Consists of the community files of the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum, including both original and collected information. Contains business and family records of various Saint John Jewish community members as well as those records that document the military involvement and contributions of th…
Consists of the community files of the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum, including both original and collected information. Contains business and family records of various Saint John Jewish community members as well as those records that document the military involvement and contributions of the Jewish community to the wider city of Saint John. Material includes minutes, correspondence, newspaper records, official documents, photographs and monographs.
The Louis I. Michelson Memorial Archives of the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum preserve the documentary heritage of Saint John's Jewish population. The Archives are organized thematically - synagogues, organizations, community life, and people. The Community Files contain a wealth of diverse information about the various contributions and aspects of Jewish life in New Brunswick.
Saint John's Jews were very active within their own ethnic and religious community and also in the city's organizations and business life from the first arrivals in 1858 to the present day. Many community members are notable for their extensive contributions to many charitable organizations in Saint John and many of the Jewish businesses were well-known and patronized. The history of the Saint John Jewish community is presented in the Community Files section of the archive.
This includes written histories by community members, most notably Dr. Eli Boyaner and Dr. Joseph Tanzman, but also by Museum staff. Information from other public records is also available including population profiles from the census and city directories. A number of themes are also represented including immigration to the city, athletes, artists and the film industry. Participation by some in city philanthropic organizations is also preserved. Education at the high school and university level and achievements in the professions are also important aspects of Jewish life in Saint John.
Jewish life throughout Canada and the rest of the world is also represented in the collections, mostly from newspaper clippings and magazines. This serves to place this community into a context with the rest of the world and reflects information easily available in the local city newspapers on world events.
A reunion of the now widely scattered Saint John Jewish Community, called the "Koom Ahaim", was held in Saint John in July 1984 to coincide with provincial bicentennial celebrations. This collection includes a mailing list, correspondence, and memorabilia from this major event in the community's history.
Jewish men in business were led by Solomon Hart who owned a cigar factory in 1858. Similar businesses were established by the families that followed from England and Western Europe. The Eastern Europeans possessed skills and trades when they arrived, but they turned first to the peddling of goods in the countryside to earn money and also to learn English. After a few years, small shops and factories were established in the city's North end along Main Street and some later moved uptown to other parts of the city. It was a varied group of businesses where one could purchases nearly everything available, but clothing, food and manufactured goods were the most common things available. Many also sold second-hand goods and dealt in scrap metal. The history of Jewish businesses has been well-documented through the city directories, newspaper advertisements and features, and a limited number of company records. At one time a great many of Saint John's prominent merchants were Jewish, but by 2007 all fo the "original" Jewish run businesses had closed. The archives also has early business records of Isaac Selick and Sons of Moncton, New Brunswick.
The Saint John Jewish community was very active in both World Wars. During the Second World War many men enlisted for the army, navy, and air force, while many women joined the Red Cross, the Canadian Women Army Corps, enlisted as nurses, or stayed in Saint John to provide assistance to the servicemen passing through the city, either in their own homes, in the Jewish Servicemen's Centre on Union Street, or in other service centres. This collection includes many of the dramatic newspaper headlines of the time, and the documents and prayer books carried by the servicemen. The richest part of the collection is that contributed by the family of Mrs. Jennie Brownberg, who was part of the Red Cross and also opened her home to servicemen.
Collected information on Jewish businesses and Jewish residential directories from 1863-1999 is searchable in database format. This database can be accessed through the Family History section of the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network.
Contact the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum directly for information on accessing this collection.
Researchers should also consult the sections on SYNAGOGUE, GENEALOGY, AUDIO VISUAL, and PHOTOGRAPHS for further information.