In the early stages of research for my project on the Great Uprising of 20,000 in 1909, protesting the working conditions of garment workers in New York in the early nineteenth century, the Jewish Women’s Archives has been very helpful.
The Archive website has a lot of interesting features and the organization is interested in both the past and the present. The website features educational programs, research assistance and current event blogs. A number of the features on the site allow visitor contribution, such as the blog entitled Jewesses with Attitude, written by a number of contributors. There is a map of places where significant Jewish women lived or event significant to Jewish women have occurred and visitors are encouraged to add places and information. The site also contains several exhibits relating to Jewish women. The “Women of Valor” exhibit is little more than a collection of photographs of Jewish women with captions.
On the other hand, the “Feminism” exhibit is more dynamic; it features a timeline of feminist events, an exploration of different themes of feminism and the opportunity to search through the objects and stories of Jewish feminists. The JWA has also partnered with the Center for History and New Media to create an archive of information, photos and oral histories of Jewish women affected by Hurricane Katrina on the Katrina’s Jewish Voices Archive. The various online collections, features and information housed by the JWA are impressive and I could have spent hours exploring.
In the Research section of the Archive website, I was able to search for prominent Jewish women involved in the labor movement in the early twentieth century, such as Rose Schneiderman and Clara Lemlich. The biographies are well written and easy to understand. The bibliography of the bio entry was helpful for me because it has directed me to books and other articles on Clara Lemlich to continue my research. Like our own projects, the encyclopedia pages are tagged with broad keywords to find related entries. There are also links to find more information about the person on JWA.org. For example, Clara Lemlich also appears in other sections of the archive and there are links to other features. From her Biography, I can find photos of her in the “Feminism” exhibit or news articles that mention her. The search results also told me where I could find collections relating to these women, For example, Clara Lemlich’s papers are in the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a helpful feature for researchers looking for the papers and ephemera of a well known Jewish woman.
The JWA site also features a “share” bar that follows users as you scroll up and down the page to allow easy posts to Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus and email. Although this is kind of annoying, because you can’t get away from it, the easy share buttons help users promote the site and the information they find. At the top of the page, there are also links to the JWA Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus and YouTube accounts.