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Jewish Public Library

About the Archives


Since 1914, the Archives’ mandate has been to collect, preserve, and make available original documents, photographs and recordings that tell the social, economic, and cultural stories of Montreal’s Jewish community. Our clients are local, national and international, made up of both Jewish and non-Jewish scholars, who regard us as a vital educational resource.

Nellie Lowy, 1959. JPL Photograph Collection, PR011702
Archival Collections

Our archival collections span over 500 linear meters of records. They include 30,000 photographs, 200 rare posters, as well as correspondences, programmes, flyers, manuscripts, textiles, artifacts, audio-visual materials, and materials dating from the late 19th century to present day.

The Archives depict the history and life of the community during the past 250 years thorugh collections of individuals (eg. authors, artists, politicians, community leaders, and families), institutions, associations, and schools (eg. United Talmud Torahs, Jewish Peoples’ School and Jewish Peretz School).

Subject areas covered by our textual archival records include educational history, the labour movement, women’s rights movement, Yiddish literature and poetry, Canadian art, politics, music and entertainment, religion and much more.

The photographic records in our Archives date from the late 19th century to present day. Included are portraits of individuals and families, specific events within the Montreal Jewish community and the larger global community, images of associations, schools, camps, and much more.

The majority of our poster collection are in Yiddish, Hebrew and English, dating from the early 20th century to present day. The posters relay events (rallies, political meetings, and cultural presentations) of the Montreal Jewish community and also of Jewish communities abroad.

Chaya Pereira, 1966, JPL Photograph Collection, PR001762.
Archival Donations

The Archives is a dynamic collecting body. Donating personal and corporate records to the Archives ensures their preservation and access to researchers and future generations.

Local institutions and organizations, as well as families and individuals can donate records. We accept:

  • Family papers (correspondence, journals or diaries, vital records, biographical and genealogical information)
  • Photographs and already digitized audiovisual material
  • Business, organizational, or institutional records (minutes, by-laws, etc.)
  • Posters, playbills, programmes, and ephemera from the community

Note that archival material is original and unique. As a result, we do not accept photocopied materials. Similarly, the Archives does not take published material due to reasons of copyright legislation.

In order to make a donation, please contact the Archives with a detailed list of the material in question. The Archivist will assess each case individually, and may invite you to make an appointment. Should your material meet the criteria for accession, a contract will be drawn up between the donor and the Archives. Upon the donation of material, the collection is arranged and described under either the donor’s name or the name of the business or organization. For more information on the benefits of donating your material to the Archive, or on the donation process, please contact the Archives directly.


The work of the Jewish Public Library Archives is generously supported by the Alex Dworkin Foundation for Jewish Archives, the Peter and Ellen Jacobs Virtual Archives Fund of the Jewish Public Library, the Rosalind & Morris Goodman Family Fund, the Azrieli Foundation, and the Sonia & David Oberman Archives Internship Fund.

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