Anna Greenberg Family Papers and Photographs (MSS 1010)


Materials relevant to Jewish history in Western Pennsylvania can be found at many repositories in Pittsburgh as well as other cities around the world and also at various websites. To find useful information, it helps to know where records are kept, as well as the most effective strategies for searching those repositories.

Rauh Jewish Archives

What it is

The Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center was founded in 1988 as a central repository for archival records documenting the Jewish experience in Western Pennsylvania. The archive currently contains more than 1,500 collections documenting many aspects of Jewish life throughout Western Pennsylvania.

The Rauh Jewish Archives is housed in the Detre Library & Archives of the Heinz History Center. The Detre Library & Archives contains thousands of collections covering the entirety of Western Pennsylvania. Even when those collections are not explicitly Jewish, they can sometimes prove useful for those researching Jewish subjects.

While many useful resources can be found online, the vast majority of the Rauh Jewish Archives’ collections are not yet digitized but are available for in-person research. The Detre Library & Archives reading room is open to researchers Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and other times by appointment. Admission to the reading room is free but does not include access to exhibits throughout the museum.

The Library & Archives welcomes walk-in visitors during normal business hours but encourages researchers to call ahead to discuss projects.

How to use it

To find materials in the Rauh Jewish Archives, start by searching this website. It contains hundreds of exhibits, links to materials in other collections, and research tools such as the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Cemetery Project.

Then, search the Detre Library & Archives catalog. The catalog includes short records of all the holdings currently available for research. It is the only place to locate books and smaller collections, and it provides access to linkable subject headings and other useful search terms.

While the catalog provides links to finding aids, it does not search their contents. Therefore, it can be helpful to search finding aids on Historic Pittsburgh. Finding aids are typically created for larger collections. They provide a more detailed description of collections than catalog records. 

It can also be helpful to search the Heinz History Center’s eMuseum. This ever-growing artifact collection contains hundreds of Jewish objects. 

You can also search the archives of the Heinz History Center’s long-running publication “Western Pennsylvania History” to find scholarly articles about many regional Jewish subjects.

University of Pittsburgh

What it is

The University of Pittsburgh’s Archives & Special Collections was founded in 1961 as the Archives of Industrial Society. Since its founding, it has focused on the ethnic and communal history of Western Pennsylvania, including the Jewish population of the region. Archives & Special Collections holds many collections of Jewish people and organizations, including the National Council of Jewish Women-Pittsburgh Section and the local branch of the Jewish Labor Committee.

The University of Pittsburgh also hosts the website Historic Pittsburgh, which brings together collections from more than a dozen repositories throughout the region. The website hosts the National Council of Jewish Women Oral History Project, which contains more than 500 recordings with a variety of local Jewish people.

How To Use It

To find materials held by the University of Pittsburgh, start by searching the Archives & Special Collections catalog. Next, search the finding aids published at Historic Pittsburgh. Finally, for more thorough research projects, search the PittCat catalog, which includes catalog records for materials from other repositories throughout the university system.

The Archives & Special Collections reading room on Thomas Blvd. is currently open by appointment with 48 hours notice.

American Jewish Archives

What It Is

The American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio was founded in 1947 by Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus. Dr. Marcus was born and raised in small towns in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He was a history professor, and he maintained contact with his former students as they accepted rabbinic pulpits around the country. He used those contacts to build the foundations of the archive, which took particular interest in Jewish communities in big cities west of the Allegheny Mountains, in small towns throughout North America, and in Jewish communities in the Caribbean.

The American Jewish Archives currently holds more than 200 collections relevant to the Jewish history of the greater Pittsburgh area and to dozens of small-town Jewish communities throughout Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia. It also contains the records of several national organizations with a presence in this region. Its long-running American Jewish Archives Journal is a useful resource for finding scholarly articles about a variety of subjects.

How To Use It

To find materials in the American Jewish Archives, start by searching its catalog. The catalog contains records and finding aids for more than 200 collections relevant to the Jewish history of the greater Pittsburgh area, including many prominent people, dozens of small-town Jewish communities throughout Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia, as well as national organizations with a local presence.

