Mission & History
PJAC Mission

Founded in 1972, the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center collects and preserves the historical record of the Greater Philadelphia region, including Southern New Jersey, and makes this record available to scholars and the general public. Its repository of materials donated by individuals and organizations contains the most extensive and varied documentation of any Jewish community outside New York City.

PJAC is committed to developing resources that will secure the professional, lay leadership and programmatic expertise needed to make PJA Collections housed at Temple University accessible and available to a more widespread group of people in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.

PJAC History

How does an archives come to be? If it is a good archives, the story is in the documents it holds. For the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, the question about its origin is vital because its continuation is tied very much to its past. In February 1972, a memorandum was sent to Donald B. Hurwitz, Vice-President of the Federation of Jewish Agencies: Board of Trustees of Federation to establish a Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center as a Federation project with the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Jewish Committee as the implementing arm and allocating $10,000 a year for five years as an initial operating budget. Some 11 years earlier, an article in the Jewish Exponent, October 27, 1961 reported on comments by Maxwell Whiteman, author with noted Philadelphia historian Edwin Wolf II of a highly regarded history of Jews in Philadelphia. Mr. Whiteman, librarian at Dropsie College, in his remarks deplored the fact that irreplaceable records of the community had been lost or destroyed for lack of adequate means of preserving them. What had been germinating for over a decade came to fruition over ten years later. 

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