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Zeva Oelbaum Photographs

Identifier: ASF AR 76

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains photographs taken by photographer Zeva Oelbaum in 1976 in Afghanistan (Herat and Kabul), Egypt (Alexandria and Cairo), Iran (Tehran and Isfahan), and Morocco. Included are 72 unique photographs and 42 contact sheets. Oelbaum's notes can be found on many of the contact sheets and some of the versos. Since many of the versos were digitized, the collection as a whole measures 205 digital images.

The entire collection was digitized and returned to the donor; the items are therefore accessible online only.


  • Creation: 1976


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact: American Sephardi Federation, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 email:

Biographical Note

Zeva Oelbaum is a photographer and a producer and director of films. Oelbaum grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, studied at Brandeis University, and settled in New York City. Oelbaum’s photographs are held in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas; the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris, France; the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York; and the Museum of the City of New York in New York City. Her photographs have been displayed in a number of solo and group exhibitions. She is the author of Flowers in Shadow: A Photographer Rediscovers a Victorian Botanical Journal and Blue prints: The Natural Cyanotype Photographs. She has also done commercial photography for magazines and served as the photographer for many cookbooks. Oelbaum produced the documentary films Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber and Rene and I. She directed and produced Letters from Baghdad. She teaches at the International Center of Photography and is a member of the Producer's Guild of America.

In 1976, Oelbaum traveled to Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt and Morocco. Her photography from this time forms part of her early work.


205 Digital Files


This collection contains photographs of Jewish communities in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, and Morocco taken in 1976 by photographer Zeva Oelbaum. The entire collection was digitized and returned to the donor; the items are therefore accessible online only.


The collection is arranged into eight folders, ordered alphabetically by country and then city.

Acquisition Information

The photographs were donated by Zeva Oelbaum in 2016 for arrangement, description, and digitization. The photographs were returned to Oelbaum and the digital surrogates preserved.

Related Material

The American Sephardi Federation has many library holdings related to Jewish communities in Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, and Morocco, which can be discovered at

Processing Information

The photographs were arranged in spring 2016, largely using notes on the contact sheets and versos to determine location. The collection is preserved and made accessible only in digital form; after digitization, the photographs were returned to the donor.

Guide to the Zeva Oelbaum Photographs 1976 ASF AR 76
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the American Sephardi Federation Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States