Special projects

Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact ascref@umn.edu or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

History of Minnesota's Synagogues map

History of Minnesota's Synagogues Map project

In 1856, a group of German Jews established the first synagogue in Saint Paul, two years before Minnesota would receive statehood. As the population of Minnesota grew, more Jewish families immigrated to the Upper Midwest and established places of worship. These synagogues changed locations often, opened and closed, merged and broke away. This project aims to map the locations of synagogues and their corresponding cemeteries throughout Minnesota.

Near Northside Minneapolis map project

This map, created circa 1960 by Clarence Miller in partnership with the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, is part of the collection of the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota. The map illustrates an area of North Minneapolis, where many Jewish immigrant families lived, as it was during the 1920s. In this project we are attempting to pin information found online – from photos to oral histories – to locations illustrated on the map in order to better understand a neighborhood that has passed into memory.

Minnesota's Immigrants

The Minnesota's Immigrants project explores the stories of the citizens who have immigrated to Minnesota. Through the Minnesota Digital Libraries, the project pulls together different cultural organizations throughout the state to capture and expose the myriad stories of the citizens who make up Minnesota. The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives has contributed an oral history collection -- Soviet Women: "Old Lives, New Lives" Oral History project.
Why do people decide to leave the land of their birth and start over? What was life like for Jews in the Soviet Union and specifically for Jewish women? What did mothers want for their children? How did it feel to be labeled “Jew” in the Soviet Union and “Russian” in America? What do American Jews expect of newcomers and how realistic are these expectations? These were among the questions put to a group of women who entered the St. Paul Jewish community beginning in 1978. In the course of lengthy oral history interviews, the women--ranging in age and background--talked candidly about their lives, past and present.