History Help Line is brought to you by the Center for Michigan Jewish Heritage, a collaboration between the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin Archives of Temple Beth El and the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.  

Every October, we observe American Archives Month, a time dedicated to celebrating and promoting archives. For months, we have been asking for your help identifying photographs (don’t worry, this month is no different!), but we also thought we would use this time to tell you a little about what we do. 

You may have heard about archivists in the news recently but are unsure of what the job entails. Archivists are specially trained (generally with a master’s degree) in collecting and preserving original material and helping people obtain it. They possess a deep knowledge of the records and use their extensive research and analysis skills to better assist the public. Archivists need to be savvy in working with all types of media, from paper to objects, have the computer expertise to handle digital materials, the social skills to work with donors, and outreach ability to plan programs and social media that will engage the public in the archive’s holdings.  

It’s a tough job, but we love doing it!  

By now, you are very familiar with our online digital database that includes thousands of photographs, oral histories, historic films, and the finding aids (guides) to our collections. But did you know about our social media, where we have lots of fun, interesting, and thought-provoking content? You can find links to all our platforms on our website.  

From programs to classes to a new physical space, we have so many wonderful things coming up. If you want to stay informed about what we’re doing, join our email list! Send us an email at info@mijewishheritage.org and put “Email List” in the subject line. Give us your name and preferred email address, and we’ll add you to our list. 

And now, because it wouldn’t be a History Help Line if we didn’t ask for your assistance, our team picked our favorite unidentified photos. Visit our “Archivist’s Pick” list and let us know if you recognize any people. Above each photograph, there is a “Send Us Feedback” button you can use to reach us. If there is more than one person in the photo, be sure to indicate the person you’re identifying (i.e., 2nd person from the left). With your help, we can put names with the faces!