The contents of these collections is rarely available online. To review the actual materials, researchers can either visit the archive in person for free or request reproductions for a fee.

Back issues of the long-running American Jewish Archives Journal are also available online. The journal is a useful resource for finding scholarly articles about a variety of subjects.  The Isaac Mayer Wise Digital Archive collects correspondence, writings and photographs of the pioneering Reform rabbi. It can be a useful resource for researching 19th-century Jewish subjects.

Rodef Shalom Congregation

What It Is

Rodef Shalom Congregation is the oldest Jewish congregation in Western Pennsylvania. Its spiritual leaders, lay leaders and members have played an important role in Western Pennsylvania history, both within the local Jewish population and also within the broader civic community.

The Rodef Shalom Archives contains the records of the congregation back to its earliest days, as well as papers from several of its best-known leaders: Rabbi J. Leonard Levy, Rabbi Samuel H. Goldenson, Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof, Rabbi Walter Jacob, and Rabbi Mark Staitman.

The Rodef Shalom Archives is open remotely for research request and by appointment for research visits. Researchers should contact archivist Martha Berg to discuss research needs and to schedule a visit to review materials in person.

American Jewish Historical Society

The American Jewish Historical Society was founded in 1892 and is now the “oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States,” according to its website. The large archive is strongest when it comes to documenting east coast Jewish communities, although it also holds many books and a few small collections of interest to scholars researching Western Pennsylvania. Some records of local interest can also be found within the collections of large national Jewish organizations, such the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement.

The American Jewish Historical Society is part of the Center for Jewish History, which also includes the American Sephardi Federation (ASF), the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI), the Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Some of these organizations also hold records of interest to local researchers.

The Center for Jewish History catalog includes records of materials from all five of its member institutions as well as other repositories around the world.  While some of those materials are available online, most require researchers to schedule an in-person visit or request reproductions for a fee. The Center for Jewish History requires researchers to register for a free account for visiting the archive in person.

The Center for Jewish History also maintains a collection of useful research databases.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University Libraries began digitizing collections in 1997 and currently provides online access to 2 million pages and 390,000 items from its collections. In addition to institutional and organizational records with Jewish connections, CMU hosts the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project. The project contains digitized, fully searchable scans of four English language Jewish newspapers published in Pittsburgh between 1895 and 2010.

The Carnegie Mellon University Digital Collections catalog searches materials from dozens of collections held by the university. Search results can then be filtered by collection, by date, by genre, and by subject, and also sorted in various ways.

Research Tools

Western Pennsylvania Cemetery Project

The Rauh Jewish Archives launched the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Cemetery Project in 1998 to preserve burial records from Jewish cemeteries across the region. Over a period of fifteen years, the information was compiled into a searchable, online database containing approximately 50,000 burial records from 78 Jewish cemeteries throughout the region.

Western Pennsylvania Yahrzeit Plaques Project

The Rauh Jewish Archives launched the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Cemetery Project in 1998 to preserve burial records from Jewish cemeteries across the region. Over a period of fifteen years, the information was compiled into a searchable, online database containing approximately 50,000 burial records from 78 Jewish cemeteries throughout the region.

Western Pennsylvania Jewish Population Estimates

Looking to figure out how many Jews lived in a certain part of Western Pennsylvania at a certain moment in time? This bibliography includes more than 30 estimates of the Jewish population of Pittsburgh and small-towns throughout the region, conducted between 1852 and 2017.

Western Pennsylvania Synagogue Database

A database of buildings throughout Allegheny County known to have hosted Jewish worship services. Includes links to photographs and citations with original source material.

Rauh Jewish Archives Bibliography

University of Pittsburgh librarian and Rauh Jewish Archives volunteer Laurie Cohen created this comprehensive bibliography of the Rauh Jewish Archives library holdings from 1988 through 2018. It lists nearly 350 volumes arranged by type and then by subject. This a great tool to use early in your research process, as you’re surveying available resources on a given subject.

