Weaving Women's Words—Oral History at JWA

See Also

Spotlight on representative women from local Jewish communities such as:

  • Selma Litman, leading saleswoman in her Baltimore family business
  • Molly Cone, prolific and respected Seattle author of children's and young adult books
  • Amalie Rothschild, painter, sculptor, and champion of the arts in Baltimore
  • Louise Azose, major participant and "living treasure" in Seattle's Sephardic community

Jewish women across the country have helped shape and nurture their families, communities, and institutions, yet their contributions have often been overlooked. Weaving Women's Words, provides a collection of women's stories in their own voices with supporting documents to fill this gap. Their living memories span the course of the twentieth century, a time of momentous change for all women.

www logoA demonstration oral history and documentation project piloted in Baltimore and Seattle, Weaving Women's Words transforms our knowledge and understanding of American Jewish history. JWA oral historians have recorded interviews with sixty Jewish women from diverse economic classes, religious outlooks, and multiple affiliations as they reflect on their triumphs and successes. Growing up Jewish and female in early twentieth century America and coming of age in mid-century, narrators discuss the challenges of changing social and cultural expectations for women over the course of their lives. Stories of the women's experiences and contributions are shared in local exhibits.

JWA's Weaving Women's Words program builds a greater awareness of women's contributions and augments the expanding bank of historical resources on Jewish women in America. In each community, JWA conducted "digs" in local archives, historical societies, and other institutional repositories to unearth additional buried information and resources about local Jewish women. Results of the archival digs in Baltimore and Seattle are available online in JWA's Virtual Archive. Transcripts from the oral histories, along with portraits of the narrators, will soon be available online.