search box below, which searches only the Archives Dept.'s holdings. Note that these results will include some books on the subject, but more of them will describe archival or manuscript collections.

Here are four examples of simple keyword searches.  Note that the boolean operator and is not necessary between keywords.

1. synagogues Wisconsin

2. temple records

3. Jewish community

4. Zionism

A general search hint: when reading any catalog record, follow the links found at "Subjects" to locate other material in the UWM Libraries on that same subject.

Watch an introductory video on conducting searches at Search for and locate materials at UWM Libraries' Archives.

We write finding aids, or guides, for most of our collections. These guides explain the creator, contents and dates of the collection. This information is important to you when deciding if something is useful to your research. A finding aid also provides the information you will need to request and use a collection when you visit the Archives Dept.
All of our finding aids are included in Archival Resources in Wisconsin, a database of over 4,000 finding aids of collections held in seventeen repositories statewide.
Search our finding aids by using the search boxes below. Be sure to select an operator (and, or or not) as appropriate, and then click on "Search." Then explore the links in the grey band that appears with each result. Note: this search is limited to our holdings here at the Archives Department, UWM Libraries, which is also known as Milwaukee Area Research Center.

Watch our video about searching in and understanding finding aids at What is a finding aid and how does it help me?

Use Archivegrid to find archives and collections in your geographic area.

The Library of Congress has a wealth of digital collections, which you can search right from their homepage.  

If you're not sure where to start, you can also browse their collections by topic.

Subject Guide