crown CU Home > Libraries Home
Columbia University Libraries Archival CollectionsRare Book & Manuscript Library Collections
 

   The Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry 1949-1997

Download and Print CitationContact Bookmark Share

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

A collection of materials related to the research project of the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry produced from 1949 to 1997. The project was spearheaded by Columbia University’s Yiddish department and the primary researchers involved in the project were Uriel Weinreich, Marvin (Mikhl) Herzog, Mordkhe Schaechter, Vera Baviskar, Robert Neumann, and Ulrike Kiefer. The materials include administrative records, fieldwork and research notes, materials relating to the publication of the second and third volume of the Atlas , as well as other research materials of Uriel Weinreich, and materials related to the publication of The Field of Yiddish . The materials are primarily in English, Yiddish and German.

At a Glance

Bib ID:4079907 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry
Title:The Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry 1949-1997
Physical description:129 linear feet (238 document boxes, 21 flat boxes, 24 card file boxes)
Language(s):English , German , and Yiddish , with some in Hebrew, Russian, Polish, and French.
Access: This collection has no restrictions, except for a few folders as marked in the finding aid. Original audio recordings may not be available for use. The audio for nearly all of the interviews is available online via EYDES (Evidence of Yiddish Documented in European Societies) . If you wish to request copies of the audio, please contact the RBML. The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 1-195 and Boxes 217-281. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in eight series.

Return to top

Description

Description

The collection consists of a variety of materials, such as notes, manuscripts and typescripts, correspondence, maps and other records related to the research surrounding the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry . The collection covers all periods of the Atlas project from its incipience based on linguistic research by Uriel Weinreich in the 1950s to the publication of three Atlas volumes and collaboration with German research institutions in the 1990s under the auspices of Marvin (Mikhl) Herzog. The collection contains a strong selection of material related to the fieldwork, research and preparation for publication of the linguistic Atlas , such as notes, data output, and maps generated by the analysis and processing of the linguistic data obtained in the interviews with native Eastern European Yiddish speakers. In addition to this core material the collection also contains administrative records related to the finances and funding of the Atlas project, other research material produced by Uriel Weinreich and manuscripts, typescripts and offprints of articles generated by researches involved with the Atlas project and published, for example, in the series The Field of Yiddish .

Content from Series III: Collected Data has been digitized. The answers to the questionnaire have been digitized, from three different formats: blue books, answer sheets, and printouts. These materials are available online here .

Series I: Administrative Records, 1955-1997

This series contains financial records and grant applications, correspondence with researchers and linguists, correspondence pertaining to the collaboration between the LCAAJ and other projects in the 1990s, as well as correspondence and press clippings pertaining to the publication of the Atlas volumes.

Subseries I.1: Financial Records, 1955-1996

This subseries contains financial records, correspondence and grant applications for the entire duration of the LCAAJ project. Funding and grants were sought from ACLS-DAAD, Aurora Grant (Columbia University), NEH, NYSCA, HEW, ISHI, NSF, NIMH, APS (Penrose Grants) and through private fundraising efforts primarily by the head researchers Uriel Weinreich and Marivn Herzog. Funding was sought for research, publication of the Atlas volumes and for sound preservation of the Atlas tapes. This subseries includes correspondence with the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Atran Foundation, Littauer Foundation, Wurzweiler Foundation and others.

Subseries I.2: Individual Correspondence and Personal Files, 1959-1994

This subseries contains correspondence with researchers and linguists. Some of these researchers were directly involved with the Atlas project, such as Wita Ravid, Andrew Sunshine, Ulrike Kiefer and Robert Neumann, while some were merely consulted for their expertise, such as Hans-Peter Althaus or Miklos Hutterer. The correspondence was primarily written by Uriel Weinreich and Marvin Herzog. This subseries also contains correspondence regarding the publication of Marvin Herzog’s dissertation.

Subseries I.3: Collaboration,1989-1997

This subseries contains correspondence and meeting minutes pertaining to collaboration between the Atlas project and other institutions/projects in the 1990s, such as EYDES (Germany/France), NYU, and the Förderverein für jiddische Sprache und Kultur (Germany). This subseries includes an EU-grant application in connection with the EYDES project and the founding documents of the Förderverein für jiddische Sprache und Kultur. The correspondence is primarily between Marvin Herzog and Robert Neumann.

