Enriching Our Heritage - The Community Records Project

The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network is committed to ensuring that archival material from the Jewish community's institutions and families are preserved for the future.  Today's minutes, reports, e-mails and websites are tomorrow's rare and valued records of how the community lived and worked.

The Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives (CJCCCNA) and the Jewish Public Library Archives (JPL-A) are increasing efforts to collect new materials and encourage transfers from individuals or organizations that already have collections at our archives.  Both institutions are also available to assist organizations in records management for documents that may become permanent archival collections in the future.

Why Deposit Records in an Archive?

Your records, photographs and artifacts help to document the heritage of the Jewish community.  Your donation will supply future research material to countless academics, journalists and students.  By nature, archival material is unique and therefore requires special training to provide proper access, long-term preservation and arrangement and description.  The CJHN partners are staffed by trained professional archivists who will provide unequalled care for your archival materials.  Each donation of archival material transferred to us is appraised for historical significance, arranged and described into our online database and preserved for permanent storage.  In addition to this work, archival donations are often used in exhibits, may be digitized for online access and made accessible to researchers.  Your archival donation provides a future for the heritage of the Jewish community.

Collecting Mandates of the CJHN

The CJCCCNA and the JPL-A work closely to ensure that archival material is transferred and preserved in the appropriate archival repository.  This collaboration ensures that new donations from organizations already with archival collections are kept together and that areas of collecting specialities are respected.  For example, the JPL-A specializes in education and school material collections and the CJCCCNA has a large collecting project in Russian Jewry materials.  New donations in these areas would thus be transferred to the appropriate repository.  Additionally, both institutions work closely with other archives and museums to ensure that material is donated to the most appropriate repository.  To view the respective collecting mandates of CJHN institutions, visit the individual websites of the JPL-A and CJCCCNA .

What Do We Collect?

The CJCCCNA and the JPL-A preserve many types of archival materials in various formats, including, but not limited to:

  • Correspondence
  • By-laws and minutes
  • Various types of photography
  • Playbills and programmes
  • Posters
  • Personal narratives or oral histories
  • Journals or diaries
  • Audio-visual materials
  • Artifacts
  • Textiles

By nature, archival material is original and unique. Archives very rarely accept photocopied materials for this reason as well as difficulties in allowing access because of copyright legislation.

From Whom Do We Collect?

Archival materials come from numerous sources such as the examples below.  The Community Archives Program of the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network aims to ensure that all documentary heritage of the Quebec Jewish community is preserved for future generations, regardless of type of institution or donor.  If you have records that you feel do not fit in with the listed examples, contact the archives to discuss your material in greater detail.  The Jewish community is diverse and its archival heritage should be a reflection of this.

  • Synagogues
  • Community, fraternal and/or social organizations
  • Sport and cultural organizations
  • Federation CJA agencies and departments
  • Schools and alternative education organizations
  • Businesses and Professional Services
  • Families and individuals

Records Management Assistance

Good management and organization of your records can save you or your organization time as well as money (i.e. more efficient storage and retrieval of materials).  A records management program for your material also provides a clear plan for future disposal of non-permanent records, regularly schedules transfers of permanent material to the appropriate archive and provides organizational sustainability important for training and turnover of staff as well as legal responsibilities.  Records management is not just for businesses and organizations either!  Organizing your personal or family papers is an important step in tracking genealogy, passing on heritage to children or grandchildren or if you are downsizing your home.

The archivists at CJCCCNA or JPL-A are available for records management consultations, prior to or during your decision to transfer archival material to our repositories.  Contact us directly for more information!

Transferring Records to the CJCCCNA or JPL-A

Transferring material to the CJCCCNA or JPL-A begins with an initial review of your material.  The archivist from one of these institutions will usually schedule a first visit to your location to go over the archival material with you as well as to discuss historical significance and permanency of records.  From there, the archivist will discuss with you the most appropriate archival repository for your material as well as the next steps in physical transfer and archival processing.

Donations and Monetary Issues

The CJCCCNA and the JPL-A are not able to purchase archival donations.  However, in some cases, a Canadian tax receipt can be issued based on the fair market value of the donated material.  Donors are responsible for any costs associated with the hiring of an external appraiser necessary for the issuance of such a tax receipt.

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