Summer update

It’s been a busy summer at JHC, and we’ve been trucking along with the Rosenthall digitization and rehousing project. So busy, in fact, that I haven’t had time to introduce our latest intern–-Rebecca Zola.

Rebecca will be a senior this fall at Lexington High School in Lexington, Massachusetts. She spent the summer visiting family in Charleston and joined the Rosenthall project in July. We were happy to take advantage of her fluency in Hebrew and knowledge of Jewish customs.


Rebecca scanned, rehoused, and created metadata for over 200 images, including portraits, sheet music, and maps. The sheet music is particularly interesting as some of the cover images and lyrics play heavily on anti-Semitic stereotypes. The images were uploaded to the Rosenthall prints and photograph digital collection earlier this week.

Rebecca pointed out the similarity between this print of Herzl and the Obama “Hope” poster. Both images have a “screen print-y”* style.

*For the record, I have never taken an art course.

1000+ milestone and “Mendoza the Jew”

Last Friday, over four hundred images were added to the Rosenthall digital collections. This brought the total number of items available online to over 1,000! (1,174, to be exact.)

The recent upload includes portraits of rabbis and other notable Jewish individuals. JHC’s favorite is the print of English boxing champion Daniel Mendoza’s (“Mendoza the Jew”) 1790 match with Richard Humphries. Its wonderful caption reads, “The Manner in Which Mendoza Caught Humphries Twice, and Generously laid him down without taking the advantage of his situation.” This “generous” treatment is likely due to the fact that Humphries was Mendoza’s former mentor.

Not only was Mendoza reputed to have been the first Jew to talk to England’s King George III; he also revolutionized competitive boxing. Typical fighters of this period simply stood still and traded punches. However, Mendoza incorporated defensive strategies such as sidestepping and ducking, which were outlined in his book The Modern Art of Boxing.

Mendoza was England’s Heavyweight Champion from 1792-1795 and is the only middleweight (5’7”, 160 pounds) to ever win the Heavyweight Championship of the World. In 1981, he was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and in 1990, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

More information on Mendoza here.

2 is better than 1

In order to facilitate searching and navigation, the Rosenthall digital collection has been split into two separate collections:

William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection – Postcards

William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection – Prints and Photographs

Lowcountry Digital Library staff has also added advanced browsing features to the collections’ homepages: by geographic location (city, country, continent) and subject (synagogues, monuments, cemeteries, etc.).

Over 500 postcards of synagogues and monuments were uploaded last week, mostly from Western Europe and the United States. Included are postcards depicting ruins of synagogues destroyed during World War I and scenes from the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and resulting fire.

Another group of fantastic interns

June brought us great beach weather, the Spoleto Festival, and two new interns. We are happy to have Cameron Moon and Colleen OConnor join our project.

Cameron finished her junior year at the College of Charleston this spring and is majoring in Historic Preservation and Community Planning. Her first assignment is to digitize a portfolio of cartoons and caricatures.


Colleen recently started the Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of South Carolina. She received her BA from the College of Charleston in Historic Preservation and Community Planning. Colleen is currently digitizing a portfolio of synagogue postcards from Israel, Africa, Canada, and the West Indies.


In other news, I have been working with Heather Gilbert, the Acting Project Coordinator of the Lowcountry Digital Library, on making some changes to the William A. Rosenthall Judaica digital collection. We hope to have the updates finished in the next few weeks.

JHC’s newest interns

JHC welcomed three new interns last month.

Jocelyn Leving, Spanish and English double major, College of Charleston
Joshua Minor
, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina
Heidi Wilson
, Historic Preservation and Community Planning major, College of Charleston

Heidi, Joshua, and Jocelyn will be digitizing and rehousing postcards, prints, photographs, and other images from the Rosenthall portfolios, which will then be made available through the Lowcountry Digital Library. They are currently digitizing postcards of synagogues and tombs. Stay posted for updates on their progress.

Second portfolio uploaded to Lowcountry Digital Library

We are pleased to announce that the second Rabbi William A. Rosenthall portfolio has been uploaded to the Lowcountry Digital Library. This is the first portfolio digitized under the CLIR grant.

Most of the images are photographs and prints of European synagogues. Also included are several depictions of rabbis, Jewish cemeteries, and Jewish ghettos. While all the images are fascinating representations of Jewish culture, individuals, and architecture, we’ve selected a few here to demonstrate the breadth of the collection.

Stay posted for more updates on our progress.

A new year, a new volunteer, and a new website!

Special Collections is ringing in 2011 with the creation of a website to document the progress and discoveries made while processing the William A. Rosenthall Judaica collection and William A. Rosenthall papers. Many thanks to Irene and Gordon Rosenthall and Dean of Libraries David Cohen for encouraging us to publicize our progress with the collections. We also thank Chris Vinson for his technical assistance in launching the website.

In November 2009, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) awarded the Jewish Heritage Collection a generous grant to process and catalog its “Hidden Collections”—foremost among them the William A. Rosenthall Judaica collection and William A. Rosenthall papers. The project team, consisting of Special Collections staff, archivists, archival assistants, consulting scholars, and student volunteers and interns, has begun processing and digitizing Rabbi Rosenthall’s vast collection. Portions of Rosenthall’s collection of Judaica images are currently being added to the Lowcountry Digital Library.

We would also like to welcome our newest volunteer, Joanna Knight, a senior history student from Columbia University. Joanna is working on the massive Rosenthall portfolios rehousing and digitization project. This involves removing the contents of the portfolio (typically prints, etchings, lithographs, photographs, or postcards), scanning and digitally processing each item, creating item-level metadata, and placing items in new archival-safe portfolios. After an entire portfolio is scanned and processed, it will be uploaded to the Lowcountry Digital Library and made available to the public.

Please stay tuned for more information and updates.