Collections Overview

The Society's collections trace the history of the Jewish community in the greater Washington, D.C., area from the mid-19th century through the present day. Through personal and family papers, organizational and business records, congregation and synagogue archives, historical photographs, oral histories, ritual objects, and a reference library, the collections document the unique nature of life in and around Washington, D.C.—a history that is local, national, and international.

Help us preserve the community's history!

The Society seeks donations of personal and family papers, photographs, organizational records, ritual objects, oral histories, and other memorabilia documenting the local Jewish experience. Download a detailed listing of materials we're interested in. Your contributions to the collections will help preserve the history of the Jewish community for generations to come. To make a donation, contact an archivist at (202) 789-0900 or

Reference Library

The Society’s library houses biographical and reference files and over 100 books about local Jewish history, Washington, D.C. history, and American Jewish history. The library includes several publications on the history of specific organizations, congregations, and families within the greater Washington area, as well as the Society’s annual journal and other journals about American Jewish history.


The Society’s archival collections were moved off-site during preparations for our November 2016 building move and will remain closed for the next several months. Staff will have limited ability to answer research queries or fulfill reproduction requests.  Please search our online catalog any potentially relevant online exhibitions before contacting us at  We will try to respond to all research requests within 10 business days. More details about using the collections here.