History of the Archives

Until further notice, the University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only and appointments are limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit to enable us to page and quarantine collection materials before use.

Please contact ascref@umn.edu for assistance or, if known, the curator of the collecting area you wish to use. We will continue to provide scans of requested research materials whenever possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.


Berman Family members visit the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives










Photo taken during open house to commemorate the Berman's gift to the University of Minnesota Libraries. Left to right: Jan Berman, Theresa Berman, Sharon Berman Snyder, Phillip Snyder

The history of the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives began in 1984 with the establishment of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest (JHSUM). This group of Jewish community members were concerned about preserving the stories of the earliest Jewish settlers in the Midwest. They began collecting materials from individuals and local organizations who donated their materials to preserve their history. Located at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park, JHSUM hosted events, put up exhibits, published journals, as well as collecting archival materials and making them available to researchers. In 2001, former Governor Elmer L. Andersen extended an invitation to JHSUM to place parts of its collections with the University of Minnesota Libraries.

In 2002, JHSUM founders Nathan and Theresa Berman created an endowment for portions of the JHSUM collections to reside at the University of Minnesota Libraries, and the archives were named the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives as a permanent memorial to their vision. From 2002 to 2012, only a portion of JHSUM's collections were donated to create the Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. Finally, in 2012 the remaining portions of the collections were donated. The materials, now under the umbrella of the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, now serve as a valuable resource for historical research, exhibitions, and public programming. The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives continues to work together with the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest in programming, outreach, and research.