The Archives of the Jewish Historical Society of Delaware (JHSD) is housed in the Research Library Building of the Historical Society of Delaware. Since its founding in 1974 and incorporation in 1975 the Jewish Historical Society has strived to fulfill its purpose of acquiring, preserving, and publishing material pertaining to the history of Jewish settlement and Jewish life in the State of Delaware.
Although there were Jews in Delaware from the earliest days of Dutch settlement in the 17th century, Jewish life did not flourish in the state until the second half of the 19th century. Delaware was the last of the original 13 state to have an organized Jewish community. with the establishment in 1879 of the first Jewish organization in the state, the Moses Montefiore Society, Jewish life began to take on a more permanent and established nature and evolved into our present day community. The Jewish Historical Society of Delaware has documented this history and, with the necessary support, will do so for years to come.
The Jewish Historical Society of Delaware was founded in 1974 and incorporated in 1975 for the purpose of acquiring, preserving and publishing material pertinent to the history of Jewish settlement and Jewish life in the State of Delaware. Our collection contains priceless organizational records, family papers, memoirs and photographs.
The Society publishes a newsletter, creates exhibits and displays, produces educational materials and serves as a resource center for genealogists, researchers, organizations and other interested persons.
The archival collection of the Society is housed at the Delaware Historical Society at 505 North Market Street in Wilmington, Delaware. Our collections are open by appointment.
Through our efforts to preserve the records and papers of Jewish community life in Delaware, we continue a vital link between past, present and future generations. Your donations of treasured family or business papers and photographs can help preserve your family’s place in Delaware’s history.
Plan on becoming a member of the Jewish Historical Society of Delaware to help this important work continue. Your donation will enable us to pass the gift of history to future generations.
For more information on how you can preserve your family’s heritage, please contact our archivist at (302) 655-6232 or send us an email.
Materials housed within the archives include photographs, documents, oral histories, audio-visual materials, private papers, newspapers, memorabilia, and artifacts that record and document the organizational, cultural, religious, educational, business and family activities of the Jewish Community in Delaware. All collections are housed in state-of-the-art climate controlled surroundings and are processed according to strict archival principles. A number of large collections documenting the lives of prominent Jewish Delawareans are features of the archives. Among them are the Harry Bluestone Collection (prominent Social Worker and Community leader); the David Geffen Collection (noted Rabbi and Historian); and the Mollye Sklut Collection (noted World War II personality). An extensive biographical collection contains information about many other Delaware Jews and Jewish Families.
In addition the holdings of the archives include records from the Jewish Community Center of Wilmington; the Jewish Federation of Delaware; and the Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth Congregation, the oldest enduring congregation in the state. New acquisitions include the papers of William Penn Frank, a nationally known Delaware journalist, an extensive photograph & correspondence collection of the Greenbaum family; Montefiore Mutual Benefit Society records; Vaad Hakashruth records; Holocaust related materials; and Minute and Membership books from the Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth Congregation. Many of these books date to the 1890’s and are among the oldest surviving records of the Jewish Community. In addition, our family and genealogical collections are continually growing.