Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Berman Fund

Fundraising campaign to raise $1.3 million to bring the total of the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Fund at the University of Minnesota to $2.5 million.

Purpose of fundraising

While the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives has grown in size, use, and visibility in the past nine years since the collection came to the University of Minnesota Libraries, there is still so much more that could be done. Currently, the Berman Fund only supports an archivist at 40% time, limiting their ability to fully support the growth of the collection and realize the vision of the collection’s founders. Annual distribution of a $2.5 million Berman Fund endowment will support salary and benefits of a full-time archivist for the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives collection in perpetuity.

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Collections in the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives are open to the public and are accessible at Elmer L. Andersen Library as part of the Archives and Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries.

The collections document the lives of Upper Midwest Jewish communities from the mid-19th century to the present. This includes the everyday lives of families, Jewish-run businesses, religious communities, and advocacy organizations. Materials include books, institutional administrative records, synagogue records, rabbi papers, family papers, correspondence, personal publications, scrapbooks, photographs, moving images, and more.

Select highlights in the collection include:

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Archivist's role

The role of the Archivist for the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives encompasses many aspects of work, and includes:

  • actively curating the selection, acquisition, and management of archival collections, a concerted and sometimes lengthy process between Archivist and donor
  • arranging large and small archival collections and preparing descriptive finding aids to make collections searchable and findable online
  • providing consultation and research services for faculty, students, and public researchers whoa re interested in the collection
  • conducting outreach through presentations and exhibits, as well as and hands-on instruction to campus and community
  • contribute to the goals and strategic initiatives of the Libraries and University through leadership of and/or active participation on committees, working groups, and task forces, including advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of the position

Key examples of some of the work undertaken by the Archivist includes:

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Impact of your gift

A gift will allow the archivist to devote additional time to the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. Once the full campaign goal of $1.3 million is reached and the archivist is able to dedicate 100% of their time to the collection, the archivist will be allowed more opportunities for:


  • Expand community outreach, foster new community partnerships with new organizations unfamiliar with the archives, and diversify the collection
  • Time to travel outside the Twin Cities (to Duluth, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and elsewhere) to build connections, raise awareness, and enhance the collection


  • Provide expanded research assistance to students, scholars, journalists, media representatives, writers, filmmakers, genealogists, and others seeking information and inspiration from the materials within the collection
  • Expand reach and awareness of the collection through digital exhibits and digital humanities projects, allowing people worldwide to experience the photographs, paper records, oral histories, and other rich, engaging, and unique materials within the collection
  • Increase awareness of the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives and its collections through more writing and scholarship


  • Grow connections with local Jewish day schools, and spend more time teaching about the collection and the history of the local and regional Jewish communities

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Quick statistics

Size of the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

approx. 1,400 cubic feet

Number of collections/items that have been donated since 2013


Largest single collection

137 cubic feet

(Jewish Community Relations Council records)

Oldest materials


(Charles Frisch collection)

Most used collection by researchers

Jewish Historical Project of North Dakota records

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Feedback on the impact of the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

Your work is fascinating and so important to our community—we can’t know where we are going unless we know where we’ve been.

--local Rabbi

Thank you so much. We appreciate your help and enthusiasm. This is my first time doing archives research, and I see why you have chosen it as a profession. It is exciting and moving to see the real materials, insider notes and letters, etc. which together encompass our community's history. I appreciate the care which your organization takes to ensure that the archives remain accessible and undamaged.

--community researcher

Thank you for the amazing visit! It was beyond what we hoped for, and the students just loved it! They thanked me for scheduling the visit and talked in the car...about how they want to visit the archive again. You made us feel so welcome, and your introduction to archival work was wonderful…. I'm reading the archive report and reflection that my students wrote for today, and they are stunning. They really show how much the students appreciated the visit and how much they learned from it.

--community professor

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Give now

Give online

Click the link below to give securely online through the University of Minnesota Foundation.

Make a gift

Give by mail

Checks can be made out to:

University of Minnesota Foundation

Memo: Berman Fund / UMF Fund #6401

Mailing address:

University of Minnesota Foundation

P.O. Box 860266

Minneapolis, MN 55486-0266

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Questions or more information

For questions about the collections with the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, contact Archivist Kate Dietrick at diet0134@umn.edu or 612-625-0192.

For financial questions about giving, contact Director of Development Heather Beaton at hbeaton@umn.edu or 612-624-8207.

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