Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

History of the Archives

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

L-R: Jan Berman, Theresa Berman, Sharon Berman Snyder, Phillip Snyder

The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives collection began in 1984 with the establishment of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, a far-sighted group of Jewish community members concerned about preserving the records, photographs and stories of the earliest Jewish settlers in the Midwest. The collection grew as individuals and local organizations donated their materials to preserve their history. In 2001, former Governor Elmer L. Andersen extended an invitation to the JHSUM to place parts of its collections at the library bearing his name.

In 2002 JHSUM founders Nathan and Theresa Berman created an endowment for the collections at the Andersen Library, and the archives were named for them as a permanent memorial to their vision. At the time, only a portion of the collection resided at the University of Minnesota. Finally, in 2012 the remaining portions of the collection were donated, creating a major research collection on Jewish history, communities, religion, and culture in the Upper Midwest. The reunited collections now comprise more than 1,200 cubic feet of material and will form 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.