return to Home page

   Jewish Cleveland before the Civil War


A study by Nancy F Schwartz and Stanley Lasky

To go to the list, click on the first initial of the last name:


About this important study


Why does it appear here?

Note: At the Western Reserve Historical Society this study is known as the Ante-Bellum Cleveland Jewish Immigrants Database.

 The Cleveland's Jewish community dates its birth to 1839 when a party of 15 Jews from the small town of Unsleben in German-speaking Bavaria arrived. They had been encouraged to come here by fellow Unslebener Simson Thorman.

To prepare for the celebration of Jewish Cleveland's 150th anniversary Nancy F Schwartz, who served as head of the Cleveland Jewish Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society from 1988 to 1995, and Stanley Lasky, PhD, who had taught history and been an administrator in the Cleveland Heights schools, worked for two years on an intensive study of antebellum Jewish Cleveland.

There were several outcomes:

  • This 26 page essay, published in the Journal of American Jewish History in 1994
  • A 20 page appendix published in the next issue of the AJH Journal in 1995. It analyzed some aspects of the community and listed  850 residents - more than twice as many as had been estimated.
  • a database (in Microsoft Access) of the 850 Jewish residents.
  • Computer printouts and notes, available in the WRHS Library as MSS 4516.
  • "FOUNDERS", a 1990 traveling exhibit that was designed by Morton Epstein.

This is the first time these pages have displayed a journal article in full. We do capture newspaper stories likely to disappear, require registration to view, or otherwise not be available and show them as images. Example: when the digital archive of the Cleveland Jewish News limited access to its archive to subscribers, we showed on these pages images of perhaps 100 (of its more than 500,000) stories.

The Schwartz - Lasky essay below was published by the American Jewish Historical Society which has been progressive in making its highly respected journal available on the web. In 2004 its ADAJE (the American Digital Archive of the Jewish Experience) enabled free access to its journal from its first issue (1892) through 1978. The full text of issues after 1995 is online through ProQuest, which is free when used through portals such as libraries.

There is no online access to American Jewish History journal issues after 1978 and before 1996.

This important essay published in 1994, its appendix published in 1995, and hundreds of other articles AJHS published 1979 - 1995 are not on the web.

For that reason we display the article below and have also posted the appendix with its precious list of 850 antebellum Jewish residents. These pages are valuable additions to our online history. 

Arnold Berger, editor


Top of Page      Appendix      Generations      CJH Home