The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford (JHSGH) is dedicated to collecting and preserving historical documents, photographs and memorabilia of the Jewish community of Greater Hartford. Its mission is to collect, preserve and catalog historical, political, economic and social documents, photographs, memorabilia and oral histories relating to the Jewish people of this community. It also seeks to reach the largest audience possible through publications, exhibitions, seminars and educational programs.
The Society was founded as a non-profit organization in 1971, by a dedicated group of individuals who realized the unique quality of Hartford’s Jewish community, and was the thirteenth local Jewish historical society to be established in the country. It is an outgrowth of the Jewish Cultural Committee of the Hartford Jewish Community Center which sponsored a successful traveling exhibit from the Jewish Museum in the fall of 1968. Realizing that interest in Jewish history was strong, the group collected old photographs and other memorabilia, and put together an exhibit showcasing Hartford’s East Side. The co-chairman of the Jewish Cultural Committee then brought several members to the annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society, and they decided to create a local society. After a period of volunteer leadership, the Society hired a paid director. There are now over 400 members and it continues to grow.
The organization has developed from an attic closet to a respected archival center. In the last five years, hundreds of participants have attended our educational and cultural programs, exhibitions, and workshops, including; The Jews of China, Nathan Margolis Furniture, the History of Mount Sinai Hospital, the Sophie Tucker Exhibit and the documentary “Pride, Honor, and Courage: Jewish Women Remember World War II”.
As the only repository of its kind in the area, the Society strives to heighten public awareness and understanding of the rich and vibrant history of the Jews of Hartford, along with their many contributions. No other organization is dedicated to both recording and telling this important story. Our programming, projects and outreach workshops reach an extensive audience from a wide-ranging geographical area, and our audience consists of all age groups, from school age children to senior adults.
The Society’s archives have been used by local high school and college students, as well as academic researchers and authors from throughout the country. Our archival images have been used in a number of films and several museum exhibits. Individuals have contacted the Society to learn more about their own families or to simply enhance their knowledge of local Jewish history. JHSGH exists to preserve the history of the Jews of Greater Hartford, and to disseminate this history through various informative means so that current and future generations will be encouraged to study and learn from the past.