To discover, preserve, and share information about the Jewish experience in the Chicago area.
What We Are
The Chicago Jewish Historical Society was founded in 1977, and is in part an outgrowth of local Jewish participation in the American Bicentennial Celebration of 1976. Muriel Robin was the founding president. The Society has as its purpose the discovery, preservation and dissemination of information concerning the Jewish experience in the Chicago area.
What We Do
The Society seeks out, collects and preserves written, spoken and photographic records, in close cooperation with the Chicago Jewish Archives, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. The Society publishes historical information, holds public meetings at which various aspects of Chicago Jewish history are treated; mounts appropriate exhibits; and offers tours of Jewish historical sites.
Membership in the Society is open to all interested persons and organizations and includes a subscription to Chicago Jewish History, discounts on Society tours and at the Spertus Museum store, and the opportunity to learn and inform others about Chicago Jewish history and its preservation.
More Information on Membership
Symbol of the Society
Very early in its life, the Chicago Jewish Historical Society was fortunate enough to acquire a distinctive and eye-catching logo. The work of Rose Ann Chasman Z”L, a local artist and a found-ing member, the logo contains an illustrated running history of the city, with emphasis upon its Jewish aspects. She used the typeface American Uncial and added her own Hebrew calligraphy for the accompanying quotation from Isaiah 51:1, which encapsulates the Society’s purpose: “Look to the rock from which you were hewn.”
Rose Ann Chasman went on to enjoy a successful career creating Judaic art using Hebrew letterforms—in paper cutting, ketubot (decorative Jewish marriage contracts), and synagogue installations. Shortly before her passing in 2007, she graciously provided us with a new pen-andink rendering of her CJHS logo art.
In 1999, we began producing our publications on computer. To approximate the uncial typeface used by Chasman, we chose the digital font Neue Hammer Unziale.We learned that it was named for its designer, Victor Hammer (1882-1967), a distinguished printer in Austria, who devoted a great deal of his life to the design and development of the letterform known as uncial, the handwriting used by medieval scribes. His Hammer Unziale was produced in 1921.
Hammer fled the Nazis in 1939, leaving all his cutting and casting tools and most of his fonts in Austria. He came to the United States, where he had been offered a post teaching art and lettering at Wells College in New York. It was there that he began work on his best known type, American Uncial.With the help of the Society of Typographical Arts (STA) in Chicago, sufficient money was raised to complete the project.
So it turns out that every element of our logo has a Chicago connection!
The images, reading from left to right:
Stood at the mouth of the Chicago River 1803-1812; rebuilt 1816-1856.
Two Jewish-Owned Stores on Clark Street - 1857.
Deliveries were made by horse and wagon.
Company C of the 82nd Illinois Infantry Regiment, the only all-Jewish unit to fight in the Civil War. So nicknamed because the men volunteered at a B’nai B’rith Ramah Lodge meeting at the Concordia Club.
American Flag with Hebrew Inscription
An inspiring quotation from Joshua 1:4-9; presented by Chicago City Clerk Abraham Kohn to Abraham Lincoln in February 1861.
Chicago Fire and Water Tower
The 1871 conflagration and the surviving landmark.
Museum of Science and Industry
Established in 1926 by Julius Rosenwald; site of the Bicentennial Jewish Exhibition in 1976 which inspired the founding of the CJHS; a man is pictured performing the hagbah ritual—lifting the Torah scroll and displaying it to the congregation.
Maxwell Street Market
Bustling center of its Near West Side neighborhood until the area was acquired by the University of Illinois.
Settlement house opened by Jane Addams in 1889; helped immigrants and others gain a place of self-respect in society.
Municipal Flag of Chicago
Four six-pointed red stars on a field of blue and white stripes.
Landmark architecture by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, completed in 1889. (Upper stories and tower not shown.)
Three Patriots Monument
George Washington, Robert Morris, and Haym Salomon; Wacker Drive and Wabash Avenue; dedicated in 1941.
Chicago Loop Synagogue
Showing Hands of Peace sculpture by Henri Azaz and stained glass window by Abraham Rattner, 1958.