B’nai B’rith to relocate D.C. archives to Cincinnati

NEW YORK (JTA) — The archives of B’nai B’rith will be relocated from Washington, D.C. to Cincinnati, the organization announced.

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The organization’s collection, including its Holocaust and Related Materials Archives, will have a new home at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. 

Founded in New York in 1843, B’nai B’rith houses a myriad of important documents chronicling more than 150 years of Jewish history, including some items dating back to the 1700s. Historian Jonathan Sarna, a Brandeis University professor and JTA Board member, has called B’nai B’rith “the most important Jewish fraternal organization in American Jewish history.”

Some B’nai B’rith documents already reside in Cincinnati, which served as the organization’s headquarters from 1925 to 1938 during the tenure of Alfred M. Cohen as president. 

Recently, the organization’s archives were a key player in an investigative series by Jewish Daily Forward reporter Paul Berger.
In June 2011, Berger reported that a 1790 letter written by George Washington was on display in B’nai B’rith’s Klutznick Museum until 2002, when the organization relocated to smaller offices. The letter, addressed the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island, was subsequently locked in B’nai B’rith storage at the request of the owner. The Washington letter was released earlier in May.

“Once we moved from our former headquarters building it was regrettable this treasure trove of material was not as accessible as we would have liked and we are delighted that this is no longer the case,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs in a statement.

The American Jewish Archives is located on the Cincinnati, Ohio campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

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