From the Dusty Archives

From the Dusty Archives is a collection of sets on Flickr in which The Magnes presents online for the first time a wide selection of digitized items from its Western Jewish Americana and Global Jewish Diaspora archival collections. 

The decision to give direct access to (often unprocessed) archival digital files reflects the attempt to integrate digitization technologies and social networking with traditional archival practice, and expands a "minimal processing" approach to collections. 

Files are uploaded to these sets on an ongoing basis, using the platform already established for the Magnes Jewish Digital Narratives and the software MemoryMiner, which also allows to digitally archive each upload. 


Comments and social tagging features are open to all Flickr users, and the use of the files (and, of course, of the history and cultures they represent) is encouraged under a Creative Commons license

If you plan to use these images for commercial purposes, please read the Magnes' Collection Services

From the Dusty Archives is a project conceived by Francesco Spagnolo, PhD, Curator of The Magnes Collection. 

Additional information on the archival collections of the Magnes can be found by following these links: 

MemoryMiner licenses are generously provided by John Fox of GroupSmarts, LLC

The digitization projects of The Magnes are supported by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the Toole Media Fund, and by an Anonymous gift. 

The Magnes is a beneficiary of the Esther and Jacques Reutlinger Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay. The latter two federations have since merged as the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund (JCF).

To go directly to a specific entry, begin typing a name (e.g. "Haas," "Jewish Community Center," or "Emanu-El") in the filter box below. To search for a name or term that may not be included in a collection's title, use the search box at the top of this page, or go to the advanced search page.

Bassya and Philip Bibel papers, 1813-1969

Bassya (Maltzer) Bibel (1908-1980) was a poet, author, secretary, and an actress. She arrived to San Francisco in 1921 from Kopaygorod, Podolia (Kopayhorod in modern Ukraine). After settling in the city, she became very involved with a San Francisco Yiddish dramatic group. Bassya Bibel authored several volumes of poetry, including In Hours of Silence (1969), Fleeting Moments (1970), Passing Shadows (1974), and A Net of Black Clouds (1977).

Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco)

San Francisco's Congregation Sherith Israel was founded in 1851, the same year as the city's other leading Jewish congregation, Emanu-El. Its first buildings were on Stockton Street and then Post and Taylor Streets. The congregation finally settled on Webster St., where the synagogue was used as a courthouse after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. During that time, Abe Ruef's corruption trial took place in the building, as it was one of the few buildings of its size that survived the calamity with very little damage.

Firschein Posters Collection

The aim of my project with the Firschein Posters was to discover the histories of the locations advertised by the Printing press. To start it was necessary to locate the addresses and note any changes to the geography itself. Whilst the streets have almost all stayed the same, some streets have been renamed, with the main challenge being the many new structures that have replaced a number of the sites described.

Jewish Music Festival (Berkeley, California) promotional materials, 1987-2009

The Jewish Music Festival started in Berkeley, California, in 1986 as a one-day event produced and hosted by the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (formerly the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center). Its programs have included performances, lectures and workshops devoted to instrumental music, song and dance inspired by the musical traditions of the global Jewish Diaspora.

Raphael Weill papers, 1880-1964

Raphael Weill was a pioneer San Francisco merchant who emigrated from France and arrived in San Francisco in 1855. Within three years, he had become a partner of the J. W. Davidson Dry Goods Store. By 1885, the Davidson Dry Goods Store became Raphael Weill and Company, and the store became known as the White House.  

Seymour Fromer collection on Darius Milhaud's David, 1954-1975

Darius Milhaud was born in France and immigrated to the U.S. in 1940. He was then a professor at Mills College, in Oakland, Calif., from 1940 to 1971. His opera, David, premiered at La Scala in Milan in 1955. In 1956, Jack Amidor and Seymour Fromer produced the American premiere at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, thanks to the fundraising efforts of The Festival of Faith and Freedom Committee of the American Association for Jewish Education