Rauh Jewish Archives Newsletter

The Rauh Jewish Archives has been publishing a weekly newsletter since 2020. The newsletter contains a variety of articles about local Jewish history, including much original research not found anywhere else. You can find and read every issue—more than 150!— in our new index.

Shul Records America

Online finding aid from JewishGen listing congregational archival collections held at publicly accessible repositories across the United States. Includes 63 listings from the Rauh Jewish Archives, as well as other repositories with Western Pennsylvania congregational records.



The first English-language Jewish newspapers in the United States began in the second half of the 19th century and regularly covered the affairs of the small Jewish population of Western Pennsylvania. These newspapers include “The Occident and American Jewish Advocate” out of Philadelphia and “The American Israelite” out of Cincinnati. These newspapers are especially useful for documenting Jewish activities in Western Pennsylvania before local newspapers began in the late 1880s and late 1890s.

A run of “The Occident and American Jewish Advocate” from 1843 to 1869 is available without a subscription at the National Library of Israel. A run of the “The American Israelite” from 1854 to 2019 is available with a subscription to

“Der Volksfreund" was the first locally printed newspaper to cover the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. It was a weekly Yiddish publication with an occasional Hebrew supplement, published from 1889 until 1922. Its editorial perspective was closely aligned with religious Zionism. The paper was written, edited, printed, and distributed almost entirely by Joseph Selig Glick.

Following Glick’s death in 1922, Louis Yale Borkon acquired “Der Volksfreund” and renamed the newspaper “Der Fihrer (The Jewish Leader).” It later evolved into “The Jewish Pictorial Leader,” a short-lived English monthly (before 1949-after 1954). Borkon was also the editor of the locally produced “Der Ṿegṿayzer (The Jewish Indicator),” a Yiddish newspaper with an English supplement published in the 1920s and early 1930s.

The University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections holds microfilm reproductions of the surviving issues of “Der Volksfreund," “Der Idisher Volksfreund," “Der Ṿegṿayzer/The Jewish Indicator," “Der Fihrer/The Jewish Leader," “Ṿegṿayzer," and “The Jewish Pictorial Leader.

In addition to these local Yiddish publications, Pittsburgh was home to a regional branch of the national Jewish Daily Forward. The local office opened as early as 1918 and continued in some capacity into the 1980s. It secured local advertising and wrote briefs to accompany the international news coming out of the New York office. The Pittsburgh edition had two managing editors during its run, Julius Weisberg and Bess Topolsky.

A run of the “Jewish Daily Forward" from 1897 to 1979 can be found at the National Library of Israel. Some of the issues included on the website appear to have come from the Pittsburgh office.

In the late 1880s, the “Cleveland Hebrew Observer” hired Charles H. Joseph as a Pittsburgh correspondent to contribute social news out of Western Pennsylvania. The “Cleveland Hebrew Observer” is available online through the Cleveland Jewish News archive.

“The Jewish Criterion" was the first English-language Jewish newspaper in Western Pennsylvania. Steinfirst & Mayer began publishing the weekly newspaper in February 1895. It was subsequently published by Charles H. Joseph and later by David and Sadie Alter. It was closely associated with the local Reform community in its early years but expanded its coverage over time to include other segments of the Jewish community.

“The American Jewish Outlook" began in 1936 under editor Dr. Asher Isaacs. Like the “Jewish Criterion," it was also a weekly English publication but attempted to be more sympathetic to the interests of Orthodox elements within the local Jewish community.

The United Jewish Federation acquired the “Jewish Criterion" and the “American Jewish Outlook" in 1962 and subsequently launched a new publication called the “Jewish Chronicle." It continues to publish weekly in English as the “Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle" in print and online.

In addition to these newspapers covering the entire regional Jewish community, the Young Men’s & Women’s Hebrew Association published a weekly newspaper covering its own activities. The Y Weekly series runs from 1926 through 1976 under various titles: “Y.M. & M.H.A. weekly" (1926-1961), “Weekly" (1961-1970), “Y-IKC News" (1971-1975), and Jewish Community Center news (1975-1976).

