American Jewish Committee Records, Subject Files
Scope and Content Note
The American Jewish Committee Records, Subject Files consists of materials created by executive offices, departments, local offices and chapters of the Committee concerning a variety of matters, foremost Jewish civil and religious rights, immigration, and the Holocaust.
However, materials found in this collection encompass other civil/racial and religious minority groups as well.
The records consist of briefs, cartoons, conference procedures, correspondence, discussion guides, interviews, legal documents, manuscripts, memoranda, minutes of meetings, opinion polls, printed materials, questionnaires, reports, resolutions, scrapbooks, speeches, statements, studies, surveys, and television and radio scripts.
Correspondence constitutes the larger portion of the collection. There is interoffice correspondence, correspondence with individuals and organizations, such as Jewish, governmental, and NGO and academic institutions.
Additionally there is a large amount of minutes. The minutes come from the AJC’s committees and Board meetings, conferences organized by AJC and conferences attended by the AJC representatives, meetings of other governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Printed materials comprise another large section of the collection and consist of the AJC publications, publications of other organizations, clippings and cartoons collected by the AJC staff.
Another prominently present type of materials are questionnaires and surveys that deal with topics such as youth and children, prejudice and discrimination, intergroup relations and human rights, education, immigration and integration and assimilation.
The collection clearly documents AJC’s efforts to combat all forms of discrimination against the Jews and other minority groups in the United States and offers researchers a unique chance to see how and what was done prior to the changes in public opinion and civic and legal ideas.
- Creation: 1930-1973
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1941-1961
- American Jewish Committee (Organization)
Language of Materials
The collection is in English with some Italian, Czech, Swedish, French, and German.
Open to researchers.
Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) was founded in New York in 1906 to defend Jewish civil and religious rights throughout the world. Among the original founders of the AJC were Louis Marshall, Judge Mayer Sulzberger, Jacob Schiff , and Cyrus Adler. At the outset, the AJC consisted of a select group who interceded on behalf of Jews privately and behind-the-scenes, in the traditional style of personal diplomacy. Early AJC efforts included lobbying for a liberal American immigration policy and against the literacy test requirement for immigrants. It campaigned against violations of rights of Jews in Tsarist Russia and worked to secure minority rights for Jews in post-WWI Europe.
In the 1930s the AJC began to widen its membership, and by the 1940s its structure and approach had undergone a fundamental change. The private diplomacy policies gave way to more broad and outspoken public relations and educational programs, including anti-German boycott campaigns and scholarly studies, surveys, and publications on anti-Semitism, Nazi influences in the US, civil and religious rights, and inter-religious and intercultural relations.
During the rise of Nazism and Fascism and the years of World War Two, the AJC intervened before the US and other Allied governments on behalf of the persecuted Jews of Europe. It campaigned against domestic indifference and pro-Nazi sympathies, and encouraged neutral states‘ representatives to allow Jewish immigration and to create safe heavens for Jewish refugees.
After the war, the Committee continued its lobbying activities, public relations and educational programs, monitoring anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry, and promoting intergroup cooperation, cultural diversity, and intercultural education. The AJC supported legislation addressing racial and religious discrimination in employment, education, and housing. The Committee campaigned on behalf of Soviet Jews, as well as for Jewish groups in Syria, Iran and Ethiopia. The AJC also drew attention to the plight of persecuted ethnic and religious groups throughout the world.
The AJC founded the monthly magazine Commentary in 1945 and has co-sponsored the annual publication of the American Jewish Year Book since 1908.
The AJC national headquarters are in New York and it has regional offices throughout the United States, an Israeli office in Jerusalem, and a number of other international offices.
132.6 Linear Feet
The collection documents American Jewish Committee’s efforts to combat all forms of discrimination against the Jews in the United States. Additionally, there are materials pertaining to AJC’s work regarding other minority groups in the United States. The collection offers researchers a unique chance to see how and what was done prior to the changes in public opinion and civic and legal laws. The American Jewish Committee Records, Subject Files consists of materials created by executive offices, departments, local offices and chapters of the Committee concerning a variety of matters; foremost Jewish civil and religious rights, immigration, and the Holocaust.
Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic. Current arrangement follows the original arrangement done by the AJC staff.
The collection consists of a single series.
American Jewish Committee deposited selected record series at the YIVO Archives in 1983. However, several record series were transferred from AJC to the YIVO Archives prior to 1983.
- American Jewish Committee (Organization)
- Anti-defamation League (Organization)
- Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Organization)
- United Nations (Organization)
- National Community Relations Advisory Council (U.S.) (Organization)
Genre / Form
- clippings (information artifacts)
- manuscripts (documents)
- Official documents
- Printed materials
- Guide to the American Jewish Committee Records, Subject Files 1930-1973 (bulk 1941-1961) RG 347.17.10
- Processed by Yakov Illich Sklar
- © 2013
- 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