Skip to main content

Sallyann Sack Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-917

Scope and Content Note

This collection chronicles Sallyann Sack’s role as a pioneer in the field of Jewish Genealogy in the 1980s. Her roles as pioneer include founder and co-founder, chair and co-chair, editor, writer and president. The earlier papers reflect the formation of a Jewish Genealogical research network while the later papers reflect the work that network produces. The Sallyann Sack Papers consist of correspondence, conference and seminar papers and audio/visual material, AVOTAYNU and Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW) papers, as well a variety of other papers related to her projects and research.

Dates

  • undated, 1962-1972, 1978-2007

Creator

Access Restrictions

This collection is closed at the request of the donor. For inquiries, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at mmeyers@ajhs.org.

Use Restrictions

This collection is closed at the request of the donor. For inquiries, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at mmeyers@ajhs.org.

Biographical Note

Sallyann Amdur Sack was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 13, 1936 to Frances and Max Amdur. She attended Radcliffe College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1957. In 1956, she married Lawrence Sack, M.D., thereby becoming Sallyann Amdur Sack. In 1971, she became Dr. Sack when she received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from George Washington University. Dr. Sack went into private practice in this field in suburban Washington, D.C.

It is told by Dr. Sack and others that she was inspired to start performing family research by her youngest daughter, Kathryn Solomon. This endeavor began as an investigation into her family’s Eastern European roots. In the spirit of her father’s own leadership role as organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, Sallyann also took on a leadership role and founded the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW) and served as its first president in 1980.

Dr. Sack’s work for the JGSGW, as well as her efforts as chair of the summer seminar on Jewish Genealogy held in Washington D.C. in 1982, prepared her to organize the First International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, unprecedented in its scale, in 1984. The following year, Dr. Sack founded AVOTAYNU: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, which continues to serve as “The Voice” of Jewish Genealogy.

Dr. Sack received the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and is referred to as “The Godmother” of Jewish Genealogy (coined by her friend and AVOTAYNU collaborator Gary Mokotoff).

Chronology

1936
Sallyann Sack was born in Cleveland, Ohio
1956
Marries Lawrence C. Sack, M.D.
1957
Graduates from Radcliffe College magna cum laude
1972
Receives Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from George Washington University
1980
Founds the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW) and serves as its first president
1980
Publishes Search for the Family with Mark Shulkin
1982
Chairs the Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, Washington, D.C.
1984
Organizes the first International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem, Israel
1985
Co-founds AVOTAYNU: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy
1986
Becomes member of the Advisory Board for the Douglas E. Goldman Genealogy Center at Beth Hatefutsoth in Tel-Aviv, Israel (through 1989)
1987
Publishes Guide to Jewish Genealogical Research in Israel
1987
Publishes Russian Consular Records Project Index and Catalog, Garland Publishing Co.
1988
Chairs the Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Washington, D.C.
1989
Becomes member of the Advisory Committee on Russian-American Genealogical Archival Exchange (RAGAS), through 1994
1991
Co-chairs the Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Salt Lake City, UT
1991
Co-authors Where Once We Walked, A Guide to Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust
1994
Co-chairs the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Jerusalem, Israel
1997
Is elected President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), through 1998
1998
Is elected President of Avotaynu Foundation, which publishes genealogical reference guides
2000
Co-chairs the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Salt Lake City, UT
2000
Receives the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Lifetime Achievement Award
2004
Co-edits Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy
2005
Chairs the Founding Committee for the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center (affiliate of the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem, Israel)

Extent

21 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

French

German

Hebrew

Lithuanian

Russian

Swedish

Yiddish

Abstract

This collection contains the papers of Sallyann Amdur Sack, “The Godmother” of Jewish Genealogy. In 1980, Sack founded the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW); in 1984, she organized the First International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem, Israel; and in 1985, she co-founded AVOTAYNU: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, known as “The Voice” of Jewish Genealogy research. These papers chronicle Dr. Sack’s groundbreaking work, which ranges from the early 1980s through 2007. The collection contains correspondence, conference and seminar materials, planning and research papers, as well as photographs and audio/visual material.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Related Material

John Henry Richter, former librarian at the Library of Congress and the University of Michigan, corresponded with Dr. Sack from 1983 until his death in 1994. For those interested in him and his work, his papers are at the Leo Baeck Institute (AR 1683 / MF 534/>).
Title
Guide to the Sallyann Sack Papers, undated, 1962-1972, 1978-2007
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Rachel Alexandra Tutera
Date
© 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Processed as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • 2015-11-25: Updated with AVC boxes for audiovisual materials. KS
  • January 2021: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States