A nearly complete run of “The Jewish Criterion,” “The American Jewish Outlook,” “The Jewish Chronicle,” and the Y Weekly series are available online at the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project, which is hosted by the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries.

A print run of the “Jewish Criterion" is available at the Rodef Shalom Congregation Archives. Print runs of the the “American Jewish Outlook," the “Jewish Chronicle," and the Y Weekly series can be found at the Rauh Jewish Archives.

Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project

The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project contains four English-language Jewish newspapers covering Western Pennsylvania. The free, online, searchable repository includes the “Jewish Criterion" (1895-1962), the “American Jewish Outlook" (1934-1962), the “Jewish Chronicle" (1962-2010) and the Y Weekly series (1926-1976). The repository is hosted by Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

For a primer on using the website, watch this video.

For access to the print editions of these publications:

  • “The Jewish Criterion" (Rodef Shalom Congregation Archives).
  • “The American Jewish Outlook" (catalog record—Rauh Jewish Archives).
  • “The Jewish Chronicle" (catalog record—Rauh Jewish Archives).
  • Y.M. & M.H.A. weekly (1926-1961) (catalog record—Rauh Jewish Archives).
  • Weekly (1961-1970) (catalog record—Rauh Jewish Archives).
  • Y-IKC News (1971-1975) (catalog record—Rauh Jewish Archives).
  • Jewish Community Center news (1975-1976) (catalog record—Rauh Jewish Archives). is a subscription service offering online access to historic newspapers from all over the world. The collection is especially rich for Western Pennsylvania. It includes the largest daily and weekly newspapers from Pittsburgh. It also includes newspapers for various small towns throughout the region, including Altoona, Bedford, Bellefonte, Blairsville, Brookville, Butler, Canonsburg, Charleroi, Clarion, Clearfield, Connellsville, DuBois, Ellwood City, Erie, Franklin, Greenville, Huntingdon, Indiana, Johnstown, Kane, Kittanning, Latrobe, Ligonier, Lock Haven, Meadville, Meyersdale, Monessen, Monongahela, New Bethlehem, New Castle, the North Hills, Oil City, Punxsutawney, Reynoldsville, Somerset, Titusville, Tyrone, Uniontown, Warren, Washington, and Waynesburg, among others. It also includes back issues of the American Israelite. is thorough but not comprehensive. It does not contain every newspaper from a given location or every issue of a given publication. can be used for free in the reading room of the Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

The Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh contains the largest collection of historic newspapers covering Western Pennsylvania. The collection is located in the Pennsylvania Room on the third floor of the main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland. A complete list of publications can be found here. Publications can be viewed in the Pennsylvanian Room using microfilm readers.

Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center

The Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center holds a large selection of newspapers from all across Western Pennsylvania, including many titles not available online. To review the collection, search “Newspaper" in the library catalog

University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections

The University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections holds many newspapers of interest to Jewish research about Western Pennsylvania.

The repository holds a run of the local Yiddish newspaper Der Volksfreund, as well as issues of its many successor publications.

Student Newspapers

“The Pitt News" is the student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh. It began in 1910 as the “Pitt Weekly" and became the “Pitt News" in 1932. The University Library System maintains a digital archive of the newspaper from 1910 through 2019.

“The Tartan" is the student newspaper of Carnegie Mellon University and began printing in 1906. The University Archives maintains a near-complete digital repository of the newspaper from 1906-1994.

The “Duquesne Duke" is the student newspaper at Duquesne University and began printing in 1925. The Gumberg Library maintains a digital repository of the newspaper from 1925 to 2010, as well as other university publications dating back to 1894.

“The Foreword" is the student newspaper of Taylor Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill. The Rauh Jewish Archives maintains a near-complete run of the publication in print and on microfilm. The collection is not yet digitized but is available for research.

Chronicling America

Chronicling America is a repository of information about American newspapers published since 1690. The website was created by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. It includes digitized issues from nearly 4,000 newspapers in all 50 states, as well as a searchable directory of more than 150,000 newspaper titles.