Subseries I.4: Publication,1960-1996

This subseries contains correspondence with a variety of publishers and cartographers pertaining to the publication of the Atlas volumes and The Field of Yiddish , as well as press clippings and reviews of the published Atlas volumes in English, German, Yiddish and Hebrew. This subseries also contains typewritten legends.

Series II: LCAAJ Fieldwork and Research,1956-1992

This series contains notes, lists, maps, data sets, index cards, correspondence, and material objects pertaining to the fieldwork and subsequent research undertaken for the Atlas project.

Subseries II.1: Field Survey,1956-1969, undated

This subseries contains data lists, notes and maps concerning the demographics and history of Jewish settlements in Eastern Europe. This subseries also contains copies from books and notes on other linguist atlases and dictionaries.

Subseries II.2: Informants Information and Interviews, 1959-1992

This subseries contains notes, lists, maps, correspondence, and press clippings regarding informants and interviews with informants undertaken to gather data for the Atlas project. This subseries includes advertisements in the press and responses regarding informants for Western Yiddish.

Subseries II.3: Visual Cues, undated

This subseries contains material objects and pictures which were used as visual cues during interviews with informants. This subseries also contains notebooks on word usage.

Subseries II.4: Working Maps, circa 1959-1985

This subseries contains maps (hand drawn, on glass slides, quadrant maps, base maps and others), as well as correspondence, notes, and indices/data lists concerning the drawing/printing of linguistic maps. Most of the material in this subseries is undated.

Subseries II.5: Large Format Maps, undated

Subseries II.6: Questionnaire, 1959-1971

This subseries contains different versions of the questionnaire used during the interview process (Yiddish typescripts and manuscripts, Western questionnaire, ethnographic supplement) and notes on the questionnaire. This subseries also contains a lexical index to the questionnaire, a questionnaire bibliography and handwritten notes on each individual page of the questionnaire. This material is primarily from the 1960s.

Subseries II.7: Edited Responses, 1966-1971

This subseries contains edited responses to the questionnaire on seven reels of microfilm and as printouts.

Subseries II.8: Equipment and Computer Data, 1960-1974

This subseries contains correspondence, notes, manuals, coding forms, punch cards, maps, data sets, program cards and tables related to the Atlas project’s use of early computer technology for processing and analyzing linguistic data. This sub-series also contains mini-floppy disks. This material is primarily from the 1960s.

Series III: Collected data: Interview forms and processed data, 1966-1969, undated

This series contains all of the transcripts from the interviews. The transcripts exist in three forms: (1) Blue books, which were used in the earliest part of the project to transcribe responses from informants; (2) Answer sheets, forms that were filled in with the data based on page number and question number; and (3) Printouts, which were produced from printing the data that had been entered from the handwritten data in blue books/answer sheets.

Content from Series III: Collected Data has been digitized. The answers to the questionnaire have been digitized, from three different formats: blue books, answer sheets, and printouts. These materials are available online here .

Subseries III.1: Interviews by page number

Subseries III.2: Questionnaires by location

Subseries III.3: Computer printouts of aggregated data, 1966-1969, undated

Series IV: LCAAJ II, 1960-1993

This series is an archive of the Atlas ’ second volume. The series was left in its original order. This series includes documents and correspondence pertaining to the planning and publishing of the second volume, and material used for preparation of each chapter of the second volume. This subseries also includes notes on the base maps and the locations, on informants and on the questionnaire.

Series V: LCAAJ III, 1950-1993

This series is an archive of the Atlas ’ third volume. The series was left in its original order. This series contains material pertaining to the foreword of the third volume, handwritten and typed legends, lists of maps and locations, and other notes used for preparing the third volume for publication.

Series VI: U. Weinreich (Non-LCAAJ), 1959-1971(?)

This series contains research material by Uriel Weinreich that is not directly related to the Atlas project. This series contains miscellaneous correspondence and correspondence pertaining to Western Yiddish by U. Weinreich. This series also contains notes and other research material on Swiss and Alsatian Yiddish, as well as index cards for a Western Yiddish dictionary and a Middle Yiddish dictionary.

Series VII: Manuscripts and Publications, 1949-1991

This series contains manuscripts, typescripts, photocopies and offprints by researchers such as M. Weinreich, U. Weinreich, and M. Herzog, including articles for the volume The Field of Yiddish .

Subseries VII.1: The Field of Yiddish , 1965-1970

This subseries contains correspondence with researchers and publishers regarding the publication of The Field of Yiddish and typescripts/manuscripts of articles. It also contains reprints form the third volume of The Field of Yiddish .

