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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives: Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives

Introductory Information

Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives External

Address: 1109 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23220

Telephone number: 804-353-2668

Contact information: [email protected]

Access Policies

Hours of service External : Sunday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.--3:00 p.m.

Open to the public: Yes by appointment

Interlibrary loan: No

Reference policy External

Background note:
Founded in 1841, Beth Ahabah is the oldest Jewish congregation in Virginia. The "mother" congregation to Beth Ahabah was the Beth Shalome congregation founded in 1789. The two congregations were merged in 1898. All holdings at Beth Ahabah are essentially Jewish in nature but relate primarily to the Richmond Jewish experience.


Books and monographs
Over 1500 books relating to the Jewish religion with publication dates from the 1780s to the present. The collection includes books on Jewish religion, culture, art, and history. Collections relating to history deal particularly with history of the Jewish community in Richmond and Virginia. Highlights include prayer books and hymnals as well as several early texts relating to the formation of Reform Judaism in America.

Periodicals and newspapers
One journal subscription: American Jewish Historical Society, 1950-1990. This journal covers the history, culture, and religion of Jews in America.

One newspaper subscription: The Reflector (Richmond, Va.), 1951-Current. This newspaper covers current events, activities, and news of the Richmond, Virginia Jewry.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
Congregational records for Beth Shalom and Beth Ahabah congregations; records of Jewish communal and fraternal organizations in Richmond; genealogies of families, most with Beth Ahabah connections; public and private records, and manuscripts relating to Jewish families and people in Richmond, 1745 to present. These include scrapbooks, collections of religious articles, memorabilia, speeches, photographs, newspaper clippings, and awards. There are also 20 oral histories and a small World War II collection. There is a card file by subject, individuals, and institutions for this collection.

The collection has portraits of religious leaders, photographs of temple architecture and stained glass.

Databases and/or electronic resources
Jewish Burials Database External

Other holdings not listed above
The Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives Trust has a collection of 600 Jewish religious objects. Some of these were used in synagogue ceremonies. Others relate to Jewish home life.

Subject Headings

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Judaism; Judaism--Religious articles; Judaism--Sacred books; Religious art; Religious biography; Worship; Zionism