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Birth of Selma Stern-Taeubler, pioneering archivist

July 24, 1890

Selma Stern-Taeubler was born in Kippenheim bei Lahr in southern Germany on July 24, 1890. The first girl accepted to her local school, she graduated with honors in 1908. She went on to graduate summa cum laude from the University of Heidelberg and to receive her doctorate in history from the University of Munich. While a research fellow at the Akademie fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, Stern-Taeubler published her first book and began composing her magnum opus, a three-volume study of Jewry in eighteenth-century Prussia. She married fellow historian Eugen Taeubler in 1927.

When the Nazis came to power, the couple fled Germany and settled in Cincinnati in 1941. She became the first archivist of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and served as archivist until her retirement in 1960. The AJA is now one of the world’s largest collections of historical materials pertaining to the American Jewish experience. After retiring from the American Jewish Archives, Stern-Taeubler moved to Switzerland, where she continued to write until her death on August 16, 1981 in Basel.

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I think it might make sense to point out that the archive Ms. Stern-Taeubler started is about the Jewish population in Germany. I learned this by going to the Virtual Archive link. Some readers might wonder why there's an American Jewish Archive as well as our own Jewish Women's Archive, and why they aren't part of the same enterprise. All best, Prudence

Selma Stern-Taeubler, pioneering archivist, 1950.

Photo by Jack Warner

Courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Birth of Selma Stern-Taeubler, pioneering archivist." (Viewed on December 4, 2020) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/jul/24/1890/selma-stern-taeubler>.

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