Page 44 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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38
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
or patriotic books which appeared regularly. In addition, local
congregations and communities frequently celebrated ann iver­
sary occasions which spared little in the ir inclusion o f every name
o f purely local interest. This picture has changed perceptibly as
the local Jewish historical societies have themselves become p ro ­
fessionalized and a new generation o f historians has jo in ed the
ranks o f the few senior scholars.
Many o f the trends, emphases and approaches to American
Jewish history which are now receiving more serious atten tion
were alluded to in scattered essays by the dean o f Jewish histo­
rians Salo Baron. These essays on Juda ica Americana were col­
lected and anthologized in
Steeled by Adversity: Essays and Addresses
(Philadelphia, 1971). The colonial period has received its defin i­
tive historical trea tm en t in the 3-volume
The Colonial American
Jew, 1492-1776
(Detroit, 1970) by Jacob Rader Marcus. T h e
period o f the mass European Jewish migration to America follow­
ing the Russian pogroms of 1881, is the focus o f the much
acclaimed
World of Our Fathers
by Irving Howe (New York, 1976).
This richly endowed book reconstructs the cultural, political and
social life o f the lower East Side o f New York on the broadest
historical canvas. A more circumscribed study o f only one aspect
o f that community adjustment, the
kehillah
experiment in com­
munity organization, is the subject o f A r thu r Goren’s
New York
Jews and the Quest fo r Community: the Kehillah Experiment, 1908 -
1922
(New York, 1970).
More recent studies in American Jewish history have been
marked by the ir excellent utilization o f the new methodologies o f
quantification and employment o f new approaches and sources.
Two important works distinguished in this respect are
When
Harlem was Jewish, 1870-1930
by Jeffrey Gurock (New York,
1979), a study relying heavily upon the employment o f census
data to examine Jewish residence and mobility patterns in early
twentieth century New York, and
Strangers within the Gate City: the
Jews o f Atlanta, 1845-1915
(Ph ilade lph ia , 1978) by Steven
Hertzberg.
The field o f American Jewish history appears to be one in
which many excellent publications can be anticipated in the p re ­
sent decade. Local encouragement, improved archival p reserva­
tion and variegated scholarly activities o f local historical societies
combined with an active cadre o f young scholars have made