Mapping Jewish Charleston - College of Charleston Libraries

November 6, 2020
Spotlight, Special Collections, Press, News & Happenings, Exhibits, Collection Highlights

Mapping Jewish Charleston

Three Centuries of Jewish Life in the Holy City

CHARLESTON— The College of Charleston’s Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture and the Jewish Heritage Collection (JHC) are pleased to announce the launch of the 2020 page of Mapping Jewish Charleston, bringing the story of Jewish life in the Lowcountry up to the present.

Beginning with the first Jewish settlers in Charles Town in the late 1600s, this online exhibition weaves together original documents, photographs, topical essays, and interactive maps to explore how religion and local culture have accommodated to one another and occasionally clashed over the past 300 years.

From the Holocaust Memorial in Marion Square to Chabad’s Center for Jewish Life in Mt. Pleasant, Mapping Jewish Charleston/2020 surveys 24 sites of Jewish interest—some prominent, some little known, some recent, some venerable. Designed as a tour guide, an educational tool, and a scholarly reference, the free digital resource complements three earlier historical views. The 1788 map provides a sense of the fabric of Jewish life in an early American port city. The 1833 map illuminates the social history behind Charleston’s famous Jewish reformers. The 1910 map draws attention to the important—and underexplored—history of Eastern European Jewish immigration to southern cities.

Mapping Jewish Charleston features new work by the city’s celebrated photographer Jack Alterman and materials from JHC’s rich archival repository, which includes manuscripts, oral histories, photographs, memoirs, genealogies, home movies, and other invaluable artifacts, all available to the public, many accessible online through the Lowcountry Digital Library.


Located in Special Collections on the third floor of the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library, the Jewish Heritage Collection documents the experience of Jews in the American South from colonial times to the present day. JHC continues to enlarge its holdings through an active program of collection, field work, and public education inaugurated in January 1995. Project staff initiated research and led development of a major exhibition, A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life, that opened at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum in January 2002, at the start of a two-year national tour. In 2000, JHC’s scope expanded to include the Holocaust, and in 2007, with the acquisition of Rabbi William A. Rosenthall’s world-class collection of Judaica, its range broadened again to encompass Jewish life around the globe.

For more information:


Sponsored by the Yaschik/Arnold Program in Jewish Studies, the Jewish Heritage Collection, and the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, the Center promotes research, teaching, documentation, and interpretation of southern Jewish history and culture. So that new and emerging scholarship can reach a general audience, the Center offers an array of public programming, such as speakers, film screenings, online exhibitions, historical tours, conferences, workshops, cultural events, and research fellowships.

For more information, including a direct link to Mapping Jewish Charleston, go to:


Addlestone Library is open to the College of Charleston community and affiliates via card access. Visitors may access Addlestone Library Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, and must present a government issued ID and sign in upon entry.