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American Jewish Women
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Search Strategies for American Jewish Women
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Jews praying on Brooklyn Bridge, 1909. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-99960 (b&w film copy neg.)

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This section contains strategies for use of the catalogs, provides a brief list of reference sources and tools, and suggests types of materials found in selected reading rooms that will yield information on the history and lifestyles of American Jewish women. Similar sources exist in the Library of Congress for research about women of other groups.


There is no single catalog that lists all of the Hebrew-language material in the Library of Congress. Most titles, including all of those cataloged since 1981, are represented in the Library's online catalog as transliterations, and the lack of vernacular script can make it difficult to locate authors and titles because of spelling changes. Researchers can check Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino (the language of Jews of Spanish origin) script titles and also romanized authors' names and subject headings (current only to 1981) in the card catalogs in the African and Middle Eastern Division Reading Room to determine if the Library holds an item. These card catalogs also contain entries, by short title only, for items that remain uncataloged and do not appear in the online database.

Records for all Judaica subject books in non-Hebrew script are in the Library's online catalog, and these materials are part of the General Collections, except for classes K (Law) and M (Music). Judaica materials in distinctive formats such as Yiddish film or Ladino sound recordings can be accessed in the Library's special-format reading rooms. Not all of these items appear in the online catalog, but they can be located through the use of local files in those reading rooms.

The varying levels of bibliographic access and the array of catalogs that represent the Hebraic and Judaic holdings of the Library of Congress often make it difficult to grasp the Library's complete holdings on a particular subject. It is important to consult with an area specialist or a reference librarian in the Hebraic Section for assistance.

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In a Hebrew school. Jack Delano, photographer. 1940. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USF34-042454-D (b&w film neg.)

bibliographic record

A good place to begin research is with two biographical titles, based on earlier biographical sources, that provide sweeping and comprehensive information on individual American Jews.

The Concise Dictionary of American Jewish Biography, edited by Jacob Rader Marcus, in two volumes (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Publishing, 1994; E184.J5 C653 1994, Hebr Ref), alphabetically lists twenty-four thousand brief biographies of American Jews, including those of more than two thousand women. Each entry lists the sources used in researching it. Readers should check this reference work first to determine which earlier general and special American Jewish biographical works and Jewish encyclopedias to search.

Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Paula Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore, also two volumes (New York: Routledge, 1998; DS115.2.J49 1997, MRR Biog, Hebr Ref), is an award-winning reference work, indispensable to anyone interested in the history of American Jewish women. It contains eight hundred individual biographies and one hundred topical essays integrated into one alphabetical sequence. Complete bibliographic citations are provided for all entries. Essay topics range from assessments of immigration and assimilation in specific time periods to histories of individual women's organizations to surveys of the role of women in Jewish and American culture. “A Classified List of Biographical Entries” at the end of volume 2 provides an index to Jewish women's participation in specific fields of endeavor such as art, education, and politics. The second volume also includes a broad bibliographic essay, “An Annotated Bibliographic Guide to Archival Resources on the History of Jewish Women in America.” An online version is available through the Women's Studies Library at the University of Wisconsin (see Area Studies External Sites). The annotated bibliography cites other useful bibliographies, including Ann Masnik's The Jewish Woman: An Annotated Selected Bibliography, 1986-1993: With 1994-1995 Recent Titles List (New York: Biblio Press, 1996; Z7963.J4 C36 1987 Suppl.; MRR Alc).


Antler, Joyce. The Journey Home: Jewish Women and the American Century. New York: Free Press, 1997. E184.36.W64 A57 1997 GenColl.

Baum, Charlotte, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel. The Jewish Woman in America. New York: Dial Press, 1976. E184.J5 B37 1976 GenColl, Hebr Ref.

Glanz, Rudolph. The Jewish Woman in America: Two Female Immigrant Generations, 1820-1929. 2 vols. New York: Ktav, 1976; E184.J5 G493 1976 GenColl.

Hyman, Paula. Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History: The Roles and Representation of Women. Seattle: University of Washington, 1995. DS148.H93 1995 GenColl.

Kohn, Gary J., comp. The Jewish Experience: A Guide to Manuscript Sources in the Library of Congress. Cincinnati, Ohio: American Jewish Archives, 1986. Z6373.U5 K64 1986 MSS, Hebr Ref.

Marcus, Jacob R. American Jewish Woman, 1654-1980 and The American Jewish Woman: A Documentary History. New York: Ktav, and Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1981. HQ1172.M37 (and Suppl) GenColl, MRR Alc, Hebr Ref.

Jewish women—United States
Jewish women—Bibliography

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