The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA), located on the historic Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, was established in 1947 by renowned historian, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus to collect, preserve, and make available for research, materials on the history of Jews and Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere, including data of a political, economic, social, cultural, and religious nature.
Today the AJA houses over ten million pages of documentation. It contains nearly 8,000 linear feet of archives, manuscripts, nearprint materials, photographs, audio and video tape, microfilm, and genealogical materials. The AJA exists to preserve the continuity of Jewish life and learning for future generations and aspires to serve scholars, educators, students, and researchers of all backgrounds and beliefs.
The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) is a semi-autonomous division of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), and was established in 1947 by renowned historian, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, in order to collect, preserve, and make available for research, materials on the history of Jews and Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere (primarily focusing on America) including data of a political, economic, social, cultural, and religious nature.
Three primary goals of the AJA Mission:
To collect a variety of source material including documents, photographs, and media, that are reflective of all aspects of American life and culture. The AJA seeks to obtain records of congregations and Jewish organizations, genealogical materials, the papers of rabbis and key figures in American Jewish history, and personal histories that relate to the masses
To produce publications relating to the American Jewish experience including the American Jewish Archives Journal which features articles on relevant themes in American history
To promote the study of American Jewish history within the context of the broader American community by sponsoring symposia and conferences; producing a variety of educational tools and resources; and developing exhibits both physical and online.
The AJA exists to preserve the continuity of Jewish life and learning for future generations and aspires to serve scholars, educators, students, and researchers of all backgrounds and beliefs.
Read the full AJA collection policy here
Located in the former Bernheim Library, the first home of the Hebrew Union College Library on its Clifton campus, the reading room is designed to combine the charm and intimacy of the original 1912 reading room with the conveniences of modern electronic information technology.
The reading room is the public gateway to the vast resources of the American Jewish Archives. When coming to the reading room, researchers are assisted by The Marcus Center’s professional archival staff and have access to the amenities of this wonderful facility.
Since 1948, the AJA has been publishing first-rate articles, books, monographs, and brochures that illuminate the American Jewish experience. The American Jewish Archives Journal is AJA's flagship publication that is circulated to 6000 readers including individuals, libraries, and is available for free on their website.
The Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Thursday and 9:00am to 3:00pm on Friday. Scheduled closings will appear on the AJA event calendar. In the case of inclement weather, please check the HUC-JIR Cincinnati webpage.
Visitors may use HUC-JIR's front parking lot, facing Clifton Ave, at no charge.
We strongly encourage prospective researchers to write, call, or e-mail the Marcus Center staff in advance of any visit to determine whether the AJA contains material relevant to their topic. We will check our holdings and provide an assessment of the quantity and composition of any applicable documents.
Once researchers arrive, they will be asked to furnish identification and asked to complete a research application form. An archivist will meet with the researcher to explain our collection as well as the AJA's procedures and services.
Read the AJA Reading Room Rules & Policies.
AJA strives to make all visitors welcome. The facility is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Design. There are accessible parking spots adjacent to the front entrance, there are no steps at the front entrance, and there is an elevator available just inside on the lobby level. In addition, thanks to a generous donation from the Rockwern Foundation, the AJA’s reading room is equipped with software to assist the visually impaired. If you need assistance due to a disability, please let AJA know so that we can accommodate you.
Ask An Archivist! : The American Jewish Archives welcomes research requests using the form on this page. Each inquiry will receive a personal response.
The AJA's staff is known for their prompt and courteous service. The goal is to assist all who come to AJA by providing information and guidance that will assist in your research.
If requested or needed materials are located the AJA will, for a moderate fee, provide photocopies or other duplication of requested items in compliance with copyright and restrictions.
Researchers wishing to use digital cameras to capture images must fill out a form located at the reference desk and receive permission from the archival staff. Use of flash equipment is not allowed. Requests for permission to publish materials must be obtained from the archival staff.
The renovated Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) opened in the spring of 2004.