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The Jewish Heritage Collection documents Jewish history and culture in the American South, with an emphasis on South Carolina, from colonial times to present day. The archives grows out of an active program of collection, field work, and public education that was inaugurated in January 1995 by the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, the College of Charleston’s Jewish Studies Program, and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina. Project staff spearheaded research and development of a major museum exhibition, A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life, that opened at McKissick in January 2002, beginning a two-year national tour. In 2000 the collection’s scope expanded to include the Holocaust, with contributions from survivors, liberators, and other eyewitnesses with ties to South Carolina. In 2007 Irene Rosenthall, widow of Rabbi William A. Rosenthall, donated her husband’s internationally important collection of Judaica, assembled over his lifetime, as well as his professional and research papers.

The Jewish Heritage Collection is located in Special Collections on the third floor of the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library. Content includes oral histories, manuscripts, artifacts, photographs, genealogies, memoirs, home movies, and other primary sources. Researchers can access inventories and descriptions of archival materials through the College of Charleston library catalog or the Special Collections homepage. A growing number of collection items and oral histories have been digitized and are available for viewing online at the Lowcountry Digital Library.

One of the strengths of the collection is the Oral History Archives, which consists of nearly 600 recordings. Click on our Oral History Archives tab to see a comprehensive list of interviewees, panelists, and speakers. Select the Stories tab to read excerpts from transcripts and see how religion and regional culture have accommodated one another and occasionally clashed. See our Field Work Files tab for a searchable vertical files database. For more online resources, go to the Research Guides tab.

In-person access to the Special Collections Reading Room is currently by appointment only. To be eligible for conducting research on site, patrons must show proof of their status as a member of the College of Charleston student body, faculty, or staff; College of Charleston Friends of the Library; or South Carolina Historical Society. For more information about visits, see the Special Collections website or call 843.953.8016.

We welcome inquiries from all users, regardless of affiliation. Researchers can get in touch with Special Collections reference professionals using the Ask Us form on our website or via email, specialcollections@cofc.edu.

If you have family photos, papers, or artifacts that you want to preserve for posterity, please contact Dale Rosengarten, curator, at 843.953.8028 or rosengartend@cofc.edu

Location: Special Collections • Addlestone Library • 205 Calhoun St. • College of Charleston • Charleston, SC 29401

Mailing address: Special Collections, Addlestone Library, 66 George St., College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424