Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry, 1949-1997

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 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) Primarily in Yiddish, English, and German, with some 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 at eydes.de. 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 217-280. 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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in eight series. Series I: Administrative Records, 1955-1997 Subseries I.1: Financial Records, 1955-1996 Subseries I.1.1: ACLS-DAAD; Subseries I.1.2: NEH (1,2,3); Subseries I.1.3: NSF; Subseries I.1.4: Grant Proposals--Other; Subseries I.2: Individual Correspondence and Personal Files, 1959-1994; Subseries I.3: Collaboration, 1989-1997; Subseries I.4: Publication, 1960-1996; Series II: LCAAJ Fieldwork and Research, 1956-1992 Subseries II.1 Field Survey, 1956-1969 (primarily undated); Subseries II.2: Informants Info and Interviews, 1959-1992; Subseries II.3: Visual Cues, undated; Subseries II.4: Working Maps, circa 1959-1985; Subseries II.5: Large Format Maps, undated; Subseries II.6: Questionnaire, 1959-1971; Subseries II.7: Edited Responses, 1966-1971; Subseries II.8: Equipment and Computer Data, 1960-1974 Subseries II.8.1: Data; Subseries II.8.2: Manuals for Hardware; Subseries II.8.3: Floppy Disks; Series III: Collected Data Subseries III.1: Interviews by Page Number; Subseries III.2: Questionnaires by Location; Subseries III.3: Computer Printouts of Aggregated Data; Series IV: LCAAJ II, 1960-1993; Series V: LCAAJ III, 1950-1993; Series VI: U. Weinreich (non-LCAAJ), 1959-1971(?); Series VII: Manuscripts and Publications, 1949-1991 Subseries VII.1: Field of Yiddish, 1965-1970; Subseries VII.2: Offprints and Photocopies, 1955-1991; Subseries VII.3: Manuscripts/Typescripts, 1949-1989; Series VIII: Miscellaneous, 1959-1992 & Phonodisks

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

    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.

  • Series II: LCAAJ Fieldwork and Research

    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.

  • Series III: Collected data: Interview forms and processed data

    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 onlinehere.

  • Series IV: LCAAJ II

    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

    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)

    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

    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.

  • Series VIII: Miscellaneous, 1959-1992 & Phonodisks

Related / Analytical Title

L.C.A.A.J.

LCAAJ.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on 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 at eydes.de. 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 217-280. 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.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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.

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.

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

Accrual

No additions are expected

Existence and Location of Copies

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 https://dlc.library.columbia.edu/lcaaj.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Recordings & transcripts Processed HR 03/24/1999.

This collection was processed by Sandra Chiritescu (GSAS 2021), 2016-2017.

This collection had preliminary processing work done by Andrew Sunshine.

Finding aid written by Sandra Chiritescu (GSAS 2021) July 2017.

Revision Description

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

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Field notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Indexes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Interviews Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Questionnaires Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sound recordings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Transcripts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

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

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.