University Libraries University at Buffalo

Jewish Buffalo Archives Project

Preserving Jewish History in Buffalo

The ultimate aim of the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project is to comprehensively document the Jewish Community of Buffalo and the Western New York region in its near entirety.

About the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project

The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation of Jewish Philanthropies.

The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project collects mainly twentieth century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties.

We pursue our mission by processing and preserving the archival materials donated to us.

Currently we seek collections from both active and closed organizations and institutions including collections from synagogues, community based schools, community welfare and other agencies, Jewish cultural and social groups or initiatives, Jewish businesses as well as individual and family papers.

The Oral History Program augments archival materials by recording the unique recollections and stories of individuals who have played a part in creating and sustaining the wider Buffalo community that we have today. Individuals come from all backgrounds and parts of the community and together form a mosaic of Jewish life lived in a specific city, suburb and surrounds of Western New York.

This Jewish Buffalo Archives Project continues the legacy of collecting the history of the Jewish Communities of Buffalo and Western New York first compiled during the 1950s and 1980s. Those collections focused more exclusively on a core of central community agencies, and eventually culminated in the Jewish Archive of Greater Buffalo (Collection of Dr. Selig Adler), now open for public research at the University Archives, University at Buffalo.

The materials currently being collected and donated to the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project are being made available for public research at the University Archives, who as our partner institution, has agreed to be the repository for all our materials. The ultimate aim of the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project is to comprehensively document a mid-size American Jewish community in its near entirety, building a Jewish community archive for the 21st century, in order to draw scholars, researchers, journalists, educators, genealogists and others to explore this heritage, as well as to sustain and nourish the current Jewish community in Greater Buffalo. It will establish a comprehensive and unique resource of Jewish Americana for this region and beyond and will serve as a model to other community programs seeking to document their own communities in the United States and beyond.

The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was awarded the Debra E. Bernhardt Award for Excellence in Documenting New York's History in 2010 by the New York State Archives and received Documentary Heritage Grants from the New York State Archives in 2008 and 2011, with matching monies provided by the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. In 2012, in collaborative partnership with the University Archives, and with funding obtained from the Western New York Library Resources Council, a digital collection was launched on New York Heritage at: http://nyheritage.org/collections/jewish-buffalo-image-collection