Photograph collections

arcpho1The archives currently houses over 20,000 photographic prints, including the Canadian Jewish Congress organizational photo archives, photos donated in small groups by individuals, and those belonging to several large organizational and private collections. Photographs of unknown provenance are included in the general (PC 1) collection. Subjects include immigration, family life, city life, small communities across Canada, Jewish organizations, business, and religion. The photographs are indexed on computer and can be searched according to subject, date, location, photographer, format, and even aesthetic quality.

The photograph collections are probably the most requested of all our holdings. Virtually all documentary filmmakers dealing with antisemitism in Canada in the 1930s have used images from our collection. Commercial films, such as Enemies: A Love Story, have used photos from family collections to depict characters mentioned in the screenplay, and museums have used them as adjuncts to exhibited items. Well-known Canadian Jewish history texts such as Irving Abella's and Harold Troper's None Is Too Many and Gerald Tulchinsky's Taking Root have drawn their illustrations almost exclusively from our visual archives. In addition, CJC itself draws heavily on the photo collection for its own publications.

Major photo collections of the Canadian Jewish Archives:

  • PC 1 Canadian Jewish Congress and related organizations


    This extremely large collection includes individual photos donated to the archives over the years, as well as community event and notable building photos and portrait photos of hundreds of individuals of note in the Canadian Jewish community.

    Alan Rose, then Canadian Jewish Congress Executive Vice-President, greets Pope John Paul II in Montreal, September 10, 1984. At centre is Bernard J. Finestone, then CJC Quebec Region officer.
  • PC 2 Jewish Immigrant Aid Services


    These photos of immigrants arriving and settling into Canada since 1920 have been used in many contexts to depict our history in this country. Approx. 1000 photos.

    Montreal, 1950s: Recently immigrated Jewish children pose outside the JIAS headquarters, then located on Esplanade Street
  • PC 3 National Council of Jewish Women


    This charitable organization documented its activities vividly through photographs, in particular from W.W.II on. Approx. 1000 photos.

    During World War II fundraising by the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada paid for these ambulances
  • PC 4 Joint Distribution Committee


    The living conditions of Jews around the world, from 1938 through the 1950s, can be seen in these moving press photographs.

    Ourika, Morocco, 1950s - Winnipeg Rabbi Arthur Chiel and his wife visited Morocco representing the Joint Distribution Committee and furthering their relief efforts.
  • PC 5 Allan Bronfman


    Both private and public views of the life of Allan Bronfman and other members of the family can be seen in this large collection, which includes photos from the just-formed state of Israel.

    Montrealer Allan Bronfman met with Albert Einstein at a Zionist fundraising event in the 1950s.
  • PC 6 Frances Goltman


    A beautiful collection of family photos, many of them from the previous century, depicting family life. Some of the photos were taken by Montreal's Notman Studio.

    A Russian Jewish family in St. Petersburg posed for this studio portrait at the end of the 19th century.
  • PC 7 William Gittes


    Depicts Mr. Gittes' many community activities and includes many persons of renown (approx. 500 photos, 1925-1980.)

    William Gittes is pictured, centre left, among his philanthropic peers, in this Combined Jewish Appeal tribute caricature from the late 1940s.
  • PC 8 Rosa Finestone


    This family collection of approx. 600 photos includes views of Outremont and NDG in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as wartime army photos of Bernard Finestone.

    Photographed by his mother, Rosa, Bernard Finestone (at left), and a friend, stand outside the family cigar store near the old Montreal Forum on Mount Royal Avenue, circa 1924.
  • PC 9 Harry Hershman War Orphans


    The 146 orphans who came to Canada from the Polish Ukraine in 1920-1921 are depicted in individual and group portraits, taken in Europe. The collection also includes vintage greeting cards.

    From Harry Hershman's case files, two of the World War I Polish Jewish orphans who were brought to Canada from an orphanage in Rovno in 1921.
  • PC 10 Leon Crestohl


    Important Jewish community meetings of the 1940s and 1950s are the focus of this collection.

    On a visit to Israel in 1948, Leon Crestohl is seen here with Arab leaders.
  • PC 11 Ethel Ostry


    Social worker Ostry documented the work she carried out in Europe with post-W.W.II displaced persons and refugee youth, many of whom she assisted in immigrating to Canada.

    Maccabean Club members at the Fohrenwald Displaced Persons Camp, immediately after World War II.
  • PC 12 Jewish Colonization Association


    Fascinating photographs (1909-1963) of the inhabitants, buildings, cattle, machines, and cemeteries of Canadian Jewish farming colonies, including Edenbridge, Eyre, Montefiore, Hirsch, Lipton, Coalfields, Sonnenfeld, and Souris Valley, Saskatchewan, and Rumsey, Alberta, as well as those of the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario. Also includes Jewish refugees established in Manitoba in 1939 by CJC.

    A Sukkah (temporary structure used for meals during the holiday of Sukkot) in the Lipton Jewish farming colony, Saskatchewan.
  • PC 13 Ruth Colton Lehman


    Approximately 500 Jewish Montreal photos taken by photographer (the late) R. Lehman in the 1980s.

    Two Hassidic children from Montreal's Outremont neighbourhood, 1988.
  • PC 14 Monty Berger


    Accompanying his textual records, the Berger photo collection depicts community and private activities, including W.W.II army service and Israel experiences.

    In the company of other Montreal Jewish community leaders, Monty Berger (second from right) signs for the construction of the United Jewish Services building (Cummings House) in 1973.
  • PC 16 Drummond Photo Collection


    This immense collection contains an estimated 223,000 (8.6 metres) of negatives in black and white and colour, dating from 1960 to 1991. Jewish community organization negative subjects include AJCS (Allied Jewish Community Services) and CJA (Combined Jewish Appeal); Zionist organizations such as JNF (Jewish National Fund), ORT, and the annual Negev Dinner; the Jewish General Hospital and the Hope and Cope Foundation of the hospital; Orthodox groups such as Chabad (Lubavitch organization), Mizrachi, and Emunah Women; Jewish day schools such as JPPS (Jewish People's and Peretz Schools), Hebrew Academy, Herzliah and the Ecole Sépharade; foundations such as Canadian Friends of Ben Gurion University and Claridge; as well as synagogues and Jewish businesses. Negatives of individuals and families include individual and family portraits, "sweet sixteens" and anniversaries, weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, as well as some Bat Mitzvahs, and brits (circumcisions). Privacy restrictions apply to many of the family photos. Of particular interest in the negatives of family events are shots depicting the interiors of Montreal synagogues as well as aspects of Jewish ritual.

    Montreal, early 1960s: A Jewish wedding in a hotel ballroom, showing the wedding party under a decorated Chuppah (bridal canopy.)

Photo Reproduction Services

For prices of reproductions, please see the copying fees page.