Pennsylvania Newspaper Archive

The Pennsylvania Newspaper Archive is a repository of information about newspapers published in Pennsylvania since colonial times. The website is managed by Penn State University Libraries. It includes information about newspapers from all 67 counties in the commonwealth, as well as some digitized issues.

National Library of Israel

The National Library of Israel maintains a large collection of historic Jewish newspapers from around the world. The collection currently contains nearly 5 million pages covering 240 years of news in 25 languages, including several relevant to Western Pennsylvania such as “The Occident and American Jewish Advocate," “The Asmonean," “The Reform Advocate," “The Jewish Daily Forward," and “The B’nai B’rith Messanger."

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (also known by its acronym JTA) is a wire service covering Jewish news from around the world since 1917. Its archive includes coverage from Western Pennsylvania, including original reporting found nowhere else.

Judaic Libraries

The Rabbi Herman Hailperin Collection

Rabbi Herman Hailperin of Tree of Life Congregation donated his private library to Duquesne University in 1968 with a dedication in 1969. The original collection included more than 2,600 items “exploring the influence of Jewish scholars on Catholic scholars as well as theological issues during the Middle Ages.” Among various additions over the years, Dr. Solomon B. Freehof of Rodef Shalom Congregation later added 150 volumes.

The Gertrude and Philip Hoffman Judaic Collection

In conjunction with the development of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1970s, university librarians began developing new Judaic collections on campus to support future scholarship. The Hoffman family established the Gertrude and Philip Hoffman Judaic Collection and an associated purchasing fund in December 1971. The collection currently contains more than 5,000 titles covering a broad array of topics relevant to the Jewish experience in America and around the world.

Shortly after the Hoffman Judaic Collection was announced, Harold Obernauer donated 179 volumes from his private Judaic collection to the University of Pittsburgh. He had previously given Hillman Library a complete run of National Geographic from 1888.

Around the same time, in January 1972, Rabbi Abba Leiter allowed Hillman Library to borrow a selection of rare Hebrew works from the library of his father Rabbi Wolf Leiter, who was a leading Talmudic scholar and elder statesman of the Pittsburgh rabbinate.

The Hirshfield Judaica Collection

Dean Hirschfield created a $10,000 endowment for a new Judaica Library at Carnegie Mellon University in January 1972. The United Jewish Federation also underwrote a lecture series at the school in association with the development of the library.


The Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh was founded in 1983 to help people to reconnect with their Jewish ancestry in Western Pennsylvania as well as their ancestral homelands around the world. The organization hosts a robust calendar of programming, produces a monthly newsletter “Z’chor," and organizes forums for discussion of genealogical subjects through its social media platforms and its online Family Finder tool. It is a member of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

Three Rivers Archivists is a professional advocacy group committed to supporting archivists and allied professionals in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. It maintains a database of archival repositories throughout greater Pittsburgh.

JewishGen is a global resource for Jewish genealogy, containing millions of documents and resources for tracing ancestors all over the world.


Historic Pittsburgh collects digitized materials docuemnting a wide range of subjects relevant to Western Pennsylvania history. The website was launched in 1999 and now contains materials from more than a dozen repositories throughout the region. It is particularly useful for its collection of city directorieshistoric mapsbooks, and newspapers, as well as thousands of images from the Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection. The website hosts the National Council of Jewish Women Oral History Project, which contains more than 500 recordings with a wide variety of local Jewish people. It also contains finding aids for collections held at the University of Pittsburgh, the Heinz History Center, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and other large repositories throughout the region.

Pittsburgh Historic Maps overlays two centuries of maps and satellite imagery over the current street grid. It is useful for documenting the changes to a specific location or address over time.

Retrographer maps images from the Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection onto the current street grid. It is useful for finding historic images of specific addresses and neighborhoods.

Homestead Hebrews compiles records and collects original research from the former Jewish community of Homestead. The site includes nearly records for nearly 7,000 individual members of the community. 


  • Published: December 14, 2021
  • Current: March 7, 2024