Collection 6 - Photographs

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  • 187- - present (Creation)
    Saint John Jewish community. Photographs.

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6 m of records

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(Jewish immigrants first arrived in Saint John in 1858)

Administrative history

The photographic history of the Saint John Jewish Community is particularly rich. Nearly every aspect of community and personal life has been preserved in these collections. We have also been particularly fortunate in being able to have many photographs copied from the originals to provide the focus of annual displays in the museum. They also provide an additional source for researchers. In many cases we have the original photograph, at least one copy, and a negative. There is also a small collection of slides.

The photograph collection has been divided into a number of sections to correspond with other fonds. A brief description of each of these sections follows :

Personal Collections is made up a number of personal or family collections of photographs. In many cases they represent a chronicle of one person's life experiences or a family history as seen through photographs. There are a number of photo albums kept by individuals. A separate collection of photographs compiled by the Jewish Museum in its early days has also been placed in this section. Most of these photographs are copies of photos found elsewhere in the photograph collections or are compilations of photos borrowed from members of the Saint John Jewish Community.

Synagogue photographs include images of the buildings, rabbis, board members and presidents, community events, weddings, and gravestones.

Photographs of Organizations include images related to many of the Jewish organizations that had existed in Saint John.

Community photographs include photographs of the city in general (including streets, buildings, schools), businesses and servicemen and servicewomen as well as photographs taken at the 1984 Koom Ahaim Reunion.

Photographs of Families and Individuals include professional portraits and family snapshots of Jewish community members.

Many of the slides in the fonds formed the core of the slide shows presented between 1982 and 1991 by Marcia Koven to show the history of this diminishing community to a number of groups, including former community members now living elsewhere. It should be noted that although many of the slides are copies of photographs located elsewhere, there are others that are unique to this section.

Custodial history

The Saint John Jewish Historical Society began to collect material on the history of the Saint John Jewish community in 1982. The collection was originally housed in a small art studio on Canterbury Street in Saint John before the opening of the Museum in July 1986 in the Jewish Community Centre on Wellington Row. Formal cataloguing of the collection began in 1986. The archives is stored in a dedicated archival space in the Museum’s current location at 91 Leinster Street and regular additions of material are made.

Scope and content

The fonds includes mostly original photographs of various sizes and formats, including professional and amateur images. There are black and white copies and negatives for many pictures acquired before the mid 1990s; these were produced by the Heritage Branch, when funding for the duplication of photographs was readily available. These copies were used for displays in the Museum. More recently photographs have been digitally scanned and stored electronically – this is particularly the case for photographs which have been loaned to the museum for brief periods of time for exhibits or research.

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Almost all of the photographs have been donated by Jewish family members. Some have been donated in response to requests for particular photographs to complete an exhibit in the Museum.


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There are no restrictions. Generally material must be consulted on site or through correspondence with the curator.

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A finding aid is available, however, the information is under review and revision and an updated version should be available in 2014

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