Wright State University now home to Federation archives collection

Federation archives collection at Wright State, April 2011

By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer

Professional Archivist Pamela Schwartz, who has organized the Federation’s archival collection over the past three years, shown with Wright State University Public History graduate student Jerermy Katz, who is helping to process the collection.

On Feb. 28, Wright State University’s Special Collections and Archives accepted the Jewish Federation’s archival collection as part of its holdings.

According to Federation Executive Vice President Larry Skolnick, the university’s accession of the Federation’s historical materials and artifacts will ensure their proper preservation and access to the community, in perpetuity.

“We entrust the history of the Jewish Federation to one of the finest university archives programs in the country, at Wright State,” Skolnick said. “Generations from now, anyone who wants to know what Dayton Jewish life was like in days gone by will be able to access our collection.”

Prior to 2009, most of the Federation’s archival collection was stored haphazardly.

With the centennial of the Federation approaching in 2010, professional archivist Pamela Schwartz volunteered to inventory, organize and process the collection.

In addition, the Federation has funded three Wright State public history graduate students to assist Schwartz as interns.

Schwartz, who served as co-chair of the Federation’s Centennial, is a 1997 graduate of the program.

Under the guidance of Schwartz and her husband, Andrew, the Clarence and Judith Lapedes Family Foundation established the Jewish Federation Archives and Special Collections Fund of the Dayton Jewish Federation Foundation in Memory of Debra L. Schwartz, Andrew’s mother.

“For Pam and Andy this project has been and will continue to be a labor of love,” Skolnick said.

Pamela Schwartz and graduate student Jeremy Katz will continue to process the Federation’s collection at Wright State. The university also houses the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center at the Charles and Renate Frydman Educational Resource Center.

Dawne Dewey, Wright State Univ. head of Special Collections & Archives

“Special Collections and Archives in the Wright State University Libraries is pleased to have been chosen as the repository for the records of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton,” said Dawne Dewey, the head of Wright State University’s Special Collections and Archives.

“This collection is a very valuable addition to our holdings on the history of Dayton and the Miami Valley. Archives staff and graduate students in the public history program will work to preserve and organize the collection, making it accessible to the public for research.”

The Jewish Federation’s collection comprises records and historic material of the Federation since its inception in 1910. The collection is a key resource for information about the history of the Jews of Dayton, and the role the Federation has played: providing for Jews in need and enhancing the quality of Jewish life in Dayton, Israel, and around the world. Its artifacts paint a vivid picture of the Federation’s rescue, relief, and absorption efforts on behalf of the Jewish people in the 20th century.

Once it is fully processed, Wright State Special Collections and Archives will load the collection’s finding aid to its website, www.libraries.wright.edu/special, and to OhioLINK’s EAD Repository. This will enable researchers worldwide to see the collection’s inventory and will encourage research and access to information about the Federation. The collection will be available for public research, with the exception of donor records until 75 years after the date of accession.

The Federation and Wright State plan to hold a dedication reception at the university in June.

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  1. […] more This image of a 1928-29 dance class at the Jewish Federation’s JCC at 59 Green Street is among the thousands of photos, documents and artifacts that comprise the collection of the Jewish Federation’s newly established archives […]

  2. […] Wright State University now home to Federation archives collection […]