History of the WSJHS

Mission & History

The Washington State Jewish Historical Society has its roots in the vision of a determined group of community volunteers, who obtained funding in 1968 to create the Seattle Jewish Archives Project under the auspices of the Women's Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

From the beginning, the mission of the Archives was clear: to collect and preserve documents that recorded local Jewish history, and make them available to the public.

Recognizing that maintenance and storage of this priceless material was vital, the Project was fortunate to enter into a cooperative agreement with the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, and soon the Jewish Archives became known as one of the finest resources of its kind for scholars and lay researchers alike.

In 1980, the Archives achieved its independence as a nonprofit entity, and at the same time, its leadership recognized that exhibits and programming had expanded markedly. In response to this growth and to reflect the intent of its origins, the Washington State Jewish Historical Society was established and began its work to discover, preserve and disseminate the history of the Jews of Washington State.

Today, membership in the Society has grown to over 600 members, and we accomplish our mission through a wide range of programs and projects that celebrate our heritage and increase awareness throughout the entire community of the contributions that Jewish citizens have made in all facets of Washington's growth and history.

  • 4Culture

    4Culture is an important sponsor of the WSJHS.