Subseries VII.2: Offprints and Photocopies, 1955-1991

This subseries contains offprints of articles by M. Weinreich, U. Weinreich and M. Herzog from the 1950s and 1960s. It also contains miscellaneous copies of articles, book chapters and pamphlets.

Subseries VII.3: Manuscripts/Typescripts, 1949-1989

This subseries contains manuscripts and typescripts by U. Weinreich and others affiliated with the Atlas project (including papers by graduate students of the Yiddish Studies department). This subseries includes typescripts of U. Weinreich’s “Outlines of a Yiddish Descriptive Dialectology”.

Return to top

Using the Collection

Partially Offsite

Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions, except for a few folders as marked in the finding aid.

Original audio recordings may not be available for use. The audio for nearly all of the interviews is available online via EYDES (Evidence of Yiddish Documented in European Societies) . If you wish to request copies of the audio, please contact the RBML.

 The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 1-195 and Boxes 217-281. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid is available online.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Content from Series III: Collected Data of this collection has been digitized. The answers to the questionnaire have been digitized, from three different formats: blue books, answer sheets, and printouts. These materials are available online here .

Selected Related Material-- Other Repositories

EYDES (Evidence of Yiddish Documented in European Societies) . The audio for nearly all of the interviews is available online via EYDES.

Return to top

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Libdirary; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Recordings & transcripts Processed 03/24/1999 HR

This collection was processed by Sandra Chiritescu, GSAS 2021. Andrew Sunshine assisted with preliminary processing. Finding aid written by Sandra Chiritescu in July 2017.

The processing of this collection was made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-06-26 File created.
    2017-11-07 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
    2018-01-17 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
    2018-03-13 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi. Series II arrangement updated.

Return to top

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Field notes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Indexes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Interviews.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Notes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Questionnaires.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sound recordings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Transcripts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Ashkenazim--Europe--Social life and customs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dialectology.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Geographic differentiation in coterritorial societies.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Herzog, Marvin.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jews--Europe--Civilization.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jews--Historical geography.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Language surveys.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Languages in contact.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Linguistic geography.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Linguists.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Multilingualism.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Weinreich, Uriel.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Yiddish language--Dialects--Europe.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Yiddish language--History.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Yiddishists.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Return to top

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

In 1959 Uriel Weinreich, who was Atran Professor of Yiddish Studies at Columbia and Chairman of Columbia University’s Department of Linguistics, began to develop a linguistic questionnaire of approximately 2000 questions which would serve as the basis for the development of a Yiddish language atlas. By the end of 1959 Weinreich and his doctoral student Marvin (Mikhl) Herzog had begun interviewing Eastern European Jews with the linguistic questionnaire. These interviews were conducted and recorded on tape and on question-answer sheets until 1972. In total, 5,755 hours of audio tape and ca. 100,000 pages of accompanying linguistic field notes were collected. Both native speakers of Eastern and Western Yiddish were interviewed. The archive does not, however, include transcriptions of the interviews. The data that constitutes the LCAAJ was collected from 603 locations in Central and Eastern Europe carefully chosen to reflect the distribution of the Yiddish speaking population on the eve of World War II. In a series of interviews lasting anywhere from 2.5 to 16 hours, informants answered questions on a wide variety of topics concerning Yiddish language and culture. After Weinreich’s pre-mature death in 1967 Dr. Herzog became lead researcher of the Atlas project and Atran Professor of Yiddish. Beginning in the 1960s the linguistic interview data was evaluated and analyzed with early computer technology and the researchers produced a variety of maps and scholarly articles based on this data. In the aftermath of Weinreich’s death, during the 1970s and 1980s, the research efforts surrounding the atlas project slowed down. After several efforts to find an American publisher had failed, Marvin Herzog secured the Max Niemeyer Verlag in Germany as a publisher for printed volumes of the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry in the 1990s and subsequently published three out of a projected ten volumes in collaboration with German institutions and researchers Ulrike Kiefer (a former doctoral student at Columbia University) and Robert Neumann, who worked at the Institut für Deutsche Sprache in Mannheim. Marvin Herzog also secured funding for the archival preservation of the decades-old audio tapes in the 1990s. Dr. Herzog donated the Archive to the Columbia University Libraries in 1995. He passed away in 2013.

Return to top