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by Sara Wakefield, Reference Librarian, Immigration History Research Center Archives

In the fall of 2013, the Immigration History Research Center & Archives partnered with the University of Minnesota's Religious Studies Program and the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI to bring their traveling exhibit, "Little Syria, NY: An Immigrant Community's Life and Legacy" to the Andersen Library's gallery space on the 1st and 2nd floors.

In conjunction with this exhibit, Sara Wakefield, Reference Librarian, and Hope Shinn, Student Archives Assistant, created a display of Arab American print material from the IHRC Archives. 

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The display includes duplicate rare books, contemporary books, serials, and photographs. The display also includes a map from the 1936 Festival of Nations Exhibit Hall in St. Paul, MN, sponsored by the International Institute of Minnesota. On their Homelands Exhibits hall map you will find a Syrian booth between the Italian and Chinese booth.

Items of interest on display are a copy of the Federation Herald of the Syrian and Lebanese American Federation of the Eastern States, April 25, 1949 edition with the headline "New Haven club rehearses for Arabic-English musical comedy May 22". The photograph of this theater troupe and their exquisite costumes is amazing. Also on display is a copy of Sittee Saltany A'laat: a Compilation of Arabic Proverbs Grandmother Told Me by Margaret Salamey, 1982 and Prairie Peddlers: the Syrian-Lebanese in North Dakota by William Sherman, Paul Whitney, and John Guerrero, 2002.

On December 17, 2012, the Immigration History Research Center collections, now to be known as the IHRC Archives, formally became part of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. The Immigration History Research Center, directed by Prof. Erika Lee, will continue to promote the study of immigrant populations within the College of Liberal Arts, and the University Libraries will support the collections. The IHRC and Archives and Special Collections will collaborate through programming, exhibits, events, and outreach to immigrant communities. The IHRCA is second only to the University Archives in terms of the size of the collection, and is one of the most heavily used of the collections in Andersen Library.

Earlier in the fall, the collections of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest were donated to the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. A portion of the JHSUM materials had been on deposit in Andersen Library for a number of years, and the donation reunites all of the collections in one place. We are very pleased that Kate Dietrick will be joining ASC as curator of the Berman Archives in March. Kate comes to us from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. She received her MS in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and her BA in history and women's studies from St. Olaf College.

We are delighted to add these two stellar collections to our wide-ranging complement of research materials. Both the IHRCA and the Berman Archives connect with other departmental collecting strengths, most notably the Social Welfare History Archives and the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, forming a solid core of research materials in immigration and social history found nowhere else.

Kris Kiesling, Director of Archives and Special Collections


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