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Jewish Society for History and Ethnography

JEWISH SOCIETY FOR HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY (Russ., Yevreyskoye Istoriko-Etnograficheskoye Obshchestvo), Jewish scholarly society in Russia. The society was established at the end of 1908 in St. Petersburg as a continuation of the Jewish Historical Ethnographical Committee of the *Society for the Promotion of Culture Among the Jews of Russia, which had been founded in 1892 on the initiative of Simon *Dubnow. The officers elected to the first committee of the new society were S. Dubnow, M. *Vinaver, and M. *Kulisher. It had a total membership of 774 in 1915. The society held lectures on Jewish history, especially Jewish history in Russia and Poland, and established archives, a museum, and a library. It assisted S. *An-Ski on a project to conduct ethnographic research in towns of the Pale of Settlement and awarded prizes for Jewish historical research.

Publication of documents relating to the history of the Jews in Russia, Regesty i Nadpisi (vols. 2–3, 1910–14), was continued by the society. Its major undertaking was the publication of a historical quarterly Yevreyskaya Starina ("Jewish Antiquities"), of which ten volumes (1909–18) were edited by Dubnow, and the last three (1924–30) by a collective editorship. The journal published studies, memoirs, and documents. After the 1917 Revolution the society published two volumes of documents on the origins of the pogroms of 1881 and 1903 in Russia. In the early years of the Soviet regime the activities of the society were permitted, although reduced. After Dubnow left Russia in 1922, a small group faithfully continued the work, which was sharply criticized by Jewish Communists of the *Yevsektsiya. At the end of 1929 the society dissolved. The last volume of Yevreyskaya Starina was edited by I. *Zinberg and published after the society's dissolution. Its museum and archives became the property of Soviet-Jewish institutions, including the Jewish Cultural Institute in Kiev.


S. Dubnow, in: Literarishe Bleter, 1 (1930), 80–83, 114–5; idem, Kniga zhizni, 2 (1935), index; A.G. Duker, in: HUCA, 8–9 (1931–32), 525–603 (a bibliography); A. Greenbaum, Jewish Scholarship in the Soviet Union (1959), 8–17.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.