A Guide to the Fort Worth (Texas) Jewish History Collection, 1903-1992
The first Jewish settlers in Texas, primarily from Sephardic communities in Spain, arrived during its days as a Spanish colony; they were forced to practice their religion in secret due to the laws that only allowed Catholics to take up residence. After Texas and Mexico became independent from Spain, immigrants from Germany, Eastern Europe, and the United States joined them. The immigrants worked at every level in Texas, working as farmers, alcalde, treasurers, surgeons, and teachers. They helped found Brownsville and other towns, and also funded charitable activities.
The Jewish population in Texas more than doubled around the turn of the century following a rise in anti-Semitism in Russia and Eastern Europe. Major cities such as Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston also had massive increases in their Jewish population. This led to an increase in the number of, and membership in, Jewish organizations, social programs, and religious education. Two Jewish congregations were formed in Fort Worth, Texas, Ahavath Sholom (Love of Peace) in 1892 and Beth El (House of God) in 1902.
Beth El Congregation. “History.” http://www.bethelfw.org/about-us/archives/history
Congregation Ahavath Sholom. “History.” http://ahavathsholom.org/congregation/history/
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Jews," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/JJ/pxj1.html (accessed August 16, 2010).
The Forth Worth (Texas) Jewish History Collection, 1903-1992, documents the history of Fort Worth’s Jewish community. It includes the plat map for Rosen Heights Land Company, 1903; original printer’s mock-up board for several issues of the Texas Jewish Historical Society Newsletter; a photocopy of a manuscript memoir of 102-year-old Meredith Carb regarding life in Fort Worth, ca. 1900; a list of Jewish names in the Fort Worth City Directory for 1907; mounted photocopy of a group portrait of Jacob Sennels, J.C. Terrell, and Sam Woody, ca. 1905; Congregation Abavath Shalom commemorative books, 1967, 1980 and 1992; program and volunteer roster for 1986 Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration and Tour; and a newspaper clippings dated January 29, 1986 describing the details of research conducted for the Sesquicentennial Celebration and Tour.
The collection is open for research use.
Fort Worth (Texas) Jewish History Collection, 1903-1992, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers