The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced today that historians Mary Fraser Kirsh and Susan Gilson Miller were named the first Fred and Ellen Lewis JDC Archives Fellows. Designed for scholars engaged in graduate level, post-doctoral, or independent study, the Fellowship is for research in the JDC Archives facilities in New York or Jerusalem.
“We are thrilled to have such esteemed scholars as Drs. Kirsh and Miller become our first JDC Archives Fellows. Given the importance of our Archives to historians and others interested in modern Jewish history, we’re pleased to encourage this kind of scholarship and research through the Fellowship,” said JDC Global Archives Director Linda Levi. “It is particularly meaningful that this Fellowship was created through a bequest from former JDC employee Ellen Lewis — whose family was helped by JDC in the Shanghai Ghetto — and who proudly served the organization for almost 40 years.”
Mary Fraser Kirsh, who holds a Ph.D in the field of Modern European History, will be using the fellowship to research the mental health and development of child survivors of World War II, from the perspective of the care-givers. Susan Gilson Miller, Ph.D., a professor of history at the University of California, Davis, is a leading scholar in Moroccan history. Miller will use the Fellowship toward her work on the Holocaust in North Africa, with a focus on rescue operations across Morocco and Western Algeria during the 1940s.
The Fellowship is designed for research in the fields of twentieth century Jewish history, general history, and humanitarian assistance, as well as other areas of academic or cultural research covered in the JDC archival collections. An Academic Advisory Committee consisting of leading scholars as well as JDC Board Member Jerome Spitzer and Adam Sacks of the JDC Archives Committee was responsible for selecting the inaugural fellows. Scholars include Professor Marion Kaplan of NYU, Professor Jane Gerber of the City University Graduate Center, and Professor David Fishman of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
The JDC Archives documents activities of the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization from its inception in 1914 to today. The repository houses one of the most significant collections in the world for the study of modern Jewish history. Comprising the organizational records of JDC, the Archives includes over 3 miles of text documents, 100,000 photographs, 1,100 audio recordings including 95 oral histories, 1,300 video recordings, and 157 recorded historic speeches and broadcasts. A sampling of these materials can be viewed at JDC’s recently-launched Global Archives website at www.archives.jdc.org.