t was exciting
to think that we were going to help with the re-housing of the
New Mexico Jewish Historical Society's archives. We had volunteered
our services, and we were ready to begin. A New Mexico Historical
Records Advisory Board grant provided the funds to hire Certified
Archivist Daphne S.O. Arnaiz-DeLeon to create a collection management
policy. This policy provided the information needed to begin
the re-housing. The collection is housed in Santa Fe at the
New Mexico State Records Center and Archives located just off
Cerrillos Road at 1205 Camino Carlos Rey.
Claire Grossman, NMJHS Archives Project Manager,
held an orientation meeting in December at which Daphne explained
to us our role in the process. In January we eagerly began our
the oil from our hands would contribute to
the deterioration of the precious materials, we learned that
we must always don white cotton gloves before beginning our tasks.
Boxes were wheeled out on a cart and each volunteer took charge
of a box. On the outside of the box was the name of the individual,
family or organization whose papers it housed. Inside the box
were acid-free manila folders containing papers, photographs,
deeds, letters, etc. On each folder we wrote the name of the
family or organization, a brief description of the contents and,
if available, dates.
Occasionally we took a moment from our task
to show our fellow volunteers something quaint or unusual. Often,
the donated items piqued our curiosity and we wished to know
more about the people. Sometimes, in the brief time working
with each folder, we did get some insight into the lives and
history it contained.
were occasionally frustrated when we went
through a stack of photographs to find only one or two dates
or names among dozens of pictures! Who is this young couple
- their wedding picture to be sure - taken (one would guess)
some time in the 1940s...by a studio in Toledo, Ohio. And, who
is this adorable little girl with her arm around a dog? Who
are these stylishly dressed young women, posing happily in a
park on a summer's day. Where is the park? It could be the
park in the old plaza in Las Vegas. When were these pictures
taken? Close examination of the clothing indicates the late
twenties. Oh, why didn't someone take the time to write names,
places and dates on the back, so these people would not forever
Time flew and soon we had finished our two-hour
stint. The next week, we were scheduled to place the photographs
and negatives in Mylar sleeves. This would allow patrons to
view the images without damaging them.
he New Mexico
Jewish Historical Society is moving forward this year. Under
new and inspired leadership, we are making some very significant
Among the more important changes are the following:
1. All of the Officers and most of the members of the Board of
Directors are resident in the State of New Mexico.
2. We have established an office within the offices of the Jewish
Federation of Greater Albuquerque located in the Albuquerque
Jewish Community Center on 5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Albuquerque,
NM 87109. The JFGA, as part of our arrangement, is providing
part time secretarial assistance to us so that we can serve our
3. We have a more representative Board of
Directors. We have more people from Albuquerque and we have brought
onto the Board "younger blood". These involved and
dedicated people bring with them fresh new ideas and a level
of involvement that will enable this Society to move ahead and
fulfill its mission as well as its obligation to all the members.
4. We are proceeding with our oral/video history project and
have formed an alliance with the University of New Mexico to
help this project meet its goal of recording the family histories
of pioneer Jewish New Mexicans from the recollections of the
members of those families living today.
5. We are embarking on a membership drive
throughout the entire state of New Mexico to broaden the involvement
of areas outside of Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
6. The Society has been working diligently
to formally archive our records in conjunction with the New Mexico
State Archives located in Santa Fe and we have applied for and
received State grants to help finance this project.
7. We are producing our newsletter locally in order to bring
you more frequent information about Society's activities at reduced
Plans for our Annual Conference in November,
2001 are well under way and we all look forward to it. More
detailed information on this conference will be forthcoming in
a future communication to you.
If you can and are willing to help us in any
of the above activities, call me at my home in Santa Fe, (505)820-7279,
or toll-free if you are outside of Santa Fe at (866)820-7714.