My name is Eliza Kolander, and I am writing to you on behalf of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, with regards to our Roster Project, a comprehensive database of Jewish-American soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War for both the Union and the Confederacy. Our searchable database, which will be free to the public, will go live with a limited set of records in the next few years. We hope to engage the public with primary source material--the human side of history--while significantly modifying the scholarship on Jews in America in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Our starting point was Simon Wolf’s 1895 The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier and Citizen, and over the last decade, we’ve verified the names he included as Jewish or not, identified their accurate military service, and added more than a thousand soldiers that Wolf omitted. With each name, there is an extensive amount of information and primary sources, allowing for the stories of soldiers and sailors to come to life.
Our researchers specifically want to hear from historical societies, museums, and archives that have information and primary source materials not available in larger repositories such as the National Archives or the Library of Congress. Do any of your member institutions interpret the stories of any Jewish-American Civil War soldiers or sailors? Do you know of any depositories in your state that have sources or information relating to the topic?
If you have any thoughts or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.