Jewish Heritage Collection

Collection Information

This digital collection contains images and supporting descriptions of the approximately 600 objects in the Jewish Heritage Collection in the Special Collections Research Center at the University of Michigan. The descriptions can be searched by keyword (“Anywhere in record”).

The University Library and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies were the joint beneficiaries of a generous gift from Constance and (the late) Theodore Harris of Beverly Hills, California, who in 2003-04 gave an extraordinary collection of some 2,000 items to the University of Michigan. The collection is dedicated to their grandsons, Mark and Dave Harris, who grew up in Birmingham, Michigan. Since that first gift, Connie Harris and others have continued to add hundreds of items each year until in 2014 the collection numbers well over 4,000 items. The collection is housed in the Special Collections Research Center and materials from it can be used upon request in its Reading Room, which is located on the 8th floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library.

The Jewish Heritage Collection was formed to reflect Jewish life, and it does so in an unusual assemblage of artwork, books, printed ephemera such as pamphlets and postcards, and objects of everyday and religious significance. Connie Harris approached the building of this collection with a clear idea that what was unique about everyday Jewish life was not well known among the younger population, and might even be in danger of being lost. As such, she purposefully and thoughtfully gathered items – from mass-produced toys to household items to finely crafted silver pieces – that would document both the mundane and the ceremonial of Jewish life.

The digital images of the objects in the Jewish Heritage Collection reflect a portion of the larger collection housed at the University of Michigan's Special Collections Research Center. The University of Michigan Library provides these images for non-commercial educational, scholarly, and research uses. You are responsible for making your own legal assessment in light of your particular use and securing any necessary permission or licenses regarding possible rights in the items in the photographs, unless fair use or other exceptions apply to your intended use. You may contact Special Collections Research Center, University of Michigan Library (Special.Collections@umich.edu) with questions.