American Jewish Committee Slates Oral Library to Preserve U.S. ‘jewish Experience’

The American Jewish Committee has established an Oral History Library to preserve the “sights and sounds of the American Jewish experience” with a grant from the estate of the late William E. Weiner. The library will be located at the AJCommittee’s Institute of Human Relations in New York.

Louis G. Cowan, president of the Broadcasting Institute of America, who directed the organization of the Oral Library, told a meeting of the AJCommittee’s national executive board here that 41 prominent American men and woman have agreed to serve on the national board of the Library. Mr. Cowan, who is also director of special programs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, said the project “embodies one of the most exciting techniques of historic reportage of the 20th century.”

He said that “through the use of audio and video tape, the sights and sounds of the American Jewish experience will be faithfully recorded and preserved for the benefit of future generations.” He said the library would record not only the memoirs of nationally known figures but also those of little known individuals in cities, towns and farms throughout the nation. It will also draw on subjects of historical concern to the AJCommittee, including anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice and discrimination civil rights and civil liberties, Jewish community organization and philanthropy, and Jewish identification and relations with Israel and Jews in other countries.

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