Its my second day here and I am invigorated… well sort of. I woke up, got up to quickly, became dizzy, and hit my head on the floor while trying to reach the wall… not a great way to start my day. But my head ache has dissipated and I am sitting in the archives as we speak. Yesterday I didn’t spend a long time here because I had to get groceries and shampoo, but today I am here 9-5pm, like I hope to be every Monday – Thursday, (Friday 9-3pm, because of Shabbat). The archives are pretty amazing. Yesterday, I pulled three collections. The first was a set of photographs of my great grandfather Louis Israel Newman, a prominent Rabbi of Rodeph Sholom in New York City. I was just curious to see what they had, it wasn’t anything new, but it was still neat to see them. I haven’t pulled his sermons or his correspondence yet, perhaps later this summer.
I also pulled to collections relating to my research. One dealt with the Hyams family, related to Judah Benjamin, the secretary of state (among other titles) for the Confederacy. They were a prominent South Carolina family and it was particularly interesting to read their obituaries. They reminded me of my great-great uncles’ obituaries from Wilmington, North Carolina that had almost overly- assimilated tones. This may be something to explore further, examining the obituaries of Jews in the Delta region?
I also examined a collection from the Blantonia Plantation in Mississippi. This plantation became the site of Greenville, Mississippi, a large Jewish community on the Mississippi after the River destroyed the original site of Greenville.
Many more collections and interesting folders of materials today…will update soon.
Laura Newman Eckstein is the Judaica Digital Humanities Coordinator a the University of Pennsylvania. She is an enthusiastic cartophile, a digital humanities lover, and creative spirit. Currently, Laura lives in Philadelphia, where she enjoys spending her free time exploring the city with friends, reading books, and playing with her landlord's dog.