Springhill Avenue Temple Archives
As the oldest Jewish congregation in Alabama, Springhill Avenue Temple has amassed a collection of records that cover all aspects of the congregation’s growth and development over the past two centuries. The Temple Archives contains original documents related to the congregation’s first charter, the establishment of the Temple cemetery, and the construction of its houses of worship. The Archives’ holdings also include handwritten logs of congregants’ births, marriages, and deaths; minutes of board of trustee meetings; membership rosters; and detailed financial records.
Throughout the years congregants have donated to the Archives family photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, travel journals and other personal memorabilia that help present-day congregants better understand the daily routines of early Temple members. These items are supplemented with an extensive file of newspaper clippings related to several generations of congregants.
Also housed in the Archives are copies of all past Temple bulletins; biographical information related to Temple rabbis and congregation presidents; books and journals on Jewish history, culture, and genealogy; old prayer books and Bibles; old musical scores and compositions; and records from the congregations’ Men’s Club, Sisterhood, and Binai B’rith chapter.
The Archives is staffed with a part-time archivist, Susan Thomas, who typically works Monday and Wednesday mornings. Susan welcomes inquiries about the congregation’s history and early members. You can reach her by contacting the Temple Office – 251/478-0415.
About Susan Thomas
Susan Thomas, part-time Temple archivist, is also a licensed social worker, an amateur history buff, and an advocate for local preservation. She has done several independent research projects related to Southern folklife and foodways.
Susan has a B.A. from Mobile College, an M.S.W. from the University of Alabama, and an M.A. from the University of South Alabama. She lives with her husband Tom, an engineering professor at U.S.A., and their three dogs in Mobile’s midtown.