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The Cleveland Jewish Society Books
The Jewish Independent "Blue Books" 1915 - 1925

Good news for citizen historians and family researchers!

Three editions of The Cleveland Jewish Society Book are now available online, and searchable, in the digital resources of the Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Library. Thanks to Jeff Morris for his initiative and to Bill Barrow, head of the library's Special Collections unit. 

  ●  Read the 1915 edition

  ●  Read the 1917 edition

  ●  Read the 1919 edition


In 2007 The Cleveland Jewish News began an annual publication "The SOURCE - Northeast Ohio's Guide to Jewish Living". Historically minded persons would be inclined to preserve them for they are our best overview of the Jewish community. Fortunately the Cleveland Jewish News online digital archive includes this publication.

Imagine having a community guide from a century ago, one that included most organizations, their history and objectives, the names of their officers and trustees and the names and addresses of members. How useful it could be for family research as well as for studies of history and community organization.

From 1915 - 1925 The Jewish Independent Publishing Company, publishers of the weekly newspaper of that name, did exactly that. They compiled and printed eight editions of these small, little-known treasures: The Cleveland Jewish Society Books. The books were free to subscribers, if they were picked up at the office.

This page presents a timeline, selected clippings, and suggestions as to where the "Blue Books" can be found.

See pages of the 1924-25 Jewish Society Book.

A Timeline of the Cleveland Jewish Society Books
Based on searches of The Jewish Independent

September 3, 1915

Call for information  (first mention)

January 21, 1916 Volume I "off the press"  Known as the 1915 edition.
March 10, 1917 Call for data for 1917 book
1918 not mentioned
February 7, 1919 Announce start of 1919 book, ask for veterans names, pictures
August 29, 1919 Volume II available (1919)
1920 not mentioned
June 3, 1921 first call for information
July 22,1921 Volume III available 
October 14, 1921 Volume IV available  more than 300 pages
August 11, 1922 Volume V 1922 edition available
October 12, 1923 Volume  V1  1923-24 edition available  320 pages cloth bound
November 7, 1924 Volume VII  1924-25 edition available
December 19, 1925 Volume VIII 1925-26 edition available
1926 not mentioned
1927 not mentioned
September 14, 1928 "Special New Year's feature" will include histories
This is the last time "Society Blue Book" is mentioned

  • Were volumes III and IV almost identical? Volume III was available only six weeks after the first call for information. Then, less than three months later, Volume IV is published.
  • A search of the Cleveland Jewish News Archive finds only one reference to the Jewish Society Books. They were the basis for a full page story on Jewish institutions on page 44 of the September 15, 1978 issue. To read that story, click here.

Selected  clippings from the Jewish Independent

The first mention of the new publication
The front page of The Jewish Independent of Friday, September 3, 1915 carried the first call to secretaries of Jewish organizations to provide information.

Two weeks later, September 17, 1915, it made a second announcement, also on the front page.

Soon the book would include a Kosher Cook Book section. It was available free to subscribers, on request, if they sent postage, Otherwise it cost $3.00, which was more than a $2.00 annual subscription. (Note - all issues we have seen from those early years were only eight pages.)  

From the The Jewish Independent' December 18, 1925

Below, the end of the Jewish Society Books
The 1928 Rosh Hashanah issue announces "A Special New Year's Feature".
Careful reading reveals that it is announcing the end of the Jewish Society Books.
This is the last time that the term "Society Book" can be found.

Above: from the front page of The Jewish Independent September 14, 1928 "Annual publication for 15 years" is not accurate. Over a ten year period there were eight issues. 

 Where can these Cleveland Jewish Society Books be found?
These books are in reference collections and may not be borrowed.
The Cuyahoga County Public Library, which serves the communities
where most of Greater Cleveland's Jews reside, has no copies at all.
Volume Years


Can be found at these libraries
I 1915 Jan 21, 1916 CLE  JGS  WRHS
II 1917 Aug 29, 1919 CLE  JGS  WRHS
III 1919 July 22, 1921 CLE  JGS  WRHS
IV 1921 Oct 14, 1921 CHUH  CLE  JGS  WRHS
V 1922 Aug 11, 1922 CLE  JGS  WRHS
VI 1923-24 Oct 12, 1923 CLE  JGS  WRHS
VII 1924-25 Nov 27, 1924 CLE  JGS 
VIII 1925-26 Dec 19, 1925 CLE  JGS  WRHS


CHUH  Cleveland Heights University Heights
Cleveland Public Library (off site Reference)
Jewish Genealogy Society (in the library of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple)
WRHS  Western Reserve Historical Society (University Circle)

To view pages from the 1924-25 Jewish Society Book. click here.

For the Jewish Society Blue Books online at the Cleveland State Library
1915 edition            1917 edition         
1919 edition


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